As much as we all love to blog just because we enjoy writing, it’s no secret that we all strive to make our blog as successful as possible with a decent following, sponsored posts and blogger collaborations. Blogger collaborations – aka collaborating with a company to create content for your blog/brand or reviewing something – is a great way to expand your blogging expertise and show you can turn your hand to different styles of writing.

If you particularly love to review things – and know your readers trust you – it’s a great way to share good recommendations to people and help promote worthy brands. And, of course, collaborating with brands can be really fun too, whether that’s reviewing a meal out or curating content that you love to write about.

However, it’s not easy to find brand’s to collaborate with – especially if you’re just starting out as a blogger. Not everyone knows where to look or how to approach brand’s – so here are some tips.

Formidable Joy | 5 ways to get more blogger collaborations | Blogging | Blogging Tips | Lifestyle

GET TO GRIPS WITH YOUR BRAND 
Before doing anything else, I’d recommend sitting down and having a look at your blog through the eyes of a reader and a company. What works for you – lots of emojis and a down to earth tone of voice – may not fit in with the type of brand you want to be working with. You also need to ensure that your blog itself is clean and easy to follow – with contact details easy to find and all social media links. Think of your blog as a brand rather than just a blog – keep your own little mood board with necessary colour charts and fonts (to keep things consistent throughout) and really think about the message you want to send across.

….AND YOUR STATISTICS
Although it’s easy for a company to see how many followers you have, many are stepping away from this and instead focusing on behind the scenes statistics such as audience growth or engagement. Most statistics can be found easily – companies like Bloglovin’ or Buzzole are great to grab quick charts to put into a press pack – but really, you want to keep an eye on Google Analytics and of course behind the scenes stats for Facebook, Twitter – and wherever else you focus your growth. Oh, and make sure you always have an up to date press kit!

DON’T BE AFRAID TO APPROACH COMPANIES
..within reason, of course. I always tend to shoot out an email if I’m visiting somewhere local or have spoken about a brand before (always, always tag them when sharing content on Facebook/Twitter) as I’ve come to realize that the worst thing that can happen is someone says no. I don’t do this as much as I should but it’s a good idea for smaller brands. Blogging doesn’t tend to be very popular in my area, so if I visit a nice new restaurant or a new business excites me, I always do a review or offer them a little bit of word of mouth promotion when I’m visiting. The more you approach brands, the more you’ll get used to your own way of doing it; whether that’s sending them a link to a previous review out of courtesy or sending a full on proposal with your press kit. Whatever works for you! Just don’t be afraid and only do this if you genuinely want to help a company out or feel you would be a good fit – you should never do this just in the hopes of getting freebies.

STAY IN TOUCH
Share old posts continually and once you do work with a brand, stay in touch. Drop them an email maybe every couple of months to see if they have any other campaigns or share statistics of a post. I’ve worked with brands before where I’ve immediately sent them the post when it’s live, then come back a week later to find tons of comments on it. What looks better= a newly live post or a post that’s been up a few days and has tons of content? Don’t be afraid to give them an update if a post is doing particularly well, especially as brands are starting to favour engagement over follower count now.

ADD A MIDDLEMAN
Sometimes it’s easier to add a middleman and sign up to some websites that specialize in getting assignments for you. This is particularly good if a brand is quite big (it may be hard to find the person who you’ll want to approach) or who want a certain amount of followers for a campaign. This stops you both wasting each other’s time. I love websites like Buzzole (great for summing up your statistics) and The Blogger Programme (which makes it clear how many followers are needed on what platform before you even apply). But, platforms such as Facebook Blogging groups and #bloggersrequired hashtags on Twitter are just as helpful too.

Overall, however, my top tip would be to just stay patient. It took me nearly a full year of blogging before I got my first proper collaboration and, even before then, I’d see bloggers with fewer followers getting more interest than me. Collaborating with brand’s isn’t the be all and end all of blogging and it certainly doesn’t reflect on how successful you are but hopefully, this post will help you get a head start. Once one or two collaborations come along – and you do a good job! – the others should hopefully start rolling in with time.

Do you have any tips on how to start the ball rolling when it comes to collaborating with companies? Let me know!

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Having writer’s block is a horrible, horrible feeling, especially if you’re on a deadline or work to a blogging schedule. It’s very easy to sit and try and brainstorm or trawl through Bloglovin’ to find inspiration; suddenly the posts you see aren’t quite right for your niche (even though you follow them!) or your heart just isn’t in it.

