BLOGGING GUIDES

10 Reasons Why I Am Not Joining Vero (And The Bloggers Who Agree With Me)

So you might have seen the new social media app that suddenly went crazy recently is Vero. I woke up one day and my twitter timeline was FULL of bloggers saying they had joined and to go follow them.

My first instinct, was just NO. But that’s pretty normal: if a bunch of big bloggers tell me to do something; I’ll pretty much do the opposite (see my terribly curated Instagram feed or the fact I think most blogging awards are shit).

 

However, once I did a little more reading; it became apparent that 99% of people we’re only joining because they were terrified of it being the next big thing. Yes, it’s annoying that nobody sees our Instagram content anymore- but if you genuinely think Vero is going to replace Instagram, I think you’re mistaken.

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10 Reasons No One Is Reading Your Blog

So, today I wanted to talk about one of the most common complaints I see bloggers talking about: why no-one is reading your blog. You might know that my latest venture is all about blogging outreach (I now run Chronic Illness Bloggers which helps connect bloggers who blog about life with an illness and brands and advertisers) as well as doing blog audits and helping bloggers with their sites. During this time, many of my conversations have been about stats and more specifically people asking: why is no one reading my blog?

Traffic is important. I know many bloggers will tell you it isn’t but most of the time we’re blogging for two reasons: a) we want people to read our words and feel inspired or informed and b) we want to be hopefully paid or compensated for our words (if that’s you, do go fill out my blogging money survey as I’m trying to keep track of how much bloggers charge- I’ll be sharing in a blog post soon!). So unless you are blogging purely for yourself, it’s ok to admit that you want people to read your blog!

After looking at a LOT of blogs this week- I wanted to share ten mistakes some bloggers are making…

1.It’s hard to navigate 

I think bloggers underestimate the attention span of an average reader at times. Often, on landing on a site it can be hard to navigate with unclear headings or no introduction to what the site is actually about. Make the purpose of your blog really clear as soon as the reader arrives on your site. One way to do this might be to have a landing page so you can send your different types of readers off in different directions.

2.You’re not offering value

One of the quickest ways to gain traffic is to offer something of value-whether it’s a free download or ten tips on something (just like I’m doing now!). If your blog is purely your own reflections an a journal for your life; that’s absolutely fine-but you might need to accept it might not be the traffic-building blog you’d like.

3.It doesn’t stand out

 

You don’t have to have a clear ‘niche’ but you do have to offer something different in my opinion. There are just so many blogs out there- why would anyone read yours over a thousand others?

4.It takes too long to load

Make a note of your google page insights to check your site speed

I’d recommend using google page speed insights to see how slow your site is to load- this can be really offputting; especially if people are scrolling on their phone.

5.You’re focussed on false engagement

Follow trains. Comment pods. Like for Like. Whatever you call them, they’re really bloody annoying. And all a bit fake. I might use one once in a blue moon-but only if I know the reader is likely to stick around afterwards.

For example, if I have an amazing post on The Bloglancer; I might use these to drive people to my site (since them being a blogger is the perfect audience) but make sure I have all the different ways to follow my blog so they’ll stick around.  I wouldn’t do this for my first blog, A Balanced Belly, however-since it’s unlikely I’d find people geniunely interested in my content.

You might spend thirty minutes of comment pods and follow trains to bring in one hundred readers one day; but it would be better spent working on Pinterest- to bring in potential one hundred readers every day.

Read it next: How I get 400 views a day from Pinterest.

6.Your sponsored content sticks out

If you’re only blogging a few times a way and have regular sponsored content, it can definitely impact your blog. So your sponsored content needs to BE BETTER than your original content, not just stuff you’ve posted and hoped nobody would read. Treat every sponsored post not just as a way to make money, but a way to get traffic. Always ask if you can offer a giveaway item (which is a very easy way to boost traffic) and always share on social media, create pins AND make it interesting (too many bloggers just don’t do this)

7.You’re not keeping people on the page

Always do your very best to keep bloggers on the page once they’ve arrived. Try to have recommended posts at the bottom of the page and interspersed throughout (either through images or links). Make sure you click the ‘open in a new window’ tab, so you don’t lose the blogger!

