Let me tell your story!


I specialise in boutique digital storytelling for brands

What I love more than anything is telling a good story.
Do you have a great one to share? I’d love to hear about it over a virtual coffee!


Drawing of a coffee cup

Hi, I’m Karen Bleakley, the founder and editor of Smart Steps to Australia. I’m also a travel writer and author.

I help busy families follow their dream of moving to Australia by simplifying the process, removing the overwhelm and providing a supportive community so they can enjoy the journey and create a life they love. I do this through this blog and a range of digital support tools you can find over on the Move to Australia Toolkit site.


Collaboration options

There are two main ways we can partner:

  • 1. Create a listing on the Move to Australia Directory 

You can create a listing in the Move to Australia in minutes for a fixed annual fee. You can find out more about the opportunity here. You have complete control over your listing and can update it as many times as you like.

  • 2. Publish sponsored content on the SmartStepstoAustralia blog

Sponsored blog content can take many forms depending on your goals. We can host pre-written articles, write articles for you that help our audience, run interviews or case study articles, do one-off articles or create a series of articles that join together to form a campaign. Think of the sponsored content as being the opportunity to tell your story and show your expertise.

You can choose to do one or the other of the above, but for the greatest benefit, you can have a Move to Australia Directory listing AND sponsored blog content and link them back to one another which allows you to share context and meaningful content that elevates your Directory listing. The blog articles and Directory work together perfectly to drive traffic in both directions.

If you’d like a copy of the Move to Australia Directory Media kit, please email me: info@smartstepstoaustralia.com. If you’re keen to learn more about the sponsored content opportunities, read on…

What makes a Smart Steps to Australia collaboration different from the rest?

There are lots of bloggers out there with a high volume of traffic that can deliver quick and easy sponsored content or that can pop a photo on their social media channel.

I approach things differently.

My traffic is more targeted and fits a niche profile. My focus is on nurturing and supporting my readers through their challenges so everything I do is through that lens. If I can’t clearly see how your brand will positively impact the lives of my audience, we’re not the right fit as your goals need to align with helping my readers (and when our visions converge, that’s when the magic happens!).

I don’t create content for content’s sake. I focus on the journey and the transformation experience much more than the volume of traffic or getting meaningless clicks or likes.

5000 clicks that don’t lead anywhere means nothing. Creating a small army of new superfans means everything.

I also understand the key piece of the marketing puzzle (that is often overlooked): how sponsored content created for my audience on my channels leads them into your marketing system so you can nurture them towards the sale and maintain the relationship.

My audience may never have heard of your brand before so it might take time to build up that trust before they’re ready to take the next step with you, so I see it as a long game of relationship building. The important thing is that when they are ready and they come through your (virtual) door that you’re there ready to nurture, engage and delight them. Your site is where the conversion happens, and that is something that is so often forgotten with digital campaigns. (I highly recommend you start by preparing your site for the conversion before we start working together to maximise the results).

How I obsess over my audience…

I love to know what keeps my readers up at night.

I like to understand what language they use to describe their challenges and their problems, and I like to know how things make them feel.

I want to get under the skin of what are they hoping to achieve in life and what is stopping them from getting there. I want to understand how they’ll feel when they finally get there, too.

Your product or service could be the solution to their struggles. They just haven’t heard about you (yet!)

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Start with ‘why’

As Simon Sinek famously said: ‘People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.’

This is an opportunity to win over the hearts and minds of my readers by sharing why you do what you do. Who are the people behind the brand? What are you here for? What do you stand for?

This isn’t just another sponsored post opportunity on a blog where you exchange money for a link. It’s much more powerful than that – your story runs deeper and can impact people on an identity level.

I use my storytelling and online marketing skills and experience to build meaningful awareness of your brand with my audience of families who are relocating to Australia for a better quality of life.

I can help introduce your brand to my readers in an authentic, vulnerable way. Even if they aren’t ready to take action right away, I want them to see the content and remember you so when they are ready, it’s you they think of first. (Think of those little nuggets that we can share from your brand story as hooks that help you stay in people’s minds!)

I like to think about it as taking my readers on a journey, where they learn about you and your values, build trust and take steps towards joining your eco-system when the time is right.

No two brands are the same, so it’s all about finding unique ways to tell your story so that my audience hears it loud and clear and thinks it was written just for them.

