The visual challenge for non-visual bloggers

The visual challenge for non-visual bloggers

It's quite clear the digital space is a visual world. Video and images are powerful mediums to draw our audience into our stories. But there is a challenge for a non-visual blogger: how do I source quality images?

By non-visual, I mean those who struggle to find or create quality images. The blogosphere is so visually competitive, it can feel quite disheartening at times if you're not in your comfort source taking photos or creating graphics. 

Yes, the technology has come on by leaps and bounds. Particularly smartphone photography. But a photographer's eye is not something you can 'upgrade' to on a monthly package! It takes a lot of practice and determination. And some of us won't have the luxury of time to practice. 

There are of course tools bloggers can use but free image libraries are becoming overexposed i.e. you may see your image turn up on dozens of other sites or social media feeds! Then there's the budgetary challenge - stock photography subscriptions can be pricey and may not balance with your blog income.

However, consider that beautiful evergreen content you produce. The posts which rank highly in search, which a repinned more times than my Maddona poster gallery in my bedroom when I was a kid. Those are the posts which visually deserve to pop. 

So an investment in a quality image will be worth it. It's part of your brand and as we go through our blogging journey we must always pay attention to our voice, our identity - which is our brand. 

Can we find a unique voice in stock images? Happily, we have stumbled across a solution for bloggers from one of the most reputable stock image companies around, iStock from Getty. You can invest in credits or a subscription, depending on your needs. Which keeps things really flexible for bloggers and that is absolutely key. 

The images you purchase with the credits can be used on their standard license which means it does not expire and can be used on multiple projects. Again, very important if you use these images as part of your blog branding. 

Their library is impressive too. It would most certainly guarantee you find something that hardly anyone else is using - although the pictures on a standard license are for non-exclusive use.

And yes, we do have an affiliate link but as you know, that by no means compromises our view. We are very selective about the companies we work with and share with our bloggers. We think this is a good opportunity to test this for your blog to see if it's the right fit (and maybe explore whether becoming an affiliate could be good too). 

12% off subscriptions for new customers

How bloggers can use email to grow their income

How bloggers can use email to grow their income

The money is in the list. You just need to know where to find it.

Many of us, when we start a blog, we focus on getting the site looking pretty, the social conversations right and growing followers and interactions on our content. But how many of us give serious focus to our email lists? 

On our podcast earlier this year, our guest, Alexis Teichmiller from ConvertKit, shared a fascinating statistic. Bloggers using email are found to be earning 447% more than those who don’t. It was a finding from their State of the Blogging Industry report published this year, which conducted a detailed study of 850+ bloggers including their earnings.

Now, of course, being an email platform for bloggers, it was in their best interests demonstrate the benefits of email. But they also wanted to back up the user trends starting to show from their community and tell their stories. Email could be the missing power tool in your blogger business kit.

Where does this extra cash come from? It's not about selling over email but more about throwing email into the mix of communications bloggers use to grow and engage audiences. It has greater potential to convert readers to take action (compared to social media for example).

And it's these actions brands are interested in. You've heard us say many times before, brands struggle to get the engagement bloggers enjoy without parting with large amounts of budget. Even then, they have issues of authenticity with their voice. Many readers don't feel comfortable openly engaging with a business on social media. It feels less predatory interacting within a bloggers community. And even more intimate and exclusive interacting over email. 

The most important thing to remember about email is your list is owned by you. So when social media platforms start to tinker with their feed algorithm, making engagement even harder, bloggers still have that email list to speak to audiences. Yes, people can unsubscribe but at least they’ve been shown the content in their inbox. And bloggers can use this type of feedback to tweak content and shape a quality list of readers they can better predict to take action. This is great for working with brands. You aren’t completely at the mercy of mysterious algorithms.

Want to know more?

Join us, 7 pm GMT, Wednesday 8th November for a free webinar developed and delivered with our friends at ConvertKit. Learn how to build that email list and leverage to garner more income. Even if you don’t use ConvertKit, there’ll be actionable takeaways to use on any email platform. Also, you don't have to be a blogger to benefit from this webinar or tool, the knowledge being shared will be equally useful for business owners and marketers.

