Tag Archives: blogging

Tips For Turning Your Blog into a Brand

Posted on May 17, 2018

Back in the day, way back in 2013 when I started TSNC, blogs were overall pretty simple and straightforward online diaries, you’d write about whatever took your fancy, take a few snaps on your phone and Bob’s your uncle. Over the last five years though, blogging has completely changed – and though there still are people that blog solely for fun, it’s now a recognised and extremely lucrative industry – and more and more people want in on the action.

So now we’re in 2018 and content creators are more than ever producing engaging, innovative content as well as beautiful magazine-worthy imagery, resulting in them being coveted by brands across the globe. And in terms of numbers of content creators, the blogosphere is pretty much saturated – especially when it comes to fashion, lifestyle and beauty sectors, so it’s more important than ever to establish your brand if you want to stand out. It’s hard though – there are no rules. There’s nobody telling us what to do or how to do it, and most of us are just figuring it all out as we go along…

So with that in mind, when I was invited along to a Brand Building Workshop event in collaboration with Currys PC World and Microsoft, I was intrigued to find out what was in store, and how it could help me. Anna Hart from One Roof Social Influencer Marketing hosted and talked us through her ideas and tips to help bloggers on their way to branding success. I found a lot of this information interesting and some incredibly helpful, so I thought it would be a good idea to summarise the bits that stood out to me, and put them across in an easy-to-digest way so hopefully they might help you too!

I don’t just want to regurgitate word for word what was said at the event, instead I’m going to go through the talk in sections, and just share what I consider to be the best bits, as well as a few of my own thoughts (sorry this is a bit long!) –

Firstly, we learned a few stats about Influencers & Bloggers

  • 90% of influencers are on Instagram.
  • The UK only accounts for 7% of the world’s influencers, compared to 30% in the US.
  • Last year 27k people declared earnings to HMRC as Influencers or bloggers. This is expected to grow to 100k by 2020.

Interesting stats, no? These figures just show how incredibly fast the number of bloggers and influencers are rising – and therefore how important it is to cement your brand as soon as possible.

Something Anna said that was quite interesting, was to think of the Influencer Marketplace like a newspaper stand holding different publications. Some will be quarterlies and coffee table reads, you know the type of magazines that seem to only be printed once in a blue moon, the ones with gorgeous imagery – these offer memorable content which helps grow brand awareness. At the other end of the scale you have your weekly publications, where content is aimed at directing sales across a season or occasion, and lastly the daily reads, these are short snaps of content that’s quick to digest, including offers with limited timeframes.

Now this really got me thinking, if my blog was a magazine, where would it fit in? This is definitely a good starting point when working out your branding.

Next, one of the most important things is to Recognise your USP – this is your unique selling point, the thing that makes you and your blog stand out from the crowd. I think for many bloggers (myself included) this can be really difficult to figure out. There are so many of us now, doing what essentially boils down to the same thing. So what makes you or me special? What makes your blog stand out? What’s unique about it? I think when you’ve figured out your USP, it really gives you a sense of what your blog is about, and in turn what your readers expect from you – which then also helps with branding and future direction. To help you figure out your USP, you can start by answering a few questions –

  • What sort of content do I want to produce? (what do you want to create)
  • What sort of content do I want to discuss? (what topics)
  • How do I want to produce my content? (blog / instagram / Youtube etc)
  • What is my aesthetic overall? (what look are you going for)
  • Who do I want to communicate with? (who are your audience)

You can then gather your answers to get a clear idea of exactly what you want to portray – honing your brand, and giving yourself direction and a framework for future content.

Next – STRATEGY! We all need a strategy for both our content and social. Personally I know this is not one of my strong points – as in I don’t actually have one at the moment. It’s ok though, I’m planning a big overhaul behind the scenes so look out for me upping my game very soon! A good place to start when it comes to strategy is your Google Analytics (and if you don’t have Analytics, hurry up and get it set up) The point here is to take a good look at your stats, and learn from the information they’re showing you. Look at what’s doing well and what’s not, look where readers are engaging and learn from that what works on your site (and social) and of course utilise this information moving forward.

