Since 2010 when I started my blogging escapades I never thought of it as a way to make income or a way out of corporate life. I love the corporate world and I love being in an office environment so for me blogging was my release.
It started off as something I did to talk about my life and what was happening in it, sort of like a journal. Transitioned in to plus size fashion, then beauty and finally, the blog you see today. Beauty with some fashion and lifestyle sprinkled in.
I have never taken blogging seriously, never had a blogging schedule or really even had a theme for photos. I did try once or twice but it just didn’t work for me.
I realised that I wasn’t the only one. There is a whole swathe of Hobby Bloggers out there. Enjoying the freedom of having their little space on the internet for people (including myself) to get enjoyment out of.
Although I don’t blog in a professional capacity I have managed to successfully grow my blog and following to now have some recognition. Thus, I have recently been contacted by PR companies and it’s quite overwhelming, and of course, very exciting to be considered. What it does mean though is that I am more flexible in what sort of blog post I can do with them.
I am not looking for an income with my blog, I already have my day job, I am looking for an outlet. Being offered items to review has been so exciting but it’s not the reason I have my blog. 95% of items shown in the blog are paid for by me which I think people really like, makes it more relatable to my readers. I am also very honest with my readers if I have been contacted to do a post and work on the provision that I get to say what I really think about the things I do review.
I think the Hobby Blogger is becoming a bigger community with much more blogs starting up and less room for people to take it through to a full time job so here are 10 tips from me to you if you are starting out:
- Set realistic goals. Not just for followers and engagement but for how many blog posts you will actually write. Do once a week for starters. You might have a tonne of ideas but writing them and publishing them all in one go might not make your blog sustainable. There are so many blogs that you want people to know they can come and find you and you will be there.
- Don’t spend tonnes of money on your blog. Find your writing style first, write about things you own or you need to buy rather than ‘for the blog’. You don’t receive any of it back and we all fall foul to it but actually – if you’re not earning money then don’t spend your hard earned cash…unless it’s a necessity
- Don’t expect to be flooded with PR opportunities immediately. It won’t happen. I have been blogging for years (7 to be exact) and it’s trickling in only now. It’s great because I haven’t been pressuring myself to get those contacts but recently my little space is being recognised.
- Put time aside for your blog and social media. Don’t let it take over your real life. I enjoy writing and I allow myself a small amount of time each evening for social media and promotion of my blog. Blog posts will be written on a weekend or during a lunch hour when I might be feeling creative.. (I send myself so many blog posts in an email it’s ridiculous!)
- Enjoy writing. I see so many people get disheartened because their blog isn’t being followed or engaged with and that they ‘fall out of love’ with their blog. The thing is, when it’s not your job then you have the freedom to take time out if it’s too much pressure or you can take it back to basics. Ask yourself these questions; Why did I start blogging? What do I love most? What is fun about it?
- Find other ‘Hobby Bloggers’ and build a community. There are so many smaller bloggers out there that will feel the same way about you. Connect with them in Twitter chats or facebook and you can discuss what you find good and what you find frustrating. Community for me has always been a key way of keeping enjoyment in my blog.
- Engage. You might be feeling sad that you aren’t getting any engagement and you are not the only one. I have found that if I comment on a minimum of 10 blog posts every few days (included in my time I set aside) I get lots of engagement back. You can’t expect people to just find you. If you let people know you’re loving their blog they will want to know who you are and engage with you back.
- Set up a media pack. I honestly think this is invaluable and it’s so easy. I will definitely do a blog post on how I created mine but there are plenty out there. All you need to include is your blogging stats and your social media stats as a basic. If you have worked with any brands (that includes being invited to events) then include them in your pack.
- Know your worth. You might just be a small time blogger but you are still providing a service. Of course you’re not going to be charging hundreds of pounds for a blog post if you’ve got small engagement but do try and work out what you should accept. For me, I do accept gifting for review as a way to work with PRs but I have done a couple of sponsored posts that fit really well with my blog and have charged between £50 and £70. Include this in your media pack if you can.
- Don’t make your blog too specific. I am primarily a beauty blogger but I chose my blog name to represent me and everything I love so that I could be more flexible and do write about anything I wanted to, if I wanted to. It widens your audience and makes it more personal.
I am definitely going to do a post about why I chose to go self hosted, what I paid, the blog layout I used and the benefits of doing so soon as I really think it would be a benefit to others.
Are you a ‘Hobby Blogger’? Have you just started out recently or had your blog a long time with small engagement? Is there any of the tips you will take away?