How to be successful at this thing called blogging

Written by on December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized - 12 Comments

Hey, remember how I was writing a book in November? Yeah, I”m still writing it, and I still have friends helping me out while I do. -Tricia

By Carissa Rogers

First you’ll need to define success, right? Does that mean cash, new readers, hundreds of comments or even a few fun perks and products?

My first ever PAID gig came AFTER I wrote a blog post. And by after… I mean several months after. I wrote a post about getting back into Yoga. (After a long hiatus.) And by hiatus I mean 3 children.

Title Nine (I had no idea who/what they were btw?) emailed me out of the blue and asked if they could use my post on their website and they offered to ‘pay me’ in product credit. (Google told me they are a women’s sport clothing store.)  I would have let them use my post for free. But wow, I was excited to get ‘paid’, eh? There was a problem because I used stock images on my post and they wanted ME to pose in the images (as in yoga poses—people!). Screw it, I did it. My husband was the photographer and I was the slightly uncomfortable girl-in-asana.

And THAT was my first blogging ‘gig’.

Top 10 GoodNCrazy Blogging (for money) Tips

10. Determine what ‘PAID’ means to you.
I once wrote: ‘Will Blog For Toilet Paper’. Lotion on the other hand is useless to me. I don’t use it. (But TP? Same as cash as far as I’m concerned.) What types of perks make sense to your family? And what gadgets or lotions are just work and time-sucks for you? STAY away from those, get more TP!
(PS. A Toilet Paper blog left a comment on that post of mine… they offered TP and I said yes. Perfect match. Who knew?) 

I’m not saying getting paid in hard cash isn’t the goal here. BUT. Cash isn’t always on the table. Learn when saying yes to product is worth your time.

9. Offer A Bunch of Ideas for More! Then Offer Less for Less.  Pitch a company, brand, PR agent a whole bunch of ideas in bullet points for X dollars. If they reject your pitch, offer fewer bullets for less money.  —Everyone’s happy.

8. Skip the Business Speak.  I’m sure not everyone will agree with me. (But this is what works for me.) When you are responding to a PR pitch, or reaching out to a potential new gig; write like you will write on your blog. Be human. I think it surprises them. Do NOT be long winded or add attachments. They don’t have time. Short and Sweet and all YOU.

I’m convinced by using the same voice I write in for all of my correspondence (and yes I use ALL CAPS in an email), many gigs have come through because they could see my personality and my excitement for the project.

7. Don’t Hate the Client After the Gig is Up! I learned the hard way after my first ‘consulting gig’ that I didn’t ask for enough money. Someone once said you have to charge enough money to NOT hate the client after the gig. SO TRUE.

Don’t get me wrong. I work pretty cheap. I do NOT charge the equivalent of a mortgage payment for a sponsored post. NOWHERE near. (See number 2.)

6. Bloggy Karma This is what I call DO UNTO OTHER BLOGGERS as you would have them do unto you. Offer to write guest posts on their blog when they ask. (Hi, Sparky!) FEATURE other bloggers on your blog. Share a fellow blogger’s links in the places where they will get noticed, just because. Go on a Pinning spree, pin a friend’s post images and get a bunch of other bloggers to join you!

I once Stumbled (that’s old-school in case any newbies don’t recognize StumbleUpon) a friend’s recipe and found out a few hours later that it was getting a ton of traffic from my first ‘stumble’. So I jumped online and asked a whole bunch of other bloggers to go stumble the same post. That post got 10,000 hits in one day. What did I get out of it? NOTHING. Except that blogger now loves me and offered to birth my next child.

5. WRITE. Write. Write. Write. Did I mention write? If you are a humor writer, offer up humor pieces to every single online ‘Mom-Magazine’ you can find. If you write about food/recipes or craft/DIY or photography or parenting… then offer up your stuff everywhere too. FOR FREE. I know. WHAT? How will that get me paid gigs?

I spent more than a year writing for every single website that would let me. I now have connections with editors at many websites and my writing name is out there. Both are priceless for future gigs. They call this your ‘Author Rank’. Try it. Google your name, and see how many pages of links show up. You want this to be 2-3 pages of links at least.

4. Join several Blogger/Brand Networks. Examples I like are One2OneNetwork.com, GigCoin.com and MomBloggersClub.com. Many larger blogs also create paid blogging gigs for their network. Sites like MomItForward.com, 5MinutesForMom.com and TypeAParent.com are all worth getting on their radar (offer to write something for them!).

