MAKING MONEY

The BIG Blogging Money Survey 💰💷💰

HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE FOR SPONSORED POSTS? PLEASE HELP US SHARE INFORMATION FOR BLOGGERS!

Hi everyone; so today I’m back with a survey that I’m keep for to join in with. One of my most popular blog posts on here is: Help, how much should I charge for sponsored posts?

The post is a useful starting point, but I needed more data- what about follow links? charging for use of images? Instagram? None of the info I found covered it all, so I decided to create my own!

This only works if everyone joins in, so PLEASE take a moment to fill this out. Just a couple of points….

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Everything bloggers need to know about their tax self-assessment

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably left your tax self-assessment return to the very last minute. Perhaps you’re even worse than me and didn’t realise the Self Assessment submission deadline is midnight on the 31st January! But it is fast upon us and most of us avoid it until we really have to face it; last year, 33,000 people filed in the final hour, while a staggering 840,000 people missed the deadline altogether. If it’s late, HMRC delivers a straight £100 fine; with even more penalties if it continues to be missed.

You get the idea. It’s a faff but it needs to be done. To avoid getting stressed,  I’ve teamed up with SimpleTax to share lots of expert advice and tips on filling in your tax return properly as a blogger. Make sure you read to the bottom of the post so you can claim a 14 day completely free trial (bank details not needed) of SimpleTax to help you fill in your return with zero effort!

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10 mistakes bloggers make when emailing PRs

Today we’re going to talk about emails. I’m sure you’ve sent lots of emails to brands this week; with a renewed sense of purpose with growing your blog and the companies you team up with. However, lots of the time, bloggers can make vital mistakes in the emails they send out!

I often get asked to proofread bloggers pitch emails so wanted to share the biggest problems I’ve noticed with lots of them. However, I don’t claim to be an expert, so I’ve also asked two of my favourite PRs-Sam from Socially Sam (if you haven’t already, read my interview with her here, it’s full of tips for working with brands) and Charlotte from Smoothie PR (if you are a food blogger, read my interview with her in which she explains how to work with food brands) to share their biggest bugbears.

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How to create your first paid download+make money from it!

Hello and happy new year! I’ve taken a bit of a break from The Bloglancer over Christmas but now I’m back, ready to inspire you for blogging in 2018! One of my biggest revelations in 2017 was learning about ‘passive income’; something I’d thought as very American and pushy in the past! But in 2017, I decided to release my first ebook: a pitching toolkit for bloggers wanting to work with brands, and couldn’t believe how simple it was!

As someone who had previously had my own book published in print with a publisher, I loved being able to create my own project on my own terms- and, this time, get the vast majority of the revenue too! But what I loved most is the fact that once you’ve written the product, you can earn money from it each day, without having to do anything at all! I was pretty addicted to seeing a sale come in when I’d not even gotten out of my pyjamas yet (newsflash-I’m publishing this and still in my pyjamas!) Somehow that money (even if it was just a single sale) seemed far more exciting than the usual work I’m paid for.

But I don’t think I did anything revolutionary-I just decided to get out there and create a product! So today I wanted to share my tips on helping you do the same. A product that you’ll need to spend a bit of time creating, but you’ll be able to make money from days, weeks, months and even years after putting the work in!

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The only blogging course I’ve Ever Taken (and an exclusive discount)

Sometimes, it can feel really overwhelming with the sheer amount of blogging courses out there. There’s ones that specialise in Pinterest, others that promise to make you an Instagram queen or grow your affiliate income from 0 to thousands in 30 days. As I am only just beginning my journey into full-time blogging, I just couldn’t justify the hundreds upon hundreds of pounds these courses often cost, just to focus on one area of my blog. So it was only a few months ago when I decided to take the plunge and invest in my very first e-course.

 

Somebody once told me that ‘people invest in people’. It’s something I’ve always tried to apply to my own blog- making connections and always helping others. It’s one of the reasons behind changing my social channels to @jennafarmeruk (well, that and my desperation to get a twitter verified tick!). Well, Emma Drew is somebody who I have followed for absolutely ages and when she announced her first course ‘Turn Your Dreams Into Money‘, I knew I had to buy it. I was completely sold before I’d even looked at the course outline! Emma has always taken the time to help and support me (even when she definitely should have billed me for her time)- so I just knew it was going to filled with amazing guidance.

I was lucky enough to be part of the ‘beta’ tester group- which meant I was one of the first people to take the course. So I have taken the whole course and feel I am in a strong position to give an in-depth review.

