Opinion | Tips from The Blog Works 2

While the Belgian blogosphere is still somewhat being frowned upon by some traditional media and other industry insiders, it is slowly but steadily following in the footsteps of its foreign predecessors. What was once thought of as a hype  that would surely come to pass has become an actual industry on its own.

“The blogger landscape is changing and it is stronger than ever.” dixit Arieta Mujay from River Island. In order to catch up (and in the long run- keep up) we need to enter this spiral of continuously learning and evolving. And that’s what we came to do at The Blog Works, a seminar/workshop for bloggers hosted by Stéphanie Duval (blogger at 70percentpure & editor-in-chief at Label magazine) and Marie Lemaître (social media manager at Oona PR).

This year’s edition was all about the business side of blogging. Do you ask money for blog posts? Do you place ads on your blog? Do I accept and blog about freebies? During the morning discussion we quickly discovered the opinions might differ depending on the blogger. Below I’ve listed some tips from the speakers.

Stay true to yourself – Jantine Vaartjes from April and May

Once you’re blog is getting some success, brands are eventually going to want a piece of that. Getting offers from brands is amazing, but make sure they match with your blog’s identity. It is okay to say NO (thanks). Bart Lapers from Travel.Bart.La agrees. Since his blog is all about traveling on a budget, it would be unfair to accept free trips. But is there such a thing as being too neutral? To this day, brands haven’t really figured out how to deal with independent bloggers. And vice versa. “Figure out your identity and stick to it. It’s about saying no rather than saying yes”, Susie Bubble adds.

Learn how to read your stats – Amber Venz from RewardStyle

Statistics (like via Google Analytics) can tell you many things about the people that visit your blog. In order to keep them interested and attract new readers at the same time, you have to know what they like (which posts did they read) and where they are come from (country of origin and how they found your blog). That way you can use this information for future posts. It’s all about finding a balance between your unique style and what your target group wants.

Engage in multiple platform publishing

A blog is different than social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pose, etc. For each account that you have on these platforms you will have a different following. That is why it is important to post different content on these platforms that interact with each other and match the different target groups. You can use these platforms as new means to make money by selling tweets, pins etc. to double your income. Interesting, but I think it might be a little too early for that since we’re still having a hard time to actually make some money off of our blogs. But it’s something to keep in mind for the future.

speakers the blog works 2

Claim your niche – Bart Lapers from Travel.Bart.La

Find your niche and claim it. New blogs are born every day, but as the market is pretty saturated already, you have to find something fresh and be the best at it. Look at what other bloggers are doing and think about what you can add to the story.

Speak, but don’t forget to listen

Following the tip on getting to know your readers through Google Analytics is keeping in touch with them. Your readers are your customers, not the brands. Therefore your focus should be the people who visit your blog. Try to meet them and ask for feedback (also via DM, email, comments..), learn from what they have to say and implement it on your blog.

Show your passion – Arieta Mujay, PR at River Island UK

Blog about what you are truly passionate about and make sure you show it in real life as well. Image is very important: don’t dress like someone from 2001 when you’re a fashion blogger or apply the wrong shade of foundation when you’re a beauty blogger. Credibility and expertise are key factors in order to work with brands.

Ditch the attitude

Be polite in your contact with PR’s. Don’t forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. If not, your reputation might will proceed you and the brands you reach out to will not want to work with you. It is a very close and well-connected world after all. Sounds pretty normal to me, but I guess this must be because she’s dealing with a lot more bloggers.

Content is king – Susie Lau from Style Bubble

Yes, posting frequently is important, but nothing tops a good quality post. I’ll admit it’s not always easy to come up with something new and equally interesting every day, but it’s definitely going to pay off in the long run. 1 or 2 (good) posts per week should suffice, as long as it really adds something to the conversation.

The afternoon was filled with photography workshops. I attended the fashion and beauty workshop (by Alexander Popelier and Lieven Dirckx from AvantGand) where I learned a lot about lighting, positioning, equipment and camera settings which I will implement and hopefully make better pics in the future!

Thoughts on any of the tips above? Let me know in the comments!

Pics by Nathalie De Schepper.
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