Tag Archives: dear kat

How to Email Like a Pro (or, How to Get a Reply from a Busy Person)

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Dear Kat
I’m a new blogger and I’m really struggling with getting my name out there… well, it’s not even that really, I’m struggling to get any kind of response from people. You see, I’ve emailed a bunch of people in the industry that I admire, sometimes to ask for a little advice, but mostly to just introduce myself and say hello… but no one is replying to me. I’m starting to feel invisible!

It’s so difficult to get a new blog or business off the ground as it is and I already feel like giving up. What am I doing wrong?

“Getting your name out there” can be one of the biggest hurdles for new bloggers and business owners. You have this great idea but no-one knows you exist! There must be an easy answer… right? Unfortunately you couldn’t be further from the truth. Effective networking and marketing need to go way beyond simply sitting behind your computer and firing off a few emails or tweets and hoping someone pays attention. I’m sorry to break it to you, but they won’t.

Emailing people you admire, or want something from, is a skill in itself, so today I thought I’d address this issue specifically.

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The first thing you need to realise is that the non-responses are probably not personal. It’s unlikely you’ve mortally offended any of these people.

To be brutally honest with you though, I hate getting messages like this. It’s not that I don’t want to help where I can, but sometimes it can all just feel very demanding. Like, they want me to do something for them (and as harsh as it sounds) there’s nothing in it for me.

Also, a lot of these emails feature the same irritating mistakes. Like most of the people I’d imagine you are emailing, I am very time poor. It’s actually quite presumptuous to expect a busy person to give up some of their precious time to help you “get your name out” when you’ve effectively just cold called them.

So what can you do to make sure the busy person you want something from might actually reply?

Your email is personalised and genuine

If you’re emailing someone you admire, either to just to introduce yourself or to ask for advice, then for goodness sakes make it personal. This is not the time to use the CC or BCC tool! A mass email stands out a mile and efficiency should never win over manners.

Always address the person by name. I get hundreds (I wish I was exaggerating) of emails a week from PR companies, small businesses or people wanting something from me that simply start with “Hi there”, or “Dear Sir/ Madam” (!) or even worst “Dear Blogger” REALLY!? To me this looks like you’ve either a) sent the same email to multiple people or b) can’t be bothered to find out what my name is (and for goodness sakes it’s IN my email address!) 

You need to show that you are genuinely interested in whoever you’re emailing, especially if you are asking for a favour. People are less likely to ignore you if they see your passion and personality coming through in your message.

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How Do I Monetise My Non-Consumer Driven Blog?

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

Hi Kat, I’m a blogger and I have a conundrum. I hope you can help. Lately I’ve been finding that when I write about anything life-advice related I get a huge response, and people really enjoy the discussion topics. In comparison if I post about something more trivial, like interiors, fashion or beauty it seems a bit like filler content to me. They get a bit of a response, but nothing compared to the meatier stuff.

What I really want to do is just remove all my categories and keep going with my blog as a place for life advice, women chat, a little light feminism and a place to be inspired.

The big problem is (and this is why I didn’t do it in the first place) is that I’m really struggling to know how to monetise that kind of blog. When you’re writing about STUFF it’s easy, people pay you to promote their STUFF (geddit?) but what if it’s just me writing things I think will help people? How do I then turn a profit? Who are my advertisers? How do I reach them?

These are all things stopping me from following my heart when it comes to my blog but there must be a way around it, I just haven’t thought of it yet.

Is there a way to make money from your passion if it isn’t immediately and obviously a commercial venture? Or should I just accept that writing about make up, clothes and interiors is the way to get people to sponsor?

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

When it comes to blogging, the number one rule is that you really need to write about the things you are truly passionate about. If you don’t it will be completely obvious to your readers, but more importantly, it will be no fun for you! Who wants to spend their days writing reviews of products they don’t really rate or sharing fashion trends they don’t really care about?! 

Following the masses is not what will make your blog successful. There are a million other bloggers doing beauty product reviews, Pinterest round-ups and sharing their outfits. In order to stand out, you need to make yourself memorable – and different – by being yourself!

I’m so happy for you that you’ve found the path you want your writing to take, that’s more than half the battle. There are too many bloggers out there doing the same old thing and they’re all fighting tooth and nail for the same advertisers.

However, in saying that, I don’t think every single article you publish needs to be the equivalent of the next War and Peace. It’s actually quite nice to mix things up with a few lighter, or as you say filler, posts. Otherwise your blog might end up being all very heavy and intense! Everyone enjoys a little escapism now and again, even if they don’t bother to comment on it telling you so.

After all, if you’re covering a sensitive topic, everyone will have an opinion. There’s also always something someone else can add to the discussion in the comments. Yet when it comes to posts about more trivial matters such as interior design, fashion or beauty reviews, there’s really not much you can say in response, other than something like “This is cool, I want to try it too”. Most people just won’t bother. I’ve written about why I think blog comments are down before, and if you haven’t, I’d encourage you to have a read.

To have the most success with these ‘filler’ articles you always need to keep who your readers are in mind. Why do they love your blog? What are their interests? What do they like to read other than your website? What do they do in their spare time? Maybe instead of being high street darlings they’re the kind of people who’d prefer eco home ideas, or charity shop shopping. Remember, they all still live in houses and wear clothes, they just might not care about expensive kitchen gadgets or the latest trends.

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

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Navigating Online Cliques

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Dear Kat
I’m a new blogger (hoping to launch my site soon) and I’m really struggling with getting my name out there… well, it’s not even that really, I’m struggling to get any kind of response from people. You see, I’ve emailed a bunch of people in the industry that I admire, sometimes to ask for a little advice, but mostly to just introduce myself and say hello… but no one is replying to me. I’m starting to feel invisible!