SEO – I’ll admit I’m pretty clueless when it comes to SEO – I know I should really know what I’m doing by now but I’ve just never really taken the time to figure it all out. A few simple tips Anna has offered might give you a good start if you’re a bit of a novice like me –

  • Always name your image files – goes without saying really!
  • Title your content logically – use descriptive words like the name of the item you’re talking about and brand names.
  • Link correctly – make sure your anchor text is relevant.

Understanding How Brands Work – Now I have to say, I found this part particularly interesting. When it comes to working with brands, from my own personal experience I’ve worked directly with the actual brand, via third party retailers (department stores for example) I’ve worked with brands via PR companies, and also via affiliates and SEO companies. It’s important to understand that not every one of these will have budget to offer for collaborations. Its worth noting that PR Agencies are usually relationship based, where the focus is who fit’s the brand’s look and style, and PR’s are often not given budget for influencer campaigns. Content Marketing and Performance Marketing teams are usually the ones that can create contracted work between brands and influencers.

Gaining Collaborations & Connections – This can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Firstly get yourself a media kit put together, include all the usual stats, info about you and your blog, as well as your best bits – are you a Pinterest whizz? Is your engagement sky-high on Instagram? Maybe you have a loyal following in Slough!? (I’m sorry I couldn’t resist that) – but you get my point – anything that’s unique to you that makes you stand out, make sure it’s in there (and if it’s relevant to the brand you’re contacting, even better) Sell yourself!

Use your social networks to connect with others, LinkedIn can be great for this – and don’t be afraid to Pitch to Brands – it’s important to aim to create meaningful partnerships that are beneficial to both parties. Let the brand know why you love them, why you’d be the perfect fit, and most importantly what you can offer – back this up with stats, examples and previous work. And of course they may say no, and that’s totally fine, just make sure you ask why, and use it as a learning experience for next time.

I also wanted to touch on Transparency – Never underestimate how important it is to be transparent when it comes to your content. Your blog post is sponsored? Say so. You were gifted an item? Say so. It only takes a moment to include this in your content and it’s incredibly important for readers to feel like you’re being straight up with them.

There are a few other bits that I haven’t included, but we’d definitely be here all day if I did! So lastly, I just wanted to talk about Technology & Kit – I know may people will say you can just use your phone to do everything, but my personal opinion is that as soon as you decide you want to take blogging seriously, you really need to buy the best kit you can afford. Blogs are becoming more and more professional in appearance, and the fact is, if you want to keep up you’re going to need decent technology. I’ve recently upgraded my camera and it was the best decision I’ve ever made! This is what I’m using right now –

  • Canon 80D Camera – This is my brand new camera and I absolutely love it!
  • Sigma 18-35mm Lens – And this is also my new lens, it was pretty expensive but I got it second hand, and I definitely see it as an investment.
  • Apple MacBook Pro – My current laptop, again pricey but worth it.

And I also wanted to give special mention to the Microsoft Surface Pro – I haven’t actually used a Surface Pro, but Microsoft were on hand at the event to talk us through their latest products, and I have to say it sounds fantastic – and a great alternative to a MacBook if you’re looking for something more portable. The Microsoft Surface Pro has been developed specifically with creative types in mind, and of course it features the latest tech to help you develop your ideas and work at your very best. It’s great for editing complex documents, business use, editing photos, and anything else you do throughout the day. Essentially its touch screen device incorporating the lightweight portability of a tablet, with all the features of a laptop, so it’s pretty handy. You can type on it (with the added Typecover keyboard) just like you would a normal laptop, you can use the touchscreen, and also draw on it with the Surface Pen. It honestly sounds really good! (and their new Office 365 Suite sounds pretty awesome too!)

In the interest of transparency, I also wanted to mention that this blog post is not sponsored, but it does give me a very small chance of winning my own Surface Pro – how amazing would that be! Keep your fingers crossed for me guys!

