Interview with Grand Slam Gal
Insights into why people blog are fascinating, but so are the “routines” that help them blog consistently.
Enjoy this interview with Grand Slam Gal!
Why do you blog as Grand Slam Gal?
In 2012, the year I turned 40, I achieved a life goal to attend all four tennis grand slam events in the same year.
This included the Australian Open in Melbourne, the French Open in Paris, Wimbledon in London and the US Open in New York.
Two years before completing my “fan slam” I decided to blog about it, sharing the information that’s useful to fans attending grand slam events.
- how to get tickets, and
- how to get to the grounds
I also wanted to share the experience of what it’s like to be at each tournament as a fan.
A key goal was to write the blog that I would love to read if I wasn’t able to attend the tournaments.
I still blog regularly now and often get feedback back like “Thanks Mel, your blog and photos made me feel like I was there”.
For me, that’s the best feedback ever!
Describe your writing process, are there any routines that help?
For tennis articles, I just write!
I write like I speak to my tennis friends, with the same passion and enthusiasm that I feel for the sport.
I always make notes of article ideas and dot points on what to include as soon as I think of them though.
Then by the time I’m actually doing the writing the article is pretty much written in my head.
What’s been the biggest highlight so far?
I loved being included in an article about tennis travel in the Australian Tennis magazine.
It’s a magazine that I’ve subscribed to for years and to see information about my tennis travels in print was fabulous.
What audience do you attract to Grand Slam Gal?
Broadly speaking my audience is tennis fans.
I love Rafael Nadal so attract a lot of his fans – I share a lot of photos of him during the Australian Open whenever I get the chance to see him play or practice.
The more niche audience is tennis fans who are travelling to one of the grand slam tournaments that are looking for information to help plan their fan experience.
Do you notice a spike in traffic around the Grand Slams?
In 2012 I wrote articles to share information for tennis fans on topics that I wasn’t easily able to find info about in Google.
It wasn’t until 2013 and now the 2014 French Open/Wimbledon tennis season that I realised the value of creating content around niche topics that not many other bloggers were writing about.
Many of my articles have turned out to be annually relevant, ever-green content.
By ranking on keywords like “wimbledon tickets” “wimbledon queue” and other topics that tennis fans search for prior to the tournaments, I’ve was pleasantly surprised to see that I had around 36,000 visits to my blog in the last month, despite only publishing a few new articles.
What’s a typical day like when Grand Slam Gal is blogging?
I adore blogging about tennis but as every blogger knows, it takes time, energy and motivation.
Because I’m always juggling my tennis blog hobby with running my business and prioritising my clients’ needs, fitting in my tennis blog means missing out on sleep!
But the two weeks of a grand slam tournament are a really special experience and I wouldn’t trade being part of it and being able to blog about it for anything.
Any advice you would give bloggers starting out?
1. Always always always be genuine.
2. Don’t compromise the quality of your blog content for money.
3. If you love a niche that not many people blog about – go hard! Anticipate the information that people like you need and write about it. Fill the gap and if enough people are interested in the same topics, the Google traffic will follow.
4. Get to know people who love your niche as much as you do.
5. Never miss an opportunity to meet your readers and social media contacts face-to-face. Online is fab but once you’ve met people in real life, it’s even better! For example, some of my tennis friends who I initially met via social media contacts now provide articles and photos for my blog.
How did you build your online community? Has any one social media platform been more successful for you, or do you use a variety?
For my blog I have a presence on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
In my opinion, for tennis fans, Twitter is by far the best platform – I think it’s because tennis matches move fast and so do tweets.
Also because all major tournaments, tennis journalists, commentators, other aficionados and many popular tennis players have a profile on Twitter and actively engage with fans.
Without Twitter I never would have realised how many people around the world love watching tennis and stay up during crazy time zone differences to watch it. It’s so nice to have a regular contact with a community of people who feel the same way I do about the sport and players that I love.
Rafael Nadal – Australian Open 2014