It’s so difficult to get a new blog or business off the ground as it is and I already feel like giving up. I feel like there are all these different cliques of people and I don’t fit in anywhere. I feel like everyone else is already in the club and I’m standing on the outside on my own. It just seems like they don’t want anyone else to join. What am I doing wrong?

I think this is something we all struggle with when we first start our businesses. We look up to people who we feel have ‘made it’ and desperately want to emulate what they’ve done or to ‘be in their gang’. It all feels very high school don’t you think?

Well, firstly, dear emailer, let me tell you one little known truth about said ‘cliques’: they’re really not doing what you think they’re doing. There is no secret society or special handshake or initiation you have to do to get in. Generally, they’re just groups of people who probably started their businesses around the same time and became friends. You might see them as some kind of powerhouse of popularity, but I guarantee it’s nothing like that from the inside.

The most likely story is that they found each other online, met in real life, liked each other and then either started working together or began mutually promoting what their friends were doing. Collaborations are powerful after all (as you’ve clearly observed).

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How Often Should I Be Blogging?

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Dear Kat
I’m in a quandary… I’m expecting my first baby in three weeks time and am obviously not going to have time to post on my blog as regularly in the coming months. My blog is a wedding blog and is fairly new (only launched five months ago) but it’s going really well and I want to keep the momentum going in the best way possible.

I have two questions. Firstly, if it’s not going to be updated for a while do I need to have a post explaining why, or can I just leave it standalone with the content as is? Obviously viewing figures are going to go down whilst I’m not updating regularly – there’s nothing I can do about that – but do I need to tell the world that I’m on a little maternity leave?

Secondly how often, as a minimum, do you think I should be aiming to post? Do readers genuinely expect updates or can they be happy with the content as is? I look forward to hearing any thoughts.

Well firstly, congratulations. It’s going to be a super exciting time for you. If you want to keep blogging you’re going to need to have a plan because I imagine you’re going to have your hands full!

A blog is like a baby in itself. It needs to be nurtured, to be given regular love and attention or it won’t continue to grow. So, yes, if you want to keep the blog going in some capacity, you need to be posting regularly. How often you post isn’t actually the most important thing, as long as you make the commitment to update at regular intervals. Most of all you need to find a schedule that works for you.

Remember, if you don’t blog, no-one is going to tell you off. You need to be accountable for whatever you decide to do otherwise it can be all too easy for it to fall to the wayside. You’ll wake up one day and think “Oh I’m too tired/ busy today, no-one will mind if I don’t blog” and you’re right, they won’t, but without the commitment to do it, one day will quickly turn into two… to a week… to a month… and soon enough you won’t have blogged for a year. You’ll have no readers left and you’ll basically have to start again from scratch.

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Why Isn’t My Business a Success?

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Dear Kat
I love the Green Room and your no-nonsense advice. I’ve read every post you’ve ever written and tried to implement your advice into my wedding photography business but it feels like nothing is happening. I don’t get many enquiries even though I think my work is OK. I’m struggling to see what it is that I’m doing wrong and why everyone else I look at seems to be doing so well.

I’m feeling lost and discouraged. I’m not really sure what I want you to say and I’m half expecting you to just delete this email anyway, but I guess I’m just hoping you might send me some words of encouragement…

There are two types of people who want to run their own business – doers and thinkers. The first graft, struggle, make mistakes and do everything in their power to make their business a success. The second have an idea, read lots of books or advice columns, know what they have to do but then (for whatever reason) fail to apply the lessons to their own businesses. It sounds harsh, but most of the people that fall into the latter category seem to think things are just going to fall into place because they want it badly enough. Wanting something is not enough, you have to go out and make it happen!

As you can probably tell I’m not really one to sugar coat things. If I’ve learnt one thing from doing as many workshops as I have over the past few years (both attending and teaching) it is that some people really are looking for a quick fix or worse still, for someone else to do it for them. It sounds stupid but learning the lessons isn’t enough, it’s what you do after the class that counts.

I love that you say you’ve read so much of my Green Room but (get ready because its tough love time again) have you actually been applying the things you’ve read or have you only really thought about it? You clearly have the knowledge of what it takes to succeed but what have you done with that knowledge?

Alexa Loy

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Help! I’ve Fallen Out of Love with my Blog

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Dear Kat, I have a massive dilemma and I really hope you can help. I’ve been blogging about a certain topic for the past few years and I’ve really loved it. I’ve made some great connections within the industry, built up a decent readership and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved. But I have a problem… I feel like I’ve kinda fallen out of love with it – not with blogging, but with the topic I’m writing about.

I know you say that the key to successful blogging is having something different to say and a unique voice to say it in, but right now I really feel like I don’t. I used to wake up every morning full of excitement and new ideas around the topic I write about and now… nothing. It’s a massive struggle to come up with anything new and I’m certainly not excited about anything I’m writing.

So I guess what I’m asking is what should I do? I don’t want to give up blogging and all the hard work I’ve put in but I also don’t want to keep plodding along for the sake of it. Do you have any suggestions on how I can re-find my passion?

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For most of us, starting something new is a really exciting time. We’re motivated more than ever and, if you’re a blogger, churning out more content than you know what to do with. Your head is full of ideas and your passion is at an all time high. But like with anything, over time monotony and even apathy or resentment can start to set in. You get bored, you find new interests and you might even consider moving on to the next thing… after all, getting that ‘new project high’ can be kind of addictive.

The thing is, when you’re a blogger, however big or small your readership might be, when you go through this you can also start to feel very… exposed. As bloggers we’re expected to really have our shit together. Our readers count on us to churn out regular and engaging content, no matter how we’re feeling about it. It’s at this stage that a lot of bloggers quit, or bring on an intern to do a lot of the work for them, but that isn’t the only option.

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