Wanna Say "no"? NO PROBLEM.

Wanna Say "no"? NO PROBLEM.

Hello Lovely Friends, 

I hope you are well and summer has been kind to you so far with many ice lollies and a ton of sunshine. Just a quick note today to talk about BA projects and a common trend I'm starting to notice within our blogging community - the hesitation to say "no" when we pitch you a project. 

For starters, try saying the word "no" out loud right now. Go on. "NO!"

Okay now that you got the case of the sillies out of the way (and didn't say it out loud) for real this time even if it's just a murmur under your breath *NO!*. There you go, feels good right?

Now why do I have you saying "no" to yourself in the middle of the cafe or within an earshot of your kid (who probably just jumped out of their skin thinking it was directed at them)? Because I'll be the first to tell you it's okay to say no when you are pitched projects and even more so it's OKAY to say it to Blog Authentic, on any work we send your way you don't find a good fit. 

We want working with us to be about accessing more freedom, both financially and creatively. We understand that you won't like, have time for, nor want to pick up every piece of work we send your way. And you know what? That's 100% okay. You won't be getting a big X drawn across your name on our list of bloggers we love working with and you won't be given a second thought about for future projects. If anything saying no helps us learn YOU better so we can try harder to get the work you want to work on sent your way.

Also, there's something to be said about confidence around your work here. You are a badass, you produce great content and you work hella hard. Saying no to a project doesn't change that and if you ever feel telling someone no in this fast paced, ever growing, and fluid industry we love would hurt your relationship with them please reconsider the relationship at all. You are the artist, you create the content they are after and that fact won't change one project to the next. 

Love ya ladies! 

-Kirby

 

The Path To Pitch Perfection

The Path To Pitch Perfection

Whether you’re pursuing your dream brand to work with or simply ensuring you get the right fee for the work involved, top notch pitching skills come in very handy. At our recent members webinar we asked Sally Gurteen, an experience blogger outreach specialist and Master Storyteller at JINGTea, what her top tips for pitch perfection would be. 

Make the brand fit

Before starting on any pitching, think about taking a tiered approach to opportunities in terms of what kind of content you are prepared to deliver to which brand. For example, for a brand you admire and fits your blog perfectly you may want to work flexibly offering added value content options. Whereas a brand who is looking to access your community for a one-off collaboration, you may wish to set clearer boundaries on what will be delivered. Setting up this framework also helps you retain your authentic voice for your readers, in other words avoids the blog becoming too salesy!

Do your homework

Whichever company you are considering working with, always do some research. If you’re after a long-term partnership or ambassador position, then start to interact with their content on social media or sign up for their newsletter. It’s not appropriate to ask other bloggers for contacts but there’s no harm in asking whether your blogger network has worked with them and for tips on working with them.

Find the right contact

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with politely trying to find the right person to woo with your killer pitch. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding brand contacts but you can also find them on social media. If you suspect the brand is represented by an agency, then use a search engine to hunt for clues in the trade press or on agency ‘current client’ lists on their website.

Build the relationship

Yes it’s business. But it’s also a relationship. Keep introductory communications light, succinct and friendly. Find a common point between the brand and your blog to create a memorable interaction.

Drive the project

Nothing gives people confidence more than working with a proactive leader. This could be getting creative, aligning your content ideas with the current marketing plan. Or prompting your contact to confirm how you take ideas forward and next steps.

Be transparent on fees

If you’re standing firm on price be really clear on what the brand can expect for that price. Prepare examples of similar campaigns and share the headline results. And while we would all love to up sell, offer a range of packages to suit a variety of budgets. For a first project, the brand may want to see how it goes before increasing their spend with you. Also, show how your content can be ‘evergreen’ giving them value for money beyond the campaign period.

Grab the full pitch checklist and get cracking! 

Watch the full webinar with Sally.

Can bloggers ever take a real holiday?

Can bloggers ever take a real holiday?

On a recent trip with my family, I made the most concerted effort to take a complete break from work ever since going self-employed. But being a devoted blogger, as well as running a blogger-based business and community, did I really manage to switch off?

Out of the office.

So no. I didn’t manage to switch off. But the beauty of blogging is that it’s FUN! And it’s an outlet. Although you’re on holiday, it’s hard to switch your creative narrative off. And frankly, why should I? I love that little voice inside of me.

To ensure I balanced the family face time with my love of writing and snapping, I parked all the mundane tasks for two weeks, leaving plenty of stolen creative moments.

It was a chance to open up new channels of thought, let the brain cells run free. But there’s still an alluring beauty in doing absolutely nothing…

The social media blackout.

