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How to create a privacy policy for your blog

GDPR is just a few weeks away from being implemented! Hopefully, you’ve read my The Ultimate Guide to GDPR for bloggers’  and have understood a little more about what GDPR means and the consequences for your blog. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, one of the simplest things you can do today is to get your privacy policy sorted!

Why do you need a privacy policy for your blog?

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The multi-hyphen method review: The book every freelancer needs to read.

I’ve written a few times about how much I devour books about blogging and freelancing. I’ve already shared my favourite blogging books that I can’t live without, and I recently wrote about the best new books for entrepreneurs for The Independent. However, I’ve often felt there are not many books that sum-up the reality for myself and many of my readers: those who juggle several different job titles; make an income from their blog one month and not the next and have about twenty ideas for side-projects in their notebook.

That’s why when I came across ‘The Multi-Hyphen Method‘ by Emma Ganon a few months ago (whilst researching for the article I mentioned previously); I was incredibly excited. I’d heard Emma on a podcast talking about how she struggled to always define ‘what she did’ -and that was ok! Her concept of a ‘multi-hyphen’ approach to work perfectly summed up my journey of going from a teacher to blogger with two blogs; a freelance journalist and now blog outreach manager of Chronic Illness Bloggers Network!

Sadly, the pre-release copies weren’t available in time for me to include Emma’s book in my previous articles; but I remained curious and was so pleased when an advanced copy landed on my mat this week (yes, I really have read the whole thing in less than a week!)

This multi-hyphen method reviews explains why this is one of my favourite books and why every freelancer needs to read the multi-hyphen method!

Emma starts her book by highlighting just how common going freelance is becoming and, as someone who is still relatively new to the world of self-employment, it’s great to know!

I really loved how she also addressed the idea of ‘success’ in this section too. After ploughing my way through business books, many talk about concepts of success that don’t resonate me: earning millions, working four hours a week. Success to me, I realised as the book progressed, is flexibility: to work the hours you’d like, focus on projects your passion about and be in control of your career.

But this isn’t a ‘go freelance now’ type of book (or a book on ‘being an influencer’ as Emma quickly points out!)

Emma highlights how not every project you work on has to be monetised (something, I admitted I struggled with in my post ‘the blogging lies I’ve told‘ and actually it’s perfectly okay to define yourself as a writer, creator, artist, podcaster, YouTuber or whatever else you see fit; without actually bringing in an income from it. In other words: it’s SO not just about the money.

Encouraging flexible approaches to work is a big aspect of the book and part of Emma’s definition of success. She acknowledges the very valid point that not everyone can quit their jobs instantly (Thank you! It took me many years to finally quit the teaching game) or perhaps they won’t want to at all.

There are tips on developing your ‘multi-hyphens’ without burning out and considering things like job sharing and talking to your employer. Most business books share case studies of multi-millionaires but Emma shares those of real-women who love all the different parts of their job; from the senior nurse who has a book deal to the full-time paramedic who runs a blog: these are the types of women we should be reading about in business books!

As the book progresses, there’s plenty of practical tips to apply too: such as Emma sharing her tips on using energy wisely, working for free and how to gain your confidence. It’s such a gem of a book and I know I will keep dipping back into it in the weeks and months to come!

I rarely take the time to write in-depth book reviews, but I just really wanted to take the time to blog this one and share it with you. The Multi-Hyphen method isn’t available until the end of May but if you are a blogger with a ‘day job’, a new freelancer or ‘not quite sure which of the twenty things your juggling best defines you’ I’d 100% recommend you pre-ordering this now.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of the book with no obligation to review. Post contains affiliate links.

 

The lies I’ve told as a blogger (and why it needs to stop)

Today is one of those blog posts that came to me when I least expected it to! So, let me tell you a little story. Ages ago, I saw an Instagram ad campaign for ‘The Bold Type’ on Amazon Prime (this is not in anyway an advertisement for it, I promise!)  At the time, I thought ‘wow, it’s a bit weird that Amazon Prime need Instagram ads.’ and promptly forgot all about it. Yet today, a month or so later, I  was bored; watched one episode and I’m now hooked! So I guess influencer marketing really does work folks!