I think it’s important to remember that having writer’s block is natural. It doesn’t mean your good enough: I often used to think maybe I wasn’t really a writer deep down or maybe I didn’t love blogging as much as I should because if I did, surely I’d be bursting with inspiration?

However, now that I know it’s natural I’m not that hard on myself. I use the below tips to help overcome writer’s block, and hopefully, these tips will help you too.

Formidable Joy | Blogging | 5 ways to beat writer's block | Lifestyle | Blogger Tips

TRY NEW SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
always look through Bloglovin’, then very quickly find myself bored again. In fact, I do need to improve my feed so leave your links below as I’m looking for new bloggers to follow! These days, I step away from that website and look elsewhere. Facebook groups are super helpful and twitter too. Sometimes, I look at what people I follow are currently loving or raving about. I think it’s important to remember to not copy other people’s content here though: instead, you should take inspiration from it. If someone is talking about an upcoming trip, why not write about five trips you’d love to book in future? Or, if someone has reviewed a movie, you could do a quick top ten of your favourite movies. If I take inspiration from someone, I also always say so and link back to them – even if it’s not related in the slightest. It’s not necessary, but it is a nice touch.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY
Been to the cinema? Seen an awesome band live? Read a book? Write about it. Content is content: even if it’s not a new book or even if you’ve seen the band a thousand times before. Or challenge yourself! I find it really hard to write a review of something (especially music) without every review sounding the same, so make it into a challenge. Really sit and think about how the gig made you feel; did it create goosebumps along your arms or did you feel the bass thumping throughout your body? What about a book you’ve read recently? Even if it was bad, you can write a post in such a way that it’s constructive criticism.

GO OUTSIDE
Take an entire step back from technology and head outside for some fresh air. Clearing your mind will help, and seeing the beautiful red colours of the trees or hearing the leaves crunch beneath your feet may help inspiration come to you. And if not? Take a pretty photo and curate a blog post around that.

DO A QUIZ
Pay homage to the Myspace days and do a quiz. It’s a really straightforward way to let your readers know what you’ve been up to lately and it also makes you seem down to earth and approachable. My favourite thing about any blog is the personal posts and getting to know the writer behind the words, so these types of posts never grow old. Plus there are literally thousands of quizzes out there – and on a manner of different subjects too. So they’re not really time constricting either; you could do an entire week of quizzes if you like and dub it ‘Get to know me’ week!

BULK WRITE
Sit down and just write and write, even if it’s just sharing your rambling thoughts or something you don’t think people will want to read. And when writer’s block disappears? Write ten or so posts (not in one go obviously, ain’t no one got time for that) that can be posted anytime and keep them in your drafts. Reviews never get old, nor do life quizzes or most lifestyle posts! Keep a bunch in bulk so next time writer’s block strikes, you don’t need to panic – you can just press publish!

Do you have any tips on getting rid of writer’s block? Let me know!

 

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I’m not the world’s most successful blogger but after seven years of blogging, I am pretty proud of my little space on the internet. I’ve had some great opportunities through blogging, have made amazing friends..and overall, found myself incredibly proud of myself for keeping it going for so long.

Even though there have been lulls where I’ve lost all motvation or personal stuff has overwhelmed me, as a whole, I’ve stuck at it and, in recent years, have stuck to a pretty secure deadline of blogging every other day. There’s been odd times when I’ve missed this – take this week, for example, where I missed my Sunday post simply because I’d been away since Thursday and simply hadn’t had the time beforehand to do everything = sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But when you stay focused and stick to a schedule, it makes all the difference. It’s incredibly easy to see the difference between a post planned and written in advance with great content and stunning photos as opposed to a post that’s been half-heartedly written with a stock photo thrown in to hit a deadline (trust me, I’ve done this before!). Sticking to a schedule or some sort of plan makes your blog look better, impresses clients and leaves you feeling proud of your content.

Here are some tips on how to get your sh*t together when it comes to blogging and how to always stay on top of things – even if you work full time like me!

