I’ve moved!

Just a very quick update to let you know I have taken the leap and gone self-hosted, so you can now find me here:

http://www.25castleson25clouds.co.uk/

It’s very early days, so bare with me whilst I get it up to scratch! And one favour, if you don’t receive notifications of new posts (and would still like too!) let me know and I will figure out what I have broked (As something is bound to have been broken!)

The problems with being an anonymous blogger.

To round up my participation in the Words from a Blogger & PR series I wanted to touch on a subject I have previously written about. The problems of being an anonymous blogger particularly when trying to monetise your blog.

On some levels being an anonymous blogger is brilliant. I can write about what and who I like with very little concern about anyone actually finding out who that person is. I don’t have to worry about friends or family reading something I have written about them, taking it the wrong way… I don’t have to worry about sharing something someone wouldn’t want sharing… I find it very un-tying (there must be a better word for that) and as one of the main purposes of my blog is having somewhere I can get my thoughts down, open and honestly I don’t think I would be able to do that with as much success if I knew that my boyfriend, brother and boss (ok I don’t have a brother, but I was loving the alliteration and I do get to point out again that I have a boyfriend eek!) would be pouring over every word.

However, being anonymous makes it (at least in my opinion) much harder to monetise my blog. I mean how do you review a product when taking photos of the product can identify who you are as a person?

Bd was a brilliant example. He was a very striking Collie. Now I don’t want to say that all other dogs are the same (because I know that they are all individuals) but you see one chocolate lab, and unless that is your chocolate lab you would be hard pushed to pull one out of a line up; even Mity has doppelgangers that I see out and about walking. But I have never seen another BD. Putting pictures of him on my blog identified me, and (maybe more importantly) identified the ex. So until I broke up with the ex and stopped caring quite so much about being anonymous there were no pictures of BD on this blog.  Likewise photos around the house. We are all unique and decorate in our own styles. More than anything I wanted to share with you the before and after photos of my house (I will get round to it I promise) but again my house is very unique and I am pretty certain if someone comes to my house and then sees house photos on my blog… well two and two would make four.

I’m not saying it is impossible to make money from your blog when anonymous. But I do think it is a lot harder. I think you are a lot more limited to the type of work you can do, and also as an anonymous blogger I think it is much harder to build up a following.

I don’t share my posts on my personal Facebook profile, they don’t get tweeted out on my personal twitter account. Instead I have created a second persona, she has her own Facebook (I know, naughty naughty) and Twitter accounts. However these accounts are struggling, slowly growing but nowhere near what I have on either of the ‘real me’ accounts.

Blogging anonymously was my decision, and works very well for the main purpose (Although I do need to remind myself of this sometimes) of my blog; to have a space to write open and honestly as I figure out my head. However, when you see people being gifted weekends away, or cars, or freezers or staying at home and blogging, I do sometime wonder if like celebs that’s the trade off – maybe if you want to keep your private life, fully private, then you settle for having a small, infrequently visited, amazing, corner of the web whereas if you are happy to let the eyes of the world into your living room and live your life online…well that is where you get your payoff?

I would love to know what you think. Do you think that you can keep completely private and make money from blogging, or is monetising your blog only something that can happen if you live your life online?

Letting you into some PR secrets

It was very interesting being a ‘sort-of’ blogger who became a PR type person. I haven’t spoken very much about my new job, that’s to do with the whole “anonymous” blogging issues. I want to share, but at what point do I share too much? Anyway, that’s for a later blog post.

My new job has seen me work very closely with bloggers. Part of my role is to work with bloggers to help promote client content. I work hard to build relationships with bloggers, so that the ‘offers’ we make to them fit their blogs, and try to ensure that the content is a natural fit for their blog.

I love my new role, and have found it eye opening. I was asked to take part in the Words from a Blogger & PR series and so I thought I would share with you a few of the secrets I have discovered since “joining the other side”:

  1. Blogging just to make money/blag freebies – we can tell.

It’s funny really, when I was just a blogger I wondered how some bloggers seem to have so much free stuff. It seemed to be every post was a review. I thought they must be like totally awesome, and that would be the holy grail of blogging. I was wrong. Not only is it blatantly obvious to those in the know, and probably some not, that you are just using your blog to make money and it actually devalues your blog.

  1. We know what a post on your blog is worth.

Yep, there are metrics and everything which are taken into account before an ‘offer’ is made (whether that is a monetary offer, or freebie) so although you may want £150 per post, and then throw in various other ‘costs’ to ramp up the figure. You need to be realistic.

  1. We respect you more, and are more like to approach you again if you value yourself and are realistic about your worth.

I have lost count of the number of bloggers who have approached me for work and then when an offer has been made, demanded £100s to write the post. However, the minute I say thanks but no thanks (because the budget won’t stretch that far) suddenly they come back and will work with us for a fiver. I cannot even begin to explain how much this annoys me. Value yourself, actually I’ll amend that realistically value yourself. Sit down, figure out how long a project will take, then decide a realistic price range for that work, and stick to it. Personally, I would rather work with a slightly more expensive blogger who I feel cares about their blog and is realistic, than a blogger that I know for the right amount of money would write anything.