It’s inconceivable for any blogger to switch every thing off completely. Isn’t it? Especially on holiday, there’s so much to share and talk about. But I so desperately wanted to reset my brain, knowing full well the benefits of ‘doing nothing’. So over Easter, the four-day weekend, I stopped posting to social media. My phone wasn’t fully retired, as I use it for photography but I had great fun exploring visuals and toying with narratives in my brain without the pressure of tapping it down and hitting send. Then ‘watching how it does’.

The biz bestie.

However…I could not have done this without someone having my back. BA didn’t burn to the ground because Kirby nobly and excellently held the fort. Which led me to wonder, is it inconceivable for bloggers to have ‘partners’ who cover their backs while we take a well-earned break?

I’ve returned back to my desk today brimming with clarity and creativity, batting the ‘to do’ tasks out of the park. Something every blogger needs!

Woo woo challenge.

We love to set our community a challenge at the end of every podcast. So why not one for the blog too?

Find a blogging friend you completely trust and who ‘gets’ your blog. Organise diary dates to give each other a couple of days completely blog and app free.

Hang out with us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

The time my to-do list nearly killed me.

The time my to-do list nearly killed me.

Do you guys ever hear those tips saying things like "it's okay to say no" or "learn to say no for a better life"? Particularly directed towards mums? I've heard these SO many times over the years and always thought how silly it was ... of course, I know how to say no - I say 'no' all the time! Mostly saying it an insane amount of times due to being a parent. Yet, recently I felt overwhelmed, under-inspired and plain just "tired". And here's where I put my foot in my mouth and admit - I needed to really start saying no. 

I'm an avid "list maker", I pretty much have my entire life wrote down and broken into bite size easily reachable goals. I use these goals to set my daily to-dos so I can feel productive when I put my head down at night.

Being your own boss it's easy to wonder if you're "doing enough" these are the types of things that use to keep me up at night. I mean as digital entrepreneurs often we talk more to each other about our pretty flat lays then how much actual work we got done in a day. So in an attempt to further organise myself, I started to add "reoccurring" things to my to-do list app: a yoga session once a week here, PTA meetings twice a month there, XY&Z thing for my kid, hey lets toss in even scheduling out doing a sweet thing for my husband because my relationship deserves it's own space too. Being a self-help junkie I just kept adding and adding things thinking it would make my life so much better.

Add these reoccurring with my meetings and actual office work and my daily tasks lists turned into a massive anxiety filled monster. Slowly I started to not accomplish everything I wanted to in each day, more often I would feel like a failure come days end, be more frantic and less emotionally available for my family. Pretty much I was always in a crap mood. 

It took a solid couple of months living like this for me to realize - this is no way to live. And biggest things of all I had to take that advice I'd heard for year. All the pressure, deadlines, and stress I was creating. I made my to-do lists - they didn't make me. So, I started saying no - no to myself with over scheduling, no to overextending my energy and resources, no to being overwhelmed day in and day out. 

I'm still an avid list maker/follower but I've since learned how to set up my to-do list to work for me, not the other way around. Now rather than the daily pressure of "how many" things I get done I have priority lists for everything important in my life, family, work, parenting and even fun things. The difference is now though once I mark something off one list I move it to the day it was done giving me the freedom to intuitively work on what feels most important that day where I WANT to focus my energies. Best part is looking at my tasks in such a macro way has helped me let go of what's not important and focus more on what is. 

I still get the pleasure of looking at a list all marked off at the end of my day and know I've contributed enough only difference is now I don't feel over pressured and am able to do my best work possible. 

Reporting Back To Brands About Campaigns

Reporting Back To Brands About Campaigns

One of the things we urge our certified members to practice is delivering post-campaign reports to brands they work with. But how do we track this and what metrics should we use?  

Blogger outreach is a marketing investment. And a key part of a marketing professional’s role is to show the investment was worth it. No matter what level of brand representative you deal with on a campaign, they have a boss, who has a boss or an investor or shareholder who want to see that money is being spent wisely.

This is where bloggers can score brownie points; it does not have to be that technical. Mainly because the very busy ‘higher ups’ usually only want a snapshot to prove campaigns are helping to drive sales.

The BA best practice post-campaign report would show;

1.     How many people saw the content. This would be page views and social media reach or impressions.

2.     How many people engaged with the content. Here you would total the number of clicks, comments, shares from page posts and social media.

3.     Showcase the content. As well as providing links to blogs and social media posts, screen shot any original images or clips from videos you have created.

