Blogging makes me really happy, & sometimes I forget about what a huge community it really is. It’s one thing to sit behind your computer & type words into the world, but it’s another thing entirely to meet people who are just as passionate about it as you are. I’ve been getting a major education through our Blogcademy: every time we hold a class, Kat, Shauna & I meet another 30 enthusiastic bloggers, with their own individual strengths, fears & points of view.
There are so many things you can do to push your blog to the next level — whatever that means to you, individually — & I wanted to do my part by sharing with you a few things I’ve learned along the way.
One thing that I know for sure is no one will get you to that next level but you, alone. If you want to push through your traffic plateau or increase your influence, it is your responsibility to make that happen.
So! This is the start of a new mini-series, ten parts in total. I’ll be posting one tip a week for the next ten weeks. The idea is to drip-feed you a selection of ideas that will help you to improve your blog, to see it in a new light, & to reignite your excitement for posting!
Here’s to becoming better bloggers in 2013!
A lot of us have been blogging for a long time without any real sense of direction or any specific goals. As an internet obsessive, I’ve been writing online since 1997. For almost ten years I did it for the fun of it, before finally realising that I was pouring much more energy into it than I did my actual job.
I feel so strongly that if you put time & love into any endeavour, you deserve to be rewarded for your efforts.
Sometimes, though, it seems like bloggers are out of the loop on this. So often I read these tentative blog posts, which say, “Guys, I’m thinking of running ads. Please don’t hate me!”
Truth time: if your readers are the type to scorn you for not working for free, they are simply clueless. It’s absolutely okay to get a return on the efforts you put into your blog. You may love doing it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a community service! Blogging takes time & energy, time & energy that you could otherwise put towards your family, your friends, your goals, or your career.
It can help to think of blogging the same way you would think of anyone else with some kind of creative passion. You wouldn’t expect a jeweller to work for free, or a florist to arrange stems for nothing. Blogging is no different. It is a mixture of creativity & business savvy, it takes a lot of time, & the end result can be something which pleases many people.
So if you’re on the fence about the subject, please don’t feel bad for wanting more for yourself. This does not make you a terrible person. It simply makes you sane!
On a similar note, I feel very strongly that as a blogger — or a businessperson in any capacity — you should not say yes to every offer. Take this point & double it when the offer benefits someone else more than it benefits you.
Nothing drives me crazier than a company who expect to be given free press on your site just because they emailed you. Blogs are not a free billboard! Trust me when I say that everyone who works in PR knows this, but some bad seeds choose to ignore it in hopes of finding inexperienced bloggers of whom they can take advantage.
Sure, sometimes it’s flattering that X or Y big company knows who you are — or at least, bought your email address from a list. But you can’t pay your rent in handbags… Unless you have an exceptionally cool landlord.
Yes, it’s fun to get free stuff. We all love to get free stuff! But at some point, you’re going to have to start choosing between working for free stuff & paying your bills. Once your blog becomes more than something you do every now & again, you have some hard choices to make. Many of these hard choices involve saying “no”, or learning how to negotiate.
Oh, & in case you’re on the fence, it is in no way acceptable for a company to offer you product instead of a fee! Brands come to you because they know you can do something for them, so when they follow up with the offer of a product — or even worse, “exposure”! — you should absolutely consider it a slap in the face.
Don’t stand for these swine!
It is good & smart of you to expect these partnerships to be mutually beneficial. The truth is that companies want access to your audience, & that audience is valuable… So don’t give it away for nothin’!
Do you have any questions about blogging? You can ask me on Facebook & I’ll do my best to include them in my next Blog On, Babe!
Typin’ & twirlin’,