Friday, January 30, 2015

sans ads: a follow up on blogging without sponsorships

Six months ago I stopped offering sponsorship opportunities on Mr. Thomas and Me. I talked about the difficulty it presented for me in writing, the way it made me busy with ads instead of post content, how I just wasn't enjoying the work it required of me. So, I did what all quitters do and stopped.

Then I shared five strategies I had to grow my blog sans ads. And, well, then I did them for five months and the blog grew. But then in the last thirty days I incorporated a few new things and seen success. And in our successes, we shall share, yes?

1. TWITTER CHATS 
Seriously, I participate in two: #fireworkpeople (Tuesday at 9:00pm EST) and #TheWriteParty (Thursday at 7:00pm EST). Being active in these has made me plethora of new friends (and readers) while bonding over similar interests. I know there are dozens of chats that go down each evening, but look for ones that are specific to your interests (especially if you blog about it) and connect!

2. EMAIL. 
I know, simple right. But email other bloggers and tell them that their most recent post hit home for you, or how much you love their new puppy, or with an answer to a question they might have asked recently. Sending that simple email mentioning your favorite brand of leggings after they've mentioned needing a change, shows that you care, that you're paying attention to their content, and opens a new line of communication that often flourishes.

3. LOOSE CONTENT CALENDARS
Editorial schedules are cool and good. In fact, I love good organization. However, they can douse the creative spirit within your soul. Instead of making a strict schedule of what to write when, spend time realizing the posts that were your favorite to pull together. When you know what those are, be honest about how often you could create one. If it's once a week, then plug it in. If it's twice a month, schedule it. That way you have a loose pattern of post schedules for when life gets busy or when you're longing to get ahead of the game.

4. BE GENUINE. 
Niches are cool and awesome and good, until you have to determine which one you fit in and you realize there's no one title that's just right for your blog. Instead of being set on a specific niche, focus on being genuine in your writing and your online interaction. Sometimes what you write isn't going to gather lots of attention, but you'll enjoy making it and isn't that why you started at this blogging thing?

5. LOVE WHAT YOU DO. 
Don't start a series that you aren't truly passionate about. Don't continue a series that is stressing you out and blowing all the fun. Don't worry if your latest list of post ideas are outside of the realm of your labels. Write what you love, because that love and enjoyment will shine through and people are attracted to happiness and passion.

And, before I go, three blogs that are doing blogging right, that make me realize the beauty of this craft and the importance of our stories:

1. ALL THINGS E 
Erika was one of those bloggers I randomly emailed to say, "I like you." And then it turned into more emails full of random conversations and sometimes bearing hearts to one another. Her blog radiates authenticity, something I genuinely devour.

2. AWASH WITH WONDER
Shannon writes beautifully. Like, no words can be more wonderfully composed than hers. And you'll get lost in the way her mind works because it too is beautiful. (Can you hear my woman crush seeping out of ears?)
 
3. BLOTS & PLOTS
I met Jenny through a #NaNoWriMo Twitter group where we'd sprint together. We quickly shared our intense love for flannel pajamas and wine. And then I started reading her blog and I just haven't stopped. Her lists and encouragements are divine and I just have a thing for the way her mind works. You will too, I promise.

The moral of the story: blogging is about authenticity. People want to see YOU there in your words, your recipes, your photos. They're invested in the YOU part of the blog. Don't underestimate the great story that is YOURS.

37 comments:

  1. I've often thought of doing sponsorship or not. thanks for some insight!

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  2. I've been blogging for years and just never had the motivation to get into the stress of sponsorships. With that being said, I have a pretty small following and can certainly put some of these tips to good use. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Just read your post about not offering ad space and most of your reasons fit the reasons why I stopped. It became too much work, some of my sponsors I did not necessarily like (not the person but their blog), they didn't fit the directions i wanted to go with my blog, and it was just too much. So now I just give people who i really admire and their products free ad space on my blog. I think it was a great idea at the time, however, it just doesn't work for me.


    I love Firework people too! I am mad I missed the twitter chat! I hope to be available next week!

