Wow, it’s month three already- that’s gone quick! I’ve had some lovely messages from everyone about the first couple of posts (you can also read my month 1 and month 2 reflections) and I do love writing these- I am super proud of my little internet space! So let’s begin…
Ok, life update: I quit my job! In fact, yesterday was officially my last day! Now don’t worry- I’m not about to go all super ‘full time influencer’ on you all- but my part-time job was rapidly turning into almost full-time work and was making me super stressed- which kind of defeated the whole object of working part-time in the first place. My blog was getting neglected this month and my book manuscript was unloved- I just wasn’t get anything done as days off I was recovering from working- that’s how stressed I was getting!
Now, if you don’t work in teaching you may think I’m a tad dramatic- but if you do, then you’ll know exactly what I mean! I decided I needed to ‘own’ my situation a bit more- defining myself as a writer as well as a teacher and taking time to treat my days off as proper work days- since writing is a legit part of my income now. I am really lucky that my subject is in demand so I’ve decided to go supply teaching which means I can be super flexible around my writing. I think it’s hard to really get in a business mindset when for so long you’re used to just blogging on a whim. But businesses don’t work like that! I’m feeling really positive about this decision and I’m hoping it’ll be another step to figuring exactly where I want my future career to go. I’d love to hear any advice from any of you that are also in this transition stage?
Creating a Home Office Space
I am still working on my little home office space and loving creating a space for working- here’s what it looks like at the moment! It plays a big part in making sure I’m getting stuff done. The only thing I’m missing is having a proper filing system: at the moment I have stuff on bits of paper everywhere and seem to spend my life scrolling through past emails; so my next step is to make sure I’m printing everything off and filing it neatly.
I know lots of people read these to see how much bloggers earn- I’d set myself a target but I’m learning just how quickly things can change. For example, I have had about 5 collaborations in the pipeline this month but they’ve been pushed forward, pushed back, altered, chopped and changed! It’s difficult to make any predictions when things seem to change so much and this has been my biggest learning curve this month. I know people have asked how I get sponsored posts, so I thought I’d share some tips:
–When sent emails, I always ask if there’s a budget attached (e.g. review items, infographics etc). There often is but it’s the elephant in the room- always ask!
-Consider having a realistic minimum value in mind for review items. Now, I’ve mentioned this before and some people seemed to think it was rude but since I rarely do straightforward reviews and instead do things like nutrition guides and recipes, my blog posts take time. Once I’d worked out how long the average post took me, it felt more realistic to figure out my bottom line. Of course, there might be something I really want to review and I might decide it’s worth it, and there’s plenty of stuff I’ll mention for no cost with no PR involved because I think it’s fab. But thinking of every opportunity in terms of the time it will take you to write it v the item is something I think is really important if you are getting lots of opportunities in your inbox (come January for example, I know I’ll get loads of supplements to review and it’s just not feasible to agree to them all). I’ve explained this to PRs and suggested things like featuring it in round up posts or social media shoutouts. It’s always better to be upfront about this, instead of agreeing to something and then feeling shortchanged.
-I send emails to brands I’ve worked with previously and ask if they’re looking for blog posts. I’ve also done this with content agencies, brands and PRs and it paid off some of the time. Some of the times of course it doesn’t- but I recently read that out of every pitch you make, about 1 in 10 will convert into a success. So, don’t expect everything to be a success, pitch pitch pitch!
-For each post I plan, I think about possible brand matches and drop a quick email with my media kit and/or rate card. For me, products can be as valuable as income as I’m a food blogger- and girls gotta eat- but I know this might not fit as well for lifestyle bloggers. But if you’re planning a round-up post, items can work well. Remember to not send lengthy emails to PRs who you haven’t worked with before. You’re better off just sending a short email, asking if they’re interested in working with you and attaching a media kit.
This is turning into a huge post, so the last thing I wanted to talk about is blog growth. In my month two reflection, I talked about my tips for increasing social following and I’m pleased to say this has increased again by about 1000. I was really lucky to be featured in the Mail On Sunday’s Blogger of The Week section- which helped. I have also found giveaways and consistently interacting on social media is working too! I talked about Archie.co in last month’s post. I’m not really using at as much but following its principles. I’d also recommend finding specialist facebook groups about your topic- e.g. gluten free, slimming world- this has really helped with my traffic.
Another thing that I would really recommend is investing in your platform. You’ll notice I recently launched a blog called The Bloglancer and I spent some money on the theme and hosting. It felt like a lot to spend, considering it wasn’t making money, but I have learnt more that you have to speculate to accumulate. I used logojoy– a platform which helps you design logos-to get some ideas. While I didn’t end up opting for one from their, I’d recommend having a play around on their site and looking at images and colours. You can put in your blogs name and select all types of different colours, fonts and images, to see what works for you.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you’d like me to cover next month!