I’ve written a post in answer to some of your blogging questions. Each day I receive several emails/twitter and fb messages asking me how to make a blog a business.
Here I share a brief post that will hopefully offer some insight.
First off, I’m truly touched that so many of you are seeking my advice, and to date I’ve had hundreds, make that thousands of queries since starting this blog nearly 5 years ago.
I’ve written lots of posts offering advice on professional blogging, explaining how ANYONE can go pro (yep I’m shouting because it’s true) so check those bad boys out HERE (also found on my sidebar)-and read on for some short but hopefully sweet answers to your questions.
To offer context-
Please note, blogging is an ever-changing, exciting platform, available to all. It’s a democratic world where talent is sought after, celebrated and opportunity comes knocking (a lot)!
The digital space reminds me of properties-the more online space you own and nurture (or the greater attention you give to one or two sites), the higher the rewards.
I was a Film & TV director pre blogging and now earn 3 times as much thanks to my two blogs, because blogs/sites such as mine can and are, monetised with ad campaigns, display ads, paid events, holidays, social media campaigns, sponsored posts (I also do consultancy for PR firms and business) and I’m often a walking ad (some of the time)-*there goes Kim K worrying again 😉
I’m personally regularly paid to wear outfits, push prams and attend functions.
Everything that falls under this category on this blog or on my social media platforms will be accompanied with #sp, #ad or #sponsored. Honest Mum innits.
Seriously, though, blogging is my dream job.
It’s flexible, well paid and I’m in control of my time and work on my own terms.
Yes it requires a lot of hard work but I can schedule my day around my children, and as my Mum reminded me this weekend, my kids are having a wonderful childhood with a great many trips and holidays away, beautiful clothes and fun days out thanks to my job.
I couldn’t ask for more.
Of course like any job, blogging requires times and dedication, and there are down sides too-it can be hard to switch off, it can feel overwhelming at times with the lines of life and blog work becoming blurred, there are never enough hours in the day- but overall it totally kicks ass.
Now without further ado, here are my answers to some of the most frequent questions I’m asked-
1.How can I be a Blogger/ Professional Blogger?
Some people dislike the term ‘professional blogger’, preferring digital journalist or something to that effect. I personally like how transparent and obvious ‘professional blogger’ sounds. It defines a job that only came into existence in the mainstream a few years ago.
Many brands I work with refer to me as ‘a digital influencer’ too but I rarely refer to myself as such- find what works for you but don’t be scared to own the term or title, as therein lies your power.
Furthermore, you don’t have to have been blogging for a long period of time, have won an award or be earning 6 figures to call yourself a professional.
You make money or EVEN WANT TO from your blog? You’re a professional blogger.
Dream it, do it, I say. Once you put a title on yourself, people respect you and work comes your way.
I was approached to work on well-paid campaigns just four weeks after starting this blog in November 2010 when blogs weren’t even really a thing.
Blogs are big business and can grow massively in a small space of time. I always say, ‘everyone needs a maternity leave’ when setting up a business and it’s remarkable how quickly you can develop your blog into your job if you choose to.
There is room for everyone of us. Each voice is unique, you are your niche so if you don’t want to focus on just one or two areas, then don’t.
I simply write and shoot everything that interests me. This is the magazine of my life.
Hone in on what matters to you and you’ll find that frankly the (virtual) sky’s the limit when it comes to blogging.
2. What are brands looking for?
I do consultancy for some of the biggest global PR firms and I’ve worked with PR’s and agencies for years now.
I also have a much smaller style blog Mummy’s Got Style where I blog 1-2 times a week, much less compared to here which could be 5 times a day due to the demand of paid posts alongside my own personal ones. I like to balance the ration between paid and non-paid posts.
I still receive well-paid commissions on my style blog which perfectly demonstrates that brands are seeking well-written, slick blogs with clear photos (even if that’s on your mobile which many are, over there), and of course if you have the stats and social media following great, but often about reaching a niche, however big or small and fitting the brief and brand.
You don’t have to have the biggest, baddest blog to get the gig either.
In fact when I recommend bloggers for outreach programmes for campaigns, I always offer a cross section of bloggers with varying sized audiences, the one thing they all have in common though is a strong voice.
Their work is professional, free of spelling and grammatical mistakes and their blogs are places I want to return to, time and time again.
Yes PR’s/brands are also interested in your Page and Domain Authority (you can check yours HERE) and the reach and engagement you have on social media but don’t stress yourself out about every single platform.
The priority is usually the blog and as video is growing so quickly, good quality videos are important too.
I don’t have a huge amount of subscribers on YouTube but that doesn’t matter because I’m growing and getting views. The more you share, the more people will discover you. YouTube is a search engine too.
Offering video as part of your package can help grow your platforms and will mean more commissions.