Anyway apologies for this being a super long post, I actually cut a fair bit out already! I hope the info I’ve included has been of some use – if you have any other tips on how to help build your brand, please do let me know xx

My Experience Using an Instagram Bot…

Posted on April 20, 2017

Hi Guys,

Ok so before you start losing your mind. Let me tell you the story from the beginning… (sorry it’s a long one)

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend about blogging and social media in general, and the conversation turned to Instagram and bots. This was before the whole thing blew up on Twitter over Easter, I’d heard of bots but never really given them a second thought. From the little knowledge I had, I understood they were one step away from buying followers and really not a good idea. My friend actually made them sound quite appealing though and came up with quite a few positive sounding points…

So this got me thinking. Could this actually be a useful way to help your Instagram grow? Is this like an electronic PA, working on your behalf to get your profile out there and noticed? I don’t use Instagram very much. Apart from the fact that I’ve been unwell recently, I’ve never been a big user, I often go weeks between posts and don’t have a big following, so I decided to sign up and trial one of the services to see if it actually works, and if it could give my profile a boost. It’s not like I was buying followers, so what could go wrong??

I should point out here that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of sites offering a combination of paid for followers (across all social channels, not just instagram) as well as different bots. I was quite surprised at how big a business it really is.

I went to the site that was recommended to me and considered signing up – but it felt wrong. It felt like cheating… or was it? The site told me I’d be growing my following organically, so it can’t all be bad, right? I thought it was worth a shot.

I just want to point out that didn’t intend this to be malicious. I didn’t want to follow and unfollow thousands of accounts every day in order to gain a zillion followers like some people have. I was just curious and wanted to see if this could be a useful tool for bloggers to help grow their Instagram following in a genuine way.

So I signed up, and once I got the hang of using the dashboard I was extremely impressed with how sophisticated the technology was. You could literally specify what you want to do in terms of following accounts, liking posts and commenting, down to the finest detail. You could select which hours you want the bot to run, which hashtags you want to target, wether you want to like, follow, unfollow, comment, or a mixture of all of them, and how many per hour. You could also specify the location of the users you want to target, how many followers they have, and which of their posts you want to comment or like. So just for an example – you could say you want the bot to run for two hours on a Saturday morning starting at 9am. Where it will comment on 10 posts per hour which it randomly selects from hashtags that you input to the system, and like 20 posts per hour. You could also further drill down so it only chooses people in a specific country, and with specific followings too.

It really was very clever. So I set up my dashboard, input some hashtags that I use, which are mostly beauty ones, and let it do its thing by following and liking new accounts. This didnt really do much in terms of gaining more followers, though I did get a few more likes where people reciprocated, but nothing noticeable.

I then decided to try the comment feature. You’re advised to use a ‘neutral’ comment that can be applied to pretty much any instagram image. I went with ‘Love! Your feed is fab!’ which I though is friendly and positive but still quite generic. I then let the bot do its thing again.

This is where I really saw a difference. People notice comments. This definitely drove new users to my profile, and suddenly my followers started to increase, and so did my likes and comments. After my initial ‘yay this is working’ reaction, I looked at my profile and saw I had quite a few responses to my generic ”Love! Your feed is fab!’ comment – and I felt terrible.

These people were thinking this was actually me commenting on their profiles. I received some lovely replies, and this is when it first hit me that bots really aren’t a good idea at all. I felt so bad and that I’d basically duped these people. I try to be a straight up, what you see is what you get type of person, so when I realised this was happening, I just had this terrible feeling of disappointment (in myself) and guilt.

And sure some of these accounts were actually great, and had I had the time I’d definitely have commented on them myself. But plenty also weren’t, or just weren’t to my taste or wern’t of interest to me, and this bot was running around pretending to be me, telling all these accounts that I loved them – it just felt very wrong.

