blogger-Honest MumYes I’m a full time professional blogger but I’m always learning. Some refer to me as an expert but this is an ever-changing, exciting brave new world so my expertise is always growing- but let me tell you, one thing I do know for certain is parenting bloggers are HUGELY influential game-changers.

Earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, well known entertainment journos and bloggers were asking me for advice on making their blogs their careers and when it came down to it, I discovered the same PR’s were paying me a hell of a lot more than them.

I’m not bragging, I’m being truthful, so if you’re a parenting and lifestyle blogger, appreciate the power that’s literally in the palm of your hands and within your blog. You ready?

As always, what I know, I like to share…In fact I’m honoured to have been asked in the last week to sit on 3 prestigious blogging panels to do just that (but more of that another time)-

…I’m always Googling, pushing myself creatively and intellectually, discovering new blogs, seeking inspiration and most importantly living life (because that’s what we do obviously, for fun too and otherwise my friends, what is there to actually write about)?!

I blog about the good times and the bad, I write from the heart and on whatever I want. My passions, my loves, my life, me. Bloggers talk a lot about wanting to find their niche. You are your niche. Your voice. And when it’s truthful, it’s universal and will resonate so never worry about that. Never forget content is King (or Queen)!

I run both my blogs as magazines (it helps I’m a former magazine Editor) as does having a media background but anyone can become a pro blogger if they hone their voice and work hard.

I might post 4 times a day if I want to or once a day (I rarely don’t post). The more you blog, of course the better for SEO but even if you only manage once a week, keep at it and be consistent!

I will have been blogging for four years this November and I wanted to share some tips for those seeking blogger inspiration, the newbies starting a blog or those simply wanting to shake things up a bit. I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments too.

I’ve written several posts with my category Blogging Tips so if you want more head there! I must say throughout my career I’ve also taught, everything from English GCSE to MA in Filmmaking and beyond and to me creativity, tips, craft and advice must be shared. I find it so rewarding and I too am constantly learning.

Now for my Top 10 Blogging Tips:

1. Becoming more confident

Fake the confidence until you feel it.

I’m often asked where my confidence comes from, my go get ’em take life by the balls attitude. It’s a muscle to be exercised. The more you work it, the more you well, work it.  I also credit a strong family and network of friends who empower me. Cut the drainers out people, they have no place in your life.

Most PR’s and opportunities come my way organically as I’ve become more established but I also push too, send emails, connect with brands and people I want to work with and I never stop being inspired, to better myself, my blog, to make things stronger, more exciting for my readers. I never thought I’d be writing for Grazia Daily weekly (twice this week-you might enjoy 6 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Lady) off the back of my blog, modelling in Vogue and working with brands I hugely admire including bareMinerals.

I never set out to make this my career, I was (and still am) an award winning filmmaker but I love it and it works around my family.

Yes it’s full time hours but on my schedule so I can do drop off, pick up, bedtime, choosing to work during the day most days and on evenings when I need to. I write quickly and prolifically so this is my ideal job…

Heroes include Oprah and Marie Forleo which bring me to

2. Dream Big

As cliched as it sounds, dream BIG my friends-the world is your oyster, well the internet world and people, brands, opportunities will find you.

Put in the hard work, cultivate your blog, engage with your readers and great things will happen.

I’ve worked with Google, appeared in films for Yahoo, bareMinerals, Selfridges…- clients include Hobbs, Topshop, M&S, American Express, Lloyds and more and I’ve had national and international press.

It can happen to anyone.

Check out my On Camera Page, read my Work with Me Page for more info and my Press Page and get your own similar pages up too if you like!

I often, as crazily as it sounds, ask the universe for good things to happen too. Of course you have to put in the hard graft and make your own luck but a bit of positive affirmation goes a long way, believe me and it often works!

3. Write from the heart

To connect with your audience you have to give something away: you. You can be incognito and not show personal pics or personal life events (I know I hold a lot back too) but your voice, that needs to be transparent and true.

4. Make your blog as slick/chic looking as possible

Ensure your blog is easy to navigate, read and comment on. Make your subscription process easy as pie for new readers, get your social buttons up top where people can see them and can therefore follow you and your share buttons at the bottom of your posts making it easy for readers to share your work!

Do check how your blog looks from your phone, most readers come from phones and tablets so make your blog compatible.

Do also add a contact page-mine is recent and I’m surprised that despite an email button and link to contact me, this page has really made a difference when it comes to reader and PR interaction.

5. Be professional

Always. This doesn’t mean you can’t be honest in your posts but professionalism to me basically means being polite, kind and understanding. Do that and your readers and clients, current and prospective, will respect you.

