Yes 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.
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
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.