8.5.17

Want To Turn Your Blog Into A Full Time Career? Here's What You Need To Do So Effectively

As blogs provide an increasing way to connect with like-minded individuals and digest information in a new way, more and more homegrown talents are turning their sites into a way of achieving their dreams. Women (and men) are carving out their own path, breaking down barriers and proving that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. It's amazing to see brands embrace influencers as a more effective way of getting their message across, and with that has seen the growth of the 'professional blogger' who no longer needs to rely on a regular job to pay the bills. However, when it comes to full time blogging there are still certain questions that are somewhat unanswered; ambiguous blog posts may hint at generating an income from something that was once an understated hobby, but there's very little advice on actually how to make money from your site and therefore transition from a 'hobby blogger' into treating your creative outlet as a business. Old school bloggers like myself have paved the way for future digital enthusiasts, learning from our mistakes and being part of every bad idea imaginable, but that also means we offer a plethora of knowledge of which we can pass on. If you want to make the transition from blogging enthusiast to blogging pro, I've got a few pieces of advice that can help you on that journey - including a list of what you need to make it happen.


A POINT OF DIFFERENCE
An endless stream of consciousness is no longer enough; if there's one thing that the most successful bloggers have in common, then it's their ability to carve a niche or cement a point of difference. As more and more magazines close their doors, we're turning online for our hit of aspirational imagery and editorial content - and we always want something more. Right now the bloggersphere is incredibly saturated, which makes it increasingly hard to stand out from the crowd - so it's more important than ever to have a point of difference. Why would a brand want to work with you (and pay you) over 1000 other bloggers? Whether that's your incredible photography, the way you write, the topics you cover or even the age you are (30/40/50+ bloggers are definitely having a moment!) it really is the first thing you need to focus on. What do you have over everybody else that's basically irresistible? Write everything down and determine a brand identity and mission statement that will aid your pitch when you decide to make the jump.

AN ENGAGED AUDIENCE 
Numbers are no longer the be all and end all of blogging, especially as so many of them can be artificially inflated at the click of a button. Brands aren't necessarily always interested in working with bloggers that have an insane reach, but instead are starting to look for more targeted and niche partners that can act as genuine ambassadors. 'Micro-influencer' may be the buzz word of the moment, but that's because us smaller bloggers tend to have a far closer relationship with our reader than those with six million subscribers, which at the end of the day translates into trust; that is something that money can't buy. Focus on building up that relationship by responding to comments and talking to people across social media, and instantly your presence has value.

A PORTFOLIO OF GREAT CONTENT  
Content is definitely king right now, and from my experience brands are starting to wise up to the power of a blog post over a traditional press ad. A blog post remains indefinitely and provides shareable content that can be used across social media platforms of both the blogger and brand - in most cases for months and years to come. (Some of the brands I've worked with over the past seven years still tag me on Instagram and Twitter, as they continue to get the most out of the collaboration.) Focusing on creating amazing content, imagery and words is the biggest investment you can make. Your blog and social channels are the online portfolio that everyone else looks to, so always ensure they're the best you can make them; if that means you don't publish a blog post for a few days or skip off Instagram for the weekend, then so be it. Don't post for the sake of posting.

A BUSINESS PLAN
What do you want to achieve and how much money do you need to make to survive? How are you going to get there over the next twelve months? Deciding you want to go full time with your blog is not enough; you need a way of turning your dreams into reality and specific goals to achieve along the way. It's absolutely vital to work out how much money you need to pay your bills and live comfortably, translating that into XYZ collaborations in any given month: is that a reasonable expectation? If not, do you have savings or a side hustle that will help you stay financially afloat? A blog is no less of a business than a shop or agency, so do your calculations and get advice from those you trust to get you to where you need to be. A formal business plan may not be suited to all, but writing everything down and regularly checking back to see where you are is always a good idea.

A NETWORK OF CONNECTIONS  
It's not what you know, it's who you know. Those connections you've made at events, via emails or even on social media are an invaluable resource that are essential if you want to transition into full time blogging. They're the gatekeepers of the budget, so you need to know who to talk to and where to send your pitch; without a network of connections this blog would be nothing, so I would always recommend taking the time to build relationships over coffee as you never know when they could pay off down the line. (Side note: thank you to all the lovely PRs that have ever paid me and allow the LBQ dream to remain alive!)

A POWERFUL PITCH 
Ensuring a guaranteed income from your blog isn't as easy as deciding you want to do it, then sitting back and waiting for it to happen. You need to be proactive and create an pitch that's both powerful and realistic; this may be as simple as a media kit that includes your key statistics and unique selling points, or a full proposal of what you want to do and the benefits for the brand in question. Don't be ashamed or embarrassed about pitching out to brands you want to work with - they love to hear ideas and quite often they may link into something they're already considering internally. This is your opportunity to verbalise exactly why your blog is unique, valuable and a worthwhile investment; do as much of the work for them as possible, presenting full ideas rather than concepts and including as many statistics as you can - because brands love numbers.  

