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.