Thursday, 8 February 2018

5 Tips from 5 Years Blogging

North East Family Fun turned 5 this week and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share 5 tips I've learned from the past five years.

5 Blogging Tips from 5 Years Blogging

1 - How to set your fee

I see this question asked a fair bit in blogging groups (and I'll even ask it myself on occasion). Because blogging is such a new business and there are so many variables which can determine your fee and every single blogging job is different, I find it best not to have a set fee and to price each job individually. If you can, always include optional extras too (eg an Instagram photo). A technique which has worked for me over the past few years is what I call the '7 times rule'. If seven brands agree to my fee without trying to negotiate within a few months of each other, I know it's time to increase my fee and I add around £50 to my rates. The beauty of self-employment is that you're in charge of your rates so if you're having a quiet month, you can charge less or offer discounts and if you're super busy you can afford to add a little extra to your fee.

So....what to charge? When I started accepting sponsored blog posts, I was happy with £40-£60. Then I moved up to £80, then £130, then £250 and now it's generally £300 - £500 per blog post. Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. Personally, I think £40-£60 is far too low and I should never have charged that! I think £75-£100 is a good fee to start with and then you'll work out for yourself how and when to increase this.

2 - Readers appreciate clear disclosure

Did you know by law, 99% of blog posts probably don't actually need to be disclosed as an advert? The ASA only requires something to be marked as an advert if the blogger has received payment AND does not have editorial control (affiliate links have their own rules and should always be marked as such). Now most of the time, bloggers have free reign to write what we'd like about the brands we're working with so technically we don't need to mark most of our posts as an advert.

However, I feel super strongly that we owe it to our readers to disclose whether we're working with a brand or not. I think it's the only way readers are ever going to build trust with a blogger and frankly, if a post or 'freebie' is not properly disclosed I think it's deceiving your audience and if you're deceiving them that way, what else aren't you telling them?

3 - Learn to say no to most product reviews 

When I first set-up North East Family Fun, I used to review everything in sight. Even a set of kitchen scales! The lure of freebies can be too much sometimes. Over the years you learn that the time taken to photograph, research, write and promote a product often just isn't worth it and 9/10 you're actually better off just buying the product yourself. Wouldn't you rather spend the time it takes to review a £25 product writing something of significance and from the heart instead?

Not accepting review products is a hard habit to get out of and even last year I probably reviewed a couple of things that weren't worth my time. That being said, if you are asked to review a product or experience that is a fantastic fit to your audience, you should 100% go for it. My tent reviews, days out and holidays, camping equipment and household appliance reviews always do well and over time you learn what is going to work for both you and your audience and what isn't and saying no to reviews that just aren't the best fit comes a lot easier with practice.

4 - You don't need to be on every platform

I know that my two strongest platforms are Facebook and Twitter. I love these two Social Networks and they just come naturally to me. Next up would be Instagram and Pinterest where I do know what I'm doing but I'm nowhere near pro-level. I think it really helps to establish where your strong points are when it comes to Social Media and really invest time in growing two of these platforms whilst keeping the other ones ticking over. I do think that all bloggers should have an Instagram and Twitter account but the rest is up to you. You don't need to be active on every platform but I do think you should claim your blog name on every platform just in case! I tried snapchat for a while but the only people who followed me were other bloggers and that's not who I target North East Family Fun at. I think to get the balance right and avoid Social Media burn-out, you should aim to be a pro across two platforms and proficient in a further three.

5 - You need a tribe

I honestly can't stress this enough. It's mad to think that I didn't have any blogging friends during my first 18 months blogging but now I can count a fair few North East Bloggers as good friends - we even go on holiday together! It's lovely having a group of people you can sound ideas off, who will understand your frustrations like non-bloggers don't and who will be your biggest cheerleaders too. I also have a fabulous UK Family Travel Bloggers tribe who are always there to share each others posts, advise on pricing or protocol and share best practice and tips. I couldn't be without these ladies either! It's such a good feeling knowing that I have around 15 people I can 100% rely upon or message if ever I need them. Sometimes working alone is tough!

If you have yet to find your tribe, take the time to find bloggers who live near you, chat on Twitter and comment on their blog posts, maybe offer to meet up and take blog photos for each other or ask them to be your +1 or if you can meet up before a blog event. I remember my first blog event like it was yesterday and I was SO nervous. I actually felt sick with nerves. Everyone is in the same boat though and after 5 minutes you'll honestly wonder what you were worrying about.

Here's to the next 5 years! 

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5 Blogging Tips from 5 Years Blogging



4 comments

  1. Brilliant tips as always Samantha ;) Huge congratulations on five years blogging, it’s such an achievement to keep motivated when self employed. I love your 7 rule and intend to try that myself and like you I don’t know what I would do without our UKFTB tribe! Xx

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  2. Great tips! I actually have deprioritised my worst performing social media this year so I can focus on my top ones. I think I’m quite good at not reviewing stuff - I’ve actually never done a toy review on the blog but I do wonder, by not doing them am I missing out on building contacts?!

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  3. Hey beaut! I love the '7 times rule', it's super clever. I didn't know that you didn't have to disclose all ads. But, I agree with you, it's always best to so readers have trust in you. I actually found out last year that I didn't have to be on every social media platform. I personally find it much easier and better being on the platforms that I enjoy. I haven't found my tribe yet, but I'll be following your amazing tips! Thank you hun, loved all 5 tips and will be putting many into action. Wish you MANY more years of blogging <3!
    Lots of love,
    Ramshaa Rose
    xxx

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  4. I totally agree with the not being on every platform - I do what I can on Facebook, but I know I'm best on Twitter and Insta so I stick to those. I know trying to build an audience on Facebook would spread me too thin!

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