Business Bites: Being Weird Together

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Photography: via Martha Stewart

Being friends with other bloggers is totally awesome. I was reminded of this just yesterday when I had a lunch date with the gorgeous Emily of Fashion Foie Gras, who I met at the Cosmopolitan Superbloggers Masterclass. It’s the same as when I hang out with Gala and Shauna (19 sleeps and counting!) because we don’t have to worry about feeling weird wanting to photograph our outfits or document our hang-out, talking through the benefits of twitter vs facebook or discussing the latest internet drama. To us this is all totally normal behaviour!

Being a blogger can be quite an isolating career path if you let it. If you work for yourself (especially if you’re at home on your own) I can’t encourage you enough to get yourself out there, make friends with your peers and all be weird together.

Have a fabulous weekend guys.

Four pricing principles to never forget. The biggest common mistakes is “believing everyone should be happy to pay for your product” – they shouldn’t!
Is making money from blogging passive income?
Oversharing, how much is too much on social media?
How to set up your own online shop
♥ Stop hiding and make it happen!
♥ If you one read (and watch) one this thing week let it be Marie Forleo interviewing Sally Hogshead about how to be fascinating. I had so many lightbulb moments watching it!

“You don’t have to change who you are to become your most successful. In fact it’s the opposite, you need to become more of who you are ” Sally Hogshead

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The Ins and Outs of Sponsored Blog Posts

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I‘ve been blogging for just over a year, I have a nice niche following, consistent stats and I make a decent amount of money each month from banner ads.

I’ve always said I wouldn’t do sponsored posts because I only ever wanted to write about things that I really believed in but I’m now starting to see that might have been a bit naive. However I’m totally lost and confused and every time I start to think about doing them I get really worried that I might be end up doing it wrong or something. How is best to manage it and how do I know what to charge?

Does having sponsored posts forfeit my right to write about things I like when I’m not getting paid? For example, how do I justify charging someone for a post when I might write about another company just because I want people to know about them? I would obviously only write about things I thought were good but it still feels confusing. 

I’m also really worried about putting off or upsetting my readers. Is there a knack to writing sponsored posts that people still enjoy? I’ve read some really bad ones where it all sounds really fake. How do you keep your sponsored posts interesting for your readers while still getting the message across?

And finally where do I draw the line? I’ve built great relationships with a lot of companies and often if people want to be featured I’ll get them to write up useful and informative copy so it’s still interesting for my readers but how do I know when something is in sponsored post territory and when it’s not? 

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Love them or loathe them sponsored posts have fast become a big part of blogging life. If you’ve worked your little blogger butt off and built a site that readers flock to regularly, soon enough brands, PRs and small businesses will start to approach you wanting a piece of the pie. If you have an engaged and loyal audience (this is key – bigger isn’t always better) they’ll see your blog as the perfect platform to promote their product or service.

When should a post be sponsored?

OK so first things first, how do you justify charging someone for post when you write about others for free? I’m not going to lie, this is a tricky one. You, and only you, can decide when charging for a post is right for your specific blog but you must do so before you start accepting any payments or it can all get very confusing very quickly.

As a general rule I’d probably say that if a company is approaching you for coverage then you are well within your rights to explain to them that there is a fee involved. However it is still your prerogative to occasionally write about things you’ve found or experienced that you really loved and think your readers will enjoy or benefit from. It is your blog after all and holding back on publishing things that you know will be popular just because you’re not getting paid is only going to hamper the success of your site.

You are right though, you do need to draw a line. I feel that if someone is coming to you for coverage they clearly value what you have to offer and therefore it needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship (i.e you have to get something out of the collaboration too). Again, only you can decide what that might be. Does an engaging guest post benefit you? Would you accept a sample or gift? Or do you only want cold, hard cash?

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Business Bites: Starting Over

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Photography: The Wedding Chicks

I’ve learnt a lot about what it takes to launch a new business of late. Not so much with Rock n Roll Bride, which I kind of fell into by accident, but with The Blogcademy, the bloggers workshop that I launched with Gala and Shauna in the latter part of last year. Its actually really crazy to think how far we’ve come, the lessons we’ve learnt and the changes we’ve already made (to the promotion, the online presence and the curriculum that we teach!) but it’s been really valuable having to do it so quickly.

Starting a business which immediately needs to be profitable is hard bloody work. I know this sounds like an obvious and pretty dumb thing to say, but unless you’re in it right now, it can be hard to remember what it was like when you first started out. It’s a constant work in progress and sometimes feels like a bit of an uphill struggle but it’s totally worth it and obviously super satisfying when it pays off. If you come to a class, I promise we’ll tell you all about it!