I have to say, there’s no doubt that the way I used this bot did give me real followers. Those that followed me decided to follow me (and / or comment) off their own back – BUT – the method you use to get people to notice you in the first place just didn’t sit right with me. Commenting on random posts, following accounts you’re not actually interested in – and of course there’s f/uf (follow / unfollow) which is something else that people have been using bots for (this is following and instantly unfollowing accounts, with the hope that those people will follow you back) It’s just all quite dishonest at the end of the day. My bot was originally set to unfollow but I changed this partway through my trial to follow to see how it changed the results. I found I received a higher rate of followers when I stopped unfollowing others – surprise surprise.

In terms of stats, overall the bot did over 6000 likes for me, nearly 2000 comments, nearly 2000 follows, and nearly 500 unfollows, all within a couple of weeks. This resulted in just over 1000 new followers plus plenty of comments and likes received (the bot didn’t give stats for these) I can’t even begin to imagine how much time this would have taken if I was doing all this manually.

To conclude, do I think Instagram bots are a good idea? The answer is no I don’t. To make new users discover you, your bot is acting as you, following, liking and commenting on random accounts, and this deceptiveness has definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. It feels wrong and dishonest. Bloggers treat themselves as businesses now – could you imagine if businesses used bots to leave generic comments on customers profiles? Its one thing having a real person work for you and represent your brand to follow and leave genuine comments on relevant users profiles, but bots completely remove the human element, they feel false, repetitive and deceptive, and after trying this one out I don’t think they can be used in a positive way at all.

So where does this leave things? Well my trial is now over, and even though my account technically did receive a boost, I’m now left waiting to see who unfollows me, when they realise that I won’t be liking or commenting on their posts anymore. As well as this, I also now need to go through my profile and unfollow all the accounts that I’m not actually interested in, so in the long run it’s actually made me more work.

In terms of Instagram as a whole though, I’ve learned that it’s pretty much a full time job to grow your account yourself. You need to be constantly on there posting new content, following, liking and commenting on new accounts that you’re interested in and that are relevant to you, as well a liking and commenting on the current accounts you already follow. Who has time for this? Definitely not me at the moment. But if you do, I applaud you and you definitely deserve success after putting in so much work. After this experience (and ending up feeling bad about the whole thing – I’m still receiving replies to my generic comment) I’m happy to just let my account sit there and not do much like it always has done.

I hope you enjoyed my post – please do let me know your thoughts xx

An Unplanned Break…

Posted on October 25, 2015

blogging-break

Hi Guys!

So this is my first post in a just over a week, and it’s definitely felt strange not blogging for this length of time, but I feel so much better (in many ways) for taking a break.

This break was very much un-planned. It just kind of happened. I started off coming down with a horrible cold about a week and a half ago. You know the type where you just feel terrible in the build up, and you know you’re going to end up with a severe case of man flu! I then went to the Suffolk Blogger Meet in Bury St Edmunds last weekend (my post will be coming up soon) and had a very busy day in London on Wednesday. I was still pretty ill but managed to hold it together and reach all my appointments on time – yay! I didn’t get home till 1.30am the next morning though, so I felt really rough again on Thursday – serves me right hey! Anyway, I’ve basically had and still have a horrible case of man flu, with that, plus travelling, plus it’s now half term, and plus I’ve been trying to sort out my new writing and photography area, the total has accumulated to me having a good week off from writing.

My initial thoughts on this could definitely be described as a light form of panic –

‘Oh no, I haven’t blogged…!’ 

‘and I have so many posts to write…’

“I must apologise to my readers…’

‘…and what about my stats!?’

Etc etc. You know how it goes, that dreaded feeling of doom and guilt all bloggers have whenever we have more than a day off. Then after a while I realised that none of this really matters.

Posts can be caught up with, readers very rarely notice let alone comment if a blogger has been absent for a while, and my stats are absolutely fine.

I think it’s really common for bloggers to not allow themselves a break, and ‘blogger burnout’ is a very real thing that many of us have to deal with at some point. I for one definitely feel so much better for taking a week off. So if you need some time to yourself, just do it. Seriously, the world isn’t going to come to an end because you didn’t publish a post for a while.

