It was an honour to be asked to speak on two panels about my professional blogging career this weekend at the Tots100 Blog Camp in Birmingham and share what I know.
It was fabulous to meet so many of you and I’m so glad with the feedback that my sessions informed and inspired so many of you.
For those who couldn’t make the brilliant event (I hope you can book the next one), I wanted to share 10 of my top blogging tips from my sessions.
As you know, I write a lot about raising your blogging game-you will find all my posts if you click here or on the sidebar badge which reads Blogging Tips!
For those finding my blog for the first time, I’m a multi-award winning filmmaker, mother of two and full time professional blogger working with global brands from Selfridges to bareMinerals, Yahoo and beyond. I also write weekly for Grazia Daily.
I model and have ambassadorial positions with luxe baby bag company Nova Harley (and online for Fever London) featuring in ad campaigns in store and in editorials, modelling in Vogue and Grazia Daily.
I also carry out consultancy and mentor work with major brands and small businesses.I will be speaking on behalf of Cosatto at John Lewis this week and will be on a panel at the IAB, the Internet Advertising Bureau (The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the UK trade association for digital advertising, representing most of the UK’s leading brands, media owners and agencies) in November for Mode Media who represent my above the fold advertising.
Hope my tips are useful:
Getting confident can be tough, however self-assured others might appear, myself included, we all have confidence lapses, become riddled in self-doubt (as all creatives do) but we must push through it. The more you ignore those self-sabotaging voices in your head, the more you beat them.
You need courage and confidence to share your story, your life with your reader and must be true and honest in order to resonate and connect with your audience.
By writing as much as possible, even lowering the odds, telling yourself you don’t have to publish if you don’t want to and asking people you trust to read the odd post to build your confidence, you will start feeling better about your work before you know it.
Being a blogger means giving something of you away-not everything of course, there is so much I do not and will not share but the hardest posts I’ve written, through tears like this one here on my son struggling with nursery, seemed to connect most with my audience.
Cinema is emotion on screen and guess what, blogging is too.
2. Write what you know
Write what you want to read, what you know (or what you don’t, but you’re passionate about and can research)- that passion rolls off the page will connect with others who share that with you be it food, fashion, family-life, train spotting-whatever!
To be easily found via SEO (which you’ll find is where most of your traffic comes from), install Yoast plug in to check the SEO of your posts before publishing. Ensure you tag everything, your images with alt tags too and track which posts were your most popular via Google Analytics and Jet Pack so you can give your readers what they want.
I often ask my FB Page readers which posts or genres of posts they enjoyed the most so I can continue to please them.
3. Be Professional
You, your blog, what you say on social media are all part of your brand. Be professional and be kind. That also means making sure your blog looks professional too and if you want to monetize it, make sure it’s self hosted. It can be relatively inexpensive (and worth the money) to give your blog a make-over, making it clearer, cleaner while injecting some of your personality.
Do also create your own logo that can be incorporated in your header and on your business cards.
Tell yourself you ARE a Professional Blogger until you are one. And act like it.
Emails arrive asking for free content, reply that you’re a pro so always charge. Work out fees that feel fair for your work. Not everything has to be paid, no, if you feel you are getting value back for your time or family, fine but on posts and sharing pr, do ask if there’s a budget there then negotiate from there.
Along with a clear, easy-to navigate blog, get your social media buttons up top with a contact page and hyperlinked email address so readers and PR’s can find you easy. Won or were nominated for an award, appeared in an interesting piece of press or another blog, make that known-add a Work with Me Page, a Press Page and get your USP’s on your sidebar.
Want more opportunities, search for hashtags like #journorequest on twitter to see if you fit the brief for editorial and press opps that might help your brand.
Connect with companies on twitter and interact, make conversation, create relationships and work will come. Do ask too though, email from brands’ websites and really get good at your own PR.
Parenting bloggers, whatever your stats, you have a concentrated audience that are highly valued by advertisers: parents ready to spend, so know your worth. You’re powerful.
4. PR-Get more American
I’ve had experience working in LA as a filmmaker and I love the energy there-the can-do approach, the way everyone is simply their best publicist.
You need to apply that to you.
I get it, parenting is hard and it’s so easy to not feel at you’re best but when it comes to your other baby, your blog, it’s important to make sure people know about it.
Content is king of course, great posts will lead to readers, if you want to work on your voice, read widely and write, write and write some more.
However, you could have the most distinctive voice in the world, the most captivating photography and thoughtful or funny posts but if no one knows about them, they will go unread.
