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The Problem with Blogging is Bloggers

I have been wanting to write this post for some time now but the words were just not flowing. However, in the middle of dealing with household chores, it came. I am happy I finally got the words to flow on this sweet day. Now this topic – The problem with Blogging is Bloggers, may surprise you. But if you have been around the Blogosphere for a bit, you would agree with me to a large extent that we are the problem the blogging world has.

Yes, us bloggers are the problem we grumble and complain about, all day everyday, to anyone who cares enough to listen. We just need to look in the mirror to find the problem.

 

Personal Style Image

 

 

How did we get here?

I have been blogging for over 5 years now. The first post on Fashion and Style Police went live on a sweet October day in 2012, and I have never looked back. Blogging has open so many doors of opportunities. I get to make a living, earning a living wage through Fashion and Style Police, freelance writing and by proving blogger outreach services. It has been a very long journey; taken me years to get to this point of earning full-time regular income and I am so grateful. But then again, I work extremely hard for every penny I earn. I work an average of 40 hours a week, including weekends. And I have done so for years, so the blog you are now reading did not achieve an overnight success. I am not even close to where I want to be but I am getting there.

I take my job very seriously. So this is not a joke to me or a side gig. It is literally my life. We bloggers complain about all sorts but usually most complaints are entered around not being paid enough. That is one major issue every professional blogger should be able to relate with. Being paid enough means different things to different people regardless of our profession. Having said that, I believe we bloggers are the reason why we don’t earn enough. The earlier we start putting our foot down and start demanding at least a minimum wage for our efforts, the better for our blogging career.

 

No budget line

How did we get here? I keep receiving emails from PRs, well established PRS, telling me they have no budget for a job they want me to do. I have had a couple this year already stating that even though they had a budget to pay bloggers last year. The budget has miraculously disappeared this year and they want something for nothing. Because other bloggers are accepting to work for nothing.

 

The £20 gang!

I have lost count of the companies looking to pay a whole £20 for a blog post. The funniest part is that I have had these same companies pay me a lot more than £20 some months/years ago. Why they keep reducing their budgets and offering peanuts is because certain bloggers are accepting them and they can’t believe their luck and profits, that they try to get everyone else to accept it. They better give up trying because they are wasting their time with me.

 

Autumn Street Style picture

 

I don’t offer that

Like I mentioned earlier, I handle blogger outreach for many clients so I am on both sides of the fence. I would never offer bloggers a fee I won’t be able to accept myself. Some bloggers may still find the fee low but it is nowhere close to what I have been offered lately. And those I have worked with can confirm that. Unfortunately, no one has the right or the power to tell someone else want to charge. So apart from raising awareness and talking these payment issues, there is not much anyone can do.

What I plan to do is to carry on as I am already by not accepting anything less than my worth. I know what I am worth and that is all that really matters. My first sponsored post in 2013 was £25, and I only started blogging a few months when I got that offer. So that was amazing for me then. But 5 years in the game, with my stats, I am not on their level anymore. I wrote a lot more about my blogging journey in my book – How to Cash In as a Blogger, so go have a read.

 

Going forward

I plan to carry as normal, charging what I believe is my worth Also, one of my many goals is to ensure I stand out from the pack significantly. So if everyone is writing about Brand A, I will be writing about Brand B or write about Brand A in a different way, with a twist. I need to ensure Fashion and Style Police stands out from the rest in a fabulous way. That is the only way up!

What are your thoughts on this? Please share in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.

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Are Bloggers Selling Out?

Nothing Clothing Company Poncho

It is no news that bloggers make money through a variety of ways, with sponsored posts and product reviews, being a very popular way of making money in the blogging world. I for one, make majority of my blog income through sponsored posts, with product reviews coming close behind. So it comes as no surprise that there is a lot of huffing and puffing about bloggers selling out; publishing everything and anything, regardless of whether it is beneficial to their blog readers, as long as there is some money involved.