So what the bloody hell has that got to do with this blog post? Well, the show is all about those who work at a fictional magazine (and to be honest, a magazine that is probably not at all realistic) and the protagonist’s struggle to create pieces that really resonate with people instead of just social shares and traffic. It got me thinking about my purpose and my goals when it comes to blogging; and in honesty, some of the times I’m really not truthful about things.

I’m not talking about Instagram followers (those 4000 followers I’ve earnt over the last five years are all real dammit!) but the conversations I have on my blog…

I’m constantly writing about growing traffic and freelancing: giving the impression that I’ve got this shit all figured out. All of my blog posts create a narrative that you’re just one step away from tons of traffic via Pinterest-and when you do; it’ll be plain sailing and money-making from there out.

Not often do we talk honestly about blogging and what it means to us. We lie (or perhaps simply ‘present our best version of ourselves’)not only to our readers but also to ourselves. So today, I wanted to be really honest with you and make some confessions…

1. I’m sorry, but I do get unhealthily obsessed with my numbers.

I think it’s healthy to know your stats. But, to be honest, I can view my stats as a form of validation rather than a success in their own right. If they’ve dropped: I’m not interesting, I’ve got no voice and nobody cares. If they’re up? I’m an amazing success. Yet, It’s often not relative: I had so much lovely feedback from my Youtuber channel-even though I don’t have many subscribers yet.

I also recently blogged about increasing my traffic from 20,000 to 30,000 monthly views; and whilst that has led me to apply for Mediavine-it hasn’t seen any more opportunities come my way than previously. In fact, I have had more work on my blog some months, when my traffic was 1/2 the size I get now! So, I’m sorry if I present traffic as a ‘magic key’ to unlock opportunities: I do think it’s vital but after you reach a certain point, you might not find it as important as you’d think.

2.Pinterest really isn’t the be end all.

I know I’ve blogged about Pinterest a few times and I’ve had loads of people get in touch asking me to help them with it. Pinterest is great but it does have its flaws too: it’s a search engine and that means the people that find my posts are likely to click on and click off- a loyal reader they do not make. Although I am pleased that some of my pins have done amazing through Pinterest, I’m also envious of those who gain traffic through loyal, superfan readers too.

3. I compare myself a lot.

I’ll be honest, I’ve had a few moments recently when I’ve seen bloggers get campaigns I’m perfect for me (in my own head at least) and I compare myself. Am I getting as much work as them? Am I as popular? Note that actually, my worries about not receiving a campaign is not even a money thing necessarily- it’s a validation that I’m succeeding and people are interested in me.

4.I get quite bored of taking photos

Don’t get me wrong-I like taking photos but I’m not brilliant at it. Instagram natural I am not! So, I’d love to say I relish the opportunity, but most the time I want to eat or my husband is telling me to put my phone away. I seem to always attract shadows, inadvertently drop my own hair in the food, shoo the dogs away who try (and sometimes succeed) to eat the food and by the time I’ve taken it, It’s cold and I’m no longer hungry.

5.I’m really glad I don’t have an ‘Instagram husband’

What is it with all these bloggers recently sharing that they know their boyfriend is the one because they are just so invested in their Instagram feeds and celebrate their milestones?. I’d like to share the following conversation I literally just had with my husband:

Me: I’m writing a blog post, so for research purposes how many followers do you think I have on Instagram?

Him: I don’t know.

Me: Guess

Him: About 500?

Me: No!

Him: 10,000 then

Me: Err also no!

Him: I don’t even know what’s supposed to be a good number!

So, there you have it. But oh my goodness guys- it’s a bloody photo sharing app; it’s not rocket science. I understand you taking an interest in your partner’s work but it’s also very helpful to have someone to tell you to turn your phone off and not to take it so seriously;because ‘yeah, it’s Instagram!’

