I haven’t written this kind of post before because I thought that no-one would want to know what I think or know about blogging. They just want me to get on with it and stay the hell out of their way!
Recently though I’ve realised that I’ve learned quite a bit since I started in January (yes I know I’m not Zoella or Tanya) and along the way quite a few people have asked my opinion about what I do. So, spurred along with my thought process by the odd outburst and thoughtless comment on social media I thought I might put my five eggs in.
I started off one January weekend thinking that I might be able to write something about my shopping experiences. I didn’t have any clue about the blogging business or that you could monetise it. I didn’t know that brands would contact me and invite me to events. I didn’t understand a thing.
I didn’t know that anyone would follow me on social media channels – my personal Twitter account had and still has a total following of less than 40! I didn’t know that I’d make friends virtually and in person with people round the world from different age groups – bloggers, brands and more that I connect with because of beauty.
Within a few weeks I’d learned so much and was quickly sucked into a world of events, marketing, chatter, gossip and friendship. People liked what I wrote and wanted to pay me to write more – it was hard to understand.
Setting my own standards
Over the last seven months I’ve had to set my own standards for how I work and interact with people that I’ve based on what feels right for me. I know that others feel differently and I would never expect everyone or anyone to agree but these are the things that work for me.
- Be nice – I’ve a dear Glaswegian friend that’s always been the kindest person to me – and when I used to ask her why she used to say “it’s nice to be nice” and that thought reminds me to try to be a kinder person. I don’t always think kind things about people but I try not to hurt people by what I say and do. In blogging this means that I try to let people know when I think they’ve done something great, help them out if I can, and ignore or unfollow people who I really can’t take to.
- Know your place – At the beginning I was for ever apologising about not being a “real” blogger, or not having many followers, or for being new. These days I know I have a place in the blogging world and I’m confident that what I do has an audience. That doesn’t mean that I’ll win any awards, or have a You Tube channel with millions of views but I know that I have a product/brand that is valued and I’m content with that.
- Show mutual respect – I try to always be respectful of others for what they know, what they’ve achieved or what they’ve endured. I don’t expect people to earn my respect, I give it to them and only withdraw it if they behave badly. In the blogging world this means that I always respond politely to brands and PRs even when what they’re proposing isn’t right for me. I try to help new brands and people new to blogging even though I may have nothing to gain. I believe in the saying about being nice to people on the way up in case you meet them again on the way down.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – Blogging started out as a hobby and although it hasn’t turned into a business it pretty much pays for itself. What I decided from the beginning was that I’d write what I wanted and when I wanted and I still do that now. I don’t schedule regular posts and can write as little as a post a week or more than one a day. The only time I stick to a schedule is if I’ve agreed with a brand that I’ll deliver something and always meet or exceed deadlines or targets. I’ve seen a lot of people fret about not being able to think of something to write and it’s not for me.
- To have a friend you have to be a friend – another old but true saying. Reading other people’s blogs and commenting on them. Letting them know about events or anything that ‘ll help them on their way. Listening to people when they’ve had a hard time and saying the right thing might just make that person’s day. Being judgemental and saying mean things doesn’t help anyone and will probably lose you friends too.
- Know your worth – Some other much more experienced bloggers have written about this recently but here’s my take on it. If a brand asks you to undertake a piece of work like reviewing a product then they should recompense you for that in some way. Of course if it’s a big brand the benefit for you may jsut be the prestige of working with them. But I try to approach this in a balanced and reasonable manner. The deal you make needs to be mutually beneficial. So for instance – if a brand wants to send me a product to try that I can write about or not depending on how you feel then I don’t expect to be paid. If they ask me to agree to write something in return for a product then I may turn down the offer – depending on what the product is and/or how prestigious the brand is. I would always be polite in turning down an offer and before doing so would put forward a deal that I think would be fair – which would be a nominal payment to take in account the hours/weeks spent trialling a product and carefully crafting a post. Sometimes we agree and sometimes I don’t hear back. That’s ok .
- Be honest – So far I haven’t been asked to write something about a brand that’s untrue. Even when I’ve written a sponsored post I’ve always written what I think and then submitted for clearance. Brands always have the option to ask me not to post or not to link to my post after publication. It hasn’t happened yet. I’ve built my readership on being believable and I don’t think there’s any point in just writing copy that brands like if it loses you followers (and friends) and your self-respect.
- Don’t take yourself to seriously and have fun! – I’m in my fifties and clearly I’m not beautiful or someone that anyone would aspire to be. I try to laugh at myself and hope that others can laugh with me. When I get things wrong in life or in my work or blogging I try not to take it too seriously and pick myself up and start again.
- Work hard – something I learned from my Dad is to work hard and be loyal. It didn’t make him a rich man but one to be admired. I’m working hard to build my audience here and to do the best I can and I think that’s good enough!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of what I’ve said above. And for those of you who only want to hear beauty news and reviews normal service will return shortly!