What Does the Course Cover?

One of the best thing about the course is the huge amount of topics it covers. It begins right at the beginning with a few modules for brand new bloggers (I originally skipped these but then actually returned to them when I launched The Bloglancer) and covers everything from gaining traffic, social media, Pinterest traffic, how to find sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, creating a product, repurposing old posts. The list is endless. Unlike most courses, it’s text and worksheet based rather than videos.

This was a huge bonus for me as there was literally no faffing! I’ve tried free courses in the past and I’ve been put off by the lengthy introductions and waffle- you are often 10 minutes in before anything of value is given. Emma’s course doesn’t set out to be the most visually appealing- instead, it’s almost as if she’s piled up everything she knows and divided it into chunks. They read like short and snappy blog posts on every single topic on blogging you could ever think of.

Did It Help Me?

Yes! I consider myself a fairly established blogger: although I still have a lot to learn, I don’t need to be taught the basics. I was worried at first as the first few modules are for ‘new’ bloggers- but actually Emma still taught me things in this section! From writing a disclaimer to backing up your blog.

My favourite part is that each member of the course gets a free in-depth blog critique. To do this, you simply send your key concern over (mine was traffic and SEO) and Emma will do an in-depth critique via video and send it back to you. Straight away Emma was able to show me my Alt Image descriptions were wrong, my site speed was really really slow and my site layout needed improving! She also suggested a few affiliate ideas for me. I am still working through the advice- but I’ve managed to increase my site speed, apply and earn through a few more affiliate ideas and am now on mission SEO!

I am so glad I purchased the course and I know it’s going to be something I go back to time and time again. Emma has a big supporter of my ‘Bloglancer’ adventure, so I was really pleased when she offered to give my readers an exclusive discount! If you enter the code BLACKFRIDAY into the checkout-you’ll receive a huge £50 discount off at the checkout! The course is usually priced at £197 but by using my code you’ll get it for £147 instead. Given that many bloggers charge this just for a critique, it’s a really reasonable price. If by some miracle, you don’t know Emma’s blog, do go have a read to as there’s tons of advice on blogging and making money on there!

Disclaimer: As a referrer of the course, I do receive an affiliate payment. However, this discount is significantly more than you can find on other sites and this is the only course I am currently promoting because it really is brill!

 

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Help! How much should I charge for sponsored posts?

Today I am going to be tackling the question that I get asked all of the time: how on earth do I decide what to charge for sponsored posts? Most of the time, bloggers seem to pick a number out of mid-air and see if it sticks. It’s so frustrating that it is not talked about enough- it’s something I try to bring up in my weekly PR interviews, but often PRs will too have to vary costings due to budget. The fact of the matter is, no two PRs will charge the same. Nor will two brands offer identical projects. So rather than just giving you a restricted set of costing guidelines, I am instead going to help you figure out a price that feels right for you and the work you do.

 How do I know if I should charge?

Before we begin, I am not necessarily suggesting you should charge for everything you do. I talked about in my ‘why you should work for free post‘ that there are plenty of occasions when this might not be the best option, so go and have a read before we begin.

What to take into account when setting fees

There are many different factors that will affect the fees you charge. Some of these may be vital to one brand and not important at all to another. So, first of all, make sure you are aware of the following:

  • Domain Authority.
  • Social Followers.
  • Monthly Page Views.
  • Niche (this is hugely important. If you’re doing something no one else is doing, brands will pay for that)
  • Special skills- e.g. Photography, Personal Training.
  • The time it would take to create the post (a recipe post- sourcing ingredients and making it) is far more time consuming than an information article)
  • Relevance to your audience (if the brand is the perfect match for your audience, then you are likely going to charge more as engagement will be higher)

How to decide what fee to set.

The next thing is to make certain you understand what the brand is looking for. One thing I see all the time is when a brand requests a certain measure of success, bloggers reply saying ‘I don’t have this but I have xxx.’ These measures are there for a reason so it’s often pointless to offer an engagement measure a brand just doesn’t want.

If a brand is aiming to increase their Instagram engagement, it doesn’t matter to them at all that you have 50,000 twitter followers. Similarly, if a brand is asking for your DA, it’s because more than likely, they are looking to gain links to their site. Therefore, the number of people who actually engage with the post is likely to not really be important to them.

Therefore, before you give a fee, it’s really important to establish what the brand is looking for, by asking questions such as:

  • Is there a particular social channel you’re looking to grow?
  • Would you be looking for social shares or just content?
  • If only providing a product, would you be open to social shares or being featured in a round-up?
  • Would I be required to link back to the site? Are no follow links accepted?
  • Can you give me an idea of what outcomes you’re looking for from the post?

