Blogging as an alternative to a traditional media career – my hints and tips!

starbucks cafe hourThere’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!

Starting out

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 PRCreative Jack, and Agents of Influence.

Being a better writer/making money by freelance writing

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.

Comments

  1. Lisa says

    Great wrap-up Stacey, another blogger/writer Megan Blandford has just released her e-book on her first year as a freelance writer that includes heaps of information. http://meganblandford.com/the-e-book-is-here/
    Jodie Gibson and Jo Castro are also blogger/writers who have shared writing info on their blogs. Alison Tait and Kelly Exeter are great at sharing their knowledge.

  2. says

    What a fantastic summary! Perhaps the best I’ve read xx
    If people want to expand and build their Facebook community I run Double-Up Friday, every single Friday ~ great way to introduce yourself and meet new bloggers/pages
    I also run a once a month link-up Conversations over Coffee held on the last Thursday of each month, everyone is always welcome xx

  3. fritha strickland says

    Inspirational lady! I was in a meeting with Nuffnang the other day and we were discussing the difference between the UK blogging scene and you guys. I think you guys are waaaay ahead but its something to aspire too for sure! I also think many of the things you have suggested can be useful wherever you are in the world. Out of the many many blogs I read I think yours has one of the best mixes of working with brands and staying true to yourself. Thanks for the tips! xx

    • says

      Oh wow, that is the most wonderful compliment! Thank you. My fussiness pays off! I think we feel the same way about the American blogging scene – we’re about five years behind that, but it’s exciting to see where we can go. I hope this meeting with Nuffnang means big things for you?

  4. Jody Scott-greer says

    Like you, I have a media career behind me. I love blogging! It’s like running my own magazine and business but without all the hassle. (My blog is Six Little Hearts). Thanks for those tips, I will be sure to check out those companies!

  5. says

    Awesome post Stace – and thanks for the link back – I’ve had to lecture on this topic at QUT for three years now and every year the focus becomes even more on the students not only starting a blog but really using it to build up a platform from which to “sell” themselves. I’m blunt and say without a blog that’s consistently updated and focussed that they will be left behind in the jobs – and opportunities – race.

    After lunching with former workmates last week and learning of 20 more redundancies in the production team, I’m once again grateful I took a big step into the unknown and took charge of my future – instead of leaving it up to someone else.

    • says

      That is precisely what I said in my lecture this week too! If you want to be taken seriously, get yourself published in any way you can – including self-publishing.

  6. Laney Galligan says

    Wow, what a comprehensive tips list! So good of you to share your knowledge. Thanks for mentioning Agents of Influence x

  7. Marketing Storytelling says

    Great summary. I’ve been visiting most of them over the last 20 months and I can definitely say that I’ve learned and used quite a lot of their teachings.

  8. MotherDownUnder says

    Thanks for all the tips and links…I have bookmarked this and will be returning to it once I finish this dang assignment!

  9. coalvalleyview says

    You’re a superstar Stacey! You’ve just bundled so much valuable information into one handy Post, thank you! Mel x

  10. says

    What an amazing list of sources Stacey! Love that you’ve put so much effort into this. Thank you. I love learning all this stuff, but I’ve got a giant F for not coming to anything in person. BUT (and it’s a bit but) I’m being brave and going to the next online event. Anyone really. And I’m going to do this. I know I won’t regret it! x

  11. says

    Great info thank you for sharing! There is just one thing you did not mention? How on earth do you do it all. Compose a post like this, Do 31 days of confessions, maintain your website, look after your babies, work, cook, clean ……..???

    • says

      Haha don’t forget my real job as well! This post took me forever, so I cut corners with dinner. My eldest daughter has a yogurt and an IPad right now so I can do some writing! Normally I write when they’re napping during the day, or at day care (Abby goes two days a week, Pepper one, and I work outside the house one day a week). I suck at cleaning, and four loads of laundry are sitting in my room waiting to be folded. I try to be organised, and I work in blocks and spread it out, as I know I probably won’t get the chance every day! But we’re happy and clean and fed and healthy. And I love this blog and my writing so where some people spend time on a hobby, this is what I spend that time on :)

  12. Clare at CatsEatDogs says

    Wowser! Thanks for this amazing post, I was just wondering where to find info on working with brands and writing for other places. I also find lots of great info on Pinterest and have a ‘blogging’ board where I hoard all of the gems I find, like this.
    Thanks so much Stacey, I am now going to work through this info and the wonderful blogs and resources you have listed.