8.You don’t know who you’re writing for

Yes, you may have the nice template and an Instagram-worthy feed; but who is your ideal reader? What are they likely to want to know that you can help them with. Quite a few bloggers have readers surveys and they can really help get to grips with what the reader is after. Another way is to look at your stats and see which style of post is consistently popular.

9.You’re not sharing enough

Make sure you are sharing your old content as well as your new stuff. I often go through my blog and see what type of evergreen content I can reshare ( I either do this manually or use the app ‘HiPlay’ which works with Buffer). It’s also worth making sure you are continually sharing old posts around key dates- so get your Easter posts scheduled!

10.You haven’t bought my book.

Sorry guys, this wasn’t intending to be self-promotion; but I already designed my pin for ’10 tips’ and I’m having a mental block around the last one- so I thought I’d give my new ebook about building traffic a mention. If you’re looking to build your traffic, it’s got lots of practical tips and I also offer blog audits if you’d like me to take a look at your blog specifically to see where you’re going wrong?

I hope this post helped and I’ll be back with a new PR interview in a couple of days!

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10 reasons no one is reading your blog

Gift Guides and What Makes a Good Engagement (with Prezzy Box)

Hi guys,

I’m back with another brand spotlight today. This week it’s the lovely Fran from Prezzy Box and we chat everything from blogger engagement to gift guides. Before we begin, make sure you enter my new giveaway for a chance to win 1-2-1 blog mentoring as it closes next week. You can also read all the past brand spotlights here

Hi


. Now that’s out the way, let’s get started…

 

Q: Tell me a bit more about your role with Prezzy Box? In what way do you work with bloggers?

I’m Fran, PR & Marketing Exec for online gift retailer Prezzybox.com. As a creative business my role literally goes from getting us in the press, to modelling our products and even chatting on the radio. We work with influencers on all types of projects, from reviews and gift guides of our products to hosting events and panel discussions for press and consumers, running competitions and newsletter partnerships plus so much more.

Q:We met at Christmas in July where there was a real mix of press and bloggers. How do you split your time between these 2 forms of media?

Times have changed for both press and bloggers, with lots of print press also having an online platform now, TV having catch-up online and YouTube, blogs and social media being read daily by millions we have to devote our time equally between the two types, but we do look for the most innovative influencers and outlets to work alongside and try to individualise time dependent on how we are working with them.

Q:What do you think the differences are in these 2 forms?

We find a lot of the time daily print press, TV and even social media can produce immediate results in terms of sales or visits to our sites. Whereas a blog or vlog is a longstanding piece of content that can see results gradually over time, or convince a person to return to our site after reading something 3 months previously for instance – it’s difficult sometimes to monitor but we understand that different audiences shop and engage in various ways.

Just one of the many adorable items on Prezzy Box…

Q:What kind of opportunities do you offer bloggers?

We are very tailored in approach depending on what relationship we have or want to create with a blogger. Openness to ideas is key and we have done everything from your standard product placement to unique events hosted by key influencers. We’ve featured bloggers within our emails, collaborated on product ideas, and even produced exclusive content for reciprocal exposure. We try to be creative thinkers – so if you’ve an innovative idea, feel free to share it!

Q:What do you look for in a blogger you work with?

Passion. Knowledge. Punctuality. Uniqueness.

Make a good impression and be enthusiastic, suggest fresh ideas or have a real knowledge about our brand and values plus the way that you could convey that to a reader then you will stand out.

Someone that’s compatible with our brand is a must, PLEASE don’t email me if you are going to call us Prezzy bop or even our competitors name and not even follow up with the link to the blog post. Also, make sure you know the basics, spelling mistakes and having really low stats but being super demanding will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. So target brands that fit with your blog.

Q:Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?

Should we step away from google analytics?

It’s not all about quality, it’s about quality too. Stats are of course an important part of engaging a brand with your blog, but it’s not all about how “influential” you are, as I’ve mentioned, your blog must sit well with our brand.