After you’ve worked with brands for some time, it becomes a lot easier to figure out which ones are looking for links and which ones are looking for brand awareness. PRs who are looking for brand awareness tend to pay higher than SEO, and there tends to be a more creative brief involved.

That’s all very well, but tell me how much I should actually charge?

There have already been quite a few posts about this so I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few:

Sponsored Posts; What Do you Charge? (UK Edition)

What Should Bloggers Charge For Sponsored Posts?

 

Now, neither of the posts can tell you exactly what to charge, but they give you an idea.  I personally think £50 tends to be the absolute minimum for a short blog post regardless of your following.

. So, if you’re new, it could be a useful starting point.  Once your stats grow, any thing from £100-500 seems to be the norm for most bloggers (bar the superstar ones of course!) A method I have seen used is multiplying your DAx4. It’s not too far off but of course, that only works if it is an SEO campaign and I know bloggers who literally have millions of views but their DA is slow to rise- that would be seriously undercharging.

I talk a lot about packages in my ebook and this is something that can help pricing dilemas hugely- because often no two projects are the same. Come up with a series of packages from the very basic (say one social media post or hosting guest content with no shares) to more expensive (1-2 sponsored blog posts with 1-2 weeks of social media shares). 

To make a package it’s good to break down all the different things you offer: Instagram, twitter, facebook, newsletter inclusion, giveaways, photography. Not all brands will be looking for you to do everything, and many bloggers tend to do them all without thinking to charge separately.

That way, the work you do is always properly linked to your pricing. While pricing varies hugely between companies, it’s only fair that it is somehow reflected in the amount of work you do. Therefore starting from your absolute minimum (say £50-100) and then offering additional packages gives brands choices, without fear of over or undercharging yourself. That way, when bands. For example, if a brand came back to you and offered you a lower budget, you could reply with a smaller package: meaning you’re not in danger of doing more work for less money!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this- do leave me a comment below and share your biggest difficulty with charging for a post. Also pop over to the https://www.facebook.com/groups/754573568029592/Facebook group  and join in the chat there too!

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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How I Turned My Blog Into My Job

 

Hi guys, today I am going to be sitting down with you and telling you all about my blogging journey. I started to think about this when I inadvertently stumbled across my first ever blog from a whole 7 years ago! So I wanted to hop on here to let you know about how I turned my blog into a job and that not everyone is a success straight away. In fact, my blog had 7, yes 7, reincarnations- everything from fashion to music to travel until I finally found my match at A Balanced Belly (and hopefully The Bloglancer will stick around too!)

Find a Blog That Fits

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Image source: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com

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Brand Spotlight: Interview with the icelolly.com press team!

 

After the success of last week’s interview with Charlotte from Smoothie PR, this week’s interview is with the lovely press team at icelolly.com. Icelolly.com are the kings of blogger outreach and have an amazing influencer network with a regular newsletter that goes out to bloggers too. I asked them to share exactly what they look for from travel bloggers and what makes the perfect email pitch. Travel bloggers, this is an absolute must read for you guys! To make sure you don’t miss out on more brand interview and opportunities, make sure you sign up for my Sunday newsletter.

Q: Hi guys! Can you tell me all about how about the team at icelolly.com works with bloggers?
Over the last couple of years, we have made a conscious effort to turbo charge our blogger outreach programme. This has included organising numerous blogger stays with a variety of different individuals/groups, hosting our own bi-annual blogging event (Blog At The Beach) in and around the icelolly.com HQ, sending around a regular email to our blogger database with the latest news, events and opportunities and smaller collabs including Instagram takeovers and guest posts.
 More on all of this can be seen here: https://www.icelolly.com/influencer-hub
 

Q:I’ve noticed you have worked with lots of travel bloggers- when did you start working with bloggers and what’s the decision behind that?
We initiated our blogger outreach programme roughly two and a half years ago. The main reason behind this was because we really see the benefit of building a positive rapport with influential individuals within the travel industry and the various collabs we’ve organised have helped to up our UGC no end. Namely through guest posts and Instagram takeovers, both of which have contributed towards an increase in weekly blog page views and general Instagram engagement/followers. Members of our team have also been involved in the blogging game away from work and really appreciate the influence brands can have on individual blogs/bloggers.
 