  1. Don’t mess us around – we have wrath

I had one blogger who spent weeks messing me around. He agreed to the project, only to change him mind, then change, it back. We agreed a price, and then he kept trying to up it. In the end I am only human and so they guy ended up feeling my wrath (I have wrath) I ‘black-listed’ his blog so we will not work with him in the future.

So you think you want to make money from your blog. I have also seen a few blogger best practises (which I really need to start implementing with my own blog) and I thought I would share these with you:

  1. Make it easy for us to contact you.

We have found your blog (yes we go looking for them) and think you would be a perfect fit. We want to contact you, you claim to be PR friendly… but then there is nothing. No form. No email. I can’t believe the number of ‘perfect for this project’ blogs I have not been able to contact. It annoys me way more than it should!

  1. Add a signature to your email

I can’t even begin to tell you how basic this is, but I love bloggers who do it. I spend my days working with multiple bloggers across multiple clients. I hate admit this but by about lunchtime (on a good day) one Claire is very much like another and I can’t remember which Claire blogs one which blog. Having a link to your blog and social channels on your email makes it so much easier for me, and

  1. Don’t constantly spam us.

I know you are keen but I do not need a daily reminder about your blog. I have no problem with bloggers reaching out and saying hello, in fact it is a great way to discover new blogs. But I don’t need a daily chaser. I will make a note of your blog, I will get back to you if I have something suitable. Why not save us both the effort and restrict yourself to an occasional chaser.

  1. Stay true to yourself.

As a blogger you have a voice and you have a value. Don’t sell yourself short, but likewise don’t look to fleece companies wanting to work with you. Be honest and up-front about what you will and won’t do, and then stick to it.

Making money from a blog is a lot of hard work. Good luck.

Will I ever move on?

So the other night I was satying around watching ‘Into the Woods’ with my folks when suddenly the memory flooded back.

It must have been months ago.

Just after into the woods hit the cinema ,it came to my local Odeon and my folks came up to see it. My sister had Mity for the evening as it was a weekend when I’d had Bd. (Before the idiot ex took him from me!)

Bd and I walked my folks to the cinema, cuddled on the settee for a few hours, and then headed back to collect them.

I still remember that lady who talked to him whilst we were stood outside the cinema waiting for the film to finish.  The way he lent into me for reassurance.  The way my heart swelled with pride when he overcame his fear and let the strange lady say hello…

I couldn’t stop them. The tears fell.

Sat in my folks front room I remembered the feel of him, the warmth when he used to cuddle close to me, the smell of his paws, his big floppy ears. I realised that never again will his smile poke round the bathroom door.  Never again will I touch or cuddle him… and the tears wouldn’t stop.

Will I ever get past this?  Will I ever remember him and not have my heart break?

I hate my ex for taking Bd from me, and always will. But I worry how little I am over this.  I know it will always hurt but to not be able to hold back the tears. .. I know I’d had a glass or two. But is this my future I drink more than a glass of wine and cry?  That doesn’t feel fair somehow.

Monetising your blog – is it worth it?

monetising your blog is it worth it

I don’t know about you, but I always wonder how people are making a living from their blog. I mean, you read about it don’t you, see them online. Zoella even stared on the bake off – I am beyond jealous. I mean, ok I don’t really have bake off skills (do you remember the cupcakes?) but still I could have been asked… anyway.

I have made no secret of my, sort of, desire to turn this hobby into something a little greater. It’s only a modest dream really, I would like to one day have children and be in the position where I can afford to stay at home with them and successfully monetising my blog would certainly help. Whether that dream becomes a reality… well watch this space, cause to be honest this is where you will find out whether or not it happens… but I have found that trying to pursue the ‘paid’ blogging option manages to bring a whole heap of insecurities and suddenly stat watching has become a whole new way to torture myself.

I can’t help but get over the whole, why them and not me. Why are they making money? Why are they being paid? Who do I have to sleep with to get given a fridge freezer?!

Blogging seems to be a very unclear world and there seems to be no obvious formula to get you to the top. So is it worth it?

Honestly, I think that very much depends on you.

When I started my new job, I discovered one of my colleagues was a successful fashion blogger. It feels like every day she has a new parcel or outfit being sent to her to review… But she puts in the hours. Whenever I talk to her she has something ‘hanging over her’ and she spends hours flogging away at her computer. Yes, she is getting the rewards, and she definitely loves what she is doing, but boy is she putting in the work – it would be interested to see what her hourly figure would be if she actually calculated her income vs the time spent working on her blog, updating Facebook, tweeting out links, re-blogging.

Unfortunately, I don’t have that same level of motivation, or at least I don’t right now.

I would love to be in the position to be sent freebies, earn money. But my spare time, well right now I would rather spend it with friends and family. I want to be outside living, enjoying the moment, rather than worrying about making a note of everything so that I can blog about it at a later date.

#PimpmyRabbit – #WordlessWednesday

Sorry, I know this is very hashtag heavy. Be impressed I resisted the urge to say #HashtagHeavy… almost! But life has gotten a little crazy again.