We want people who produce incredible content that captures the attention of their readers. You could be targeting a smaller readership but they might find it more interesting than a rushed piece of content that’s gone out the thousands.

The focus on statistics however is dependent on your main outlet, Domain authority is important for SEO purposes when linking back to us via blogs, but views on a YouTube video is important on that platform.

Q:Lots of PRs seem to be talking about ‘engagement’ but what do you consider good engagement? Is it likes? retweets? comments? How can a blogger ‘prove’ engagement to you?

Engagement for us is how invested people are with your blog and your advice regarding our products or services. Social media isn’t always trustworthy especially with sites like Instagram where people are buying followers or likes and bots can comment standard responses such as ‘great job’.

Whereas likes and views are sometimes more fleeting for consumers, unique comments and shares are usually apparent of those that are truly invested I the content. Or, if there is a link to our site that we can track then this suggests viewers are intrigued the product and have come to potentially purchase.

Proof can sometimes be how engaged WE are in a blog, if we like the appearance and write-ups on your blog then we see a value in it.

Q:Is it too early for bloggers to get in touch regarding Christmas gift guides yet?

This is the perfect lead time for Christmas gift guides – come November we’ve scheduled in most of our blogger collaborations and are thinking about Valentines!

Q:Do you welcome gift guide pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good gift guide pitch inyour opinion?

Personally I hate it when I get a standard email for ‘I’m now working on my gift guides, please send x…’. What is different about your gift guides, why should a reader take advice from yours over another bloggers? Think outside the box. Last year I had someone feature two different watches from us and another retailer in the same gift guide (not as a comparison) just two watches, two outlets and little review or reason to buy either. We were disappointed.

Q:A question from one of my readers: When sending emails to Prs, is it helpful to include information on things like other publications we write for and about us? Or are you strictly looking for key stats?

Yes, it’s always fab to hear who you’ve been working with, maybe tell us more about those collabs and why they worked. Key stats is great, but we can mostly figure these out ourselves – we want to know about why we would be a good match!

Q:Are media kits helpful? Or do you prefer a more personalised email?

Media kits are helpful (so always keep one to hand) but I tend not to work off this basis, I am inundated with media kits daily and sample requests with no information on what they are intended for or when I will see the coverage. The personal approach is best.

Q:Finally, how can bloggers get in touch?

Simple, fran.prince@prezzybox.com, or any of our social accounts!

 

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
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My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
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Yes, Bloggers. Sometimes you SHOULD work for free.

Ooh, I do love a click bait title. Don’t worry, today’s blog post is not designed to preach to you the benefits of exposure. In fact, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I am pretty vocal on the subject of not working for free and knowing your worth. However, somewhere down the line, the message has got lost and what I’m seeing is bloggers still not talking sensibly about money, trying to charge for everything, missing out on the opportunity to develop their blog and still undercutting each other left, right and centre. So, today rather than repeating motivation phrases, I am going to give you the dos and don’ts and look at answering the old age question (well since 2010): when should bloggers work for free? As always, this is just my take on it all but I’d love to hear your opinions too.

 

Yes, consider working for free when….

  • Looking to boost your Domain Authority. I do not personally think DA is the be all and end all (and I’m not asked for it all that often) but given that the Bloglancer is brand new, I am devoting 3o mins a day to creating a guest post for other sites. Now, this is one example, where doing your research is absolutely key. Make sure you check potential sites using the MOZ toolbar as I get emails every day for sites with a DA of 1 offering me an amazing opportunity to write for them!

 