 
Q. What do you look for when selecting bloggers to attend your lovely press trips?
We want to work with bloggers that we feel represent our core brand values, these being; inspiring, independent, quality and playful. We’re a quirky brand that intends to come across playfully whilst inspiring our users and offering honest, independent views on destinations, resorts, holiday types etc. It also helps if we actually know the blogger we are sending away on a press trip as it is difficult to select a brand ambassador otherwise. This is why we often encourage bloggers to get in touch with us via email, social media or by attending our events. Even dropping in with a simple ‘hello’ or ‘great blogger email’ etc from time to time means a lot to us and helps build the initial foundations. If we don’t know somebody, it’s hard for us to judge whether they will be the right fit for our opportunities/collaborations!
 
Q:Is it important for bloggers to have a niche? Do you go for sole travel bloggers or are you open to lifestyle bloggers too?
It’s important to specialise in a certain area to an extent but we also feel you shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself too much and alienate a bigger potential audience. We have worked with a variety of bloggers in the past including travel, lifestyle and fashion specialists and we like to see ourselves as pretty open to a lot of different niches. As we are obviously a travel company, we would prefer some travel blogging experience when working with somebody but this isn’t necessarily a necessity. It can often differ from campaign-to-campaign.
 
Q: Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?
The obvious answer to this question would be yes. Most people look at sheer numbers and come to certain conclusions based on how big (or small) a social media following somebody has for example. However, would you rather have 100k followers and a 1% engagement rate or 10k followers and a 20% engagement rate? If you have a dedicated blog readership, the stats will look after themselves so often it’s not worth getting stressed about numbers. Just concentrate on your output, making it more relatable or current to people for example, and always remember blogging should be something you enjoy. We don’t tend to focus on numbers at all – for us it’s about the individual, the relationship we have, how proactive they are and how they fit in with our brand values.
 
Q. Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?
We sure do! Often we’ll present ideas and select bloggers from there that we feel would be a good fit, however, we’re not arrogant enough to believe we have all the best concepts. Somebody may have a killer idea for a working partnership, so we’d always encourage conveying this and not just sitting on it. We do get a lot of pitches so it’s impossible to go through with them all but that doesn’t mean we don’t consider blogger suggestions.
You need to have built some kind of relationship beforehand ideally. Think of it like cold-calling; if a company you’ve never heard of rings, how likely would you be to go through with whatever it is the person at the other end of the phone is selling or proposing? This is why we encourage conversation with bloggers, make yourself known by chatting to us on social media (we host a monthly Twitter chat for example that lots of bloggers get involved with!) or simply dropping us a quick email. Other than that just be enthusiastic with the idea you are pitching, show an interest in our company, present examples of your work and/or a synopsis of how and why you think we’ll be a good fit.
 
Q: Have you ever had bad experiences with bloggers? What do you wish bloggers wouldn’t do?
We wouldn’t say we’ve had any bad experiences but some can be harder to deal with than others – sometimes through no fault of their own however. We understand lots run their blog as well as holding down a full-time job so time constraints can have an impact on certain things. Our only ask is deadlines are stuck to for guest posts for example and no ‘cold-calling’. Drop in a few times with a simple tweet or hello so we know who you are before getting to business-like with pitches!
 
 
Q: Do you find us ‘micro’ influencers can be just as beneficial as big bloggers?
Most of the bloggers within our database would probably be described as ‘micro’ so yes, absolutely. At the end of the day, we’re a fairly small business so we know what it can be like as the little fish in a big pond. Would we rather work with 100 ‘big’ bloggers once and never hear from them again or 1,000 ‘micro’ bloggers multiple times through stays, events, Twitter chats, Instagram takeovers etc and build a strong relationship going forward? Certainly the latter! It helps to build brand advocates over a longer period of time.
 
Q: How can bloggers get in touch and discuss working with you?
Follow us on social media, engage with us and we’ll engage back! Take part in our Twitter chats, sign up to our blogger emails (available midway down this page: https://www.icelolly.com/influencer-hub) or drop a line to  influencers@icelolly.com . We’re a friendly bunch!

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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The one tool every blogger NEEDS to know about: Response Source

Hi guys!

Just to start off by saying a massive thank you for all the support this blog has got over the past few days since launch day. It’s had such lovely feedback from brands and PRs alike and I am so excited about where this blog is heading. Just a heads up, I’ll be sticking to a routine with this blog, so I’ll be aiming to get 1-2 pieces of really useful content on freelancing and blogging  (like my 8 tips for emailing PRs) up a week (usually Mondays and Wednesdays) and then a PR and brand interview on a Friday (like last week’s with Charlotte from Smoothie PR)Then it’ll all be delivered to your inbox along with other exciting opportunities on a Sunday- which we all know is prime blogger day!

