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?

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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.

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.

Less is more… I hope!

So as I am coming to terms with this new routine, I have decided that I am going to reduce my number of weekly posts. I feel I owe it to you, those who come and visit my little corner of the net, to make sure that when you come and visit it is to read something worth while, interesting and well written (If you are lucky, you may get 2 out of 3!) and I am doing neither of us any good with my writing rubbish to get my week daily post up, and you wasting your valuable time reading dross.

Therefore I have decided to drop down and post less often.

The aim is to plan out some sort of schedule so I know when to post… but then this whole bank holiday appeared and, to be completely honest I was too busy having fun with friends family, and…

having my second and third date with him

Yes, the first date went well. Really really well and I felt the spark. We are both being very sensible and taking it slow, but we have already decided that we are exclusive so I think that starts a whole new chapter. Anyway, that’s a different story for another time.

For the moment however I just wanted to let you know where my head is with publishing on here, and once I know when I will be posting well I will be sure to let you know!

Hugs

What was I thinking?

I am not very good at pre-planning to write something. I am very much a spur of the moment, fly by the seat of my pants kinda ‘writer’ – and I use the term writer loosely!! For some reason I get an idea and then I have to either stop everything and write it down or it is gone and no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to bring the idea back. This means that my draft folder is full of half written posts which I have started but can’t for the life of me remember how this was going to end:

Title: But I like my bed…..

Starts: For the last few days….

Any ideas? cause I have no idea where I was going with this post!

How about:

Title: Stood up on two fronts.

Pretty sure that one would have been a moan. Then we have

Title: Should he have called me sweetie?

I feel this one was probably to do with the ex and his continuing habit of referring to me as sweetie despite the fact he is screwing someone else. Another idea I have had but not finished is

Title: Online dating profile

This one may actually rear it’s head at some stage as I have started another one about writing an online profile, so maybe I thought this would be such a ratings winner I decided to write about it twice.

However, my favourite “i have a title but nothing else post” has to be this one….

Title: Perhaps I should just take off all my clothes…..

I have no idea what on earth I was thinking that day!

So how about you? Any posts that have never made it to the light of day that you would like to share?

A very Merry Christmas to you all

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you all in 2015.

I would just like to take some time to say ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for sticking with me, thank you for reading, for your comments and your support. I am so so grateful for each and every one of you, you will never know what you mean to me!

I wanted to share this song with you today. It has been one of my favourites since I was a little girl, and my cousin had a keyboard guitar thing that played this.

Last year this song felt very real to me, for obvious reasons the lyrics struck a chord and it may have brought tears to me a few times. It was my go to song when I needed a good cry. However, this year it has also been my go to song for a completely different reason.

“Last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away”

Giving over your heart to someone is a big deal. Receiving someone heart is an honor and it should not been so carelessly disregarded and thrown away (yes, I am talking from personal experience.)

Having been heart broken I know how scary it is to give your heart again, but to all of you who have been broken hearted I want to encourage you to try again. Don’t give up on love. It is out there, and when the time is right you will find it. I know that isn’t an easy thing to hear, especially at this time of year, but it will happen when it is mean to. I strongly believe that.

However, your heart is an important thing. Don’t give it to anyone who is not deserving, don’t be in a rush to give it to the first person who comes into your life. Again, I know this is easier said than done, but I want to encourage you all to know your worth. You matter. Your heart matters. Don’t give it to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Hold onto it and nurture it yourself until you find that person, and only then give them everything. Fall in love and enjoy the ride.

And to those of you lucky devils that have already found your someone special (no, I am not green with envy!) this Christmas spare a few moments to remember how truly lucky you are. To have found love. To have someone who is keeping your heart safe for you, don’t take that for granted. So spare a moment, in between all the hustle, noise and materialism, to focus on the true message of Christmas… which is love!

X

DIY Christmas disaster!

