Last night I attended the London Blog Club at The Blue Posts near Tottenham Court Road. It was a fantastic night thanks to meeting some great blogging-fans and listening to a really good talk by PRs @LauraGeeDubs and @KrOuPs about bloggers connecting with brands who were both excellent. So I thought I’d summarise my thoughts/notes for all of you who couldn’t attend.
6 Tips for newbies from the London Blog Club bloggers
- The more you blog the better.
- Make sure you put a picture in you ‘About’ section and tell people who you are.
- Comment on other blogs and respond on your own.
- Try a writing coach to build confidence.
- Blog about what you love.
- Give your readers recognition. (A great example of this is Readers Reports on Tamara Walker’s great niche Best of MJ blog. These ideas are taken from comments on original posts, I’d imagine that readers love to read about themselves and share these links with the world)
6 Tips for newbies from me
- Don’t be afraid to write a crap blog post, not everything has to be perfect.
- Experiment with different kinds of posts to see what you prefer.
- Use your blog as a CV, show potential employers that you can handle regular deadlines, are dedicated to a project, can write and keep up to date on your industry.
- Make real life friends at blogger and social media events and encourage them to follow.
- Worry more about writing fantastic copy than monetising your blog.
- Read other people’s blogs for inspiration and interact with them. Start with my post ‘When to publish’.
Getting brand ❤
Dealing with the page rank monster, Google-zilla
- A low Google page rank doesn’t mean that PR agencies won’t look at you. If you consider a few points.
- Use your blog to show off your community.
- Maintain your blog at least weekly, or when appropriate according to your chosen topic.
- Showcase your followers from other channels, like social media.
- Encourage new followers to join.
- Although aesthetically pleasing blogs are good it’s not the be all and end all.
- Add pics and multimedia.
- Encourage commenting, PRs for brands will look for blogs with lots of comments.
Where do PRs find blogs?
- Pr’s check Google (zilla) first.
- It’s important to make your blog discoverable.
- Add your blog URL to your social accounts.
- Get on Twellow (Twitter Yellow Pages).
- Join other directories like Blogopedia.
- Don’t focus on Search Engine Optimisation straight away.
- Get other bloggers to share your blog and share there’s in return.
Using social media to your best advantage
- Consider which platforms you actually need to use.
- Share two posts on Facebook a day to get the most activity.
- Join groups on Linkedin to engage with like-minds.
- Concentrate on a goal.
- It’s easier to join a conversation than start one.
Don’t sell out
- If a brand offers you something to blog about them they want you to be yourselves.
- Make sure the angle is right for you and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
- Remember that brands are real people too and will understand your decisions.
Keep the personality
- Smaller blogs are better for brands.
- Personal voice is always better than third-person.
- Don’t be tempted to change your tone of voice.
- Don’t make your post like an advert.
- Disclose the brands deal.
Being niche is an advantage
- The more specific you are, the more likely brands will want to connect.
- Brands love you to add pictures to blog posts about their products.
- Put your contact details up front if you want to be contacted.
- Do something that’s interesting or different to get attention.
- Tag your posts correctly to make them easier to find.
- Think of your blog like a resume, show off what you’re good at.
- Youtube is advantageous for driving traffic to your blog.
- PRs don’t usually hand out money to bloggers for brand mentions.
Maintaining your integrity
Several bloggers mentioned their concerns at writing about a brand who is giving you gifts. I just wanted to air my own opinion as both a brand representative, a journalist and a blogger:
- Firstly, you don’t have to take up an offer from a brand.
- Remember the PRs are sticking their necks out, you might decide to write a negative post because of their advances.
- They want you to write a genuine review of their product. Be constructively critical but not completely negative, they value your opinions as an expert in that field and may be able to make the product better because of your findings.
- You are being given an opportunity to associate your name with a brand without working for or being directly affiliated with them, it’s likely to drive up your blog traffic.
- In every industry someone is getting something for free to encourage them to comment positively on a brand or product. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion. Any brand that tries to tie you to being positive is foolish.
- At the end of the day they just want buzz around a topic and if you’re writing about it anyway then why not get in on the chance to write some real reviews/stories before anyone else.