Formidable Joy | Blogging | 5 ways to stick to a blogging schedule | Lifestyle

GET TO GRIPS WITH A SPREADSHEET
Google Spreadsheets are my absolute savour, mostly because I can access them from anywhere – home, work or my phone for example. I used to hate any sort of spreadsheet when I was younger and now people at work even make fun of me because of how much I rely on them! I keep one strictly for everything blogging and this is a place for me to list ideas, what’s going live when and tracks things like statistics, finances and more. Although I do scribble down posts in an actual planner, I find this so much more useful because posts get swapped around all the time and I can keep an eye on where everything is shared. Having it laid out in front of me makes me notice things like if I’ve got three lifestyle posts and then three music posts in a row – prompting me to mix them up – and see what needs doing to make the posts live.

SCHEDULE TIME IN
Whether you can only write when inspiration strikes or you can only write on a Sunday morning in bed for example, always, always schedule some blog time in once a week (or less, depending on how regular you post). I always give myself a Sunday afternoon and in this time I do any blog admin like tracking followers, commenting on other blogs, approving my own comments, going through my to do list etc. I find it much easier to do this in a set time weekly because it helps me feel prepped for the week ahead. I also use this time to plan my social media – beforehand I’d share my blog posts once on Facebook and three times on Twitter – that’s it. Now that I plan other content (not necessarily related to blogging but just to grow my social media following and help me seem more approachable), it makes so much difference. For example, being away and not planning anything over the last week or so has led my Facebook audience reach to drop by 33% compared to the previous seven days, whereas my page views over the last month have gone up by 5%. So you can see the difference: by taking the time to regularly schedule things, my reach has been creeping up and up. But it drops very quickly when I don’t take that time. Which brings me to my next point…

TRACK STATISTICS
This is a tough point because it can be argued about what statistics are most valuable/true and a lot of people believe you shouldn’t blog for followers/numbers to go up – and I agree. But if you’re producing regular content – especially sponsored posts or content about brands – it’s always good to keep track of audience reach and page views. Not only is this useful for any company you’re collaborating with, but it really helps to understand your reach a lot better. Facebook and Twitter can show you what links actually get clicked on and on some websites you can track the best times to post for the most views. It’s a great way to keep on top of what you’re doing right and what isn’t working which, overall, saves you a lot of time. I quickly learned from Twitter that my tweets with media/photos get the most impressions, and Facebook taught me that my audience are on Facebook more in the afternoon and evenings and so taking time to schedule things to go live early in the morning is a complete waste of time.

BULK WRITE
This is something I’m still getting used to; usually on a Sunday after I’ve written one or two posts and done all my blog admin, I feel like I’ve done more than enough. I struggle to understand how some bloggers can find the time to bulk write up to five posts in one day! But I think this is super important, especially when you know you’ll be going away or won’t have the time to write. If you’re on holiday, I do think it’s important to take a break away from it all and that it is silly to feel pressured to have content up in that time but on the otherhand, if things like sponsored posts need to be written for that time, then it’s good to sit down and bulk write it in advance. I’m always well aware of life throwing obstacles at you too – sometimes I’ll have no motivation or family/work stuff going on, so my current goal is trying to have a set few posts sitting in my drafts always ready to post in case of something popping up. Things like book reviews or ‘get to know me’ posts are great for this type of thing as they’re not time sensitive so can go live whenever – even if it’s months after you wrote it! Y’know, unless you did a get to know me post about hooking up with an uber hot rockstar then all of a sudden you’re married…that’s not really a great time to make that kind of post live..!

GET A PLANNER
..not just for blogging, but in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt really on top of things via my spreadsheet and mentally decided that I’ll take all my photos or do a particular review one evening…then look through my planner and see I’ve got meetings like, three days in a row which means late finishes from work and NO TIME TO BLOG. I mean, if you already prefer to keep some sort of blogging schedule in a planner then great. But if not, it’s a good idea to realize that, well, if you’re not a full time blogger, blogging often takes up ‘you time’ – evenings and lunch breaks for example. So I find it helpful to stick to a Google Spreadsheet for the bulk of my blogging planning, but cast an eye over my actual life planner per week too. Also, I tend to plan posts per month, then write them into my planner weekly because yes they get swapped around a lot, but by a Sunday evening I usually manage to have a clear plan with whats going live that week coming up, so can write it in and pencil in any last minute photos or social media shares I need to do.