I try and stay away from negativity online. I’m honest if I’m sad in my posts but I have no time or will for pettiness and I want my space in cyber to primarily make others feel good. Being kind costs nothing and words can hurt.

This also stands for social media too, your next follower might be your next client but more than that, you want the world to see you’re a good egg.

If you really can’t see the good in something or feel angry (rightly or wrongly) perhaps discuss this with the person off twitter or in your comments or say nothing, often it’s best to simply not respond or delete/ unfollow.

Also it’s worth nothing, I work with brilliant Pr’s the majority of the time, ones who value our craft and influence but yes the odd one will try it on- my advice is be polite to each and every one that emails you, however nuts their offer-always explain you’re a pro blogger (tell yourself you’re one in the mirror if you need to) and what your usual fees are and kindly decline when you feel you are receiving a silly offer.

Being professional has meant many who initially approached me for a freebie, ended up hiring me for well paid work later on, on campaigns with a bigger budget and they respected me for it. It takes more energy to get angry!

This applies to email where PR’s ask you to enter competitions. I respond that I can offer paid PR on their competition but can’t enter personally. This often results in paid work for said campaign. You don’t ask, you don’t get. So much of my work is repeat business.

I also do a lot of free work for charities of course and there will be things you don’t want to charge for, but time equals money and you are offering PR to brands so put a price on it, working out what you think is fair for your time. Onto…

6. Show me the money

I would always ask Pr’s what budget/ fee they had in mind when they propose working with me before dictating set fees. That way you can gauge what they have in mind and negotiate. Make a note of your minimum fee of course but sometimes you could unknowingly be selling yourself short so ask the question before defining your fee.

Ditto to media packs. Mine are currently being designed but as my fees vary from client to client depending on their size, how long I’ve worked with them and if they offer a lot of consistent work or several commissions at once, I exclude set fees and work on a one to one basis. I always direct business to my Work With Me Page and offer my USP’s as don’t assume everyone knows your strengths.

Also do chase up leads the following months to see if they need more posts, don’t wait for them to come to you.

I am also paid to tweet too so work out if that is an additional or you will accept a set fee including social media shares. The same for video content, if a brand if asking you to make a video and it’s part of a campaign, set your terms and fees!

Don’t forget to ask clients and Pr’s to cover your PayPal fee too when they pay you if possible and not paying via Bacs. It’s usually around 3.5%.

7. Keep your readers reading

Sounds obvious but always engage with your readers. Blogging and social media is about conversation. Reply to comments, Fb messages, emails. (Ignore or if you wish, fight the trolls). You don’t have to respond straight away either but it’s important your readers and followers feel appreciated. I love you guys by the way!

8. Why it’s important to comment on blogs and get social

Comment on lots of blogs from your genre as well as others, head to worldwide blogs and be inspired. What are they doing you like the look of? Do you want to add more categories, make your visuals larger?

Also share the blog love, ensuring you leave your url in the comment sections with every comment so other readers can find your blog too. Make sure your profile picture is the same everywhere too so you become instantly recognisable across all commenting tools and social media platforms and keep it the same for a minimum of 6 months. See my new image above!

Join linkies. A great way to discover new blogs and be discovered yourself. A great traffic booster! Better still, create your own. This one was borne from my popular Pinterest Board of the same name and after the success of recipe based Tasty Tuesdays hosted here.

Running competitions is also a great way to help boost your stats. I like to use rafflecopter in my competition posts and I plug across competition sites too.

When it comes to social media, make sure you’re using the big Daddy of the internet-Google +.

It’s here to stay and is the single most important social media tool for SEO-Google is all-powerful and it’s simple too, post your url on your profile as you would FB and see how traffic comes to you. I’ve made the first page on so many search terms linking back postings on there. It really works.  If there’s one thing you do to pimp your post, make it this.

Get into a routine if you can-publish your blog post, pin your images from it, instagram, facebook then schedule tweets with tweet deck or something similar so you can drive traffic when you’re doing something else. I call it my social media routine and I can do it in 15 minutes now!

I also differentiate my pictures when plugging on FB-so my personal FB page if I plug my post there will have a different picture than my Honest Mum page so my cross over of readers aren’t bored senseless!

Do add hashtags to instagram to boost exposure too (google instagram hashtags and you can copy and paste relevant ones to make life easy or install hashtag apps) and post first thing in the morning and evening for the best response.

I find the same with FB too!

My readers and followers are mostly parents so pick up time is generally not the best to go live!