It’s all good crazy. Pretty great crazy in fact. But it is making finding time to create and write posts a lot harder, especially as I am really trying to re-focus my blog and ensure I am more about quality and quantity (it’s not what you do, but the way that you do it – am I right?!)

So today’s post was just gonna be a picture of Poppy, without any words… but turns out I can’t just not say something. Oh well, life lesson learnt there. Oh and this stays between us. I sent Raoul a link to a press release which claims scientists have proven woman talk less than men, (I feel there is a quicker way to say that,) and he is currently working hard to find examples to dispute this theory – let’s not give him the satisfaction!

So without further ado.. or talking.

Coming in for a cuddle
Coming in for a cuddle

It’s all in the way you sell it

I have had the most lovely weekend. Life has been a little hectic of late meaning I have only been able to see Raoul for the odd evening here and there, but this weekend the stars aligned and I got to spend two glorious days with him. It was really lovely, and just so easy… I never realised quite how much stress my last relationship put onto me. Being with someone so chilled and laid back… it’s just awesome!

Anyway, we are currently in that tricky stage where we are still trying to date date (night out at the cinema or for tea.) Although easier, and cheaper to sit on the sofa, I am determined that 2 months in we will not turn into that couple already. Complete aside, but I can’t believe it has only been 2 months, I feel like I have been with him forever!

So Friday night we were looking for something to do, and as the weather was poor I suggested we went to the Cinema. Now I really wanted to see Man Up, and Friday just happened to be the day it was being released. However, when viewing a preview for the film on a different film night (Honestly when you are dating, what is there to do on an evening but go to the cinema or eat out? Seriously, any suggestions welcome) he was… let’s say… less than keen on seeing this film.

But I really wanted to, and so I asked him “if, as the weather was poo, we could go to the cinema and see the new Simon Pegg comedy?”

He said yes!!

So I quickly emailed across cinema times before he could change his mind.

He scored himself some ‘good boyfriend’ brownie points.

I must admit to being really touched that he was happy to go and see a film with me he hadn’t really wanted to, but assumed he had said yes cause there was pretty much nothing else to do… turns out that wasn’t why he said yes.

Turns out the reason he said yes was because he hadn’t put two and two together…

he hadn’t remembered that the new Simon Pegg comedy was in fact a ROM-com…

In fact he didn’t twig which film we were going to see until we arrived at the cinema…

I maintain, that a Rom-com is still a comedy, just with an additional classification and maintain that I did not lie to him… I just omitted certain details!

However he now claims that I am the worse girlfriend in the world …and made me buy the popcorn. He has also removed my film choosing rights until further notice.

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It’s still a comedy… just a comedy about romance!

So what do you think? Am I right that a Rom-com is still a comedy or has he let me off lightly?

That moment when you realise you have a reputation!

I have to admit to being a little excited yesterday when I was approached by Charlie who wanted to collaborate with me on a blog post. Eeek!

We all have the dream right, make enough money from the blog so we can retire um, I mean slightly reduce hours obvs. (Just in case the new boss is reading – love my new job by the way!) and dedicate our lives to looking after animals in need, with spare time being spent tending the vegetable patch or playing with the children. Obviously in this dream it is always brilliant sunshine, so I will probably need to move… I feel this is very much a pipe dream! Anyway, I digress.

When I was approached by Charlie I have to admit to feeling a little thrill, he wanted to discuss bedding with me, and straight away I am a little ashamed to admit I thought “score, new set of bed linen for the spare room” however a few conversations in and it became obvious that this was a small start-up and there would be no freebie of any kind. However, I told him I would still be willing to learn more, and that, my dear friends is when he showed me this:

Um.. maybe not suitable for the guest bedroom after all!
Um.. maybe not suitable for the guest bedroom after all!

Yep, Charlie is in the process of creating sex position bed linen and apparently I was his go to gal for this very project. I feel it was Google and the cookie cutters that lead him to me. But yes, apparently now you hear the words “sex position and bed linen” and you think of me… or maybe not. Does that sound wrong?To clarify I am not asking you all to think of me when you hear either the words bed linen and definitely not sex position, as I’ll be honest that’s a little weird and I just don’t think our friendship is at that stage right yet!

However, the idea of me being the go to ‘sex position bed linen (I feel I am overusing that phrase somewhat!) gal’ amused me so much, I just had to share with you all.

So what do you think? Would you invest? Would you buy it?

#PimpmyRabbit – Teeny Terror

The other night I was in the other room while Poppy completely destroyed exercised in my front room. On hearing an unusual noise I called out to her (I wasn’t in a position where I could go look)

“Oye, Teeny Terror what are you doing?”

I was expecting nothing, or worse than nothing a crash. However, instead I suddenly saw a very tiny nose peak round the corner of the room that I was in.

Yes my rabbit comes when she is called…

Although I don’t know if I should be impressed or a little mortified that she thinks her name is ‘Teeny Terror!’

Well if the shoe fits... (sorry for the quality but I wanted to grab the photo!)
Well if the shoe fits… (sorry for the quality but I wanted to grab the photo!)