Hi. I am Nicole Navigates and I am proud to be a Northamptonshire blogger.
Don’t you just hate it when you write an awesome blog post titled as this exact title, but it disappears off the face of the earth?
Yep, that’s annoying!
It was a blog post I wrote back in 2017 and I am gutted I lost it as it had some really lovely photos featured too and in all honesty, I can’t remember word for word what I wrote about.
It really does serves past Nicole right for not backing up my website regularly like I do now and writing blog posts in a word document first.
Safe to say, I have learned my lesson.
I have made it very clear that I am not born and bred in Northamptonshire, which I have been criticized for, but I never let that become a negative thing against me.
In fact, I think it just shows that although I am not originally from here, I still choose to love and support my local county.
Being born in a very teeny, tiny town in Kent, I never understood why my peers at school when we were teenagers used to always say bad things about the town and county; but as we have all grown up, I think we have realised just how lucky we are!
I understand I am not the only one who loves Northamptonshire and there’s plenty of people and organisations around who do the same and have a massive impact in supporting local and independent, even way longer than me – which is fantastic to see!
But what I love is there is such a community vibe from everyone who lives in the county, whether it be a local food producer, local food hero, a thriving magazine, a community-led project, a charity or a blogger… like me!
So here are some of my reasons why I am proud to be a Northamptonshire blogger and why I believe I serve my county and community well:
Building a unique niche
I have mentioned this several times in my blogging workshops, but it took me SUCH a long time to really grasp and nuture a niche that is unique to me and would fit with my brand. Funny story: Nicole Navigates started out at a travel blog.
But I found myself writing less about jetting off on an airplane abroad and more about local adventures, independent eats and local events. So I guess that has stuck ever since!
Without tooting my own horn too much (if you’ve ever met me in person, you’ll know I’m incredibly humble!), I have found a niche that works!
I should have known when I started writing more about Northamptonshire in early 2018 and I am proud of the fact that I no longer cover other surrounding areas such as Milton Keynes or Buckinghamshire, or even when I go on holiday!
Everyone knows exactly what they come here for and it means I can actually go on holiday… and rest!
Northamptonshire is big enough and there’s plenty to be spoken about, as this county continues to grow and thrive – so I hope this blog can do the same!
I hope I can continue to inspire and educate what’s on your doorstep and what’s happening in your local area, as I’ve had some lovely comments saying you love keeping up to date with that type of content.
Inspiring and educating
Speaking of inspiring and educating…
The whole purpose around Nicole Navigates is to inspire people on where to navigate to in Northamptonshire and to educate you on what I learn and discover what’s around the local area.
I am astounded by the amount of people who message me asking me for recommendations and where to go for certain things; it’s flattering, especially when I can give them an honest opinion of a place.
And if I’m being completely honest; I never set out to be a ‘know it all’ or an expert in my field – I just loved sharing all my local adventures and eats that I find people calling me an expert which is bizarre but lovely.
But I do want to educate people on the places I visit, the hidden gems that people may not know about and the ‘behind the scenes’ and fun facts about the small local businesses in Northamptonshire.
And I hope I do inspire people to get out more in the county – as I was growing up, Northamptonshire has always had a bad rep, but I want to prove that there is good in our county and I hope I can inspire people to embrace it more.
What’s great about being a local blogger is the networking involved – and as a blogger, it is essential to get myself out there as I’m constantly online, it’s good to actually get face to face with people.
I am proud to be part of the Pink Clouding Collab Club, which is an excellent networking club started by Emma at Pink Clouding Co.
Through this, not only have I made some great connections with some awesome women business owners, but I have also gained some great collaborations through this group too!
I also try and embrace business networking events, which sometimes makes me feel like I don’t belong, but I have to remind myself I am here for a reason and should never put myself down; as bloggers and content creators are just as important and offer as much value as publications and business owners.
And not only that; I am proud of the fact that I founded the Northamptonshire Bloggers Network where I have discovered lots of local bloggers; we have a lot of talent in the county!
I love that we are starting to have a meet up most month’s and we have just had our annual Christmas party too – where we raise money for The Lewis Foundation which just shows how much impact us bloggers can have!
And I have met lots of people through my own blogging, from the local food and drink scene, to meeting some of the business owners behind the independent businesses in Northamptonshire.
It’s lovely to actually meet the people behind the businesses and build on those relationships.
Building an online & offline community
But all of the above couldn’t be possible without YOU GUYS. The online community I have built in the local area and the one I have built online.
I love the online community, as it can be really supportive and it’s nice to talk to people about blogging and social media (which is something I couldn’t sit and talk to Josh about as he has NO IDEA!)
Everything I do on my blog and social media has my community and audience in mind; because without delivering the right content to my audience, which I always aim to be educational, inspiring and informative, then I’m not doing a good job!
But through the online world, I have managed to meet lots of people from online in real life – it’s so nice to build those connections.
Focusing on being a Northamptonshire blogger has been the best decision I could have made for my blog and I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for me and my blog. I hope you can join me in my navigations this year!