  • The opportunity adds at least equal value to you as it does the other party. Writing for free is something most of us get asked to do every day.  Although I don’t generally recommend writing for free, it needs to be thought of as a transaction and it’s only worth considering if what you get back is of equal value to what the other site gets. This is why I have rarely written for brand blogs for free because let me ask you this: have you ever read a brand blog and followed the writer that very instant? Therefore a brand is getting a valuable resource of content (which helps their search engine rankings too) and you are probably receiving little back in return. Instead, especially if you have a product or ebook to promote, I’d recommend channelling your energy towards pitching for freelance writing in online and print media as a longer term strategy If you’re going to do it, make sure it has maximum benefit. Getting featured on online sites (e.g. Get the Gloss, The Mighty, Female First and to a lesser extent, Huff Post) or even print publications, will not only provide a big traffic boost if the content is thought provoking (I once got 1000 extra visitors a day after a thumbnail size feature in the Mail on Sunday) but it’ll be something to pop on your media kit (‘as featured in…) and writing portfolio (should you want to develop a freelance career). Therefore, while the publication is getting free content, you are getting something equally beneficial in return. I appreciate this might cause an angry rant of writers saying you should never write for free and yes, ideally there is nothing wrong at all at being paid from the onset (that is the goal). If your idea is unique and can’t be done by another writer, you should absolutely be compensated.  However, you can also be strategic about it and use it as a starting point- not an end point. As I say, you can also ensure your best post, product or ebook is linked to the bottom of an article to attract readers. A compromise can be contributing to articles as an expert. Use the #journorequest hashtag to search for current opportunities. Doing this lead to me being featured in The Guardian!

 

  • It will actually benefit your readers.  Sometimes, you can put aside the concept of a ‘transaction’ if it’s something really valuable to your readers.  We forget that there are real people reading our blog and the information we provide helps them. Linking to sites is too often seen as ‘currency’. If you follow me over at A Balanced Belly you’ll notice that most of my blog posts have about 20 links in them! Not because I am being paid to promote but because I know my readers are actually looking for the information and/or products. And sometimes bloggers lose sight of that. I have in the past pitched to a supplement company and an accountancy software company that I think have really valuable stuff for my readers but they haven’t had a budget. The difference being is I include them on my own terms (not an infographic) because I know they’re useful for my readers.  This is the similarly the case for giveaways. Although many bloggers do charge for giveaways, if it is a once in a lifetime prize that you know your readers will love you for, then it might be worth it. I remember my site almost crashed when I gave away a Nutribullet.

 

  • You just love something. Which leads on to my last point. Recently on my blog, I did a round up of 14 things I had loved that month. Here, on the Bloglancer, I wrote about how much I loved Response Source.   Both of those times, it was me writing about something I was passionate about with no brand or PR agenda- which is largely what blogging should be all about. The same goes for supporting a charity your passionate about.

 

No, don’t even think about working for free when…

  • Someone is getting more value out of something than you are.  Whether it be monetary compensation or value for your readers, if the person on the other end of the email is getting more value out of it than you, then be cautious. This is why you won’t find any dodgy infographics on my site. If they have emailed you, they already recognise your value so therefore you shouldn’t have to prove yourself by working for free first.  And warning, those who build links will often promise ‘quality content’. If the only thing you are getting out of a transaction is content, then consider supporting your fellow bloggers instead and popping a guest post request on a facebook group instead.

 

  • To undercut others. One of the weirdest exchanges I saw on a Facebook recently was a brand asking about a general costing for a post and a whole host of bloggers comment underneath to the point where people were offering to do it for completely free. Why would you do this? The brand clearly asked about costing and therefore was prepared to pay. Let me tell you this if you are new to blogging: there will always be someone who comes along and tries to undercut you. If your thing is being the cheapest blogger, you won’t get very far with that strategy.You have to stand firm and believe what you can offer is truly valuable and unique because the minute you try to drop your prices to compete, you find yourself just going lower and lower.So, while it is frustrating, it is all about the long game and if you set a value on your work, then believe in it!

 

  • The onus is on you to ‘prove yourself’. If you are pitching an article to an online website or a brand you absolutely love, it makes sense they might want to see what you are made of and it’s clear its something of value to you too. However, far too often, I receive emails offering me the chance to work for free to ‘prove’ myself or with paid work further down the line. Never work for free simply because there’s a possibility of paid work if you meet someone’s approval. You can always redirect them to your blog which has a whole host of articles that show exactly what you can do. 

 

I hope this blog post made sense! As you can see, working for free is a complicated (and wordy!) issue but hopefully these tips will be useful! If you enjoyed this post, please do take a second to share and find out below how you can follow me and The Bloglancer!