On a more exciting note, I’ve got lots of awesome things coming up on the blog – including new beauty products, Christmassy gift ideas, lifestyle posts and much more. I’ve included some of the gorgeous beauty products in the image above just to give you a little taster. I’ll also be showing you very soon my new blogging area which I’ve just set up in my kitchen (I just noticed on the above pic you can see the reflection of my dishwasher in one of the palettes, ha ha!)

So please do stick around to check these out, and I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

Eight Accessory Ideas To Improve Your Blog Photographs.

Posted on July 15, 2015

Hi Guys!

Since I’m still setting up my new office slash beauty mecca, which was meant to be done ages ago, but you know, life! I really feel like I want to get stuck in and improve every aspect of my blogging. Also now I’ve recently had my blog design revamped, and I’m pretty much blogging full time, I’ve been thinking of ways I can improve my photos in term of the accessories I use. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know the famous marble tray is no more. Sob sob! I now have brand new box-tray things, yay! And I also have a few other ideas up my sleeve too – watch this space! On the back of this I thought it would be handy to put together a list of popular accessory ideas to give others a bit of inspiration…

rosy

1. Flowers. Ok so personally I’m not really that into flowers aesthetically, but they can make an otherwise fairly plain and boring background look pretty and colourful. You could have some laying next to your products in a flat-lay set out, standing up in a vase, out of focus in the background. The possibilities really are are endless when it comes to flowers! Of course fresh is always going to be best, but this can work out pretty expensive in the long run. I’d recommend investing in some decent quality fake flowers that will last you for a very long time. (Image from www.rosychicc.com)

clarins-aquatic-treasures-collection

2. Plates, bowls and trays. The ring dish and of course marble tray seem to be quite popular photography accessories at the moment, but what about placing your products on a colourful bowl? Or a cute little plate? There are loads of similar alternatives available, just take a look around the net and see what takes your fancy! I think trays are probably my favourite accessory right now, they just add a bit of interest and you can play around a lot with placing products in them.

What-to-do-when-youve-fallen-out-of-love-with-blogging

3. Jewellery. Following on from ring dishes, jewellery can be a great accessory to add to photos. I’m having a bit of a rose gold theme at the moment and often include my Michael Kors rose gold watch (I’m pretty sure every blogger owns one of these, right!?) one of my favourite bracelets and sometimes a pretty rose gold necklace with a swallow pendant. I complement these with my pink and rose gold Zoeva brushes too. Why not try picking out some of your favourite jewellery and practice placing it in your photos, it’s easy once you figure out what works for you. (Image from merrymusing.co.uk)

washi jars

4. Washi tape. I LOVE washi tape, but just haven’t got round to using mine yet. If you’re not sure what it is you can check out my post on washi tape ideas here. It can be used in literally zillions of ways – stick it on a wipe clean surface such as kitchen floors to add interest to an otherwise boring background. Use it on your plain makeup storage jars to jazz them up a bit. Take a look on Pinterest too for loads of washi tape ideas.

St_Tropez_zpsbu1pslir

5. Magazines. Another popular, easy and inexpensive idea. Open a fashion magazine to a particularly nice shot and use this as a background. easy peasy! Loads of bloggers do this already as it’s really simple and effective. Sprinkle some jewellery on the page too to add further interest. (Image from missstephanieusher)

coloured-raine-lip-paints-review

6. Wallpaper and fabric samples. You can get samples of wallpapers either for free or for next to nothing from so many places these days. I have a few which I’ll be featuring in an upcoming post. Take a look in your local DIY store, grab a load of samples and practice setting up your products on them to see which works for you.

tom-ford-lips-and-boys

7. Clippings and cuttings. So this is what I’ve been doing for a while now, and it really couldn’t be easier, I bought a roll of shiny, iridescent paper from ebay and literally just chopped out a load of tiny triangles and sprinkled them around the products I was photographing. It couldn’t be any easier! You could also do this with a pretty paper or card.

