makingmoney

10 tips for going from blogging to freelance writing

Today is a much-requested post here on The Bloglancer. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that as well as running two blogs, I am a freelance writer. I mainly write for magazines and online sites but have also done some blogging for brands and copywriting. This topic is something I get asked about a lot, but for me at least, getting ahead in freelance writing is the same as any form of media: working hard; not being afraid to put yourself out there every day; making contacts and constantly coming up with new ideas!  Here are my ten tips for going from blogger to freelance writer….

 

1. Read, read and read some more. (more…)

Everything you need to grow your blog: themes, software, hosting and e-courses!

Yesterday, I made another purchase for my blog and thought I’d dedicate a blog post to it! Last year I signed up for The Genis Blogger’s Toolkit. It was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made (and in fact, other than Emma Drew’s course on making money from your blog, was the only real blog investment I’ve made).

For those of you who aren’t aware, the blogger toolkit is basically a huge list of resources for growing your blog. Last year I mainly focused on the e-book involved, but this year I decided to purchase it again and get involved properly! Why? Well, as I’m now working on 2 blogs, the products were more relevant than ever. I only purchased it yesterday but I have already delved in! Because the product is only on sale for a few days, I thought I’d blog about it now and share my experiences with it.

Here’s what I have already used…

  • FREE Isabelle Theme ($79.00). I needed a new blog theme anyway and since my last one cost over £50, I knew I’d be pretty much getting my money back even if I just used this one product. As you can see, I uploaded the theme this morning and I LOVE IT! I still have some tweaks to make, but it took less than an hour to get it all up and running!
  • FREE 10 Stock Photos Bundle ($69.00). I am obsessed with stock photos so I’ve already downloaded this bundle (and used one in the header of today’s post)
  • FREE Pinteresting Strategies: How I Went from 0-200K Page Views with Manual Pinning ($32.00) I read this last night and thought it was a really good read! I am already doing pretty well with my Pinterest but this went over the value of pinning manually, how to use rich pins (still need to get working on this) and how to maximise your efforts with group boards. There is also a separate resource in the bundle that provides a huge list of Pinterest group boards and how to join them! Group boards make a huge difference to my traffic so this excites me!

 

  • FREE Turn Your Dreams Into Money: How to Build a Six-Figure Blog and Live the Life You Want ($250.00) A bit of a cheat this one as I did this course months ago (you can read my review here) But seriously the current value of this course alone is £197, so the fact you can get the whole bundle for £75 is just madness! I would definitely recommend purchasing if you were interested in Emma’s course.

I also have many more resources downloaded and ready to read for my trip to London today! Including a guide to SEO, a guide to freelance writing and another on time management! There is also a 2-month free plan of social pilot- which promises to grow and schedule your social media, so I’ll be giving that a go too! You can see the rest of the tools here.

Isn’t It all just American resources?

One of my concerns when I first signed up was that it is an American led bundle. I don’t know why but us Brits are much less vocal about all things blogging. However, there are very few resources that can’t be used by the UK bloggers too! The only ones that aren’t relevant is an ebook an American taxes and a snack subscription box for US customers (dammit!). Other than that, the rest of the resources can be used by a UK audience and are just as relevant and useful And of course, our lovely Emma Drew is representing the UK by offering her course!

How much is it and is it worth the money?

The total cost of the course is $97 (I never understand why Americans price things weirdly!) which comes out at £75 approximately. Given that just a few things I have personally tried come to over £500 then I would say absolutely! It’s only avaliable for 8 days (well 7 now, because I am a day late with this post) and after that, won’t be available until next year. You can purchase the bundle here  and although you only have 7 days to do so, you have a whole year to use a lot of the resources (some of the add ons- like the theme- have a shorter download date)

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of the Ultimate Bundles after purchasing it myself last year. This means if you purchase through my referral link, I’ll simply be credited for referring you. I purchased both bundles out of my own money however, because I’m such a big fan!

How I Reached 1000 Daily Views

Today I’m back with some blogging tips, and this time I am going to be chatting with you about my continued efforts to grow my blog traffic. Last week, I hit over 1000 daily views (on my main blog: A Balanced Belly) for several days in a row and a couple of you in my Facebook group asked me to share my top tips.

