Saturday was the day we’d all been waiting for – the South West Blog Social! I was looking forward to the scheduled chats, cocktails, getting my nails done, meeting some new people and catching up with A Slummy Mummy – and I was not disappointed.
I had a bitch of a cold but sniffled my way up to Exeter in time for a pizza before the chats kicked off. They were a fiver each plus toppings and huuuuge! Myself and Emily were hungry at the time we ordered so went for one each but we ended up with half left over. Our eyes were a bit bigger than our bellies.
The chats were great – we went to three out of the four. Maria McCarthy talked about print media and getting published – a perfect chat for me (and many other bloggers) as I’d love to have a magazine column and book deal (!) when the blog is more established. Here are some tips that I picked up:
- make your blog as unique as possible – find your niche
- when pitching to magazines, make sure you read the mag first. Also, ask yourself if what you’re offering is something the magazine’s staff are likely to write themselves or outsource to a freelancer. If it’s the latter, make sure you include a link to a similar blog post you have written
- when contacting magazines, include a bit about you – a couple of sentences, not a CV. Plus include some blog stats and be specific, e.g. I have acne and write about different treatments
- look into the Journo Biz forums for news on opportunities
- don’t be needy – make them believe they need you
- mention if you have been in print before
- if someone wants you to write a sponsored post, ask them what they’re fee is rather than set a rate – their budget might be higher than you thought!
- if you’re looking for a book deal rather than magazine publication, research specialist agents in your area
- publishers are lazy and don’t want to pay for marketing. If you’ve got a strong following, that puts you in a good position.
We then stuck around for the next chat, which was on how to make money from your blog and working with brands. Emma Coles is a blogger, has an online shop and is the CEO and founder of Adlet, an ad platform for bloggers and small businesses. I’ve been meaning to dedicate some time to researching advertising options for my blog, creating a media pack and reaching out to businesses but Adlet looks like it’ll do most of the hard work for me! The following are your main options if you’re looking to make money through blogging:
- banner ads (sidebar)
- ad network (Google Adsense)
- affiliate programme (% of click)
- paid posts (mostly frowned upon by fellow bloggers)
- services (do you have a skill you can sell to your readers? Custom blog design, etc)
- blog sale (sell some of your stuff!)
Adlet looks fantastic though and when I’ve got a spare hour (what can I say, the weather is too amazing to stay inside writing at the moment – I need to make the most of this Cornish sunshine!) I’m going to read through the website properly and sign up.
I decided to skip the next chat (FBL founder Jessica Debrah on the blogging community) because I think I already know a decent amount about the awesomeness of the blogging community – and I really wanted to get my nails done! I met Rachel from Monkey Nail Art at the blogger event I went to last year and this time she brought all of her supplies! Check out the cute little Twitter-esque birdies on my nails!
The final chat of the day was on finding your blogging voice and content creation ideas that are uniquely you. To attract advertisers and grow as a writer, I think I really need to nail down whether I’m going to narrow down my content themes or continue to branch out. I hoped this discussion would help but instead I found different inspiration. Ruth Douglas, from Imp Ideas, came complete with handouts and worksheets to make us think about who we are, what our blog is and how we can easily generate different types of content throughout the year. I’ll definitely be using these again!
The day was finished off with a raffle and goody bag. Check out the goodies below. My favourites have to be the nail art sets from She Sells Seashells. I’ve definitely been inspired!
I picked up a load of business cards too. Look how pretty! I love Search Laboratory‘s cards as they have different stats on them, encouraging people to use their services. Clever!