Oh the irony that this in itself is a commissioned post (!) but it is of value to you and my tips will hopefully help you too get work.
You see, I’m a full time professional blogger and have been for over 2 1/2 years, working with clients and brands both big and small that fit my blog and importantly my audience: you.
If they’re of interest and use to me, products and services I would use myself, then I’m happy to endorse them on this blog here and mummysgotstyle.com, my style blog.
Blogging is big business, it has created greater equality in the workforce for parents and it means you’re in control of your career, making you a business owner, and as a blogger, essentially a publishing house right at your laptop- creating material, offering in house PR and controlling finances at your fingertips.
Empowering, yes, daunting, sometimes, and for many new to freelance life, a time of uncertainty of how to make the most of your creative talents.
Freelancing can of course bring about irregularity of income and some could say that holds you back from getting a mortgage.
Companies like Contractor Financials who work with contractors and freelancers all the time can offer new starters advice and even financially support you throughout your career as you start on your quest to become a pro blogger.
So let’s get you started with my top 10 tips to getting noticed and hired:
1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Content is king. Write well, hone your voice (the more you write, the easier it becomes) read widely and be inspired by others and life itself and readers will come and of course PR’s will follow…
Small blogs have a niche, targeted and much sought after audience too so don’t worry if you’re just starting up. Know your worth from the start!
My style blog was receiving well paid blog posts from day 1 with a tiny audience (thanks Mum) and 0 page rank. PR’s like a writer’s style and professionalism and invest in the future of your blog too.
Quality writing, personable, engaging posts presented in a well designed blog with ideally large, high res photos, go a long way.
Confidence wise, if you’re struggling (as all we creatives do) follow my rule of ‘faking it until you feel it’-trick your brain into feeling confident and it will happen, trust me. Exercise the muscle of confidence! You rock, now believe it!
2. Comment on lots of blog posts across varied blogs (look outside your genre too) and that includes commenting on sponsored posts too-so I expect to see lots of your comments here!
You want to be hired by PR’s, then comment on all the sponsored posts you come across as PR’s check paid posts and commission others that way. Make their lives easier to find you!
Also the more you comment on posts generally, the greater the traffic to your own blog (most blogs enable you to leave your blog url when you comment) so do make your words interesting and sincere. ‘Great post’ just won’t cut it.
Read,engage and leave a thoughtful response. I must add try and reply to all the comments left to you on your blog posts and on social media. The busiest bloggers in the world find time to reply to all their readers, even if it’s not immediately they do it!
3. Join in with linkies. A way to connect with lots more bloggers and readers, linkies allow you to share your work on usually established blogs, helping you to grow your audience further.
Ensure you link up posts that really show off your strengths and voice, be it beautiful recipes or heartfelt pieces that will capture new readers’ attention.
Remember that the most brilliant of bloggers always give a little something of themselves away, it’s that exchange, that emotional transaction that keeps readers coming back for more.
Every post doesn’t have to be emotive, just be true to you.
Then when you get the confidence, why not set up your own linky!
4. Make your pictures bold and be imaginative where possible, cameras are relatively cheap (and even phone pictures can look captivating) so practice taking dynamic, in focus, vibrant pictures that really help tell stories. Fuzzy, low res images won’t do you or your blog any favours. I’m lucky that my husband takes wonderful professional pictures but I’m often photographing solo and invested in an easy to use, professional camera that didn’t cost the earth that also connects with my phone if I want to share on the go.
5. It’s worth spending some money on your design and theme too (designers don’t have to be costly), a clean, easy to navigate blog will help PR’s take you seriously and being a huge part of your brand, will serve to sell you too.
Ensure your design reflects your personality and passions and helps you to stand out from the crowd so don’t imitate, innovate. Smart designers ( I used Amee D’Souza) will hone in on who you are and want to reflect, to offer you a bespoke service that fits your tone of voice and subject matter. Work together to create a blog you’re proud of.
6. Social media is key. Get SM buttons up high and share buttons down low, at the bottom of every single post, so readers can share your fabulous content and follow you all over the web. Make sure you have a separate contact page near your header too, making it easy for PR’s to hire you!
7. Get social-plug your posts and general statuses on Google + (facebook for SEO) and do use lots of relevant hashtags after your status there to really help you come up in google searches, use tweetdeck and other scheduled tweeting vehicles to promote your posts so you don’t have to and sign up and start using instagram and pinterest to reach new potential readers.
Social media experts usually advise focusing on 3 social media profiles minimum to really gain momentum and drive traffic to your blog so don’t stress if you can’t do them all (who can?) and focus on what makes you happy.
8. Have realistic expectations. Blogs can grow quickly, but they can also grow organically too so don’t worry if time is not on your side. A little, strategic work can go a long way.
I recommend posting each day if you can to help SEO (I could blog up to 4 times a day on honestmum.com) but I really only blog once a week on my style blog Mummy’s Got Style. If your content is worthy, readers will stop by whenever you post!
My blogs grew rapidly during maternity leave (both times) as it gave me time to write more (babies sleep a lot) and by my second child, my business had taken off to such a great extent, I didn’t return to directing, my previous career!
9. Always be professional and polite. When a PR offers you ‘free work’ or a silly figure in return for a post, explain that you’re pro-blogger (say it, believe it and you’ll become one) and inform them that you always work for a fee.
You’ll be surprised how many respond with a magically discovered budget!
Work out what feels reasonable for your time money-wise and note the client’s requirements and timeframe so you can always make your deadlines (and give yourself enough time to).
Life can sometimes get in the way of course (sick children anyone?) so always be honest and keep PR’s in the loop but do try where possible to deliver when you say you will.
Most PR’s like to approve a draft before you go live too and campaigns have deadlines so make sure you’ve submitted yours in time. Do also check back in with PR’s you’ve worked with a couple of weeks later to see if they or their colleagues need you for future campaigns.
10. Reach out to brands on twitter you would like to work with (time to get brave people) and remember to enter brand hashtags and mentions to garner interest and attention. I know bloggers who mentioned brands in posts just because they loved them which lead to paid work from them down the line.
Actually after writing about Chanel sunglasses I loved when I started my style blog, I hashtagged #Chanel on twitter which a PR saw, and then kindly sent me some Chanel shades!
Twitter works, it’s a search engine for PR’s to discover and engage with bloggers so make sure you use it to help your business, as much as for fun!
So there you have it, my Top 10 tips in becoming more confident in making your blog your career.
For lots more of my Blogging Tips posts click HERE
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments-