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.

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.

Stepping out of the Shadows

So this is something I have been considering for a while, and as generally all I do here is let my thoughts fall on paper screen I thought why not gives these thought and airing too…

I am wondering what it would be like to ‘come out’ to the world, and admit to my nearest and dearest (and all of you) that this is my blog, and this is who I am.

Just to clarify, I am not going to suddenly give you all my name, address and invite you all to tea (although that would be awesome) but if I was less aware of trying to remain anonymous I would be able to post pictures on here without worrying that someone would identify me by my dogs, or my house.

I feel that trying to be 100% ‘off the record’ has held me back, and in some way limited what I can and can’t share (this fully explains the lack of pictures for example!)  On some levels it has freed me up, for example the one time I ranted about my work I wouldn’t have done had I known my boss could see it and some of the future posts I have planned would be easier to hit publish on while I can kid myself my identity is unknown.

But that nagging feeling of this holding me back, and limiting what I share on MY blog won’t go away.

Another reason I remained anonymous was for the ex. He (rightly) didn’t want his life shared online, and with an identifiable ginger collie (Bd) focusing heavily on a blog from Yorkshire… let’s just say you wouldn’t have had to be a maths genius to realise that 2 and 2 made 4. But now, with him taking Bd, I feel I owe him nothing. I don’t care if people who know us both find out I had a hard time with the break up, in fact I no longer care if he reads these posts.

The only people I do worry about is my folks. More than anything I would love to share this with them and celebrate with them as this blog develops and grows; but would I find myself censoring what I write because I knew they were reading? There was one post I wrote ranting at my dad, I worry how he would feel to read it and I worry if I knew he was going to see it if I would have written it in the first place? But this is my blog and I want to be able to share whatever I want to, without having thinking about other peoples feelings. I do that enough in the real world, I analyse and over-analyse everything to death. Here I am truly open, here I am truly me.

But then I would love for this blog to grow and I don’t think it can grow in the way I hope if I continue to censor the images I share. For example, more than anything I want to share before and after pictures of my house. Share with you all what I have achieved, but again if someone puts 2 and 2 together…

I’d love to hear your views on this? Do

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?

Explaining blogging to a non- blogger.

Have you ever tried explaining blogging to non-bloggers? I have many times. Anyone who knows me (as in actually me) does not know that I blog and anyone who has read my blog (I assume) does not know me. Except one person who I know has put two and two together and found me as a whole.

As previously mentioned I purposefully try not to reveal who I am on my blog. This is because I want to be able to talk about whatever I want, whoever I want, whenever I want and if you know who I am and can by proxy figure out who I am talking about well that’s not fair. Being ‘anonymous’ allows me a level of freedom that I would not have if it was me. Likewise, if anyone who knew ‘me’ read my blog I wouldn’t be able to be as open. How do I write open and honestly when I know my nearest and dearest would be reading every word? I have been tempted a few times to share it, and in the future I may. But at the moment, knowing my friends and family were reading my every word would change the way I wrote and limit what I would be willing to divulge.

However, I am slowly telling more and more of my friends and family about my blog and I this has meant as well as telling them about what’s wisdom I have gleaned from each of your blogs over the last week I also share things that have happened to me.

Although sometimes in sharing them, and with the added enthusiasm of my friends and family somehow it manages to make blogging sound just a little bit ….. geeky.

For example;

Telling my parents ‘My blog’s got its first award’. Their response “Congrats, we are so happy for you, that’s amazing! When do you get it? Where will you keep it? Is there a big award ceremony? Who decided you would win – was there a panel of judges?“ – Sounds uber cool.
Telling them no, it was a graphic and I got to answer a load of questions and pass it on – slightly less cool. Still I’m beyond giddy I was even considered and nominated but explaining it to a non-blogger…

It’s just happened again. On realising the amazing Kristine had asked me to be part of the latest blogging tour I sent an excited text to my friend.

Me: “A blogger has just nominated me to take part in a writing tour. The fact she has chosen me is fab. She thinks I’m a writer!”

His response “Woohooo. You gonna do it? Is it actually traveling around places?’

Me: “No actually travel. Of course I’m going to do it. I’m so excited. I answer 3 questions about writing”

Him: “I’d stick with writing tour”

Me: “:’0( you peed on my writing tour bonfire”

Him: “Take it there’s a decent amount of writing to each question”

Me: “Depends how much I can think of to write!”

Him: “No limits, very cool. You know what the subjects are yet?”

Me: “Yes, it’s three questions about how about I write.”

Him: “Writing about writing, yea I couldn’t do that.”

Me: “Because you’re not a blogger :0P Although I don’t class myself as one either”

Him: yet to reply.

Perhaps I should have just let him believe I was taking off on a world tour!