Comment on other blogs, join linkies, schedule tweets, pin your images, utilise instagram, tag lots. If there’s one thing you do, make it Google + (works like FB but make sure you upload the pics so they are larger and more engaging)-this is the only tool which helps your SEO use it!
Don’t tweet a million people your blog post URL as it will appear spammy or badger people to read, just share several times a day on twitter, once of twice on your fb page and people will come.
Lots of readers and PR’s will discover you from tweets too, be professional on there and engaging and don’t sweat how many followers you have or don’t have.
When I started Mummy’s Got Style a year and a half ago even with not many followers at the start, I was offered great work opportunities and reviews via twitter.
Write about brands you love, mention them in tweets and via hashtags and you will be discovered!
5. Be kind to yourself
We’re all busy, you must not make yourself ill or push yourself to crazy limits when it comes to blogging or PR. Do what you can and make sure it feels good. Blogging should be fun.
This is my full time job. I write prolifically and quickly because it’s a skill I’ve developed since university and going straight into the film industry after my MA. I was asked to give feature film screenplay coverage (reading then detailed notes on major scripts) when I worked at Redbus, now Lionsgate and several sometimes with one evening to spare, along with all my other jobs for the company.
I then became a full time screenwriter and director working to crazy deadlines. My work editing a Film Magazine harnessed these skills further. I run my blogs like magazines, I might post 4 times a day. I schedule posts so advertorials are not all together and I tell PR’s I mostly only put ad posts on p2 and not my homepage….
It usually takes me 20 minutes to write a comprehensive blog post. Of course there are times I take longer (this one took an hour) but it’s important to realise every blogger is different. Simply be the best you, you can.
Which leads me to…
6. Healthy Competition
This is a vital, stimulating part of business and life-competition but it must stay ‘healthy’-channel envy and jealousy into inspiration and motivation.
It’s hard when your readers are your competition and there’s not that many careers in which this is the case, but there are wonderful, supportive friendships and partnerships to be made in the blogging community.
I have made so many real friends from blogging. I want EVERYONE to do well and try and take that view point too, there will always be people out there more skilled than you, better cooks, photographers, publicists but there is room for all of us, your voice is your niche and no one can take that from you-you are original so remember that.
I personally think the bigger the better when it comes to visuals on your blogs-if you don’t own a camera, buy one, again it doesn’t have to be expensive (short photography courses don’t need to be either and are worth doing) and you can shoot on auto but anything is better than a phone pic usually.
Blogs are visual mediums so make sure your theme accommodates decent sized pictures, it’s a great way to draw a reader in and to keep coming back.
Think about the blogs you love, I bet most have enticing visuals as well as captivating words.
8. Building Work Relationships
When you’ve worked with PR’s, say thanks, send a card if it’s appropriate, have manners don’t be scared to follow up.
Send emails to your leads every couple of weeks or monthly to see if there are more opportunities as campaigns never stop and are mostly monthly so you’ll find the beginning and end of the months are most manic.
Don’t wait for people to come to you.
Don’t harass but do politely enquire if they might need you and add a link to your updated work page or briefly list some of the latest campaigns you’ve worked on to remind them who you are.
PR’s are busy and work with tonnes of bloggers so make sure they don’t forget you!
9. Think Outside the Box
Got a great idea, pitch the brand, think of ways you can add value to them, however huge they are. Be brave! Keep a notepad on you so you can jot down those light-bulb moments and heading back to no 1-get confident, start making your dreams a reality!
10. Work Hard but enjoy your life
Sounds ridiculous as it’s obvious and inevitable, but you need to get out and live life and have fun in order to be inspired and have anything to write about.
Let blogging empower and stimulate, but also free you. My job doesn’t feel like work because I love it but let me tell you it is a lot of work and it takes graft to achieve results but it’s also about balance. I’m strict about my time and don’t work from pick up to bedtime so my kids have my time and I schedule my paid work so I always meet my deadlines but it’s manageable. Yes I love pressure and burn the midnight oil some nights but on the whole I feel my career works for my family-full time job in flexible hours.
You don’t need to have been blogging for years to achieve success (I’m coming up to my 4th year) or to make this your career, the blogging world has been consistently exploding for the last few years, building to this exciting crescendo in the creative landscape where we are regarded as more influential than ever and it’s only going to get bigger, so the time is NOW and isn’t it exciting?!
What you waiting for, the world is waiting!
…A quick reminder, to read more of my Blogging Tips click HERE!