…Brands usually want a quick turnaround too, people they can trust to deliver great results, and my rule of thumb is to give everyone more than they asked for so I might shoot an additional quick video or add a gif to a post, and I usually offer more social media support than agreed.
It’s a nice gesture and means I’m commissioned over and over by the same people.
3. What if other readers/bloggers don’t like me?
Easy to say I know as we all want to be liked, but frankly, try not to sweat those who don’t appreciate you and focus fully on what you like about your own work and how to drive forwards with the blog you wish to create/ hone.
Ignore, block if necessary and keep sharp, and joyful. Life is mostly amazeballs, people!
Write the posts you want to read yourself and cultivate a blog that makes you happy, that feels like home.
Also here comes the science bit but as an example and huge exaggeration here, but let’s say 200 bloggers decide not to read my blog every day-they literally make up a tiny percentage of my overall readership so hey ho.
Even if you’re getting 20 people visiting your blog per day, very soon those numbers will grow (we all started at the beginning remember) and those figures will NEVER consist of just family members, close friends or bloggers so remember that.
The majority of EVERYONE’s readers on their blog have got there thanks to SEO (good old Google and other search engines/social media) and yes you will no doubt have bloggers and other loyal readers stopping by (Hi Mum!) and of course you want them to, but if others doesn’t get you, it’s OK, it’s a blog, the whole nature of it is means like-minded readers will find it and you, because they have shared interests be it chocolate cake recipes to laughing about toddler tantrums in Tesco.
Equally, something I noticed particularly over the last 2 years, was the more achievements I garnered, the greater my so called blogging friends began to cut ties. Not many but a handful for sure.
I’ve heard this from many other thriving bloggers in other niches too-fashion, food, beauty etc.
Jealousy is rife, it’s something as adults, people should deal with (nothing uglier than trolling/ bullying behaviour by grown ups who should know better), not let fester or cause reactive or passive aggressive behaviour.
Kill them with kindness as my Mum always says, or if that’s just not possible, I say simply #moveon. Shake it off Taylor Swift style.
Not everyone will like you and that’s OK. Come on women, men rarely worry about these things and nor should we!
I must say I’ve not had it bad at all. I feel I’m mostly liked, have a strong network of close, sisterly blogging friends along with loyal readers and wide reaching readers.
I like to think I’m always genuine and kind to all. It takes a lot for me to get upset and my default is to always see the good in people first-I’m no walk over though, I can only take so much and tend to rid myself of bad eggs and move forwards, without a second glance.
It does make sad though the amount of emails I receive from bloggers from all sectors, mentioning cliqueness and online negativity.
Surround yourself with light, worry about what you’re personally doing and your own goals, push your energy in to your work and family, look at those you love (Hola kids)- and let them ground you and give your purpose.
4. What to charge?
I can’t give you exact figures as it varies from blogger to blogger but work out your worth, the time it will take you to write a post, shoot, share etc and decide what feels right to you. This is my full time job, I have 3 employees, 2 who started last January.
My blog is nearly 5 years old with a high domain and page authority and a large social media following- so my rates reflect this and I charge high fees. Time equals money.
I do also support charities for no fee and I don’t review restaurants for a fee unless it’s part of a specific campaign either.
I am paid to review items/holidays/clothes and this is always clear in my work.
If I dislike an item, I will speak to the client to explain why, and see if they can solve the issue/ send me an alternative, or if not, whether I can publish the review as is. Either way, they pay for my time and if it’s published here, I am 100% honest, always.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work in exchange for goods you want though. If it builds your experience or you need those shoes/ swing in the garden go for it. I still do reviews that I fancy and I often combine these with competitions so I can drive traffic and social media follows to myself and the brand too.
Also don’t expect to charge thousands for a post at the start, it takes time to build a brand.
5. How can I switch off?
I am asked this a lot and I don’t have any magic answers, it’s true we are all addicted to our phones/laptops, it’s the age we live in but there are measures you and I can take to help the mania.
I’m pretty strict with myself. The laptop is off by 9pm most nights and is always off after pick up, dinner and bedtime.
I schedule blog pots, tweets and fb statuses for any time away if necessary.
I’ve started daily vlogs which are incredibly good fun and have made me feel more confident than ever in front of the camera. I shoot bits of my day and my husband edits at night ready to go live the following day. You can watch them HERE.
I’m organised on the three days my kids are at nursery and school and I try to be kind to myself where possible.
I eat well in the day, take time out for a quick run most mornings and also a quick yoga session watching Yoga with Adrienne at least three times a week.
I take on bigger jobs that pay more and allow me more free time and greater balance.
To me, that’s success, more time with the people who matter, my friends and family.
That goes for sponsored breaks too. I share a few photos as I would on any break, but we HAVE a holiday. The big work comes on our return.