I’ve also found making my Pinterest boards public is a great way to gain more followers too and increase traffic. Another way is competitions-I love Rafflecopter and you can ask entries to follow you on twitter and other networks-rules are changing though and from Nov, you can no longer ask for FB likes…

Before that though, ensure you tag your blog posts, use yoast plug in to check your SEO before you publish (it’s a simple way to checklist how well your post will fare SEO-wise before going live allowing you to edit to boost this) and is easy to install.

9. Ask for feedback

Ask you readers what they like. I asked mine on my FB page recently and found the majority enjoy my family and food posts most with beauty and style (at mummysgotstyle.com) following closely.

 10. Stop procrastinating

Finally, the more you write, the easier it is to write. All creatives are riddled with self-doubt-as Sylvia Plath said, “the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt” but you can fight it by picking up a pen and/ or banging away at your computer. No one is stopping you but yourself, now go.

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128 Responses

  1. Laura Delaney

    Great tips, thank you for sharing Vicki. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and just stumbled across this post when I needed that extra kick, so thank you. Will be subscribing. Fantastic blog x

    Reply
  2. Ann Molyneux-Jackson

    I’m just starting out on my blogging journey and my mind is literally boggling with all the information out there. But I found this article clear, concise and full of helpful tips. I especially like No. 10 Stop Procrastinating. I’m very good at that. I know you’re right and I should just sit down and get on with writing.Thank you for being so generous with your advice.

    Reply
  3. Sarah Forde

    Thank you Vicki, such a brilliant post – and some wonderful nuggets to help me write! I’ve just finished a Social Media Management course with Digital Mums(A Live Learning Course – my Programme Partner was Girly Gang, and I found your content excellent for my target audience). I am about to enter the world of Freelancing – a big step for me as I have been a SAHM for 20 years! I have written one piece for Medium – talking about this whole new chapter of my life, and am keen to write more. This article is really useful and I love your posts. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Well done Sarah, amazing you did the DM’s course, they are wonderful. Well done on Medium and this new exciting chapter for you. So glad you are finding the Blogging Tips posts useful too x

      Reply
  4. Clare Morfin

    Hi Vicki – what a great piece – I’ve been blogging about 18M isn and this is the MOST useful blog i’ve seen ref blogging tips – thank you it’s very helpful. I think we all need to remember our worth – thank you – you just reminded me of mine – Clare X

    Reply
  5. John

    I am a new blogger, so thank you for sharing this kind of informative article. Good suggestion specially no 4. “Make your blog as slick/chic looking as possible”.
    John recently posted…What is Carpal Tunnel?My Profile

    Reply
  6. Steph @MisplacedBrit

    One of the things I appreciate the MOST about your blog, is that EVERY time I read a post, there’s something I want to jump up and change!
    I’ve only just put my finger on this subtle factor that you bring to your blogging. I’ve read in so many places, doing blog research, the phrase ‘call to action’. I just realized that’s exactly what you do… But without me even seeing that you’re doing it.
    You’re worth every penny you get paid, and more <3

    Reply
    • honestmum

      What a huge compliment Steph, that means a lot. I think we are all influencers, we all have the power and do so every day, you do too-I love your blog and feel inspired to the travel, bake and parent by what I read there as I do with others whom I share a similar ethos and shared interests, blogs are such a powerful phenomenon and it’s such an exciting time for us all, thanks so much for your words, I have the biggest smile on my face, to know my readers value and enjoy my work is amazing x

      Reply
  7. Jen at nonstopmama

    An AMAZING post – I’ve been meaning to leave a comment since I caught up on it – so many brilliant tips here and so generous (characteristically!) of you to share – I had no idea about yoast – fab! – and it’s a kick in the derrière too for me to get sorted on Google + – I kind of started but then didn’t so maybe I need to get back onto that – thanks for the prompt and ALL your fab advice and inspiration as ever, Vicki! Xxxx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh Jen thanks for your lovely comment, so glad you’ve found the post useful, yoast is amazing as is Google +, I adore your blog and you so honoured to read your kind words darling x

      Reply
  8. Sharmin

    Brilliant and inspiring post!! You set such a great example with your blogs. Makes me wanna blog more (if time permitted). But i’m going to try and follow these invaluable tips! xxx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks Sharmin, I always love your posts but realise it’s hard for you with your full time job, maybe try one every weekend x

      Reply
  9. Diane Wood

    I’m not a blogger and don’t have any aspirations to become one but I found this an interesting insight, having only recently discovered blogs – I didn’t know that any of you got paid although I realise that not all of you do

    Reply
  10. Mummy Matters

    Great post with sound advice. I am pleased to read that I am already doing a lot of what you say but there are a few things I hadn’t even considered so will put into place. Nice to know I am on the right track thank you x
    Mummy Matters recently posted…The perfect end to the week . . . Burghley HouseMy Profile

    Reply

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