05 May 2009

Amanda's Blogging Tips: Basics Edition

After my giveaway, a large handful of you contacted me with blog related questions. Some wanted simple bloggy advice, one just wanted me to help her name a new blog, and the larger majority of those who contacted me wanted to know the obvious - how do I get free stuff to review and/or giveaway??

It's the exact same question I found myself asking late last year.

I kept stumbling upon review blogs, or other mommy blogs that had FREE stuff and reviews! The majority of these also had great content, so I enjoyed their blog without the free stuff, but I couldn't help but wonder "how do I get in on that??"

I wasn't completely in the dark, however. I have a bachelor's in Public Relations/Advertising, so I know how the PR gears grind. Companies want their name out, the internet is a wonderful way to do that, and the blogging world is growing by leaps and bounds. One of the biggest criteria for product promotion is to hit your "target market", which for people who read this blog, are mostly women ages 18-45 who share a few things in common (kids, raising hellions, enjoying a good story or two about poo, recycling, husbands that drive them crazy.... you know... that kind of stuff).

Here's my list of a few things you can do get your feet wet, your blog grounded and maybe obtain a few freebies and promo offers. This is just the beginning, blogging basics just for you:

1) CONTENT - I just CAN NOT express the importance of this enough, so here are a few exclamation points for emphasis (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Here's how the game works - PR companies have clients with products that they are paid to promote. They want to give YOUR blog these products if AND ONLY IF you have a consistent and dedicated readership. The only way to have a solid readership is to not bore the pants off of people. Find a niche, something you think you can consistently blog about.

What's mine? Well, The Mom Job, obviously, but it's a little more than that. I try to keep this website broad, so I can blog about what I want - if I don't like the topic, my posts seem to be boring. And boring content means no readers. See where I'm going with this?

So Step 1: Just write. Write passionately, and post often. You either WANT this or you don't.

2) NETWORK - In the world of mommy bloggers, we are all trying to make connections, share stories, find common ground with other moms so we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say "See, I'm not completely insane! Other mommies have let their children eat doughnuts for every meal, 3 days in a row!"

In my personal experience, this is one of the most rewarding parts of blogging that I didn't expect at all. I've "met" so many moms from all walks of life and locations, but we all share something in common - we blog and we have crazy children who we love with our whole being. I also read a few blogs that aren't "mommy blogs" and fall more under the "humor blogs" category, but some happen to be mothers. I like to pretend I fall in this category sometimes, and that other people who don't have children can enjoy my content. I might be kidding myself though.

Networking means finding other blogs, making friends by leaving comments and in turn, hopefully they'll come to your site and leave a comment back. And if the stars are aligned and the Prozac is flowing, maybe just maybe you'll become bloggy friends (which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy AND your numbers look better - WIN WIN WIN).

3) COMMENT BACK - If you notice in my comments section, I usually comment back to those who are nice enough to leave me "comment love". It's just like if someone on the street said "hey, I LOVE your shoes" and you ignored them. You wouldn't do that, right? NO! You'd tackle them and hump their leg for noticing that you FINALLY are wearing your nice shoes instead of the same flip-flops you've been torturing yourself with for the past 3 years (but sure are comfy).

Commenting back helps deepen your connection with your bloggy friends, and shows that you CARE they took the time to read your blog. Occasionally, it'll lead to further conversations or other blog topics. So, just try and remember that.

4) BE BIPOLAR - Ok, I do not mean that literally, but what I do mean is this - there's nothing worse than stumbling on a blog that is all rays of sunshine, pots of gold, and darling children with farts that smell of daisies. GET A GRIP. Life is life. Be real, be you and for Pete's sake - don't pretend to live in a magazine with perfect children and a perfect husband. Life sucks sometimes, life's great sometimes and life can be outright hysterical sometimes - so blog it all.

5) DE-CLUTTER - Buttons, and pressy things and blog lists are great - in moderation. Once you start posting every. single. one of them though - you look a little needy and I begin to wonder if you are that lady on Oprah who lives amongst life-sized piles of McDonald's toys, 14 hundred collectible cherubs and old plastic bins.

From a PR perspective, companies might be less likely to offer you a product for review/giveaway if they feel their product won't be front and center. If your blog is too AHHH! MY BRAIN IS MELTING, then they are right - the product won't be an attention grabber, and that's not good for business.


And noteworthy, I started this journey in November (well, The Mom Job journey, I've been blogging since 2005ish...and my archives on here back to early 2007), and I just started getting legit offers over the past 8 weeks. This takes time people, be patient.

Next Edition: Stepping Up Your Bloggy Game: How to promote and win the hearts of PR companies. If you have questions you want me to answer, comment away!!

7 comments:

  1. I see what you're doing here. You're trying to shame me into finally joining the blogging world by anonymously calling me out.

    Well guess what. It won't work! Mostly because I just outed myself, & also because... well, my blog still needs a name. Get to it, woman!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the advice, Amanda! Sounds like good stuff!

    I always have trouble getting readers, though I involve myself on most of the blogs I read (part of the problem is that I comment lots of blogs that have so many readers that the authors don't have time to follow me, too... etc. But I'm doing better - getting more attention. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. SO... Any interest in helping me come up with a good Blog name??

    Pretty Please?

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Tamara - TOTALLY! I'll have to marinade on it for a while...

    ReplyDelete
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