La-Prairie-Anti-Aging-Rapid-Response-Booster

8. Candles, pots and vases. An obvious choice, candles especially are a beauty blogger’s favourite background accessory! Again the options are limitless, take a look in your local charity shops to pick out some more unusual options too!

I hope this has given you some inspiration! Let me know if you have any other accessory ideas! And massive thanks to the bloggers who have let me include some of their fantastic images in this post!

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

Marble Tray, We Need To Talk…

Posted on July 13, 2015

La-Prairie-Anti-Aging-Rapid-Response-Booster

Dear Marble Tray,

We’ve been together for quite a few months now, and things really have been going great, but I think it’s time we talked.

I knew from the start that we were never going to be exclusive, I was always aware of this, but lately it seems like I can’t open my Bloglovin or Twitter feed without seeing that you’ve been everywhere. You’re with so many other bloggers, they’re all using you. I’s not that I’m jealous, but I don’t think this is good for our relationship.

I know it’s not your fault, you can’t help being so popular! You’re just the right size, affordable, with a pretty subtle pattern – the perfect accessory for blog photos. But I just don’t think we can do this any more. The same goes for your friends – Small Marble Tray and Marble Pot. I’m sorry. I hope you understand?

L'OCCITANE-Pivoine-Sublime-Collection

I think it’s only fair I let you know that I’ve now found some new accessories – that aren’t quite so… promiscuous shall we say. Like I said you haven’t done anything wrong, it’s me not you. I just don’t feel like we’re a good match any more and I need a fresh start. This is the end of the road for us.

So long Marble Tray, it was fun while it lasted xxx

Ten Ways To Promote Your Blog

Posted on January 7, 2015

ten easy ways to promote your blog

Hi Guys!

After noticing my 10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Blog post has in fact been one of my most popular posts (thank you to everyone that’s read and commented!) I thought I’d follow on with some more helpful posts along the same lines. Today I’ve put together a few simple tips for promoting and sharing your blog. Enjoy!

1. Social media. A blogger without social media profiles is like a butterfly without wings – you’re really missing some vital parts crucial to development and growth. Using social media is SO important for promoting your blog. Firstly you need to get yourself signed up to all the social media sites you can – Twitter, Intagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Facebook are the main players but there are plenty more worth signing up to if you have the time. Then use them. Follow like minded people. Interact. Share your blog posts, and in time you’ll see your followings grow, whilst also creating a fantastic audience for your blog.

2. Facebook groups. Out of all the social media sites, Facebook isn’t really the best place for promoting your blog now because they’ve changed the way they work. If you already have a Facebook page for your blog, you may have noticed you’re receiving less views per post than previously, basically this is because Facebook now want you to you pay them for advertising your page. Another (possibly better) way to utilise the power of Facebook is to join relevant groups. The easiest way to find groups is to try loads of keyword searches in the search bar – ‘beauty blogger’ ‘bloggers’ ‘beauty lovers’ are a few examples I might use as a predominantly beauty blogger. Then just join the groups! Some are purely for chatting, you can share your blog post links in others, and some have more specific blogger help, sharing threads and much more.

3. Advertise on other blogs. Many bloggers offer advertising for both companies and other bloggers – and often their rates for bloggers are very reasonable, I love that we’re nice like that!  For a small fee (usually on a monthly basis) you can have your advert in a bloggers sidebar, and they often offer extra perks too, such as weekly #FF mentions on Twitter, sharing your posts on Twitter / Instagram, including your link at the bottom of their posts and some also have a dedicated blog post for their sponsors each month. These will all help to promote your blog. I’d recommend checking out the rates for your favourite bloggers, or you could also do an ad swap with other bloggers that you know, which I think is a great idea as it’s beneficial to you both, with no costs – I’ve done this myself for the month of January 😀

4. Business cards. If you’ve been, or are hoping to go to any events, it’s imperative that you have your own business cards to offer. Business cards hold all your vital info – basically your blog address and contact details, plus more if you want, so people can get in touch with you. I had my cards printed at moo.com a while ago, they were really reasonably priced and fantastic quality. I handed loads of them out at the next event I went to and it was fantastic to see people were getting in touch because of they had my card! (I’ll have a separate post written to show you my business cards soon)