Grab your seat

(If you register and can’t make it, the playback will be available up to midnight the following day. So don’t sweat if things get hectic and you miss out!)

Further reading:

ConvertKit State of Blogging Report

How to Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Email Subscribers

The 'pay your creator' revolution is coming

The 'pay your creator' revolution is coming

For every conscientious blogger dedicated to their craft, there is always this struggle: how do I get paid for my time? One way to get revenue is to encourage readers to subscribe to content. It’s already working the US, will UK blog readers be ready to pay their favourite bloggers for content too?

Why do people read blogs?

Understanding why readers remain loyal to a blog is essential. 77% of internet users read a blog, 346 million globally, it continues to be a thriving medium commanding a reasonable level of trust and influence over purchase decisions. Evergreen content underpins most bloggers consistent web traffic but successful blogs will include a steady flow of new ideas and topical, current commentary making readers feel connecting to their world. This combination inspires readers and keeps them coming back. But how do bloggers fund this?

Sponsored or ‘native’ content

We know that influencer marketing is on the rise, with creative departments devoting more of their budget to this activity, usually in the form of sponsored posts (or 'native; posts as they are sometimes known as). But how do readers feel about this type of advertising? YouGov delved into the reader's’ reaction with this research, which showed while readers are disappointed to discover the content is an advert, the younger demographic of readers are accepting the concept more readily. Attitudes are changing.

Balancing content

The YouGov research also showed that readers appreciate sponsored posts more where they feel they’ve been informed or uplifted in some way. So, if bloggers do have to carry sponsored content to pay the bills, it will work best where they bring their own tone and style to the subject matter but also consider the reader’s experience carefully.

Building quality audiences who engage with a blog is a finely coordinated effort, from producing original content through to promoting and drawing in readers. Bloggers have to strike a balance between sponsored content and ads and their own unique material and make it all carry their own voice. The voice which made them engaging in the first place.

The ‘pay your creator’ revolution

In the US tools like Patreon are projected to bring a staggering $150m of revenue directly to bloggers in 2017, an average of $50k per user. The platform enables YouTube audience members to pay a subscription to their favourite channels, you pay when the creator published an episode. Their model proves that readers are prepared to pay for content, rather than risk being misled by native content.

Blog Authentic is all about getting creators paid more. It’s the thread which runs through everything we do. So we devised the Create More scheme for the UK market. Specifically for written word blogs and social media influencers, it’s a widget and payment system which allows you to collect a monthly subscription in exchange for giving readers perks. It's an opportunity to create an exclusive tier in bloggers' audiences, one that is willing to pay!

Listen to our podcast minisode explaining how it works or visit our web page.

Image credit: Alejandro Escamilla/ Unsplash

Bloggers: The New Ad Creatives

Bloggers: The New Ad Creatives

Blogging has gone through many identity changes since its inception, from daily online journals with heartfelt sharing to product reviews, restaurant recommendations, championing causes and political opinion. The blog is here to stay. But now a bloggers world is so much more. A mini publishing empire with the blogger's voice at the heart of the words, design, and images. Bloggers are the new 'smart creatives'. 

In the beginning... started with a computer and a WordPress site (or Blogger for hardcore sharers). A couple of photos taken with your camera or video taken with a Flip and painfully edited with iMovie (when it wasn't free). You chatted on Twitter, wrote about what just happened in your life and didn't really care much who read it. Then came the brands. 

The audience we never knew existed

It wasn't long before the blogosphere exploded. Bloggers realised people wanted to read authentic narrative in real time on websites and on social media. By 2008 it was estimated 41% people in the UK had visited a blog. Blogging became tribal, with national networks sprouting to support content creators to grow their skills and confidence of their place in the modern online conversation. Smart public relations professionals tapped in early to these audiences, offering products for free for review, even sponsored content. This was the early emergence of 'influence'. 

