On Saturday morning I went to an event in Leeds with a PR company. There was brunch, there were talks from experts and it was so interesting (and a LOT of fun). You probably saw me tweeting about it incessantly (not sorry though because tweeting that much only went and won me a £50 Harvey Nicks voucher. WINNING.) but in case you didn’t, today I’m rounding up all the amazing things I learned about PRs, SEO, full time blogging and a lot of other bits. A load of blogging tips, straight from the mouths of experts.
(We also had the most amazing brunch in the whole world ever and oh my lord if you ever go to Banyan do yourself a favour and get the avocado toast because MY-OH-MY.)
So here is why I left the restaurant on Saturday afternoon feeling pumped and inspired to really start taking my blog and YouTube channel seriously.
1. Posting only reviews could be a bad thing for your SEO. Obviously there are successful review blogs out there, especially beauty ones. But if you’re constantly posting reviews that aren’t very detailed, not very unique and sound a lot like other blog posts going out at the same time then you’re gonna have a problem growing your blog because Google will see them as spammy. Makes me happy I massively cut down on reviews at the beginning of the year!
2. Unique content is best. Following on from the above, unique content is always going to be best. Just doing what everybody else is doing because it feels popular isn’t actually a good thing. PRs, brands and SEO peeps are always looking for people who stand out, people who can post unique content, people who have a unique tone of voice and just generally all of the above. Don’t be a sheep, peeps.
3. Always use no-follow links. I feel like I shouldn’t need to tell you this one but I’m going to anyway. STOP USING FOLLOW LINKS WHEN BRANDS PAY YOU FOR THEM/GIFT YOU PRODUCTS IN RETURN FOR THEM. It’s not worth the risk and any good PR/Brand/SEO peep won’t ask you to because it’s equally as risky for them. SEO companies used to just look for a quick link, but now the guidelines/rules have changed it’s more in their interest to get a no-follow link that isn’t spammy/paid for than it is to do just that. (But by all means use follow links when you haven’t been paid to/given something to link. Das cool.)
4. ALWAYS DISCLOSE. Just always. Always do it. Never lie, never be dishonest. Always. Disclose.
5. Buy your domain ASAP. If you don’t already have your own domain just go buy one. They cost a few quid for the year and it will open so many doors for you. You can’t start building up a DA (domain authority) until you have one and a lot of brands won’t take you seriously. Sorry.
6. Don’t be afraid to start monetising your blog. The best ways to monetise are affiliate links, sponsored posts and advertising but a quick google (or search on any full-time blogger’s blog – they’ve ALL written posts on it) will give you a more in-depth insight into that.
7. Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands. BUT – do it in a polite way. Think more “Hey, I love your brand and if there are any collaboration opportunities in the future I’d love to work with you, here’s my media pack.” over “Hey, send me this, this, this and this so I can review them.” In the very wise words of Hannah Gale – don’t sent shopping lists to strangers.
8. Research into guidelines and rules. Google Webmaster guidelines, ASA guidelines, all the rules and all the guidelines. Try stay on top of them and pay attention to them because they DO matter.
9. Don’t only do sponsored content. We all know a blog that makes us sigh because oh wow another embarassingly obvious sponsored post wow so original and imaginative. Sure, bloggers have to make money. But you need honesty, integrity and imagination to actually keep a readership. Ain’t nobody gonna keep reading if all you do is post about recruitment firms and spare tyres for a quick £50.
10. Try stay on top of new social media trends. This is one I’m admittedly rubbish at. I tried Periscope and hated it, I’m trying to up my Snapchat game but with my phone being broken it makes it very hard (no working front facing camera does not make an interesting story). Keep an ear to the ground in regards to new social media and try to jump on the trends as and when they happen.
11. PRs look for certain things in bloggers, it’s not necessarily personal. They tend to look for well written content, good imagery, honesty, reliability, relevance and engagement. Things like DA, followers etc do come into account but you’d be surprised how much this is wavered because of the quality of your posts.
12. But they do often have constraints. Things like budget, time, clients and specific targets. It’s not always up to them.
13. PRs WILL blacklist people and even big bloggers make mistakes. Jaywing PR (the company running the event) talked about a campaign they did with Ann Summers. Bloggers got on board (big, full time bloggers – there was a lot involved including hotel stays etc) and some went above and beyond. But one blogger, who could not be named, did virtually nothing and they won’t be working with them again. It only takes one time for you to be blacklisted, guys. No matter your size.
14. When asked how she deals with negative comments, Hannah Gale responded with “I have to remind myself that some people don’t like kittens.” Preach it.
It was such an interesting day, the talks were fantastic and I genuinely came away so inspired. Thank you so much to Jaywing PR for what was an incredible morning. Feeling PUMPED so watch this space!
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