Not all gigs are created equal with these sites, but I happily fill out surveys when they fit (on my cell phone usually), sign up for social media blitz campaigns and about once a month or so a paid writing gig or survey comes along and if it fits I happily take it. Often these however are run like a contest (write about this and you’ll be entered to win a giftcard). THOSE I am less interested in unless I genuinely like the product. {TIP: Always keep your voice authentic. No gig is worth lying about a product or service.}

3. Charge by the Gig or Project | NOT by the Hour. I’m WAY too busy to track hours. And stressing about writing down minutes isn’t what I call fun. I simply explain how many hours I predict something will take and I work hard to stay somewhat within that time frame. If I’m WAY over time I will talk to the client and see if I need to cut back somewhere or if we need to increase the budget.

If you are only offered one budget point for a gig and it works for you then great, but if it’s way too little, simply tell them (in the nicest way). You might be surprised when they accept your request. (See number 9 above, offer several ideas of what you can do for them for this increase!)

2. Blog Posts ARE GONE the Next Day. t’s true. A blog post is replaced every day. (Sometimes every hour.) I have a hard time believing a blog post is worth the same as other media articles. Some websites might be worth that, but my little bitty blog isn’t! And I know it. Even when I write for outside websites it’s STILL JUST A BLOG POST.

My point is… be realistic about what you expect to get paid for ‘just a blog post’. Is it REALLY worth several hundred dollars? (Probably not to the brand.) I realize links stay up for a long time, but it’s still a page that will get buried by the next post.

1. Always Deliver More than Expected. Under Promise—Over Deliver. Bottom line, work hard. Especially if you said you would do something. Life happens and a lot of us are moms in our ‘real’ life. Everyone understands. But coming through on short notice as a ‘favor’ to a PR friend will get rewarded in the long run.

I recently have worked with GirlsGoGames.com, ScribblePress.com, LaynGo.com and VolunteerSpot.com. And in each case when they needed something else, they were willing to come back and ask me. THAT is the biggest thank you I could ask for.

This last point is the most important of all:

If you think bloggers are talking about PR reps then you better believe THEY are talking about us. I can’t tell you how many times my name was given to someone who gave it to someone who then offered me a paying gig because they ‘heard’ I would do the job well and frankly ON TIME. I’m sure they share the negative stuff as well.

There you have it. My GoodNCrazy Blogging tips.
Get out there and Blog Your Socks Off!
Then come tell me about it—@CarissaRogers

12 Comments on "How to be successful at this thing called blogging"

  1. thedoseofreality December 10, 2012 at 11:20 am · Reply

    This is an AWESOME post. First of all, Carissa is the greatest! :) Secondly, I adore these tips and am totally bookmarking this for future reference…so your post lives on, my friend! ;)

    • Tricia December 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm · Reply

      Carissa IS the greatest. And all good info.

  2. Fawn @ Instead of the Dishes December 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm · Reply

    This is a great post! Thanks for sharing all your wisdom Carissa! I am totally jealous – TITLE NINE as your first gig?! I would wear their clothes every day if I could afford it.

    • Tricia December 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm · Reply

      I’m with Carissa. I’ve never heard of Title Nine aside from it relating to girls sports in schools. Cute play on the name.

  3. Anne (@notasupermom) December 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm · Reply

    All great advice. I want to print this and hang it in my office.
    And by “office” I do mean bathroom.

    • Tricia December 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm · Reply

      Bloggers have the best offices. Mine is the kitchen counter. And the bathroom.

  4. Mary H. December 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm · Reply

    Nicely written post. I enjoyed reading it and all the helpful information on blogging.

    • Tricia December 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm · Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Mary!

  5. Amiyrah December 11, 2012 at 12:29 am · Reply

    This was so fantastic. I’ve been a Carissa Rogers groupie on twitter, and now I realize why! She’s genius. This is bookmarked and from now on will be worshipped by me. I asked Jesus if I could and he said it was cool. Thank you for posting this!

    • Tricia December 11, 2012 at 12:33 am · Reply

      Carissa is the best. And so is Jesus for being cool with your blog post worship.

  6. Crystal Green December 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm · Reply

    Great tips. I have enjoyed working with many different companies since I started blogging. I LOVE it.

    • Tricia December 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm · Reply

      It really is fun, isn’t it, Crystal? Thanks for commenting!

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