I hope you find them useful.
1. Content is king, or queen as I like to say so write, rewrite, write some more, publishing as you go, reading widely and outside of your niche too for inspiration, endlessly honing your voice.
Consistency is key when it comes to online content be it blog posts or video so endeavour to be as prolific as possible.
It’s crucial to post regularly so your audience knows they expect regular new material.
Don’t stress yourself though, if once a week is all you can do, that’s fine just commit to that weekly post.
But what to write about?
Write about what you enjoy, what you would like to read yourself: share your interests and passions and a like minded audience will find you.
Remember that there are only a handful of universal stories/themes which exist in the world and what makes your blog unique is you: your voice and personality.
It’s your own view of the world and your personal style of storytelling which makes what you write about, unique and distinctive.
You are the vehicle for your story and world. There is only one you so own your own personal brand!
Know too that your words can make a huge difference to others.
My own mission on Honest Mum is to boost women’s confidence in parenting and life. I also hope to encourage others’ to embrace a career in tech through blogging and vlogging.
I don’t want women to feel alone when it comes to parenting as that’s how I felt back in November 2010 when I first set up Honest Mum. I felt lonely, in desperate need of a creative space to call my own-I needed direction.
Blogging (coupled with therapy) helped me rediscover my voice and identity again.
So write what you need to read and hear yourself.
Often the posts which are the hardest to write will resonate the most.
People want to feel connected to your stories. They want to see themselves reflected in your words and know they are not alone.
As with filmmaking, blogging is simply emotion on screen.
So write and schedule, using your own interests as a barometer of what you want to post.
The beauty of blogging is you are your own editor, in control of your piece of the internet.
Also note that whilst it’s useful and engaging to write newsworthy content on world events and trends, evergreen pieces will naturally go the distance.
I have recipes on my site which bring huge traffic every single day such as these fluffy gluten-free american pancakes.
I was recently and surprisingly informed that my blog is regarded as a Google authority in gluten-free recipes.
I didn’t set out for that (although I’m grateful, it is), I was simply interested in sharing gluten-free recipes as we eat a lot as a family and by doing so and posting lots of recipes, I quickly became viewed as an authority in that field.
Thank you Google!
Do not underestimate the importance of SEO for visibility. There’s a super article on how to get Google crawling and indexing your new site HERE. Install the Yoast plugin (for wordpress) and optimise your posts and pages on your blog following the simple instructions, adding alt tags to your images and ensuring you get a green light via the plugin as much as possible.
Once you are optimised and live with an enticing title too, go plug your content on social media, encouraging others to clickthrough.
If you don’t share, no one will care right?!
You could be the greatest blogger in the world but if no one knows about you/your work how will they find you?
Go promote yourself!
You don’t have to plug you/your posts in real time either. You can schedule when you want your posts to go live on your blog and there are social media tools which take the stress out of publicising your work.
Use Social Oomph or similar tools to schedule tweets and directly schedule statuses natively, on Facebook.
I have gotten into the habit of plugging across all my handles as soon as I go live including Twitter, Facebook (FB), Google +, Instagram, tumblr, Stumble Upon, Linkedin and Pinterest.
Make sure you upload video content to FB directly too, don’t share a YouTube (YT) link on FB as the box will appear smaller there, as FB obviously don’t want people to bounce off their site and onto their competitor’s YT.
Remember that whilst it’s important to share content on all of your social platforms, you are simply renting space on networks that are not your own so water the grass on your home turf first: your own blog.
2. Interact with other bloggers/ on other blogs and sites.
Comment on blog posts and connect with other bloggers on social media and in real life at brilliant annual events like BritMums Live. There, you can network and form and cement friendships and working relationships.
Commenting on blogs is a crucial way to connect with your peers and it also leads readers from one site to another as readers follow the commenting thread.
So make sure your comment counts.
‘Nice post’ just won’t cut it.
Most importantly, support one another. There’s enough success to go around for everyone.
Stop comparing and start sharing. Collaborate.
Two brains are always better than one. Simply, find your tribe, the people you can trust who have your back and think like you do.
Guest post on each others’ blogs as well as many well known sites which accept pitches and submissions like BritMums and Huffington Post.
I also host guest posts too so if you have an idea you would like to pitch to me, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing on high authority sites helps to build your brand, offers you quality backlinks and also enables you to reach new audiences.