The truth of the matter is, many pro bloggers depend solely on their blog’s income, and they work tirelessly to earn it. I am not talking about a regular 9 – 5 weekly job. Pro bloggers work crazy hours everyday, including weekends and evenings, to keep the blog and their social media profiles active. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes you don’t get to see. I know I am always working on my blog whenever I have a moment, and when I am not working on Fashion and Style Police, I am thinking of working on it. In any other job, this would be pathetic, but it is not for me because I genuinely enjoy what I do, and I will keep doing it even if I no longer get press samples or sponsored post opportunities. But then again, Fashion and Style Police is more than a job for me, it is part of who I am.

Many bloggers publish multiple quality posts a day, with amazing photography shared on social media. Many of these blog posts are informative, engaging and entertaining, so it is only fair for us to be paid for our time and effort in publishing these posts. Having said that, I do believe many bloggers have sold out and I will tell you why.

 

OOTD A Tartan Dress

 

It is so hard to reject unrelated sponsored post opportunities these days because great opportunities that do come are few and far between. So many bloggers will grab almost anything offered. So if you are reading a beauty post, and the blogger is all of sudden blogging about life insurance or pets, now you know why. Does it make the blogger a sell out? Yes kind of, but if beauty brands are not interested in collaborating with this blogger, but pet brands are, I won’t blame or judge her for accepting such offers. A girl has to eat…

However if you want to make money blogging, and not look like a sell out, follow these 5 tips:

 

Focus on More Than 1 Niche

Sticking to 1 niche may do you more harm than good. Instead, go for related niches to open more doors of opportunity. Related niches like fashion and beauty, health and beauty, pets and lifestyle, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, are all good examples of how you could position your blog for a variety of sponsored posts and product review opportunities.

 

Always Disclose

I see a lot of bloggers not disclosing press samples and sponsored posts and they wonder why no one is reading their blogs. Transparency and honesty will attract blog fans, so you not disclosing is killing your blog. I know some of the famous and hugely successful bloggers do not disclose, but you have to remember they started their blogs back in the day, when blogs were few. They have established their blogs already so they can kind of get away with not disclosing. Their readers may not know any better or may still idolise them regardless. But as for you that started a year or so ago, think twice before you decide not to disclose.

 

Outfit Post OOTD 1

 

Limit your Sponsored Posts

I sometimes struggle with this as I usually have loads of sponsored posts request at the same time, but when you can, try not to have your sponsored/collaborated posts back to back. So maybe out of 10 posts, you can have 2 or 3 sponsored, but published days apart. I see a lot of bloggers publishing sponsored posts (even when some are not disclosed) day after day, and I wonder what they are thinking.

 

Review Products Honestly

Now this is a very important tip, so I need you all to take notes.

Regardless of whether I am paid for a review or not, or whether I am sent press samples, or they are products I bought, I always write my product review posts in the same style. So short introduction, product description, pros, cons, and if I would recommend said product or not. You won’t know the difference between a review that is paid for and 1 that is not on this blog because they are ALL written honestly, and that is what my readers really care about. However I had to work to earn my readers’ trust, and I did so by reviewing products I bought with my own money as well as press samples. So every week I review a press sample sent, may be paid or unpaid, and then I review a product I bought myself, to balance out. And I still do this.

The main reason why I review press samples and products I buy, is just so my blog is not all about press samples, but products I buy myself because I have interest in them. For instance, I bought these Boots No 7 Quick Thinking Wipes and Oil-Abosorbing wipes with my money, I was sent this Premae Face Wash to review, and I was paid to review this VITASTIK Vitamin Vaporisers. As you can see, my review style is the same, I always list the pros and cons for each product, and I make sure I state any negative or cons in the most polite way possible. I don’t believe in slating brands, so I check the tone of my review, but I make sure I don’t mislead my readers in thinking a product is great if it’s not.

