Name: Ahmed Ahmed
Blog: Dine Birmingham (www.dinebirmingham.co.uk)
When did you start blogging?
I’ve been blogging, on and off, since around 2008. I launched Dine Birmingham back in the spring of 2011, when Birmingham was starting to really make waves as a foodie destination.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I realised that something really exciting was happening online. If you had something to say, the floor was yours. In theory, anyone can set up a blog and start sharing, discussing, connecting to like-minded people and building an audience of their own.
Do you have any other ‘day jobs’?
I work as a PR & Social Media Account Manager. I find my experience as a blogger complements this role. I tend to know when bloggers will be interested in what we’re promoting, and when it’s not appropriate to try and ram it down their throats!
What are your blogging must-have tools?
My laptop, for writing up articles, and my smartphone, for taking food photos, and for tweeting on the move!
What is your favourite place to blog from?
I generally tend to work from my living room. I have a workspace set up in a bay window so there’s lots of natural light, and I often have Radio 4 or Classic FM on in the background – both quite soothing!
Tell us about your favourite experience through blogging?
Last year, I decided to put on a food and drink event in Birmingham. I wanted to bring to life all the enthusiasm and appetite for the city’s food and drink that I’d seen building on social media over the past two years.
The food fair, called #FutureFoodies, was happily a success, attracting nearly 500 food lovers to come and sample goodies from twenty of Birmingham’s independent food and drink producers. It was truly euphoric to see all of that online goodwill translate into an real event, and I felt incredibly grateful to Dine Birmingham’s audience for their turnout.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who work in ‘established’ media. I think that blogging has matured, and as bloggers we should aspire to be recognised and respected in the way that ‘traditional’ journalists are. After all, we are writers and content creators, too.
I’m a reader of lifestyle magazines like Shortlist, GQ and Stylist, as well as news sites such as The Guardian and BBC News. Even Buzzfeed, which is incredibly successful, although you’d be hard-pressed to call it serious journalism!
I try to identify what makes these platforms successful, and incorporate some of their techniques and approaches, where appropriate, while always staying true to my own instincts – which is a blogger’s privilege.
What is your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Time. You definitely need more hours in the day! So many of us are working full-time jobs then going home and putting our all into creating good content for our audiences.
Share three of your favourite bloggers with us.
Garance Doré is a blogger who’s made it big in the fashion world. I love her style, her globetrotting adventures and her website.
The Sartorialist is, funnily enough, Garance Dore’s partner. His site is also a mixture of travel and style, with some great photography.
I also like reading The Huffington Post blogs, which feature opinion pieces from a range of different contributors, discussing the issues of the day.
What are your future plans in the blogosphere?
Dine Birmingham is my first priority, and I plan to make it more user-friendly and keep the content fresh and interesting for readers.
Long-term, I think I’d like to dip my toes into the wider lifestyle space – I love travel, arts and culture, so those would be potential new directions.
At the moment, I’m working on a new food and drink festival that will take place in September 2014: Birmingham Independent Food Fair.
Thanks for chatting to us today Ahmed!
This is part of the Blogger Interviews series
Psst… have you got your ticket for Blognix 2014 yet?