Regular and occasional bloggers compete for readers. online. The Finnish magazine Kotiblogit (“Home Blogs”) offers a surprising alternative for bloggers: publishing blogs in print.
Eeva Ek is a Finnish publisher who has long been drawn to blogs. There was just one problem. “There are over 100,000 Finnish blogs out there. It is impossible to get an idea of the entire scene. I realised that there were some true gems among the blogs, but I didn’t have the time to follow up on them after a day at the office,” Ek says.
When Ek started publishing the gardening magazine a few years ago, she was contacted by numerous bloggers. This deepened Ek’s interest in blogs. Then she had an epiphany: she would launch a new magazine to bring together the best blogs.
The publishing team’s goal was to offer a rich variety of blogs mainly aimed at working women who don’t have the time to endlessly surf the Internet. The surprising success of the magazine inspired Ek to publish one issue with blogs entirely aimed at men. Five issues of Kotiblogit will be released in 2017.
The principle behind the magazine is simple: the editorial staff combs the Internet for different types of high-quality blogs, contacts the bloggers and asks whether they would like their blog to be featured in print. The collaboration is not based on money, as the bloggers allow their texts and images to be used in the magazine free of charge.
Food in focus
Alexander Trivedi from Helsinki is one of the bloggers featured in the Kotiblogit magazine. His text was about picnicking. He is a professional chef who also writes a blog focused on food. His blog Aitoa arkiruokaa (“Authentic everyday food”) offers recipes written from a topical perspective.
Blog writing provides Trivedi with an outlet to be himself. “If you want to get somewhere in your career, you have to be active and advertise yourself. A blog is a live CV, where you can also include pictures,” Trivedi muses. He shares the blogging experience with his girlfriend. Trivedi prepares the food and writes the recipes, but the couple take the photographs together. The authenticity of the photos is important to the duo, and they perform less editing on the pictures than most magazines do.
The food blogger observes some differences between online and print publishing. One example is that questions and comments sent online can be answered quickly. “For print, you have to consider the subject matter more carefully. The instructions have to be very clear,” Trivedi says. He says that the experience with print “warmed his mind”.
Travel tales and lifestyle blogging
Mika Väistö writes the travel blog Lähtöportti (“Departure gate”) and Maarit Veromaa the lifestyle blog Sopusointuja (“Harmonies”). They have both been blogging for a year and a half.
Väistö’s blog contains a well-informed combination of facts and personal experiences. “It’s important to write about experiences while they are fresh, but if I have no new experiences to report, I can always pick a story from my previous travels,” Väistö explains. His blog always gets a great number of readers when he writes about destinations close to home: in Finland or Sweden.
Väistö has worked as a copywriter and is familiar with the processes involved in making a magazine. Getting his own article printed was a pleasant experience. “In general, blogs are more of a personification of their writers than magazine articles. In my blogs, you can see my personality peeking out from between the lines,” Väistö says. “I have great respect for print and like to read certain travel magazines on paper. I prefer to read longer stories in print,” Väistö continues.
Maarit Veromaa writes a diary-type blog about a variety of topics, such as women’s style, travel and home decor. Veromaa’s blogs have been featured in the Kotiblogit magazine twice already. “I think that print and social media have different readerships. It’s likely that the magazine has brought more traffic to my site. In January 2017 I had 100,000 visitors, and by the end of March there were 50,000 more,” Veromaa says.
Veromaa writes in a conversational tone online, but for print she had to put on her reporter hat, so to speak. “Anyone can write anything online, but not everything is considered worth printing. When they asked me, my initial thought was ‘Wow, my text has now been accepted for a magazine!’ You have to write more carefully for print, so I took a much more critical approach,” Veromaa explains. “I think print adds more credibility to the text.”