People usually give two reactions when I tell them how for 5 years I made blogging my career. They either laugh incredulously that it is something that can be defined as a ‘career’ or raise the eyebrows in a ‘wow you get paid to write your opinions and get to keep the stuff’!
In reality it sounds simple. You get sent products, invited to events, shipped off on holidays and asked to review exclusive items before the public. You take photos, write about your experience and tell the world how great, or naff, something is. Childs play right?
Not really. There is a difference between blogging as a hobby and blogging professionally, and I don’t mean to patronise anyone who is a casual blogger – after all that is how I started out; writing about the early days of being a mum to a premature baby and the challenges, the fears, the highs and the lows. I’d always loved writing and find I have a natural flow with words and for me writing online was a way of putting down my thoughts to an audience that could offer valuable advice and help in those early days (and the 4am feeding shifts!). However, it quickly became more than a ‘hobby’ when companies started writing to me interested in me working with them to write about their products, to try new things with Addy and in some cases work for them on a freelance basis running their social media accounts and creating marketing strategies.
Very quickly in the space of six months I had gone from dipping my toe back into the world of blogging to forming my own business offering social media support and having a strong client list and a good regular income. Overnight things had got serious and that meant finding a way to juggle motherhood, family life and a business. In an effort so share some of my pearls of wisdom on making your blog work for you and forge a career from the team at the new collaborative network Hiive have asked me to look back over my career so far and offer up some advice. If you’ve not heard of Hiive and are wanting to work in the ‘creative’ industry check it out – Hiive is a professional networking site for anyone working in the creative industries. It offers a platform to showcase your work, find work, collaborate and get access to great courses.’
So what are my top tips for juggling family life and a blog and making that blog and your love of writing into a career? Here are three of the things that stood me well and I would recommend to anyone who wants to make that jump into self-employment.
Find Your Niche
You will have something that you are REALLY passionate to write about. Something that gets your creative juices buzzing and that you could write about effortlessly and without your posts sounding forced and manufactured. This is what your blog should focus on. Don’t try to write about ten different topics or subjects. Stick to one or two and do it well. Your readers and PR professionals will then come to know your blog as a genuine and well researched resource to come to when they are looking for something on that subject.
Network & Make Friends
In the blogging world there are some very influential people that you can learn a lot from and that means attending blogging events and specialist events to network and expand your reach. Plus by attending events such at Britmums, Blogtacular and Blog Academy (to name just a few) you can learn valuable and vital skills that can fine tune your skills, help you overcome hurdles (such as how to organise your to-do list, not get distracted by social media) and even learn new ones such as photography!
Be Professional, Look Professional
This applies to both your appearance and your blog. From getting a good blog design, and engaging a designer to create something that reflects your personality through to creating a professional media kit (your digital CV of blog successes e.g. social media reach, blog statistics, demographics) it is vital that your blog looks professional and not a mish mash of colour, typography and images. Use sites such as PicMonkey to edit and create beautiful photos from your own snaps and make sure that your social media channels are branded to match your blog. People should be able to instantly recognise your voice no matter what platform they are viewing your updates on. When attending blogging events be yourself, bring your personality into an event as that is why people love to read your blog; always be respectful to PRs and professionals and take time to thank them for working together. A little thank you goes a long way and I forged many relationships on a professional level that I still keep in touch with today even though I no longer write full time.
There is much more I could offer but those three tips above are the three that stand out most clearly to me and if you want to take your blogging to the next level remember to check out Hiive if you’re looking to kickstart a creative career and give yourself a boost!