6. I don’t just ‘blog for me’, I blog for traffic

I think blogging for yourself is a really nice sentiment and one that I followed for many, many years. I think once you take that transition into blogging as a job (whether it’s for money or simply putting yourself out there as professional) and delve into all the stats that come with it (What’s your twitter impressions? your average comments per Instagram post? your bounce rate?)  it’s very hard to detach and blog purely for yourself. There’s some type of content I know is more relevant to my audience each time I write it, and sometimes there are occasions when I know something won’t get lots of traffic, but I’ll write it anyway.

7. I do blog for money

What is with the stigma of ‘if you’re starting a blog for money, you’re doing it wrong.’ Imagine if we said that to people studying a qualification or starting a new career. Now, when I first started out, I definitely didn’t consider blogging as an income-but my second blog (this one you’re reading), I do think about how to make it financially viable and have done since I set it up; I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

This leads me on to the next part, I think it’s really exciting to be blogging as ‘a job’ but, you do start to think about your time constantly and how you use it-and if you’re time is compensated. It can be difficult to separate things like admin time and just enjoying blogging: I can sometimes think ‘is this work?’ ‘how is it benefiting me?’ However, The Bloglancer at the moment is largely sponsored-post free and I still really enjoy it. Yet you do feel a little guilty spending time on it; since any time is essentially ‘work-time.’

8. I do feel as if it’s all falling apart

There are quiet days, weeks, months sometimes. Days where you check your inbox isn’t broken and wonder why everyone around you is getting opportunities. I’m sure there’s people who read my blog and my freelance work and think ‘where is she getting all these opportunities from too.’ I’ll mope for a while; then grab my notebook and start sending emails out again. I’m pushy I suppose: I’ll follow up emails; I’ll pick up the phone and just get going again. We don’t often talk about the wall of email silence, campaigns falling through and weighing up how long to chase again but it happens!

I hope this blog post helped-and in the interest in honesty, I’d LOVE to hear your confessions!

10 blogging resources I can’t live without (books, podcasts AND 2 giveaways)

Today I wanted to talk about all my favourite blogging resources-whether its books I’ve delved into, stationary I’m loving or Podcasts I can’t get enough of! I’d love to hear your favourites too-and stay tuned for information on TWO GIVEAWAYS- One on my own blog to win a copy of ‘Blogging your Way to Riches’ and another with Old English Company

just a quick reminder of my two self-published resources before I begin (I’d feel a bit silly put my own books in the top ten but they’re definitely worth a read if you haven’t got them already!)

    

        Pitching Toolkit                                        Blog Growth Toolkit

With my shameless self-promo out the way (hey! a girl’s got to eat); let’s get down to my top ten…

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How Much Do Bloggers Charge For Sponsored Posts?

Hi everyone! Today’s the day: I’ve finally managed to make sense of, and write about, my sponsored post survey!

One of my most popular posts is: ‘How much should I charge for sponsored posts?’  And whilst this is still a useful post that breaks down the key things a brand might be looking for; how to create different package costs and work out a fee right for you; lots of you still ask me about the specifics. So I decided to create a survey that answered questions such as: how much should I charge for a sponsored blog? what about sponsored social posts? and how much should you charge for guest posts, use of images and giveaways?

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

 

Brand Spotlight: Interview with Sam from Socially Famous PR

Happy Friday everyone! Today, I am interviewing Sam from Socially Famous PR     Sam runs 2 blogs (sociallysam.com a business blog and a lifestyle blog which is currently being revamped.) as well as running Socially Famous PR. Not only did Sam help me out by answering these questions super last minute; she was incredibly honest and there is so much value in all of her answers. So get a notepad and a cup of tea at the ready!

If you enjoy this interview, you can check out all my chats with PRs here. 

 Q: Hi Sam! Tell me a bit more about yourself- what brands do you represent?

We started out purely as a social media marketing agency but because I’ve been a blogger myself for nearly 10 years now I found I was getting my social media clients asking about working with bloggers. It became natural to add that as a service. We tend to work with smaller brands who have more niche products on the blogger’s side. At the moment we’ve got a skincare brand, a pet product, a wedding services business and we have a new health food product that will be launching later in the year.

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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

Related image

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

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