  13. Malinda says

    Thank you so much for putting all of this information in one place. So helpful. Now to find the time to get around to it all.

  14. says

    This was so helpful in many different ways. It is funny, I can easily swing between feeling so connected in the blogging community to the complete opposite! I think these tips will help me to combat these feelings, and even reach out to a few more people. Thank you!

  15. countdowntonewme says

    Wow, wow, Wubbzy!! This post was was right on time for me. Seriously. I will definitely re-read this in the morning because there is a ton of info here.

  16. The Plumbette says

    Thanks heaps Stacey for this awesome post! I’m printing it out as my checklist of things to do! I love that you have shared all these tips openly too! I hope your transparency blesses you with high traffic and more loyal followers. :)

  17. says

    It never ceases to amaze me how generous you blogger gals are with sharing the luurve.
    I am just a newbie, so to have the likes of you clever chicks,who paved the way a couple of years ago, share your tips and tricks it really does make a difference. Thanks so much for posts like this that make the dream seem possible.

  18. Seana Smith says

    Great comprehensive overview… I find that networking face to face (also known as nattering, chattering and blethering) is the best, best way to have things happen… which is why I’m still sad not to have been able to go to Problogger this year.

    And I think a niche is really great to have… with info that people will find useful, I do love to be useful… is that a mum thing???

  19. thelifeofclare says

    This is amazing Stacey! Thank you! I’ve opened up so many tabs right now, that I can’t see the end of it! I love the idea of blogger meet ups, but do often have that “I’m too small” mentality, problogger definitely helped with that though! I can’t wait to have more time at home over summer, pre baby to work on it all!

  20. 26 Years & Counting says

    What a great list! Thanks for compiling it. I had wondered about attending Digital Parents Conference since I’m not a parent – but now I think I’ll just add it to my list and go for it.

  21. Leanne Faulkner says

    Thanks so much for all of this advice…you’ve managed to make a succinct post that covers *all* areas and I’ll be returning to it. Thank you!

  22. Paper Doll says

    I’m so happy I came across this useful post! I am a newbie blogger and I studied journalism and had started to think it was too difficult to break in to traditional media, but now that I have started blogging I cant believe I didn’t do it sooner! It is great to be writing and creating something and seeing so many successful blogs makes me really excited to be part of such an impressive community.

  23. says

    Thanks heaps for all your knowledge, it’s wonderful that everyone helps each other out. I’m looking into all the links and ideas. Thanks again.

  24. L U C I N D A says

    Wowwww-eee. Totally overwhelmed by all this, but in a good way! Opened up heaps of your links the other day… and then my computer jammed… Taking it one step at a time this time and not trying to gobble it all up at once! Thanks Stacey, really helpful tips. My blog is the same age as yours and no where nearrrrr as popular, so it’s great to get some idea of the tools you have used. Legend, as always! L

  25. says

    Thank you so much for the shout out Stacey – I have been catching up on all of my blogs and missed this post somehow but then again I do sometimes get a little distracted by the yummy food on here…ha ha! There is some great advice this post and I am going to go and play on the other blogs you have mentioned now. Thanks gorgeous! x

  26. Sue says

    Hey there!

    New to this blog thing. Just wanted a new start to 2014 as no one in the fashion or graphic industry in Sydney seems to want to employ a single mum of 2. Having sent endless applications for anything and everything and getting nowhere I had an idea. I have a fashion and graphic design background, fashion editorial and social media administration experience, a knack of forecasting trends so why not make my own career and start to blog. Truly sounds like work/life balance to me. So here is the beginning of social comment and linking in with like minded women who have something to say that is positive and informative.

    Thank you for your site. I will certainly be researching your suggested blog sites and hope to join in on many of your discussions in the future.

    Wish me luck as I prepare to delve into the unknown and try to set up my own blog site.

    Ciao! for now.
    Sue

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