A TOUCH OF PATIENCE 
Success never comes overnight, despite what the media tells you. Most of us worked relentlessly for years before we were able to make the decision to leave our 9-5s, then taking 6-12 months to see if we could really make it on our own. Having a nest of savings is important before you make the leap into uncertainty, as is the ability to be patient and work hard until it all starts falling into place. Your transition may take six months, a year or even two - it's not a race, but you do need to ensure you're set up to succeed rather than falling at the first hurdle. Patience really is a virtue.

If you're considering making the leap now or in the future, I hope my tidbits of advice have helped. If you're a full time blogger or currently making the transition, do you have any other wise words to pass on?


Pictured above, Abercrombie & Fitch First Instinct for Women Eau de Parfum is available now, priced from £34.00

FURTHER READING


 Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  

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20 comments

  1. Although I don't think I'll ever take my blog into my career, I would love to grow more as a blogger and these are such fantastic tips!xx

    Lucy x | lucy-cole.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad they're helpful!

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  2. incredibly detailed post, really enjoyed reading it. although it would be wonderful to blog full time it's not my plan but these tips are also handy to have when using blogging as a career starter or added extra in a job interview. great post x

    www.thedressdiaries.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right - they're transferable into so many other areas.

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  3. Some great tips here. I don't think I would ever be able to go full time but I think these are some great tips to help me grow!

    Rachael xox
    http://gatsbyandglamour.blogspot.com

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  4. Hey, I'm so happy to have come across your blog and this post. I only started my attempt at a blog a couple of weeks ago and it's great to have some valuable advice like this - as a thirty-six year old I'm particularly encouraged by your comments on age! Your advice on networking and pitching is daunting for me at the moment (and I'm slightly terrified by the prospect of being trolled!), but also feeling excited; look forward to any more advice you publish and following your blog. Thank you! Tara
    prettybipolar.com
    ps Is it bad blogger etiquette to put my address on a comment?! Have no idea what I'm doing yet (clearly), please delete this bit, and the address if preferred - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with your blogging journey Tara - and I hope some of my tips help. (And feel free to leave a link in your comment too, not a problem!)

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  5. Patience and determination is absolutely key. And I think to not put brands on a pedestal. Sometimes the way they communicate or treat you may not always be as professional as you would expect...

    Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE
    IG | @VIVIYUNN_
    ~

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    Replies
    1. Yes definitely - something I've covered before is knowing when to say no or to question what 'opportunity' is being put in front of you.

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  6. Fab tips Hayley. I think having savings is a really a good idea. It takes the pressure off a bit. xx

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  7. I have been blogging for less than a year and am loving it. I'm averaging at one post a week, just because I don't want to force myself to do posts and then not be happy with them. This post was so helpful, I'm now going to dive into the other posts on your blog. Would love it if you could check out my blog-
    LaurlyLou.com

    Laura

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  8. This is such an Interrsting post as I'm currently working half and half and do hope to go solely blogging eventually ! Xx

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  9. Thanks for sharing this. I'm only just starting out with my blog so it's great to read advice from a seasoned pro!
    www.hollywoodwife2countrylife.com

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  10. This post is so useful, one day I hope to make the leap too. For now it's the after work writing and photographing but I will transition soon ( I hope )

    Catherine.
    daintydressdiaries.com

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  11. Thank you so much for these tips. I want to take my blog into a part-time or full-time career so your advice is very helpful to me.

    :)

    Chichi
    chichiwrites.com

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  12. Fab post!
    37 year old blogger here - My market is older fashion and beauty enthusiasts with children who still want to indulgence their passion but with kids in tow now maybe don't have time or money they used to. I talk about how you make a capsule wardrobe work for you which removes the need for relentless shopping.
    I wanted to create a space for people like me that don't relate to the swathes of 25 year old fashion and beauty bloggers and their lifestyles yet didn't want to join the Mum-blogger army and write about being covered in sick and food and hitting the gin at bedtime (cringe).
    As a former Marketing Manager I'm bringing my skills up to date and throwing myself into the social media world - I'll be offering my services as a social media manager and writer and using my blog to create a personal brand and forge connections with other bloggers and brands who should be able to see from my won work if I would be a good fit. I'm also learning about wordpress, SEO, photography and loads of other important stuff whilst doing this.
    The plan is that when my children are at school I should be in a positive to scale up to full time working again.

    www.notmyfirstrodeo.co.uk

    p.s love your blog - I love an old school beauty blog! I wrote one myself in 2008-2010 called Magpie Sparkles.

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  13. I definitely needed to read this. I'm a newbie blogger and I'm still navigating the realms of growing my engagement and following. Good to know that great content is still valued! As a nonfiction writer and poet, this really is a huge creative outlet for me; it would be the cherry on top if I could get a great following and promote products I believe in!

    Lovely work :)

    Amber || mylifeinlimbo.com

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  14. This is heartening and realistic read. In an age where everyone wants to be a full time blogger or even an influencer, it's great to hear from someone who has made it happen sharing tips...and the reality! You're an inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x
    www.fashiondujour.co.uk

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  15. Such a helpful post!! I'm only just starting off my blog but i hope one day I'll be able to turn it into a full time career!!

    Cerys(http://cerysfaye.co.uk/)
    x

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