Getting noticed

The mainstream media also started to take notice of blogs. Many starting their own (many offering 'exposure' rather than payment and still do). Blogging started to become a way of life, like having a Facebook profile and as the numbers grew, the competition to get noticed shifted into showing your flair for creative communication. Visual platforms such as YouTube and Instagram offered opportunities for those who don't write but have something to say. Audiences grew and grew but so did engagement and the potential for purchase for brands. 

Creative control

Blogging offers the creator full creative control, that's the appeal. It beats working in marketing or journalism where you adopt someone else's voice. The creative freedom combined with the advances in technology and potential to earn a full-time income or even achieve celebrity status, opened the door to innovation. It has been impressive and overwhelming the standard and style of content bloggers create from their bedrooms.

A creative revolution

It's time for a change. Why, if so many of these amazing creators and community builders outperform a brand's own content, are they still low down on the pecking order in the project?

The 'please write this' sponsored content is starting to show, often looking robotic and lacklustre. Readers are getting wise to how bloggers get their money, after all, sponsorship has been in mainstream entertainment in sports for decades, just think Diet Coke and George Michael, Madonna and Pepsi, the Beckhams and Gary Lineker's love of crisps.

But no one minds a well thought through campaign which communicates effectively and you can enjoy while being sold to. The projects which really engage audiences are where the blogger has collaborated at an early stage and has their signature style stamped all over it. 

Blogging consultancy: the next step

Blog Authentic have taken collaboration to a whole new level. We hire bloggers at a £600 day rate for their knowledge, not their audiences. We work as a team to create and activate campaigns, helping the brands develop their marketing communication and in some cases, develop their product.

Become a part of the new creative revolution today. 

Collaborate with us

Add your photos to our collaborative photo gallery above (click the 'add your photos button'). We want to show a bloggers craft and the lengths they go to for their readers. And we want you to be a part of it.

Why Our Bloggers Don’t Work For Free

Why Our Bloggers Don’t Work For Free

The way brands communicate with customers has changed dramatically over the last decade. If you’re an agency still expecting a relationship with content creators based on a public relations model, then you’d better rethink this, fast.

Why free content is a waste of everyone's time and money.

Firstly, we all want to bring more value to the industry don’t we? And by this, we don’t mean hammering down bloggers on price. No. We mean exchanging a fair price for quality content, loyalty and meaningful partnerships.

You may get the odd content favour here and there but how long can you run a business on ‘favours’? It’s not a robust business plan and with digital advertising spend increasing year after year, investing in decent blogger partnerships lays a solid foundation for a brand's online conversations and revenue.

Plus, many of the top bloggers keep a ‘little black book’ of preferred brands and agencies, in the same way outreach executives do. You want to be in that book.

The value of authentic audiences.

We don’t ask our bloggers to work for free because of the hours spent building their audiences. And they’re highly engaged audiences. Our bloggers consistently enjoy upwards of 3% social media engagement rates on branded campaigns, which while not impossible to achieve with paid social, certainly represents a great return on investment, considering the content is thrown into the price of a project!

It’s because a blogger is finely tuned into their audiences. Therefore, getting them ‘on side’ with your brand, propels your customer proposition further using their talented online talking.

New conversation. New partnerships.

The way we consume information has shifted. This much we can acknowledge. On-line we read a variety of sources, news sites, magazines and blogs and watch video. Content platforms are growing to the extent that many businesses struggle to keep up with. But bloggers adopt new technologies fast, out of necessity but mostly through passion. They are ‘people whisperers’, gently luring their audiences into digital discussion with their stories and honest flaws.

Agencies and brands need to understand where they fit into this. Some already do. Smart outreach organisations employ creative techies who blog in their spare time to co-ordinate campaigns and write creative. Savvy influencer marketing outfits are employing bloggers as creative consultants (*coughs*…us).

Find out why Blog Authentic campaigns are more effective than your average outreach campaign.

E-mail or connect with us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

BA Certification. Your Questions Answered.

BA Certification. Your Questions Answered.

