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This August just gone, Nicole Navigates turned THREE. Gosh, three years of blogging and I really can’t see myself doing anything else. It’s been an amazing three years of blogging, learning, up’s and down’s, fantastic opportunities and more.
Though I’ve actually been blogging for six years, as prior to Nicole Navigates, I wrote a blog on University life and theatre stuff which if you can find it, is SUPER CRINGE!
But although I’ve come far since then, I’m often finding myself comparing myself to other people and their journeys. But the fact is: I have only been blogging on here for three years… but look how much I have achieved in those short three years.
I’ve established myself as a local Northamptonshire blogger, being a reliable source for all things independent eats, local events and everything in-between to do with the county.
I have gone on BBC Radio Northampton several times, I’m a columnist for Indulgence Magazine which I’m about to write more food content for, I write for Love Northampton and the Happy Hood magazine, plus I’ve recently been announced as a panellist for the Circus Magazine Independent Food & Drink awards.
On top of that, I’ve spoken at events including my own blogging workshop with Pink Clouding, which has enabled me to speak to companies like Starting Off about the benefits of blogging.
My overall following has grown by 2.5k since the beginning of the year, I’ve collaborated with some big local brands and I got the job of my dreams, thanks to being founded by my blog and social media.
I’m so proud of what I have achieved so far – but I am naturally someone who likes to over-achieve, grow and get better in everything I do – I’ve always been that way inclined since school!
Now I’ve been getting into the Grow&Glow hub a bit more, it’s made me understand and think about my ‘elevator pitch’ which is essentially how I introduce myself and my blog. So I guess my elevator pitch goes a little like this…
“Nicole Navigates is a Northamptonshire blogger covering topics, events and independent businesses in food and retail as a 20-something year old coffee and G&T lover attempting to navigate the county”.
You like? I think it sums me up!
I’ve been thinking about my September Resolutions and what I want my content plan to be going forward which has helped massively, thanks to a lot of you guys answering my polls and questions on my Instagram stories.
I’ve written a similar blog post previously on my blog (notice the MASSIVE difference in content) and it got lots of positive reactions. My resolutions going forward are:
- Post at least 2 blog posts a week
- Keep my website maintained including SEO
- Maintain my old blog posts and keep updating my guides
- Spend at least 3 hours a week on Grow&Glow
They’re just a few things I want to do going forward, which I have been lacking on recently, but I think with summer out of the way, my mind is very much back into ‘school’ mode (she says when she’s not attended school for almost 10 years!)
The title suggests I have a new content plan, but honestly, it’s not changed too much, but for my own sanity to help me have a direction going forward, I thought I would share what you can expect to see here on Nicole Navigates:
Yes. My Northamptonshire content is here to stay!
It’s literally the bread and butter of everything I write about and focus on. The feedback I have received over what I share and do for the local community has been CRAZY!
I will still be sharing my ‘What’s On’ this weekend guides on social media, which always seem to do really well and help notify locals on what’s happening so they can fill their weekend with plans.
I originally had the What’s On calendar on here, but to be honest, that became a VERY tedious task and it was becoming too much around everything else I do. It might come back if I find a better system. Who knows?
So if you want a monthly What’s On Guide, you should sign up to my newsletter where I feature LOTS!
My Northants Food Guides are also a big hit – I have so many other food guide ideas I’d like to feature on here, but as you can imagine, that’s A LOT of eating to do! I did my first one, which was a Coffee Guide back in April 2017 so it’s only going to (hopefully) build from there.
I also want to do more guides on towns in Northamptonshire. I feel there is TOO much to talk about on social media regarding our local towns and villages, so I’d love to feature more local guides, similar to my Navigating Market Harborough guide.
But besides Northampton, there are so many other places and things to see and do in other places in Northamptonshire.
I am already writing a Towcester guide, as well as putting together a mini-village guide – so watch out for that!
Food & Drink
Obviously! Food is a big part of all I do here on Nicole Navigates.
Not much is changing here. I still want to focus on writing some Northamptonshire food guides that focus only on independent places in the county. I’ve been very clear in my approach that I don’t want to cover chains, because let’s face it, we can get them anywhere!
I want to focus on the independents that make Northamptonshire so great!
As you also know, I love focusing on local food and drink produce. After writing my Best Food & Drink Producers in Northamptonshire post, I want to write more about them, do more product reviews and talk about local businesses who are thriving in the food sector.
I want to do more restaurant reviews, obviously, build up my Northants Food Guides and basically make this a go-to place for food in Northants based on my recommendations – the dream!
So if any local businesses would like me to come in and review their establishment, hit me up!
The lifestyle category is a strange one, isn’t it? There are so many topics that lie under the lifestyle category.
For me, the type of lifestyle posts I want to cover are more updates on what’s happening in my life, as you guys seem to appreciate when I tell you the ‘behind-the-scenes’ stuff and tell you about big life updates.