4.     Sample engagements. Screenshot any positive comments or interactions from readers.

If you're not keen to show hard numbers, you can show numbers as a % of your total community and then benchmark that with the industry. For example if your Facebook page has 5000 fans, the industry currently expects a reach between 800 and 1200 on posts with engagements between 120-200. In my opinion, if you have a good working relationship with your contact, share the hard numbers (they could probably guess them). 

To make this process quick and easy, set up a standard template, with your blog branding, that you can complete each time (in MS Word or Powerpoint perhaps). How much you embellish the report is at your discretion but obviously for larger projects with good fees, it’s worth going the extra mile with demonstrating how your audience has responded to the content.

Watch this space for ‘how to’ videos on where to pull the statistics from but in the meantime, give Claire a shout on claire@blogauthentic.com if you’re looking to impress a brand before those are published!

Our New Podcast about all things £ + Blogging

Our New Podcast about all things £ + Blogging

I am SO excited and proud to let you know exclusively available to our member areas is early access to the "rough" version of the new BA Podcast. If there's one thing my closest friends know about me it's that I'm obsessed with storytelling, podcasts, and lectures. Kind of geeky things...I know, but I find people's stories contagious with happiness, sorrow, and the full spectrum of emotions we exsperience as humans. This is also why I love blogging, while the delivery is slightly different the written word versus the spoken word it's all about the emotion and personal connections for me. 

Not many people know but BA's Podcast has actually been in the works for a long time now, over a year as I used the concept to enter the 2016 Podquest contest. While I didn't win the process of submitting and participating with the event was a lot fun and left me inspired to one day produce this podcast fully. While many parts of BA are my "baby" being the founding owner, this podcast is totally a passion project and my baby love. 

This first season is all about Money + Blogging. Without opening and continuing the conversation around money as creatives we'll never be able to make the topic less taboo or change the industry to help all our members become highly successful both personally and financially so the conversation starts here - money, money, money! 

I hope you all enjoy! Please let me know who you would like to see as a guest on the podcast or topics you would enjoy covering. 

xo - Kirby 

How We're Different from Tots, Britmums, and Bloglovin'

How We're Different from Tots, Britmums, and Bloglovin'

Why BA is different

Blog Authentic is laying a new path for bloggers to come together, get work, learn new skills and find support. We’re not your agent. We are not a blogger network. We are different.

We are not your agent

Blog Authentic is not looking for a slice of your earnings from paid opportunities. We believe digital influencers play a bigger part in creating campaigns and defining professional relationships. So our payment structure is different. Each person on a project team will be paid for the work they do according to their role and responsibility. 

By supporting you to develop positive relationships with marketing professionals, you control the future income of your brand. This means you retain 100% creative control over your blog and audience.

This is crucial against the backdrop of the rapidly changing face of digital technology allowing you to take your content in any direction you feel. It allows you to remain authentic.

More than a network

Blogging networks are effective for peer-to-peer support, inspiring and sharing tips and resources. Many are the original trailblazers in the blogging world and continue to offer fabulous opportunities to work with brands.

But given the fact there are 1000s of other bloggers looking for same thing within these networks, it can be difficult to find consistent paid work.

Help and support is ‘opt in’ so while the likes of Bloglovin', Tots100 and BritMums produce quality resources for bloggers, you have to spend time researching what you need and be extremely disciplined about your self-education.

Blog Authentic’s community is structured to ensure 1 on 1 support as it grows. We will also only have a twice-yearly window for certification applications, keeping new intake manageable for our team.

As many of our clients are looking for particular types of voices, style or niche for their projects, our focus will always remain on carefully selecting the right people for the projects.

Our mission is to empower bloggers to confidently and freely pitch to brands outside of our client base and enable you to working professionally, delivering that content on time and as promised.  

But most of all, our certified members will have a passion for best practice and changing the industry from the inside out. 

Welcome! Members Area Tour

Welcome! Members Area Tour

Welcome Certified bloggers to your new hub at BA! There's so much here for you and this is only the beginning. So don't forget keep checking back here for the latest content. Here's a list of things currently available to you in this space: 

♦ Calendar // Marking BA events and blogger related events which we encourage you to come hang out with us at. Also check here for upcoming brand + blogger sessions and BA Vacations. 

♦ Blog with Members Only Posts & Videos // We save the juicy stuff for BA Crew!

Podcast // We are SO stoked to finally share this with you! Our community get a first "rough cut" listen to the podcast before it becomes public in March.

Membership Materials Download // Most recent version will always be uploaded here.

BA Badges

♦ Forum // Right now we have Disqus set up for us to chat, eventually, we will have an independent forum within this area of the site. In the meantime please make sure you're logged into your own Disqus account to be able to view the comments. 

♦ Feedback Form // PLEASE let us know what you would like to see in this area, it's for you after all send us feedback!