You talked. We listened. Feedback from bloggers and our member community is essential to making BA Crew work. We have redesigned our website (take a look and let us know what you think). Plus you asked questions about the certification, which we have shared below with our answers. Thank you for engaging with us!

What’s the difference between application and certification?

The application process and fee is a one-time event. On receipt of your application, you will receive a certification pack, which includes a link to send to brands for testimonials.  You can start this at any time. If you didn’t get through, you can reapply multiple times (although we will help you to make sure that's not needed).

What is the certification process?

We ask for three testimonials via a very quick questionnaire. Honestly, it won’t take your contact more than 5 minutes to complete. Don’t by shy about asking for the feedback. Most marketing professionals worth their salt will be happy to do it. And aren’t you a teeny bit curious how you’re doing? It could be a real boost to see it in writing!

The BA team looks at extra criteria in addition to the brand testimonials: your blogging style, how authentic your voice is, consistency of posts (we not looking for prolific posters, just a good pattern) and how you conduct yourself on social media concerning brands and companies (e.g. did you offer the brand a right to reply on negative reviews).

How do I know I will pass certification?

This is not a ‘tick box’ exercise for BA. We only open our enrolment twice a year, with 80 places, so it’s crucial that anyone who has taken the bold step to apply should be supported as much as possible to pass certification. If we have questions about the feedback we have received, we’ll be open, chat with you and figure out how we can help you.

I haven’t worked with any brands. Can I still be certified?

Yes. There are other ways of getting the testimonials we need.

Why should I share my contacts with you?

We need the testimonials from your past projects, as it helps us when considering you for projects with our own clients. That is all. It’s clearly written in our terms that we will never approach your contacts about projects. If they approach us, then we will let you know before doing anything. We have a proper referral scheme for our certified members, who get a substantial monetary bonus if we land a client that has been positively and willingly referred.

Why is there a fee for certification? Why isn’t it free?

We would never ask you to work for free. We’re changing the industry to value bloggers and the work they do. And the BA team work hard to run webinars, events and produce training and support materials to help you with your blogging business. At £100 for the year, it represents excellent value for money compared to similar networking groups. Plus, as we get to know you more, we build a reliable team to work consistently with clients on CTC projects for the £600 day rate.

I’m already a member of a few blogger networks, why should I join BA?

As passionate bloggers, we’re members of networks ourselves and love it! BA is about upping our game with more focussed support. It’s about investing in yourself, your knowledge and training and how you run your blogging business side of things. It’s about having access to reliable and consistent sources of income from people who don’t take a cut, because we’re not an agent but who know you and what you’re capable of. It’s about a community with very strong and clear values, ethical SEO, appropriate rates of pay and paying people on time!

Our door is always open for questions. E-mail or connect with us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Not numbers, only people.

Not numbers, only people.

When we embarked on our mission to change the way brands and bloggers work together, we knew the best way to achieve this was to build a close, nurtured community. It’s not about numbers, only people.  

The blogosphere can be wildly difficult to navigate. There’s an abundance of bloggers with authentic voices and talkative communities. That is why when we work with bloggers, we look at more than numbers.

The foundation of our community is built on two key principles. Firstly, our blogger certification enrolment is open to bloggers of any size. We have certified members with audience sizes from 900k visitors a month through to 5k.

What’s important to BA is the way bloggers work with others and the professional values they hold. We look at their relationship with their audience and the rate they are growing, not the current size of their audience. We also look for passion in their content; a personal style and an authentic voice. We have seen first-hand campaigns exceeding their goals through carefully matching the right voice to the marketing message. It’s an art form; a kind of magic.

Our second building block is the quality relationship we have with our members. Certification enrolment is limited to 80 bloggers per year, which allows the BA team to nurture and support each batch of recruits, empowering them to be valuable marketing assets brand campaigns. As this quality community steadily grows, our ethos spreads. Which means our mission is on track.

Want to know more?

Brands, see what services we offer and how it fits with your campaign objectives.

Bloggers, join our supportive community. Be the change you want to see.

Connect with us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter for more inspiration.