Operation ‘Bake Christmas’ is not going well. I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t read the full recipe before I started to bake. I didn’t read the full recipe before I went to the shops, I didn’t read the full recipe before deciding that it would be a brilliant idea to make my dad, grandad and sisters boyfriend mini stollen for their Christmas gifts.

I didn’t read the full recipe until I was prepared and ready to bake. I had my bowl on the side, wooden spoon at the ready, I had bought the full list of ingredients. I had bought scales, baking trays, cutters and bun tins … I. was. sorted.

So at this point I read the full recipe.

First panic, I had to put the miniature stollen into some posh kinda baking dish tray type thing which I have never heard of and more definitely do not own!  I considered using my new bun tin, but when fully formed they were too big so in the end I went for baking tray… I think Mr Paul Hollywood may refer to them as free formed.

However, the tray issue wasn’t my biggest problem.

I hadn’t fully read the recipe, so when I started baking at 8pm last night (with 3 batches of stollen to produce) I may have sworn, you see the recipe said to combine raisins, sultanas, lemon zest, nuts, spices, vanilla essence into a bowl and put to one side before making the dough (which I did.) Then I had to make the dough (no problem) knead for 10 minutes (good exercise) and then lead to rise for 1 – 1.5 hours, before kneading in the fruit, leaving to prove for a further 30 minutes, forming into shapes, leaving for a third prove, then baking in the oven for 20 minutes.  And I had to make 3 batches of these.

I made one batch last night and combined the fruit and nut part for the other two batches. That means that tonight I have to make 2 batches of mini stollen, 1 batch of diabetic biscuits, 1 batch of dairy free melt in the middle cookies and 1 batch of millionaire shortbread.

Oh and I need to do some wrapping, pack for heading to my parents straight from work tomorrow, drop my neighbours cards in with them and try and leave the house in a clean and tidy state (clearly that last one isn’t happening!)

Do you think Santa has some spare elves?

I feel nothing.

The exs’ grandfather died last night. He had reached a good age, and was always on deaths door for as long as I knew him…but I can’t help but feel like I should feel, well anything, at receiving this news. Only I don’t.

I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel…anything. I knew this guy for over 3 years, thought of him as family at one point and yet I feel nothing at the news of his passing.

I worry I should. Shouldn’t I feel something? I mean I am not expecting tears but to feel nothing at all. It makes me worry I am heartless, or cold.

And I am struggling to offer him any support or help. Of course I sent an ‘I’m really sorry’ text when he texted me with the news, and I have asked him to pass on my love to the various family members. But I find that I don’t want to do more. I don’t want to offer to help, I don’t want to offer (huge amounts of) comfort in anyway. He didn’t want me in that role and I am not going to fall back into it now just because he is hurting.

All I can tell him is that ‘time is a great healer’ because it is true. Time (and finding out he was a lying bastard) healed my broken heart, time…and not me…will mend theirs!

And for my next trick……

I didn’t sleep very well last night. I couldn’t drop off, although I don’t really know why, and I woke up far too early this morning with this nagging feeling I had slept through my alarm. I knew I hadn’t, but you know when you just can’t shake that feeling? It seems to happen to me about once a month or so.

I lay in the dark for far long than I would usually. I was staying at my friends house and so unlike at mine where I roll over, check my phone and go back to sleep getting to my phone involved climbing down a ladder (I was sleeping in the top bunk of her daughters room) and navigating a toy covered floor in the dark.  So I stayed in my bed convincing myself I was being stupid and should just go back to bed, it was dark,  I couldn’t hear my friend moving about…..

After a while I decided enough was enough. So I went to check my phone – the time showed 6.59am. I had officially got out of bed one minute before my alarm went off. Would it surprise you to hear I went back to bed? Clutching my phone I climbed back up the ladder to take advantage for the snooze button a couple of times. I lay there waiting for the alarm……

7am. Silence

7.01am Silence

7.02am Silence

7.03am (well you get the picture)

No alarm.

Yep, somehow I correctly predicted that my phone alarm would falter……. I hope I have as much luck on tonights lottery numbers!!