I see many bloggers reviewing only press samples and I wonder what they are thinking. Don’t you buy products? Why don’t you review them as well? I realised I can’t trust a blogger that reviews only press samples because I am not sure how you will review products you buy yourself, and I also cannot trust a blogger that writes only glowing reviews, with no cons whatsoever. All products cannot be that great. For instance, here is a positive product review of 2 Acquablend Bottles I was sent some weeks ago, this review had no cons. Now, here is a not so positive review of MeMeMe Cosmetics I was also sent.

Blogs are not magazines, our readers expect to read real life reviews and posts, they can relate to, so having only positive glowing reviews will bore your readers. There is a very thin line between positive every time, and being a liar.

 

Be a Story Teller

If you are strapped for cash and you are keep getting offers unrelated to your blog, you may still be able to accept them if you have your story telling cap on. Think outside the box, and develop stories that can incorporate the brand in question. So if you blog about parenting and fitness, and you get an offer to write about a fashion brand for example, create an outfit post, and show off your style, or include the brand in a mummy outfit wishlist. There are many ways to include slightly unrelated niches if you think outside the box and let your creative juice flow.

May the forces be with you.

 

 

How To Attract The ‘Right’ Traffic To Your Blog

If you want to attract just anyone to your blog, am sure you will find various posts/articles online everywhere telling you how to. This post is different. When I think of attracting the ‘right’ traffic, I am thinking of attracting people who will like and comment on my posts, follow me on my social media channels and most importantly, visit my blog again.

Most blog visitors make up their mind about a blog within seconds of reading it, so that first impression will determine if they visit the blog again or not. A good first impression will mean a good blog layout, fewer ads, and many other factors, but that will be a topic for another day. Let’s focus on attracting the ‘right’ visitors to your blog.

attract-blog

Here are some tried and tested strategies that have worked for my blog:

Facebook Groups

Join the relevant Facebook groups in your niche. There are so many of them on Facebook. For most of them,  you will have to request to join but you are usually accepted within hours of requesting. I am a member of UK Bloggers Group, Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Bloggers Group, Fashion Bloggers and UK Blogger Opportunities and they are all amazing groups. I like UK Bloggers Group in particular because there is a lot of engagement within the group. I have learnt a lot from the group members and my traffic and blog engagement has increased since I joined. That is what I mean by the ‘right’traffic. I have also discovered some amazing blogs and  bloggers.

Facebook Ads

Still on Facebook, I am assuming you have a Facebook page for your blog, if not, stop reading and create one now. If you do have one, set up a Facebook ad to promote your page. You can set it for as long as you like and spend whatever amount you are comfortable spending every day for as long as you want. You can select the specific countries you want your audience from, and the age, gender and their interests. I have found this very useful in attracting the right traffic to Fashion and Style Police because people who are interested in what I have to say, like my page, and engage with my blog.

Twitter Chats

I take part in various weekly Twitter chats. The hashtags of some of the chats I take part in are #fblchat, #bdib #fbloggers. I attract the right traffic when I take part in these chats. I also discover new blogs to follow and make new friends so they are quite good. Check out relevant Twitter chats in you niche and get involved. Your blog will thank you for it.

Twitter Harshtags

I use relevant Twitter hashtags in my niche to promote my blog content. I use #fbloggers #bbloggers #bloggers and so on, depending on what the post is about. I attract like-minded people to my blog and I find that they comment, like and/or follow my blog. That is the right traffic.

Comment on other blogs

I usually find the time every week to comment and follow other blogs I like. I find that 99% of the time, the blogger visits, comments and follows me right back without me asking for a follow back. Let me also add that I take the time to actually read the post and leave a ‘real’ comment. I tend not to visit and comment on very big blogs. I go for smaller blogs or blogs with similar following and engagement as my blog, I find that I attract the ‘right’ traffic when I do this as most of the readers are genuinely interested in those smaller blogs than the very big blogs, and they visit my blog and subscribe in one way or the other.

So there. You have the secrets to my blog engagement.  Share some of yours in the comment section if you have a blog. If you don’t, tell me why you enjoy reading my blog.

 

 

 

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