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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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EBOOK: Everything you need to know about pitching to brands

Are you a UK blogger who is looking to work with brands but don’t know how to reach out to them?  Would you like to make a steady (or even side income) from your blog but feel like the only guides out there are focused on those with hundred of thousands of views making hundreds of thousands a month? Does it feel like most of the advice you read is from US bloggers and is completely over the top?

Then, learning more about my very first ebook: My Blog to Business: Pitching Toolkit is a must!

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30 Ways to Improve Your Blog (In Less Than 10 Minutes)

Do you ever feel like blogging takes up so much of your time, despite only posting once or twice a week? Long are the days when bloggers just poured out their feelings to a laptop (AKA Carrie in Sex and the City) and the readers flocked to them- now we have to work for our readership. This includes everything from promotion, to blog maintenance to replying to comments. It can often seem the admin that comes with blogging is far more time consuming than the blog writing itself.

Today I’m sharing 30 ways to improve your blog- each of these tasks only ten minutes or less, perfect for tackling your blog to-do list in bite size chunks. You can also print off this as a PDF worksheet at the end of the post.

1.Check for broken links.  Use a broken link checker to suss out whether you have any broken links- lots of these could bring your DA score right down and create a very messy blog. Make a note of any links that are broken and come back to them another day.

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21 Gifs That Sum Up Your Blog Journey Perfectly

  1. When you first starting blogging, you are obsessed with it (and telling everyone about it)…..

2. Everything you do, you want to write about it. Nothing is too small and unimportant. Supermarket haul? Trip to the grandparents? It’s all going on there…

3. Then you a hit a few hundred followers and start to think what if I actually become legit the next Zoella and can’t stop telling your mom/boyfriend and anyone else who pretends to be interested.

4. Then you get your first PR sample in the mail and you’re like…

5. And you get a bit obsessed checking your email; just in case another exciting opportunity is waiting in there!

 

6. When someone leaves you your first nice comment, you are like…….

7. But then an anonymous person leaves a horrible message and suddenly you feel like…

8. And decide you’re never blogging again for at least 24 hours.  But then, you go to a bloggers meet up and find out you’re not alone! They’re like you and you want to be everyone’s best friend immediately.

9. You get an amazing opportunity in your inbox and you can’t contain yourself.

10. You email back within 30 seconds; playing it cool by saying: ‘sounds great, could you pop over some more info please.’ but then……

 

 

11. It doesn’t matter though because then you get an email if you’d be interested in posting an article on your site and you’re so flattered. Then you release it’s not an article at all; it’s just words with about 27 follow links to casinos included. You’ve experienced your first of many blog con merchants.

12. You casually mention this to another blogger and they educate you on follow/no-follow links. It is a revelation…

 

13.  Things are going really well; you’ve finally mastered the basics but then someone asks if you used Google Analytics and once you’ve set up you realise…

14. But hang on, it says you got 5,000 hits today. That’s good right. But then you realise they’re all from Russia from a site called spambots.com ; welcome to your first spam traffic.

 

15. You don’t know what’s going wrong- you share your post on twitter but now everyone’s telling you to stumble, pin it, snapchat and periscope it.

16. It just seems like there are SO many bloggers; even if you writer about the world’s smallest niche it can feel like you struggle to stand out- and you can’t help comparing yourself to each of them.

 

17. You decide you love your blog so much you want to do it as a job- it should be easy right? You’re always getting lovely emails asking you to guest blog for companies or share their links on your blog; but then you realise they’ve all got something in common: they want you to work for free. This never used to bother you as a new blogger but now you’ve figured how things worked and gained a following- you can’t keep quiet on the topic.

18. All this talk of blogging and money means you can sometimes lose your passion for blogging about the things you really liked in the first place.

19. And while you can’t get enough of blogger chats…

 

20. You are so over the drama.

21. Then one day (like me this morning) you are in the park and you suddenly get inspired for a blog post you want to write. And you take a moment away from the scheduling, the sponsored posts, the emailing and just sit down and write it.

21. And remember why you love blogging in the first place.

 

How many gifs can you recognise?

Before you go...
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Info on my ebook: Pitching Toolkit