Joining linkies is another great way to connect with bloggers/ readers. They promote the posts which matter to you and help drive traffic and engagement to your pieces.
I run the weekly Brilliant Blog Posts linky on a Thursday (going live on a Wednesday evening) which sees hundreds link up each week. Linkies prompt bloggers to comment on each others blog posts and increases visibility too.
Depending on if the blogs offer do-follow links (which I do for other blogs), leaving comments on sites can also boost your own SEO too.
3. Ensure Your Site Looks Slick.
You want PR and hope that with time, others will regard you as a leader in your field, an authority in your niche, then that means looking professional from the get-go.
Invest in a designer if you can (it doesn’t have to be expensive), have a logo created and some professional looking head shots snapped (use a camera not your phone) for your gravatar (uploading the same image across all platforms) and ensure your site is clear in design and easily navigated.
Have your social media buttons and contact me page (crucial) clearly visible and at the top of your blog, above the fold and check that each button works.
Simply, make it easy for readers, journalists and PRs to find and connect with you.
Create a cracking About Me Page as well as Work With Me and Press Page (once you have some press to add-do encourage other bloggers to interview you if they run interview features as that counts as press too).
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blogging for, start taking yourself seriously and others will too.
Everything boils down to confidence.
If you don’t feel it (yet) then feign it. Lets other people know you are confident in your abilities.
Confidence together with hard graft and a dedication to honing skills will lead to endless opportunities and exposure, trust me.
Success, however seemingly small at first, has a domino effect so with every small step taken/domino knocked down, the next with fall and the next, leading to greater opportunities and growth.
Inevitably as with any journey, mistakes will be made so learn from them, hold your head up high and keep cracking on.
4. Contact local and national press.
Local coverage tends to be easier to get than national so start there first. Local stories can often be picked up by national press but don’t underestimate the reach local papers and their sites can bring.
The Yorkshire Evening Post for example has a huge readership and they often put me on the cover (something I wouldn’t get with national coverage-not yet anyway).
National and international press is obviously incredible PR but hard to come by at first.
Start local and go from there.
Finding journalists’ email addresses and twitter handles etc online is easier than ever so follow others and drop them a line, making sure you’ve thought through your angle and what makes you/you story relevant and engaging.
Don’t pester people but do send a polite email over, secure in the knowledge that everyone needs stories-it’s how journalists earn their living.
You can also search for hashtags on twitter #journorequest.
PR is about repetition- reminding people of your name, brand and ethos. Keep getting your work out there. Before you know it, journos will come to you, you’ll be on TV databases and offers will start flooding in.
5. Commissions can lead to exposure and PR
Want to work with brands and get PR from cross promotional work? Then make videos and write about products and companies you love, tweeting and tagging them when your content is live. Use hashtags and general tags on your site as well as including clear descriptions in the description box on YT to help with searches too.
Remember YT is the second biggest search engine after Google and is owned by Google. Don’t worry about subscriber number, views are more important and as with blogging, consistency.
Add links to your own posts which correlate to the videos in the description box to boost SEO and shoot as often as possible.
This organic SEO along with you alerting brands of your work via tweets and tagging will help encourage visibility for your own content as they hopefully share to their own followers or at best, can to paid collabs down the line.
Once you set up your blog, you might well start being offered commissions and PR exposure within weeks. I started Honest Mum on November 10th, 2010 at a time very few were blogging ( I used to have to explain what a blog was to most people) yet within two weeks I was offered a paid gig and within 4, I was a finalist in the BiBs in the Fresh Voice Category which shows you just how quickly things can take off.
Do enter awards like the BiBs as this is a great way to garner PR as you feature on lists on their pages and have something to offer journos for a press angle. It’s an annual call to entry so keep going.
Trust that talent always rises to the top and within no time at all you can be discovered and importantly trusted by your peers and readers.
Just don’t wait for PR opportunities, go create them.
Success happens when you don’t take no for an answer, you keep picking yourself up after every rejection and bravely truckin’ onwards.
So become proactive when it comes to getting yourself and your brand noticed.
It’s all there for the taking. There’s really never been a better time to blog.
Vicki writes at Honest Mum. For more blogging tips head to Honest Mum’s Blogging Tips category.