There’s no denying that media is experiencing a shift toward online publishing. Even as a journalism student, we were always told that multimedia skills were so important for getting jobs once we’d graduated. If you could not only write a story, but shoot video, create infographics, interactive maps, upload content, and be savvy with social media, then the likelihood you would be hired increased dramatically. Only three and a half years ago when I started this blog, I was working in traditional media and I was still thinking that in order to make a career out of writing (and especially writing online), then I would need to be hired by the big guns somehow, and write for their sites. The sphere has shifted so much since then, and it truly is a viable alternative to make a career out of blogging, if you work hard enough and you put yourself out there.
Every freelance gig I’ve ever had has come through this blog somehow, and none of it from my degree or the networking I did in traditional media. That may be because I was a journalist for about five seconds, but it is also because my blog has given me an online platform from which I can network and make friends with influential people, or people who need writers for some reason. Blogs are incredibly useful for showing potential employers or brands that you are serious about writing and getting published, and for showcasing your talent. I’ve created a list of some of the things that have helped me get my blog noticed by the people who want to employ writers or work with bloggers, that helped me get started, and helped me become a better blogger. I hope they’re as good to you as they’ve been to me!
Some of these things I used and read myself, and some of them have come onto the market since then, but I am told they are excellent resources!
- I joined Digital Parents (although I wasn’t a parent) and found networking, forums, and useful information from bloggers who were learning as they go and sharing what they found. If you have a question, I bet it’s been asked and answered in the forums there.
- I read and commented on lots of blogs and did my best to become part of the blogging community. It’s so rad to see the blogs that were around back then still kicking on, and so fascinating to see the groups of communities that have sprung up since then.
- I joined linkies. My first one ever was Flog Your Blog Friday, which was hosted by Brenda at Mummytime. It is now hosted by Grace at With Some Grace if you want to check it out. It was useful to me to have my blog there for interested people to find, and also to find new blogs to love and interact with! Linkies are all over the place, and can be awesome for true community love. You do get the odd person maybe not following the rules a little bit, but on the whole, they’re really useful. I’ve seen I Blog on Tuesdays with Essentially Jess, and I remember Wordless Wednesdays with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys was huge. Some other photo ones you might like to join are Jodi’s Portrait Series and Em’s Stills Collection. If you know of some more, do please leave them in the comments!
- I joined Twitter and I tweeted often. I also followed lots and lots of people and just jumped on in on conversations. I got ignored a lot (still do!) but if you’re persistent, then you can make lifelong friends. It’s also useful to retweet other people’s posts and tweets, and generally make yourself known to people you’d like to chat with. It is invaluable for making connections. Do not be afraid of the Twitter!
- Join a Facebook support group – I only know of a handful, but there are tons out there! Groups like Aussie Blogs to Love, Aussie Bloggers, lots of state-specific blogger groups, Blog Chicks, and JustB Blog School are ones that I’ve found particularly useful.
- Read an eBook or do an e-course – I have heard Louisa Claire’s How to Start a Blog (a guide for beginners) is top-notch and has plenty of stuff you need to know (not affiliated, but I probably should look into that!). There is plenty of information on Just B Blog School, and Pip is writing an e-course as we speak, which I am really excited to see. It begins next month. There are also a few that Darren has written over at ProBlogger that deal with newbie bloggers. Amy Lynn Andrews is also fantastic.
Being a better blogger
- You might like to follow blogs that specialise in blog information, or to seek out posts that other bloggers have written that describe what has worked for them. Some of the blogs I read back then aren’t around any more, but new ones have sprung up. Sites like Bloggers Bazaar, the almighty ProBlogger, The Blog Stylist, Amy Lynn Andrews, The Mom Writes, We Blog Better, Blog Chicks, and for social media tips and tricks there’s Socially Sorted, where I get all my info from! For those sites I don’t read every day, I do make sure to sign up to their newsletters so I can see at a glance if they’ve written a post recently that will be useful to me.
- Fat Mum Slim (of Instagram Photo A Day fame) has been writing blog tips for as long as I’ve been blogging, and Nikki at Styling You wrote a whole series (which included linkies to other blog-tip posts from readers) that many people found incredibly useful. Kellie at Three Li’l Princesses also has some hints and tips.
- Also the e-courses I’ve seen around the place to take your blog to the next level include A Beautiful Mess’s Blog Love (I’ve bought it, but I haven’t done it yet!), the Media Maid Blog Academy course, the Coping With Jane blog tips, and she had a book/coaching sessions there for a while, I’m not sure if she still does. ProBlogger has excellent resources and downloadable eBooks for established blogs in addition to ones for the new guys. The gorgeous Rachael at In SpacesBetween has blog tips and is a blogging coach, she is well worth a look.
- I can’t say enough about networking in person. It is probably THE most useful thing I have done. Meet actual people, face to face, make friends, be remembered. You can go to brand events, blogger meetups, and especially conferences – do not ever think you are too small or not established enough to go. If you can go, DO – it will make all the difference in the world. Absolutely.
Making money from blogging
- You can’t really go past ProBlogger for tips from all around the world on how to make money blogging. Not just advertising and sponsored posts, but affiliate sales and goodness knows what else. Darren also has a page outlining how he makes money and some resources and links there to help you too. Jess at Live Healthy Simply has free information and webinars, as well as other goodies to help you learn to make money from your blog. She is also a coach/mentor, and runs Blog Breakthrough seminars.
- If you’re interested in working with brands on your blog or perhaps being an ambassador, then it’s very useful to register with sites that will put you in touch with PR representatives and people looking to work with bloggers. I joined a lot as they all sprung up, places like Brand Meets Blog, Blogs and PR, Blogger Connect, Soup, Rocketman Media, and Switched on Media, and you can follow a bunch on Instagram and Twitter too. Back in the day, we would just find PR companies and send a friendly email with our media kit attached and let them know we were interested in working with brands.
- You can also approach brands yourself with an idea and a brave face! You’ll be surprised who will take you up on your offer of collaboration. Don’t be shy!
- Being represented by a blogging agency is a relatively new thing, but a booming industry. If you think an agent to negotiate and find work on your behalf sounds like something you’d enjoy, then you might like to make yourselves known to the folks at The Remarkables Group (my agency), Ministry of Talent, run by Roxy at Sweaty Betty PR, Creative Jack, and Agents of Influence.
Being a better writer/making money by freelance writing
- If you’re also interested in feature writing for other sites, or just freelancing in general, you can follow things like Sourcebottle (which you can also do for blogging), and follow freelance writers and department editors. You will find people like Kelly Exeter have tons of advice, Allison Tait has written a lot about writing, blogging and also released an eBook called Get Paid to Write: the secrets to freelance writing success, and author Kerri Sackville has written about writing and blogging. The wonderful Megan Blandford also has an eBook about the first year of freelance writing, in which she shares her own tips and tricks for success.
- Pitching to online sites. I’ve written for Kidspot, JustB, iVillage Australia, The Hoopla, most of it paid, some of it unpaid. There are also sites like Mamamia, Lipmag, The Vine, Bide magazine, The Kings Tribune, and Coping with Jane to name a few. There are thousands, including traditional media sites – just approach them. Sometimes your work might be republished on larger sites, which helps with traffic and exposure, like I did recently with news.com.au and The Australian. Just watch out for the trolls, though!
- Enrol in writing courses – the Australian Writers Centre has plenty you can do online.
I am sure I will remember more things in time, so will be adding to this as I do. If you have anything to add (I’ve missed so much, but this is what I’ve personally seen/read/used), then do please leave a comment helping out your fellow bloggers! I hope you get something of use here.