I have officially started my blog a year ago, so it’s time to see where I am now. Though I’ve started the blog in May 2014, the real start date is September 2014. This is when I started to treat blogging more seriously, became more consistent and started to use social media to promote my blog.
Over the last 9 months I have gained a combined social network following of 3.2K. Not so bad, considering I never used Twitter or Instagram before. My blog is attracting thousands of views every month. And I had a great success with my Tai Chi Challenge – Can I become the energised mum in 10 minutes a day? with over 1000 views within 48 hours, and hundreds coming back every week to read about my progress. I have also received products to review and run giveaways. But have I made any hard cash?
I have started this blog to serve as my freelance writers CV, but through that I was happy to create a record of our family life. To be honest I didn’t really know how to use this blog to promote myself, so to start with it was more of a creative outlet. Then I started to spend more and more time on the blog and started to use social media and I discovered that I don’t want to be a freelance feature writer, that professional blogging is what I love and want to do.
Along the way I’ve learnt many skills – SEO, social media management and photo editing among others. I came across many wonderful people (you will get a chance to hear from them a little later on). Sadly I haven’t met any bloggers in person yet, but this will be rectified in June on Brit Mums Live!
It took me a few months to decide on the focus of my blog – green, veggie and bilingual issues. And things are still changing. It’s very much work in progress and this is how I like it. It keeps me feeling fresh rather than stagnate.
I spend a lot of time blogging – writing and promoting posts, reading and commenting on other blogs, interacting on social media, looking for work opportunities. It’s all very addictive to the point that I spend most of my child free time on blog related activities.
So, with all this effort and creativity, have I made any money? The short answer is ‘no’. I have received products for reviews and hosted giveaways, but no one has offered me hard cash.
As I need to start making a living as a professional blogger I felt that I had to investigate. I have asked a few professional bloggers I follow and admire: when exactly do you start making money from blogging?
I was approached 4 weeks after starting Honest Mum at the end of 2010 (I’d just made as a finalist at the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Fresh Voice Category), and worked with 2 companies at that time. Soon after, I decided not to monetise and went back on set directing commercials. As blogging got more popular, I slowly left filmmaking (15 hours on set isn’t conducive to family life), and I’ve been a full time blogger for the last 3 years.
What was your first paid commission?
It was for a local college then my 2nd was for a major agency.
When did PRs and companies start to approach you, as opposed to you pitching to them? Currently what is the percentage of jobs you get by being approached compared to approaching companies yourself?
I am always approached if I’m honest (let’s say 99% of the time) although happy to and I also advocate, shooting emails to companies I like, and particularly with my style blog Mummy’s Got Style (http://www.mummysgotstyle.com).
Do you have any advice for new bloggers looking to make an income from their blog?
Know your worth, even if you deem your blog to be small, your audience is niche and targeted so important to advertisers and you can charge high fees for posts and spin off work from your blog. The possibilities are literally endless, and blogging is a brilliant career to have that works around a family, as you can blog/work on your own time and terms.
What was your first paid commission?
It was a sponsored post to introduce the Hive heating system. I agonised over it but I felt I genuinely had a relevant story so my audience wouldn’t mind.
I think PRs had been contacting me for a while but I just hadn’t realised what they were asking of me because no one explicitly said (until the Hive post) ‘how much do you charge?’ Unsurprisingly! It wasn’t until Britmums 2014 that I had a lightbulb moment, my contemporaries were earning decent money and I had as much if not more traffic! I realised it was time to start asking about budgets because they had them!
100% of the jobs I’m doing at the moment I was approached to do. But I am going to start doing more pitching as it means I have more control over what I earn money from!
Concentrate on building your traffic and building on your unique voice and style. Write lots! But also be confident, if PRs or companies are approaching you, you’re doing well so be sure to ask them what their budget is!
I guess I still have lots of work to do, but there is future in the blogging world!