In this post, I am going to have a chat with you about http://www.responsesource.com– a tool that is so useful to brands, journos and bloggers. It’s been around for a while but isn’t widely mentioned in the blogosphere, so I am going to use this post to give you an overview of what response source is and a guide for using it for bloggers.

 

What is Response Source?

Response Source is a website that connects bloggers, journos and PRs/small businesses. It’s free for those in the media to send out requests, while PRs and brands pay a fee to receive all the requests in their inbox. I have used this in both capacities. Both as a freelance writer and blogger putting out requests but also as a small business when trying to promote my book and nutrition services in the media.

How Should I use Response Source as a blogger?

  1. Head over to http://www.responsesource.com
  2. Click ‘send a Journalist inquiry’
  3. Fill in the details of what you are looking for, any deadlines and information about your blog. Then hit preview and you’ll be taken to a page to preview your inquiry.
  4. Once you hit submit, your inquiry will ping its way to literally thousands of PRs and brands. It’ll be sent by a special platform so the brand won’t be given your email initially- they’ll respond via Response Source and then it will forward it on.

What kind of things should I use Response Source for?

Response source is a fantastic way to make connections, seek information about brands and find collaboration opportunities. In the last week, I’ve made connections with half a dozen brands and we’ve figured out a plan to collaborate -all from me sending out a Response Source message. In turn, when I trialed the brand/PR service, I replied to a request which led to a feature about my Instagram in the Guardian.

The key, I believe, to using response source is to use it for requests when you already have specific blog posts in mind. For example, my last two response source requests have been ‘looking for healthy frozen food items for a freezer hacks post‘ and ‘looking for easy to grow herbs for an introductory guide to gardening.’ Why are my requests so specific? Well, two reasons. Firstly, when you sign up to response source as a brand, you pay for each separate category you subscribe to. Therefore, food brands will only receive specific requests in the food category, so generic requests ‘looking for giveaway prizes’ may be less successful. Secondly, having been on the other side of using the system, I easily received 100 emails a day from Response Source when using the trial. Brands do not have time to filter through these so a specific request (which forms the header of the email) is always best.

What should I not use Response Source for?

From what I have heard, Response Source doesn’t allow you to use the service to seek advertisement or sponsorship and I am inclined to agree with them. I talk about this in my pitching toolkit but I strongly believe that the best way to sponsored posts is not just about emailing or tweeting (yes I see you in the hashtags!) that you are looking for paid work. Instead, advertising or review products should fit into existing content you are already planning. Therefore, these services work by helping you build a relationship and finding the right fit for posts you are already planning. Therefore, don’t use response source just to get freebies or paid work. Instead, it needs to be used as a journalist would, with a specific focus and aim.

Any more tips for using it?

  • Plan requests around key dates. Remember PRs are used to receiving requests months ahead of dates so be proactive and send requests out early.A request for christmas content in July will be the norm for some brands.
  • I’ll say it again but use the space you have to be as specific as possible about what you’re looking for.
  • Also add in the description what you’re not looking for- this saves time and also shows brands you aren’t just on a freebie hunt. For example ‘looking for frozen food items, must be gluten free. No smoothie mixes please as I’ve already covered those.’
  • Make a list of key blog posts you are planning and send a response request
  • If you have another business on the side or are looking to get your name out there in the media, consider signing up for a trial of their service for brands.  It will give you a really good insight on how the service should be used and there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself out there as a blogger for case studies.
  • Create a separate email folder for Response Source emails- that way you can keep them in a file for later should you want to get back in touch with brands.

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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8 Tips for Emailing PRs

I am always getting asked questions about PRs- how we should approach them, what to say to them and my top tips on working together. I’m lucky in my work that I work with PRs in lots of ways- as a blogger but also a freelance writer. In turn, the shoe is sometimes on the other foot as when my book was released, it was me reaching out to blogs and magazines, asking them to feature my product.What I’ve noticed along the way is that the majority of issues in bloggers working with PRs is down to miscommunication, so I’ve created this helpful guide to try to demystify the process.

 

1. Always find the name of who you’re speaking to. One thing us bloggers rightly hate is when we’re addressed as ‘blogger’, yet many bloggers reaching out to brands will just use a generic email. Take the time to find out which member of staff is responsible for specific brands before emailing.

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