5. Linkys. What the heck is a linky? A linky, link up, or blog hop is when a ‘host’ blog invites other blogs to link up to a specific post. Usually there will be a theme – say a giveaway for example – so you link your own giveaway post to the host’s linky giveaway post, with the idea that everyone involved visits each others posts, comments on, promotes and therefore drives traffic to their own as well as each other’s blogs. The more effort everyone puts in to a linky, the more everyone gets out of it. You can search for linkys on Twitter if you’re interested in joining up.

6. Guest post. Guest posting for other bloggers or even companies and brands can be a great way to introduce yourself and your blog to a new audience, and also expose your writing to a mass of new potential readers. Ask other bloggers if you can guest post for them, give them some ideas of what you’d like to write, or maybe you could swap guest posts? Guest posting on companies’ blogs is a fantastic way to promote yourself too, as your blog will be exposed to their customer base. Don’t forget to include some info about your blog and your blog link in your post too!

7. Collaborate with other bloggers. Guest posting is one thing, but what about actually collaborating with other bloggers? I’ve done a few collaborations in my time, the latest one – Makeup To Make Your Blue Eyes POP! was a collaboration with Emma from Not Your average. I have blue eyes so I wrote a ‘blue eyes’ themed post and she has brown eyes so she wrote about brown eyes. We then both linked to each others post, published at the same time, and promoted each others posts on our social media sites. Collaborating with other bloggers is a win-win situation which exposes your blog to new readers. If you have any collaboration ideas, ask around on Twitter using the relevant hashtags (#bbloggers for example) to see if anyone would like to work with you.

8. Comment on other blogs. If you read blogs (which I’m guessing you do) please try to take a moment to leave a comment (preferably 8 words or over if you can, as less than that can be seen as spam by Google so I’ve heard) Every blogger LOVES receiving comments on their post – it shows that people have taken the time to read, think about what they’ve read, and offer their thoughts. This makes us feel warm and fuzzy and we really do appreciate it. So, bloggers, if you want to receive comments, also make sure you take the time to leave some for others, and don’t forget to include your blog link so they can click through to check your writing out too.

9. Include relevant links in your posts to companies, brands, products and other bloggers, and let them know you’ve included them in your post via social media or email. Many people will at least take a look at what you’ve written, and some will also share / retweet your post too. When I mention other bloggers, companies or brands in a post, I always tweet them directly letting them know and include the post link with the hope that they will take a look!

Sorry this was another long post, well done for making it to the end!

I hope this has been helpful – I’d love to hear if you have any other tips for promoting your blog? xxx

My Blogging Goals for 2015

Posted on January 2, 2015

my blogging goals for 2015

Hi Guys!

Well it’s now officially 2015 – Happy New Year! And just like most of us, I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I’m actually still working on them so I’m going to save them for a separate post of their own (yes there’s a lot) and keep my goals and resolutions specifically for my blog separate. I’ll have actually been blogging for two years in February – seriously where has the time gone!? So I really want to up my game and improve my blog in different ways this year. Here are my plans…

Blog Less. If you don’t know me so well you won’t know that I currently have a part time job, two freelancing roles, a three year old to look after, a husband, a house to run, a pretty much full time blog, and just to top it off I’ve actually been pretty ill too. I’m sure you can imagine that even though I’ve been trying my best, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in. I’m pretty much knackered all the time! In the new year I’m plan to start cutting down on the amount of blogging I’m doing so I’ll have more time for other things. Which leads me on to…

Quality over quantity. I’ve been blogging a lot lately, I know. I’ve taken on tons of projects, reviews and collaborations because I thought they’d be ‘good for the blog’, interesting to read about, and also  because I didnt want to miss any opportunities. Some of them really were fantastic, and I’m thankful for every opportunity that comes my way. But I’ve been taking too much on, and even though I had good intentions I now realise that this has affected the quality of my writing and taken me away from writing about other things, just because I haven’t had the time. My aim is for 2015 to start by upping the quality of my posts, whilst reducing the quantity. Hopefully this will make for more interesting reading for you too.