 

Revamping Old Content

I decided I’d try to blog a little bit more but knew I couldn’t post lengthy blogs every day. For this, I adopted two strategies. Firstly, revamping old content. As winter is coming, I went over my old recipes and updated the images. Like this pumpkin pie smoothie. I created new pics for Instagram and pins for Pinterest. I then shared in relevant groups. This is definitely worth doing with Christmas content too, especially since older content has built up with Google.

Old Pin                                                                                                                       New Pin

Looking for a dairy free pumpkin smoothie recipe? This anti-inflammatory smoothie contains turmeric, pumpkin and cinammon. It is perfect for those with IBS and IBD. If you are looking for recipes for crohn's disease, IBS or weak digestion give this a try.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Canva to make my images. The second pin looks more ‘autumny’ and the quality of images are much better. However, the first pin still does ok on Pinterest- so using the two together brings more traffic! This is something I plan to experiment with more and use several pins for the same post. I have two popular posts with google: gluten-free subscription boxes and dairy free advent calendars. So I plan to revamp these too: adding better images and links to other posts to lower bounce rate.

Start Spreading The News!

Another thing I focused on to increase content was shorter news stories. Being gluten-free, there’s always new product launches and a write-up of one (like this one about dairy-free pizza) only takes about ten minutes but can bring in lots of traffic. Always try to answer questions the audience has, e.g. the price of something, their ingredients or a launch date. These types of stories do well on Facebook too.

A side note to this is to start thinking about what people would be excited about. I do think transitioning from a hobby blog to a site that is more of a job is thinking more of the reader and traffic. It doesn’t mean that what you write can’t be fun- but the balance has to be there.

Social Media

Pinterest is also a bit traffic driver for me (you can read more about how I get traffic from Pinterest in this post) but I decided to join a few more boards and get pinning my seasonal content. I also had an overhaul of my Facebook page~changing the header so it clearly summed up my content and experimenting with video. One of my videos went a bit viral gaining about 400 followers in a week. It is hard work but video definitely seems to be the way forward. Especially videos that link to your content that you can link to in the post.

I then ensured I kept posting relevant content~creating a Canva image with a question or unusual fact that prompted discussion worked well. I also started to share the Facebook post into groups (rather than post links in there). Here’s an example…

It actually reached 9821 people according to Facebook, which is a massive increase of the usual few hundred I get.

Sidenote: This was working really well but then Facebook randomly blocked me from sharing in groups for 7 days. Apparently, this has happened to a few bloggers, so while I don’t think I overdid at all (sharing daily in a few groups) just a word of warning !!

I was also verified on twitter! I am planning a seperate post about that and whether it has any impact on my views!

Anyway, that’s just a few tips on growing my page views. For more info on this, the following blog posts might also help!

 The Only Blogging Course I’ve Ever Taken

   How I Get 400 Views A Day From Pinterest

 

 

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
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Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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 BLOGLANCER 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!

 

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 Smoothie PR, Charlotte

This series sees me chat to brands and PRs to help educate and inform both sides of the community about how bloggers and brands can work together.First up is the lovely Charlotte from Smoothie PR, who shares some fantastic advice for bloggers pitching to brands. If you are inspired, why not drop her an email and let her know how you might collaborate?An interview with a new PR will go live every Friday-and you can subscribe to my weekly newsletter as their details will be included in the weekly round up of tips and ops that I send out each Friday.

 

Q: Hi Charlotte, Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the brands you represent?

A: Hi Jen, thanks so much for chatting with me! I run my own business called Smoothie PR where I help start-up and small business foodies get PR for their fabulous products. I’ve turned traditional PR on its head so instead of charging thousands of pounds a month, I offer two affordable PR packages for food businesses:1-1 PR for £599 per month or a monthly membership to The Smoothie Bar for £39 per month. This makes PR accessible to everyone, no matter what their budget is and I teach lots of PR tips and tricks along the way. One of the biggest benefits of working with me is that I deliver a mix of local and national requests from journalists who are looking for food businesses, small businesses or human interest stories. Because the requests are so varied, I’ve also got small businesses from the non-food industry and bloggers as members of The Smoothie Bar, as there is plenty for them to choose from too. PR can be so much easier than you think!
 