Come march with us tomorrow? // Womens March London

Come march with us tomorrow? // Womens March London


You are being called to STAND UP and SPEAK UP.
Will you join us and our fellow sisters tomorrow at the

We would love to march with you.

All genders and FAMILIES welcome (Kirby is bringing her kid!). We are meeting at the Animals in War Memorial, which on the edge of Hyde Park at the corner of Park Lane and Upper Brook Street. We will meet there between 11:30 and 11:45 and then proceed to Grosvenor Square, where the marchers are assembling. Our group will be wearing bright yellow shirts so you can spot us. Bring signs! Make them with your kids tonight! 

Hope to see you there! 


Organisations Marching Tomorrow Include:

Amnesty International, Greenpeace, ActionAid UK, Oxfam GB, Women's Equality Party, The Green Party, Pride London, Democrats Abroad UK, Syria Solidarity Campaign, Unite the Union, Black Pride, Solidarity with Refugees, WOW, NUS, British Scientists for the EU, She Speaks We Hear, Women 4 Refugee Women, 50:50 Parliament, Women in Leadership, The Equality Trust, Verve UK, Daughters of Eve, Womankind Worldwide, The English Collective of Prostitutes, ActionForRefugeesInLewisham, Latin American Women's Aid, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Soroptimist International, Women in Prison, Stop The War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Left Unity, UK SAYS NO MORE, Inquest, Black Women's Rape Action Project, Women Against Rape, WinVisible, QueerStrike, Women of Colour Global Women's Strike, Women's Aid, Morning Gloryville, Payday Men's Network, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK, London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, Network of Eritrean Women, Women in Leadership Publication, Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists  

The politics of fear and division have no place in 2017.

No Pants? No Problem!

No Pants? No Problem!

Around BA these days we've been on information overload. Wanting to support you in your quest for the best career in 2017 possible alongside some pretty exciting announcements has had us pumping out the info. But we're a community here at BA and what's a community without a little bit of fun? 

Some of you already know from working directly with us that I'm an NYC expat in the UK. There's a LOT I miss from my hometown, bagels, the NYC attitude, central park to name a few but what I really really miss is being able to be a secret agent for Improv Everywhere. Over the years I've participated in many different missions of theirs. The best thing about this group? It's only purpose is to make people smile and bring random joy to the world. How great and simple is that? Below is this year's video from the NYC NO PANTS (aka trousers for my brit buddies) Subway Ride (aka metro ride). 

And because we're all friends here's my photos from past years, hey we even made CNN one year....well our bums did haha! 

2009 // Snowing

2010 // Prego

2010 with baby in tow! 

Have you done anything lately for just random joy? Not that you have to walk around half naked in the winter but every person has the power to add some random smiles to the world I encourage you to get out there and do it! 




Escape to the beach with us in 2017

Escape to the beach with us in 2017

Join us on a trip. A relaxing, refreshing weekend not about blogging but designed with bloggers in mind.  

Nourish the senses

We picked the city of Brighton and Hove because it is truly a unique city with something for everyone. Over the past decade it’s become a foodie hub with top-notch restaurants and eateries. And many of these cater for those following a certain eating regime or diet in a most superior way.

BA picks: Terre a Terre, Food For Friends, Earth and Stars 

Discover diversity

Brighton has always been a mecca for those exploring different philosophies and alternative therapies for the mind and body. Each corner you turn there’s a a therapy centre or yoga studio. It’s an essential part of the fabric and every visitor should dive into a new experience while there.

BA picks: New Fit Studio, Yoga In The Lanes, Two Feathers

Relax by the sea 

Despite the plethora of activities in Brighton, it has a chilled seaside vibe with plenty of quiet spots to enjoy a view, fresh air and a moment to call your own. There are plenty of seafront paths to explore; cliff top grass tracks, the under cliff pass, promenades, marina walkways and cycle tracks.

BA picks: Under cliff pass, Brighton Marina, Seafront Healthwalk

You’ll discover all of this and more on our weekend trip. Secure your place from £50.