Have you ever dreamed of writing a blog? Have you thought about detailing your expat journey in Saudi Arabia? Maybe you are passionate about food or travel and have toyed with the idea of publishing your stories.
According to Blogging.org, WordPress currently hosts 42 million blogs! With so much competition for readership, you may wonder what makes a winning blog?
In this insightful interview we bring back the ladies of the highly popular and award-winning blog, The Pink Tarha. In part 1, which can be found on wsbksa.com, The Pink Tarha gave their tips on making the most out of life in Riyadh. In part 2, we explore the makings of a successful blog. If you are an aspiring blogger, do not miss The Pink Tarha’s time-tested advice and insight into the world of blogging.
You started your blog in 2009 to chronicle your trips around the city. At what point did you realize the magnitude of what you created?
Reina: I think when things started to go viral, that’s when we knew. Our #SALEALERT tend to be our most popular and tangible measure of impact and we’ve seen how powerful it has been, not just through the online stats but even from companies’ feedback as well. On the other hand, there was this time when we were nominated for the Expats Blog Awards in 2010 and there was a section of testimonies from our readers and supporters that really proved how far our reach has gone in terms of making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Janelle: We realized that its becoming known when we began receiving many comments and feedback. As for tangible signs, we take our win from the PEBA 2009 Awards as a sign of things becoming bigger than we expected it to be.
Is writing your passion? You are both working full-time jobs in addition to writing the blog. If you could make the Pink Tarha your full time career, would you? Why or why not?
Janelle: Writing is my passion; it’s something I like doing. That’s why its hard for me to see this as a full-time career because I write without the pressure of having to do it for something in return. I blog because I want to continuously hone my writing skills. I also like finding the balance in my family, work, and blogging.
Reina: Writing was something I was always into but never really considered it as my forte. Having started in a blog format eased me into it and somehow made me confident that my writing can be “acceptable” in terms of light reading. It’s good to challenge yourself with something that you can improve on and for me, it’s something I still experience every time I write.
What are the biggest challenges you have experienced in building The Pink Tarha, and how have you overcome them?
Janelle: One of the biggest challenges in making The Pink Tarha was being the pioneers of blogging in Riyadh. We are not claiming to be the first bloggers in Saudi Arabia (because we’re not), but we like to believe we are the first of our kind that spread positivity and see the goodness in living and working here. When The Pink Tarha came about in 2009, there weren’t any blogs like it. We didn’t know what rules we should follow or what we could write or not write about. So we just went with our gut feel and general knowledge of the local policies.
Reina: We have had our share of challenges over the years. Since we’re doing it out of our own initiative, there have been times when our commitment would dwindle. The lesson we learned however, at the end of the day, is we didn’t give up on the blog.
If someone wants to become a blogger, are there any important things they should consider before starting? Any advice on connecting with your audience?
Reina: For me, I’ve always stuck to the concept of “write what you know”. I think it’s a good stepping stone for someone who wants to venture into blogging. Rely on the details of your experience, your observations, and how it affected you. If you have that, then you definitely have something to write about.
Janelle: First and foremost, you have to blog for yourself. You shouldn’t blog thinking of what it might bring you. When people see and read that you love what you’re doing, they also start to appreciate you and your blog by reading, following, and liking. Have the patience also to see your blog through. Don’t give up! Enjoy writing! Find your voice and find your niche. Produce good content (do not copy/plagiarize!). Concentrate on one aspect and start from there. For the Pink Tarha, we chose to write about lifestyle topics and from there we wrote about categories under the lifestyle umbrella. We refined our writing and defined our boundaries.
Interview and write up by: Maria Cometti