Oh, also, there is a Listen To Your Mother salon reading tonight at BlogHer but you can watch my Listen To Your Mother show right here! Yippee!
Hoping my take on bloggy stuff is helpful to someone.... as always, please feel free to ask questions in the comments or email me anytime. I'll try to respond in a timely manner!
At both the Midwest Moms brand/blogger summit and also Tech Week in Chicago last month I spoke on a panel about all sorts of blogging topics, but I wanted to highlight a few tips/tricks of the trade real quick here.
When starting out, how do you go from 1 reader to 100 a readers a day?
My best answer to this is a few things:
- Comment on other blogs and be engaging and relevant - it's like your little fingerprint or "calling card" as some might say (but don't be spammy or promote yourself, just comment and be nice! ) Also, I haven't been very good at heeding this advice in the past year or so and am working on remedying that right quick. It takes time- but is worth it.
- Join blog carnivals that interest you such as Wordless Wednesday, You Capture, Bigger Picture Blogs, Small Style, What I Wore Wednesday, etc. Link up and then visit the participants & comment.
- Create your own carnival or blogroll or writing prompt and make a way to get others to link to you on their site (for example, see my Babywearing Bloggers blogroll)
- Link your blog in your email signature
- Tweet your posts, link on facebook. People are ditching their blog feed readers left and right and only reading blogs based on what they see on Twitter, Facebook, & Google+. I still have a Reader, tho! (And you can subscribe here btw.)
- Be patient. It will take time. If you like to write, write. People will come in time as long as they know how to find you.
Do you pitch brands or wait for them to pitch you?
Normally, I don't pitch brands. Basically because it makes me anxious and I'm not usually in that mindset but! if you have a great idea and want to partner with a brand to bring it to fruition, do not sit around and wait for them to knock on your inbox. Why wait? Go for it!
And if you don't know how to reach them, ask a blog friend. Seriously, all my contacts and information is welcome to you and I've found through the years that other bloggers live by this same motto. Of course, don't use people, be genuine. But, if you need a favor, ask!
(For example... the Acadia Denali I'm driving this week- we've been having car troubles and have an upcoming family road trip. I reached out to my friends MJ & Casey and asked if they'd mind sharing their contact info at GM (because I remembered they'd both blogged about GM before and had good experiences), and not only did they share, they also sent a heads up recommendation email on my behalf. But then, I had to make it worth GM's while, too, so I will be taking photos and sure to write/tweet/facebook about our trip and use of their vehicle... and so forth.)
Going to blog conferences is an excellent way to connect with friendly bloggers and brands. But, it's not always the right timing in your life especially if you have kids- oh do I get that! You don't have to go to conferences in order to make those connections, but it does help, I admit. It seems like more and more conferences are popping up all over, so maybe one will come to you. Honestly, they are all pretty good from what I hear. And if anything, you'll meet great people.
What if you don't "do" reviews and get pitched by a brand?
In the past, if I get emailed about something that I don't want to write about I'll often try to turn it into an ad sale. "I have advertising space available in my sidebar if you are interested!" It works. Important advice: Google the brand's name and the word "controversy" before you sign any contracts or attach your name to theirs. Know the background, know your readers (what would they think of you partnering with this brand?) and be true to yourself. Think about their online presence- do they have someone manning their social media outlets and handling it with grace? Dollars are not worth as much as your online reputation and integrity. Oh and if you or the brand makes a mistake? Own up to it. Make it right. We are human and we err!
Do what makes sense for you.
Hello me working with Hallmark? Yes, it's sponsored posts but also, it's a dream come true for me and definitely worth my while. It makes sense for me! Know it in your heart. Try not to create imaginary rules- it's okay to not blog every day and it's okay to blog two times a day! I am sure someone else has a much better (educated) opinion of this than me but honestly when I am reading my favorite blogs, I read them because I like them. Not because they know some secret handshake. I want to read their words. Everyone has their own unique way to tell their story. I love this about blogging!
To see the full agenda of learning sessions during the BlogHop Conference, visit Blog Conference Newbie.