Do you sometimes wonder how some bloggers do it? Lots of fabulous giveaways, attending wonderful PR events, stacks of side bar advertising and the opportunity to do sponsored posts. Believe me, I am still working on how to engage with brands, but the 'A list' bloggers say they are constantly learning too.
There are a few things you can do to help your blog get on the radar with brands, if that's the way you want to go. Here are my take out points from two workshops at the Digital Parents Conference, which I found very interesting.
1. Grace talked about mind mapping. In order to construct a mind map, write "me" in the middle of an A4 page. Draw thought bubbles with arrows around "me" and fill them with reasons why a brand should deal with you. This will form the basis of your pitch.
Here's a quick example of my mind map, to illustrate.
You can use the mind map to think about why a brand should work with you.
2. When thinking about approaching a brand, work on a general statement, you can use to pitch to brands. Be specific and detailed about yourself in order to inform. Use the points you listed in your mind map. This is known as your 'Elevator Pitch'. Wikipeadia defines an elevator pitch as follows:
A short summary, used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organisation or event and the value it offers to the client.
Grace gave two examples of how she could introduce herself when approaching a brand. The first one was the wrong way.
"Hi I'm Grace and I blog over at With some Grace"
but a a better and more detailed version of her elevator pitch would be:
"Hi I'm Grace, an Indonesian born Australian and mum to twins. I have a blog called With Some Grace......."
It's still concise, but immediately the brand knows Grace is a mum and she is cross cultural. Two things that may be of interest to them.
3. Use as few words as possible when writing your elevator pitch. Edit it well and keep it simple.
4. When thinking about which brands to approach, go for the brands that you have enjoyed working with before. If you are yet to start working with brands, approach the ones you really like. They can only say no. I do this a lot, if I like a particular product and think my readers will too.
5. Do not even embark on a relationship with brands unless you intend to act professionally. This means turning up if you accept an invitation to an event, being on time and basically doing what you promise you will. It means looking professional too, both in person and online.
6. Start with baby steps when fostering relationships with brands.
7. Ask brands what their expectations are and whether they have worked with bloggers before. Ask the brand if they have a digital budget.
8. When determining your rates, consider your time, cost of childcare, transport and your blog's overheads, the value of the product or experience offered and the value you are providing when engaging with the brand together with your readership. There is also an opportunity cost. For me it's that I could be in front of a classroom being paid a salary, rather than attending fabulous events and having a grand old time.
It was here that I piped up and said 'Bloggers doing things for nothing with brands, are doing other bloggers a disservice'. Lots of people disagreed with me, because they thought I was talking about cash, but if the product is something you really want or the experience is what you enjoy doing, go for it. But it was agreed....a bar of soap or the like, will not cut it anymore.
9. It's OK to take some time to reply to brands who pitch to you. It gives you time to workshop your worth and develop a strategy, as to how you can help them and be remunerated fairly at the same time.
Another interesting speaker was Annabel Candy From Successful Blogging, who spoke about launching your business through your blog. I was interested in what Annabel had to say, because I started a styling business and the blog was begun in support of that. Never knowing, at the time, the power of social media and the opportunities it would bring me in the future.
Here are the top 13 take out points from Annabel's workshop
1. A 'Start Here' page is a way to channel new readers to the best posts from your archive. It is sometimes referred to as a 'sneeze page'.. It is also a way to direct regular readers towards your better work too.
Here is Annabel's
Here is Annabel's
2. Your content must be compelling. The title to your blog post is important. Be descriptive, so people can find what they are looking for.
3. If you ask a question in your title, then you need to answer it in your post.
4. 'Why?' and 'Do you Need?' titles are always a good ways to grab readers.
5. Numbered list posts are popular. For example '101 Ways To Be Happy'. They are popular, because it's easy for your readers to pick and choose the information they need.
6. First impressions are everything. It's hard to change a first impression, once it's been made. So the look of your blog, it's ease of use and what you say to readers is important.
7. Check your 'About page'. Let people know you want to help them. It's not just about you.
8. Zero comments on every post does not give a good impression. Either turn off comments or hide comment numbers. You can set up a buddy blogging system & reciprocate comments.
9. As far as audience engagement is concerned, it takes 6-12 months to build up a relationship, just hang in there and keep going.
10. A regular posting schedule, helps your readers know when you will post and looks professional
11. Be completely consistent with how you look and what you say online in every social media forum, as it's all part of your online brand. My advice is if you wouldn't say it in public IRL, don't say it online either. Use one or two avatars (photos of yourself) across all your social media.
12. Promote yourself with pride. Become accustomed to promoting yourself. Add a 'Hire Me' button. Let people know the services you offer. Here's Anabel's 'Hire Me' page.
13. If you stick around long enough in blogging you will reap the rewards.
So that's it for my summary of the best of DPCON 13.
for Australian residents.
I hope your week is travelling well.