Q: How have you found bloggers valuable for your brands?
The world is full of bloggers which is great both for them as a creative outlet and my foodies who are looking specifically for bloggers in their niche. The quality of blog posts varies hugely, so I always do background checks before committing to a blogger. Each post I’ve seen so far on behalf of my clients has been well written, shows great product imagery and provides a valuable backlink to their website. Once I know the quality of their work is good, I’ll always keep that blogger in mind for future collaborations with other clients.
Q: What do you look for when working with a blogger?
This is the type of question that The Smoothie Bar members ask me this all of the time – “I can’t afford to give away free samples to everyone, so which bloggers should I pick?” I’ve written a blog post on this called ‘5 things to check before working with food bloggers’ (http://www.smoothiepr.com/food-for-thought/food-bloggers-5-things-to-check/) which shows you the checklist I go through when I’m considering someone for one of my 1-1 clients. I’ve had so many food producers tell me they found this post really helpful but equally, (and most surprising to me), lots of food bloggers have also found it useful to understand what they can offer to a brand when pitching their services.
Q: Are stats everything?
Absolutely not! You have to remember that both start-up foodies and bloggers will all be at different stages of their journey, so each can offer the other options for working together depending on what’s good for them both. The only thing I would say is that bloggers need to be realistic with their requests when working with brands. If you have very small numbers, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be chosen for a high-value product or receive an additional payment.
Q: Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?
A:I’m always open to finding bloggers who could be a good fit for my 1-1 clients or the guys in The Smoothie Bar, but I get a lot of pitches that don’t really tell me any real details. A short email that details who they are, what their blog speciality is (healthy eating, gluten-free, vegan etc.), a top line of any relevant stats (unique monthly blog visits, social media following, DA/PA etc.) and their ask: are they looking for products to include in a round up and just need images, do they want to do a review in exchange for free samples or, are they offering creative/sponsored services such as recipe development? The other point I can’t stress enough is that your pitch should be short, well written and free from spelling mistakes!
Who does Charlotte work with?
Chins Kitchen, Green Goddess Wellness, Nourish Natural Food, Tg Green Teas, Body Me and many more!
Q: Are media kits a necessity?
A:Not necessarily. If you’re an established blogger working with larger brands then it’s probable you have one, as most bigger brands want to know your facts and figures before committing to any marketing spend. However, if you’re fairly new, write as a hobby or have more engagement on your social media rather than your blog for example, the stats aren’t going to look very impressive. This isn’t an issue for me personally as I’ll still look at the bigger picture to see what type of value they can bring to any of my clients of various sizes.
Q: What do you wish bloggers realise about working with PRs? What mistakes do they make?
A:I have two real issues with being approached by bloggers. Firstly, being included in a blanket email that is sent to multiple people is a no-no. Some bloggers make a generic reference to how much they love your website in the hope that it makes them sound like they’ve spent any time there – you’re not fooling anyone I’m afraid! It also drives me mad when the pitch is full of spelling mistakes and terrible grammar – this doesn’t inspire any confidence in me that you have great blogging skills!
Tailor your pitch to the PR company you’re approaching (having looked at their website and with an understanding of who they work with), to offer the relevant services that they might be looking for. I’m happy to be approached because I want to know about you if you’re a great fit for my clients, however, first impressions count and if you’re sending out a badly written, pot luck email, then I’m definitely not interested.
Q: Do you find ‘micro’ influencers can be just as beneficial as big bloggers?
A: Absolutely! This goes back to the point that I mentioned about businesses being at different stages. Most start-ups can only afford to offer samples in exchange for reviews or recipes, and I’d much rather use bloggers that have 100 highly engaged followers than ones with 1,000 followers who never get any likes/comments/shares.
Q:  How can bloggers get in touch and discuss working with you?
A: Haha, well after reading my previous answers, I hope that they have a good idea now but to put it simply:
I look forward to reading some amazing emails soon!
Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

Free month of Tailwind to improve Pinterest traffic here………………………………..
My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook: Pitching Toolkit