Be more selective with what I take on. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve gradually been blogging more and more. I started off 2014 writing a couple of posts a week, which then increased to about 4 days a week, then every day, and then right before Christmas I was sometimes posting twice a day to keep up with everything. I don’t want to appear like I’m complaining, this is all of my own doing, but I’ve decided I’m definitely going to be more selective with what I take on from now on. Collaboration and review posts must really be right for me and my blog otherwise it’s going to be a no I’m afraid. I already turn opportunities down because they’re not a good fit for my blog, or just not worth it with some companies just wanting free advertising / competition entries / links (take your pick) for nothing in return. I hope the combination of this selectiveness, increasing the quality of my posts and decreasing the quantity will all come together to take my blog to the next level in 2015.

Write more conversational posts. I know what you’re thinking, I never write conversational posts, this is probably the most conversation you’ve seen from me in a long time, and you’d pretty much be right. I’ve been spending most of my time putting together reviews and similar posts over the last few months, and as much as I do love reviewing products, I really want to mix it up a bit next year. For the few conversational / opinion type posts I’ve written, I’ve had a fantastic response in comments so I know it’s something that people like to read, and interact with. I’m definitely going to put more effort into these in 2015. (There are a couple of posts you might like to take a look at here and here)

Conquer Pinterest! Ahh Pinterest. I signed up not long after I started my blog, and I have the grand total of 151 followers, YAY! Some people have thousands upon thousands, but I’m just completely flummoxed by the site. I started pinning images from my blog, but it didnt seem to make any difference or bring in any more traffic. I just don’t know what I’m doing at all. I need a Pinterest tutorial! Anyone want to show me what I should be doing? Or link me to a post that explains it all? It would be much appreciated!

Instagram. Ok so I do use Instagram, but no where near to its full potential, and word on the street is that Instagram is the new Twitter, so I really want to learn how to maximise my usage of this app. I also have a Samsung phone, which makes it slightly harder as I think the app is slightly different to the iPhone app (I think – is it?) Anyway my photos aren’t too bad, but I need to make better use of hashtags – and learn which ones I should be using – and just be more active on there in general. If anyone has any Insta tips or advice posts please send me the links over!

Perfect my photos. I must firstly say that I do in fact think my photos have come a long way since I started blogging. I originally just used my Samsung Galaxy, which does have a good camera – for a phone – it just didnt have the capability I needed for for the pictures I wanted to take so I upgraded to a ‘proper’ camera. Now I’m used to how my camera works I feel that the only thing holding me back is my lighting situation. At the moment I’m always using natural light – and we all know how much of a pain that is. I do actually have some lights specifically for blogging, but due to the lack of space in my house I haven’t been able to set them up yet. So I guess this is a kind of ‘get your act together’ reminder to 1. Sort out a space, 2. Set my lights up, 3. Practice photography, and 4. Perfect photography. I guess I also need to make time to do all this too!

Blogging Room. As you’ve just read, I have space issues in my house, so I’ve decided I’m going to convert my spare room into the ultimate blogging and beauty mecca! At the moment my spare room has a desk, which is very small, and storage for my makeup, which is great, but there’s also a massive wardrobe in there full of junk, and a chest of drawers that need sorting out. Oh and the floor and every available space is covered in ‘stuff’. I’m going to get rid of everything – bin, sell or giveaway what I can (and I need to be ruthless because I’m a complete hoarder) and kit the room out with some sexy Ikea Alex drawers and a bigger desk, get my lighting set up, and basically get the spare room organised so I can actually use it. My aim is to have this done by the summer. Wish me luck!!

So there you go, it does actually feel pretty good to get this all written down, all this has been swimming around in my head for a while now. I feel like I now have some clear goals and objectives to aim for in 2015!

Have you got any blogging goals for 2015? I hope you enjoyed my post xxx