However, it’s also important to remember that people plan in a variety of different ways. A lot of people prefer to just write when inspiration strikes, instead of putting on a business head and planning lots. I know I prefer to write when inspiration strikes (which is luckily on a lazy Sunday afternoon) so I mix the two: plan all my blog admin but not plan the actual creative side of things. So it really is whatever works for you. In my personal experience, sticking to some sort of schedule makes me feel a lot more relaxed and confident about my blogging and personally I feel that shows through my writing.

How do you blog? Do you stick to some sort of schedule? Or just write when inspiration strikes? Let me know!

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I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is officially my 1,000th post! 1,000 posts doesn’t seem like a lot when you think about how long I’ve been blogging or compare it to content other bloggers produce but it’s something I’m pretty proud of regardless!

I started my blog back in January 2011 – such a long time ago now! – when I was a student at uni. I was already familiar with the idea of blogging then but set up the blog – then named Inspire Magazine Online – to coincide with my dissertation. Back then, I had a dodgy fringe, dodgier ‘outfits of the week’ and often blogged about absolutely anything – like three paragraphs on how TK Maxx had nice scrapbook stuff in stories or how Lush had been hacked!

Since then, I like to believe my content has improved. I now write about fashion (less, but with better content), food, veganism, being eco, books, entertainment and creepy stuff too. Over the last 1,000 posts, I’ve managed to pair up with so many amazing brands too, from fun days out to finally bagging my own blogging desk.

I don’t often celebrate blogging milestones, so this was one I had to acknowledge. To celebrate, I have decided to start blogging a little bit more about blogging and share my limited knowledge on the subject. No, my blog isn’t the most successful but I’ve been running it for seven years now and have just hit 1,000 FREAKIN’ POSTS so I’ve got some tips to share!

If there’s anything you want covered, let me know!

There’s not really much else I want to say here except YAY ME for hitting 1,000 posts. Here’s to the next 1,000 more.

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It’s a known fact that if you are a blogger you need a million and one notebooks. Whether that’s for blog planning, bullet journaling, as a diary or just a notebook – in fact, we often keep at least five lying around entirely empty.

So in celebration of Notebook Day, I’ve decided to share some of the best notebooks for all bloggers that can be purchased right now.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Blogging | The best notebooks for bloggers | Notebook Day

THE BASIC ONE
The Blogger’s Journal from Paperchase is great for any starter blogger who might not know where exactly to begin when using a notebook for blogging. Some bloggers start with just jotting down their notes, whereas those who have been blogging a while may record their stats, social media, income, contacts and more. This notebook has just enough to get you started with space to plan your social media growing, put together your posts and reach your goals.

THE LIFE PLANNER
I absolutely love Ban.do products and treated myself to a planner for my last office job. It was pricey but well worth the price and was hands down one of the best planners I’ve ever owned. Not only are the daily entries very spacious (perfect for post ideas and to do lists), but the planner is also filled with inspirational quotes and gorgeous stickers! I had so many compliments on my planner and because there was so much space it could easily be decorated and personalized like a bullet journal.

THE PERSONALIZED ONE
A personalized planner is every bloggers dream, especially when it’s a life planner and whatever-you-want-planner in one. These super cute planners from Plum Paper are not only really pretty but you can choose a variety of add ons such as blog planning, fitness tracking and budgeting. You can use it simply for blogging or you can use it as a life planner too – the choice is yours. It’s rare to find a planner/notebook where you can pick and choose whats inside as well as the cover being personalized, and you can choose what month you want to start it from – so no buying a 2017/2018 planner and only using half of it…

THE SUPER SAVVY ONE
For the bloggers that love to plan ahead: this simple looking (but extremely detailed) planner Amazon does the job. EPIC BLOG is a year – yes, an entire year – long editorial planner. Which means you can really look ahead in terms of things like monthly posts, seasonal content and even writing based around certain days of the year (like this one!). The planner also includes a business plan, ideal reader survey, progress trackers and more. This one is definitely on my wish list.

THE PLAIN ONE
Finally, if you want a simple notebook for more than just blogging purposes, this one’s for you (or anyone from TK Maxx really!). It can be used for post ideas (a page a post), to do lists, tracking or even as a bullet journal. The opportunities really are endless.

It’s funny how blogging is entirely done online yet more and more of us find ourselves reverting back to pen and paper for the planning aspect of running a blog – it’s interesting, isn’t it?

Do you use a notebook to help run your blog or do you stick to an online system? Let me know!

 

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