It’s funny that I’ve been thinking about that this week as a lot of the business related links I’ve found are to do with starting over or starting from scratch. Weird huh?

What would you do if you had to start your business from scratch?
Five tips for designing a company logo
♥ Are you charging enough?
Feeling lost? How to start over when things fall apart

“If you go through life knowing that every problem is solving a greater purpose, somehow its making you stonger and smarter, you’re going to look for, and find, an empowering lesson in every situation.” Marie Forleo

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It’s Good to Cringe

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Recently, a good friend and photographer showed me some images that he had shot a few years ago. He told me that he was cringing while putting together the couple’s album because they had waited three years before coming back with their selection and meantime his work had, in his eyes, improved a lot. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the images and the couple were clearly still very happy with them if they were investing in an album. Of course they were not the images he would shoot if he did their wedding today but I told him that I think it’s good to look back on your old work and cringe a little. It shows that you are progressing, evolving and developing.

When interviewed on Rock n Roll Bride, Jonas Peterson said “You will never find your style, your style will find you” and certainly ‘finding your style’ is one thing that a lot of photographers, artists and designers seem to struggle with, especially in the early days. However I believe that this constant quest to define and refine your style is one of the things that keeps us in a state of creativity. If we didn’t, our work would surely become stale and dated and we’d probably get very bored. I have been earning my living from taking photographs for over twenty years and I have yet to think “this is it… this is exactly how I’m going to shoot every picture from now on”. I go through phases of being in love with a certain lens, filter or technique but it is never the only way I shoot. By constantly playing and experimenting, learning rules and then breaking them, I’m forever progressing and changing. Any creative should grow with their craft and I very much see it as a journey. The path may be unknown at times but isn’t that all part of the adventure?

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Step Away from the Press Release

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The first press release was written in 1906, created by the Pennsylvania Railroad who had just experienced a major accident in which 53 passengers were killed. They quickly released a statement to the press in order to nip any rumours that might be published in the bud. A sensible idea you might think, and yes, it most definitely was. However fast forward 100 years, and similar statements are being released by companies left right and centre, but without this same vital reasoning. These days every small start up business in the world thinks that PR lesson number one is to nail the perfect press release. I’m here today to tell you why I think this is a wrongful assumption and usually a completely pointless exercise.

I hate press releases. With a passion. I’m now half expecting an angry mob of PR’s, bloggers, business owners and journalists to turn up at my door baying for my blood, but hold fire on those pitch forks for just a minute and hear me out…

For a lot of small companies, the press release is believed to be the most important first step in a PR campaign. The drill is usually a mailshot sent to journalists and bloggers, announcing some thrilling piece of company news that they hope the media will get just as excited over and therefore write about. It might be the launch of a range of products, a new appointment or a Summer sale for example. These emails are usually flanked with the imposing phrase “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” (capitals and bold type are obviously mandatory to demonstrate just how damn important this piece of ‘news’ actually is).

Forgive me, but YAWN.

“But wait!” I hear you cry, “I’ve been sending out press releases for years and I’ve got some great media coverage from them!” And while this may well be true, let me offer you another idea, one I guarantee will get you even more coverage in the long run and carry a lot more favour with the journalists you’re trying to impress.

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Business Bites: Being Hungry

Ellie Gillard photography - Bunny Love styled shoot-80

Photography: Ellie Gillard Photography

I’m hungry. I’ve been doing the Clean Program Refresh all week (more on this soon!) and whilst I initially moaned about being a little hungrier than usual, as I came to the end of the seven day programme I had a moment of clarity. In a metaphorical way, being hungry is undoubtedly a good thing. Hunger is what forces us to go out and make changes. Hunger is what encourages us to re-evaluate what we’re doing and if we’re on the right path. Hunger makes us long for something better and pushes us to achieve it.

I am hungry for change. To change how I do certain things and act in certain situations. I’m not perfect at this business stuff, but I’m doing my best. Muddling through in the best way I know how… Now please excuse me while I crack open this packet of biscuits to celebrate my amazing moment of clarity.

Why I don’t care about SEO
The joy of accounting (boooo!)
Why being ‘all booked up’ is ruining your business
♥ Did we exist before social media?

“A friend once told me that social media was like being at a party where everyone’s high on cocaine—they’re all talking at the same time and no one’s listening, all while trying to look good and sound smart.” Paul Jarvis

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