I also want to focus more on owning a house in Northamptonshire. I was really inspired to write the blog post Making Our House Into A Northamptonshire Home as it ties into my content perfectly. I am really proud of our home and I want to write more about it.
Whether it’s on mortgage advice for the local area, what local food markets we shop at for our dinners, a local homeware and interiors guide or just updates how we are getting on, I would like to focus on homey posts more and gathering from the feedback I received, so do you guys.
Now, this might seem *crazy* but I have really enjoyed using Instagram as a form of sharing my favourite local independent boutiques and clothes shops and apparently, I’m quite photogenic (I’m shocked too).
So I would actually like to try and feature some of my favourite fashion picks from Northamptonshire based boutiques and maybe fashion a few pieces on my Instagram. I’ve slowly been doing so as I’ve featured pieces from Pink Clouding Co based in Corby and Heidi Boutique based in Wellingborough.
I really enjoy showcasing fashion pieces from Boden, as part of my collaboration with them, but I’d like to focus on more local.
And oddly, you like seeing more of me too! This isn’t me saying I’m going to turn into a fashion blogger as such, but a little bit of local independent fashion could slide in easily with my Lifestyle/Northamptonshire content!
Guys. I am thinking of saying goodbye to abroad travel content, city guides, etc. I’m sorry if this is the reason you first came to read this blog, but it just isn’t something I can put my heart and soul into anymore.
The whole reason why we go away, is because we want to vacate, relax and getaway from reality. The fact that I feel the need to document every single part of my holiday on social media, then come back home and write about it, is kind of… urghh.
Nicole Navigates first started out as a travel blog. I used to review hotels I would stay in, I did lots of posts from my Topdeck trip and at one point in my blogging career, I was desperate to be sent on a fancy trip abroad somewhere.
But I guess I don’t travel enough to make it into a travel blog and I’ve come to realise that going abroad press trips, as fun as they sound, isn’t something I’d be interested in. I’ve come to the realisation that when I go abroad on holiday, I want to completely switch off and live in the moment.
I don’t want to be constantly thinking: “ooh, this location would make a great Instagram shot” or “I must remember the names of these places to write a guide”. Nah. I want to sunbathe on a sun lounger or soak up the city atmosphere without feeling the need to document everything.
I want my focus to be primarily on showing you the best things in Northamptonshire, not somewhere abroad and let’s face it, there are plenty of other bloggers out there who are smashing the travel blogging market – so go to them if you’re looking for travel guides!
I realise this may limit me a bit, but I know what and where I want to take my blog and it isn’t worldwide – it’s countywide!
I may share the odd few Instagram stories if we go away, or maybe the odd post if it’s UK Travel simular to my Navigating Market Harborough blog post.
But going forward, this isn’t going to be a typical ‘travel’ blog.
We are planning on a weekend away to Prague to visit the Christmas markets and Josh and I really want to book an all-inclusive somewhere hot next year and nothing excites me more than having that week to completely switch off.
So travel content is out. Northamptonshire is in.
As we say goodbye to travel content, I want to bring in a new niche: local events.
Sure, this probably ties into Northamptonshire, but I want to start blogging more about local events I attend.
If you follow me on social media, you know I always try to attend as many local events as possible, but I hardly write about the experiences afterwards. You guys love my weekend roundups, but I find myself hardly attending any of the events I mention – but then again, there is SO MUCH happening in Northamptonshire!
And thanks to my day job being so flexible, I am able to do more and work around this – so there is no reason for me not to attend something happening in the county during the weekday.
So when I attend a local event, I want to write more blog posts on them. I’m doing lots of work with Love Northampton at the moment and although I’m already writing blog posts for them, I’d quite like to feature the work I do for them on here, kind of like what I did with the 5 Summer Festivals in Northamptonshire post.
I have got some seasonal events planned which obviously hints… Christmas! I did a blog post last year on what events were happening during the festive period, so will be doing something similar soon!
Let me know if there are any particular local events you’d like me to cover/write about.
Basically, all I’m trying to do is ensure that Nicole Navigates keeps growing and improving.
I would also love to start getting more paid collaborations for my blog and social media (just putting it out there) because, at the end of the day, this is currently still a part-time thing and it takes a lot of money and resources to keep this blog going with fresh content and ensuring the website is running well – so I’d like to make some funds in order to continue this!
I want to be one of the first sources people go-to for local recommendations in Northamptonshire.
I want to look back on this year, this time next year, and actually see that there’s been an improvement in my content, engagement and followers (though following is not the most important thing in the world).
I would love to keep and grow a loyal following who want to be inspired to explore more and shop independently in Northamptonshire.
I feel like I’ve put a lot out on the line here and announced all my future plans and content – so I’m hoping no one else is going to steal my ideas and make it their own for the sake of me being open and honest (trust me, it’s happened before!)
I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019/2020 Nicole Navigates has coming up – and I just want to thank YOU: my loyal readers and followers for sticking around, for engaging in my content, for messaging me for recommendations, for using my #NavigatingNorthants hashtag and for just being good eggs – you are the best and the reason I do what I do!