Now, first I want to apologise for not writing one of these since the middle of March. Around that period, I was feeling completely disheartened with my blog and my life (hence quitting my job shortly after!), so felt attempting to write one of these would be completely out of order given how down I was feeling. But, I’ve recently got a grip, picked my motivation back up and will hopefully be making these posts more of a regular thing.
Tip One: Know Your Worth | Disclaimer: I’m not being a ‘I won’t get out of bed for less than £10k’ diva when I discuss this, I’m just a little fed up of people taking advantage of new bloggers so I’m trying to help. Please do remember that. Anyway…
One thing I see popping up a lot in blog chats (especially when it’s about sponsored posts or samples etc) is how to handle sponsored posts or knowing when to accept a sample. Of course, it’s entirely up to you and I am in no way whatsoever telling you what to do or claiming what I do to be the right way, but I thought I’d discuss what things I consider in a vague hope that it may help someone (even just a little bit).
When you first start blogging, being contacted by a brand or PR is so undeniably flattering. I still get the ‘who, me?’ feeling even though I’ve been writing this blog for two years now, as it is nice to be recognised (though remember not to make it your sole aim, as discussed in this post). When I first started out, I did posts and content for free as I had no idea you could be compensated for them, now I understand more that it works both ways. I know there’s an issue with google guidelines etc, which I have read fully and understand, so do read into that before considering sponsored content. I know people refuse to do any form of sponsored content and that’s their prerogative, I wouldn’t think more or less of you either way.
Formalities aside, I always balance a few things against each other before making a decision when it comes to the above:
Firstly: Is it mutually beneficial? If not, then I automatically decline. I find it highly unfair when companies or brands want something for absolutely nothing. Many will say they don’t have a budget for bloggers, which may be entirely true, but if they’re asking for essentially a large advertisement to be placed on your blog for nothing in return (not even social media shout-outs) then I’d think very carefully before carrying on, as you’ve got to ask yourself if you basically want to work for free.
Secondly: Is what is being offered worth the time I’ll invest into the post? For example, a beauty post isn’t just writing up a few sentences on why you like a product. It’s the time it takes to test it, to photograph it, to edit it, to write up the post, to publish it and promote it on social media. I always balance this against what’s being offered. Same with a sponsored post, balance your time, your follower number, page rank and stats against how much they’re offering for the work. You can always ask what their budget is for the content, if you’re unsure of what to say initially.
So, the most important things I can say to this is: Know your worth. You can always politely say no and no-one will hold that against you. I’ve declined countless opportunities because they’re just not right for my blog. Now, I’m not being big-headed (in the slightest, I’ve grown from being naive to a bit more savvy in the years I’ve been blogging!) but I do think it’s so important to think about the above. It’s so hard saying no to something when you’re a new blogger, but it won’t halt any future opportunities and won’t harm your blog. People should respect bloggers and their work, not try and use us for their own personal (or their brands) gain and ultimately (I think) as your blog grows, you’ll get bigger and better opportunities.
Tip Two: Don’t Expect Too Much Of Yourself | Similarly to not comparing yourself to others (discussed in this post), I think it helps to not expect too much of yourself. When you’re first starting out, you can’t be expected to know everything and putting unnecessary pressure on yourself can often be quite damaging.
When I first started, I knew nothing about brands, social media… I could barely even hold a camera but I’ve learned and developed and my blog probably lies around the ‘average/ok’ mark, which seems better than the rubbish it once was, even though I proud of it at the time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you won’t become a huge blogger overnight, no one does, it takes hard work and determination to make a blog work. Very few of us are blessed with amazing camera skills, the social media skills of a PR or blog design talent of a professional web designer, but we learn, we pick up tips online, we discuss things in blogger chats and we develop as bloggers. There’s about a million things I need to improve, starting with my photography (and a new camera!) then content and maybe a new blog design, but I know I’ll do them in my own time and I won’t expect myself to go from the level I’m at now to looking like Olivia or Park & Cube overnight.
It is, however, good to set yourself challenges. Even if it’s something small like changing a bit of HTML on your blog, learning a new setting on your camera or writing a new style of post. Growth is always a good thing, but don’t put yourself down if things aren’t turning out the way you want. Regroup, organise your aims and try again. It’ll all be fine in the end if you stick at it.
Tip Three: Bloggers Block Happens | As said in my opening paragraph, a little while back I suffered from a huge lack of motivation. Real life was getting on top of me, my blog (my biggest creative outlet and main hobby) was pushed to the back of my to-do list and even bringing myself to write a post was a struggle. I had a serious case of bloggers block. New post ideas used to come to me with ease and I felt like I always had something to say… up until that point. It’s really difficult when something you once found easy and a joy becomes difficult and challenging.
Aside from quitting my job which I know all of you can’t do, I made it my aim to try and get my blogging mojo and inspiration back (and quickly!). So, I thought I’d share a few ways in which I did it, which can hopefully help any of you going through the same thing.
One | Read other blogs: My biggest inspiration source is definitely other bloggers. When I’m stuck in a rut I’ll have a scroll through my bloglovin feed or favourites to see what people are talking about. It might inspire me to try something new, or help think of a different type of post to do. I love seeing what other people are up to these days, so it’s nice to be inspired by the creativity of others.
Two | Try a new type of post: Recently, I decided to add baking to my blog, which is a bit different than my usual fashion/beauty but it’s something I really enjoy doing so I thought ‘why not?’ It was quite scared of putting up my first post, as food photography is rather hard, but they’ve been well received and people have actually had a go at my recipes which, to me, is pretty mind blowing! I’m now excited to do my weekly bakes (and not just so I can eat it) and it’s made blogging feel new again.
Three | Optimize other creative outlets: Take full advantage of any other hobbies you may have, get into drawing, do some DIY, go outside, do something different and you’ll be surprised where you can get inspiration from. If you’re more inclined to stay online, things like tumblr, instagram or pinterest are great helps and can give you countless ideas. Make sure you note each thing down as you go and you’ll have a list of things you want to blog about before you know it.
Four | Make the best of what you have: Have a rake through your wardrobe or beauty stash and you’ll be surprised what you already have that you could turn into a post. How about a rediscovering old favourites post, or a shop the stash, or a ways to style post? You don’t always need to buy the latest things to share something interesting with your readers.
A combination of all of the above helped me get back into blogging, which is great as I was firmly stuck in the ‘why do I bother?’ camp. I do still have days where I feel uninspired, but I just revisit the above and my motivation comes back!
So, they’re my blogging tips and I hope you find them somehow helpful! Remember I am just offering my opinion and not telling you how to blog, each to their own and all that. Let me know if you want me to discuss anything specific in my next post!
Make sure you check out Manface – a beauty/skincare blog written from a expert perspective.