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It all comes back to the story.

Let’s hop on a quick video call and have a chat about your brand and your backstory, what you offer and how it’s the solution my audience has been searching for (maybe without even knowing it!). I’ll go away and let my mind go wild with ideas to connect what you offer with what my audience needs.

Smart Steps readers are actively searching for reliable services in the migration, lifestyle and travel sectors, and they are looking at my blog and social media to help direct their buying decisions.

To maintain trust with my audience, I only work with a small number of handpicked brands that are highly relevant for my audience and which I feel align with the values of my business. I don’t publish similar brands close together in my content calendar. Less is more.

Think of Smart Steps to Australia as a boutique storytelling experience. 

If you feel like we make a good fit, drop me a line as I’d love to chat!



When I was six years old, my family migrated to Australia, and I bet my parents would have felt a whole lot more prepared for that journey had Karen been there to guide them with her thoughtfully curated content!

I am lucky enough to know Karen well, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who puts more heart and soul into their content and supporting people to chase their dreams. The thoughtfulness Karen puts into the stories she shares and the brands she partners with speaks to how much she values her role in paving the way for others to make the move to Australia and live a life they love.

Erica Webb, SelfKind Hub


Personally I have found this [Facebook] group massively supportive and helpful.
I will be looking more at your website for additional assistance as we start to plan our actual move. Thank you once again!

– Maria

In a recent survey, readers told me they only read other migration blogs for a short time to gain specific information to help with their move, but they continue to read Smart Steps to Australia as the expat lifestyle and family travel content means it stays relevant for them long after they’ve moved.

‘Your posts prior to moving were amazing for us. I still love reading your posts regarding all things Oz!’

‘Your site is an ongoing inspiration for me as we live our new lives in Australia and navigate everything that involves.’

“This [Facebook] group has helped us enormously, I initially made contact with Karen Bleakley after reading one of her wonderful articles in the Australia and New Zealand magazine.
Karen has offered us her support by providing not only accurate information but 
much-needed reassurance as we draw closer to making the move down under.
The group as a whole provides timely feedback and no question is too silly to ask. I check the group daily and even if I have not asked for advice personally, myself and my husband are often able to gain a lot from other members’ questions and feedback.”

– Lori-Beth

Written testimonial from LinkedIn for Karen Bleakley

Testimonial from Natalia at Inner Creative


‘Here’s what I know about Karen, she’s committed to getting great results for those who work with her. You won’t find a more generous and kinder collaborator in achieving your migration, business success or lifestyle goals.

Karen is what I call a balcony person, someone who consistently works towards elevating others so they can flourish, pursue their goals and become better people. She’s the kind of person I love collaborating with. And she has a ready smile, lovely sense of humour and all-round positive vibe that makes the journey with her a fun and joyous one.’

– Wendy Alexander, Career Mastery Coach – happycareerhub.com


Although I feel as though we are at the beginning of our journey to emigration, we are actually already years in when including decision making and my study.
This is the most helpful group I have found for advice and genuine support without judgment. There is always someone who knows how you are feeling or can give advice for your situation.
I will continue to use it as my main source of advice right up to the actual move and beyond

– Lucy

This group and especially Karen have been an amazing support and helped us with tough decisions and problems throughout the whole process. The advice we have received made us believe that emigrating was actually possible and wasn’t just a dream. The people that you have recommended complete the stepping stone adventure that we are all trying to achieve. At home we talk about this group weekly with the discussions everyone has and advice/experience people provide gives it a great community feeling but we have never met. I’m so pleased that I emailed you Karen 3 years ago for advice on emigrating as you gave us the confidence to try. Thank you. x”

– Angi

Roni Gors sitting on the waterfront with her dogThank you so much for giving me the opportunity to collaborate with you!

Our phone chats and email discussions gave me the initial direction that I needed and your ongoing coaching helped me deliver an article that was true to my business, yet optimised for maximum client engagement.  Within minutes of you posting the article on Facebook I had multiple requests to join my group, and within 48 hours I have had two client contacts.  It is early days yet, but already I have had far better response than traditional print advertising.  I would definitely like to continue our collaboration, and I can’t wait to see what we produce next!

Thank you once again,

Mortgages, Money and Me

Ready to find out more about working with me? 

Email me to get started: karen@smartstepstoaustralia.com