I have been blogging for what seems like an eternity! I started back in 2007 as a record of my family life and my blog has grown organically over the years and developed into my career. Over the years, I have worked with many brands, PR’s and companies and I now receive hundreds of contacts and emails a day. This post is in collaboration with Kit Our my Office who supplied my beautiful office desk. I then bought the filing cabinet to match.
I started blogging after a health scare when the boys were small. I wanted a record of the things we did together in case I wasn’t around. Turns out that 9 years later it was the best decision I made. Not only am I still around but I am blogging for a living.
Over the years I have blogged from many different places in our home. Initially, I had a lap top and blogged whenever the kids were napping, then I moved to the kitchen table until Mini started school full time then I moved to the smallest bedroom upstairs. This works really well for me as it means that I have a dedicated work and craft space, but as I use an iMac it means that I can shut the door on work when the children get home from school and at the weekend.
For the first five years of blogging, I didn’t make an income. But once the boys were at school I decided to work part time on my blog rather than leave the home and go out to work. It wasn’t an overnight thing for me and I have never wanted to work full time. I love that I can put in the hours I do and make a decent income which allows me to spend time with my children.
Receiving your first PR enquiries as a blogger is really exciting. It is when you realise that your blog is reaching more than just your immediate circle of friends and other bloggers. I remember my first review it was a whole 2 years after I started blogging and I screamed when I received that email.
Firstly not everyone will want to make an income from their blog and you know what it is fine. Always remember your blog, your rules. I am not one of those people that will tell you that you have to have a five-year goal, a mantra or method statement. I didn’t start blogging to change anyone’s life but I do hope that I can inspire people to be creative and if I have a record of family life too well that is win, win!
Tips for dealing with enquiries as a blogger
It is great to get an enquiry from a PR or a brand, but it is how you respond and deal with that enquiry that is really important. Especially as I am still dealing with a lot of the PR’s from when I first started blogging. Many of them have moved up in agencies or even moved to new ones, but those relationships are key.
Respond to every enquiry. It takes a few minutes to set up standard response emails (I use a number of canned responses in Gmail). I give an example of the type of work I do and send my media pack with demographics and information on.
Be honest with statistics. I have Google Analytics and take my statistics from there on a monthly basis. However, do not obsess over statistics, there really is more to blogging than how many people read a specific blog post. For example, I only have 30k followers on Pinterest, but my reach is over 4 million people per month! I know other people that are rocking Instagram or Youtube. Focus on your engagement.
Ask your peers. There are lots of times when I am unsure of how much to charge, so I approach my peers and ask for their advice. I am lucky in that nearly everyone I have asked has been great and given me fantastic advice.
As the PR. There have also been times when I have asked the brand or the PR what their budget is or if I was in the right ballpark. Surprisingly recently a PR company told me as I was undercharging, which was great and unexpected. There have also been times when they have come back and said that they can not match my fee, but will get back to me when they have sufficient budget and they have.
Be flexible. I have an idea of what I want to earn. I also have an amount that I will not go under, but I am flexible with fees. Sometimes I work for free, but that is my choice. Other times there isn’t sufficient incentive to work so I am happy to say that to the brand or PR.
Do not compare your start to someone else’s middle. I recently read that about someone making six figures from blogging and that everyone else could. I don’t make anywhere near that, I am pretty sure I could if I wanted to and was willing to travel, leave my children and work all the hour’s, but a) I do not want to and b) do not have family support. Also if it was that easy then everyone would be doing it and they are not. I earn a fair amount for the hours I work.
Say no – No is an important word. I say no a lot. No to working longer hours, no to blogging events that will take me away from my family, no to reviews that do not fit my readership and no working with clients I do not believe in. I also so no to jobs that I feel are not paying me my worth. I also say no when I feel a deadline isn’t achievable or a brief doesn’t suit my readers, but then I offer an alternative.
Come up with solutions for approval rather than questions for answers. My first boss had this on this door. I think it has empowered my thinking ever since. I often go back to clients with an alternative pitch that I know will add value to my readers and the brand. Things that make me stand out. They often say yes!
I hope that this will help you feel able to respond to those PR enquiries that you get. Feel free to leave me any questions in the comments or get in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
A great post. It’s easy to get carried away at first with offers from companies or products that aren’t that generated because it’s exciting being ‘found’. We’re all plodding along at our own pace. Love the desk x
I love the quote about not comparing your start to someone else’s middle. Very true.
I think the key for me is deciding whether you want a short-term job or a long-term career. If you want to be around for the long-term then this is amazing advice – be polite, be flexible, respond to people, accept projects and clients that add value to your audience, not just your bank balance. Focus on engagement, not numbers. Awesome advice. You forgot – make friends with people you can ring for a good old chinwag when you need it!
Great tips lovely. I think it is important to learn to say no. No point in getting overwhelmed and stressed. And I find I can’t write about something I am not interested or passionate about x
I get so many emails I often feel like I am drowning but I do try and reply to everyone. I like the idea of having saved templates……will have to set some up
Lots of good advice there… It’s so easy to obsess about various blogging things, but the most important thing is that you must enjoy doing it isn’t it?! 🙂
Love this advice Jen, I was forever comparing myself with our craft blog and lifestyle blog and the truth is I couldn’t divide my time that easily as I home educate and a full time carer but was looking at bloggers who had much more time on their hands. I have finally learned how to switch off and not make it too stressful or a burden with comparison it really is the thief of joy. I love that desk your work space looks amazing!