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  4. This was an awesome reminder as to why I'm not crazy for not jumping in to have sponsorships.
    How do you find out about the twitter chats? They sound like a blast and I'd love to get involved.

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  5. This is so much wonderful, I can't stand it. Actually, I can, and I'm soaking it up.

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  6. Yay! I love finding new blogs- thanks for the great recommendations! I actually just added a blogroll to my page yesterday because I love stumbling upon them on other people's blogs. (Spoiler alert: You totally made the cut ;) )

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  7. This was such a sweet surprise, Amber, thank you! I wish I wasn't on the other side of the world so I could join in on some of those chats; maybe one day I'll be up in the middle of the night :)


    P.S I am so excited for the next Speak Up link up! I've been thinking about heart for daysss

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  8. This is the greatest! Sage wisdom, as always. :)

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  9. You, my dear, have just the blogging ethos I admire and adore. At the end of the day, blogging is all about being real and giving your readers the reassurance that they're not alone in their daily struggle or excitement, I like to think. Your blog is and always will be one of my absolute favorites for this very reason.


    Also, sidebar: please teach me your ways on Twitter Parties. I can't ever seem to understand them - so much going on. How do you manage?!

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  10. I am glad you did a follow up! I loved the first post. I have been trying to be more interactive on Twitter, overall, but the writer's chat sounds like a good place for me to connect. I recently started up a "side" blog (one with minimal upfront work to set up and that I haven't shared with anyone, really, because I have no idea if there is an audience with that kind of attention span) just to start taking the essays out of my head and Word documents and putting them somewhere. I don't quite have any plans for them, but I'm growing more interested in posting those as I feel inspired, at least for now!
    For me, also, participating in "private," but well run (well run is KEY) blogging groups has been beneficial because I learn from the questions that other people ask and build relationships by participating in those types of conversations.

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  11. This is such a great post! I loved getting your perspective!

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  12. I tweeted to you this morning after I read the post but had to come back and comment because I loved it. I've been contemplating ending my sponsorship program after my baby comes, and this just solidified that decision, plus has given me some great ideas for promoting my own blog more without spending so much money!! Thanks for sharing your success!! :)

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  13. Excellent advice! I am defintely going to have to check these ladies out too. :)

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  14. Thanks for the thoughts. Oh, and by the way, you're awesome...just in case you didn't realize!

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  15. This is a fantastic post - I'm a frequent reader of All Things E and when she linked to this page, I was hooked! Great advice - it really pays to be genuinely engaged with people in the blogging world and to share the love. As you say above, it's important to tell bloggers when their posts hit home and yours hit it out of the park for me. Absolutely brilliant!

    Sed Bona

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  16. I've just stumbled across your blog and I just want to say - I love it! Going to have a read through your archives right now! :)

    Holly | http://abranchofholly.blogspot.co.uk/

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  17. I love these tips. Twitter chats and using relevant, well-chosen hashtags has helped me meet some wonderful people in my professional and blogging life! I've recently enjoyed connecting with bloggers in a way that bridges our blogging life with real life/friendship...meeting in person when possible, connecting on LinkedIn, emailing about professional and personal stuff as you mentioned. It makes the community feel so much stronger, and community is something that you are amazing at cultivating here and on social media!

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  18. Girl, thank you. SO MUCH thank you. I'm honored (of course) and going to go stumble around over there to see who else is fun to read! :)

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  19. You are the wisest wisewoman I know. Do you come baring myrrh or gold?

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  20. YES to private and well run blogging groups. I am in one and am just enriched by it... Though I realize that I'd love to find one or two more... I guess if I was intense I'd start my own, but really, I don't want to be the responsible one! :)


    I really think you'd love the writer's chat. Slash I want to read ALL YOUR WRITTEN THINGS. :)

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  21. Soooo I'm not sure how I noticed the twitter parties at first... But now I run into them because of the people that I follow on Twitter. So, recently, I've started following a lot of other writing enthusiasts and then randomly I noticed #TheWriteParty tag around the same time every week. Then it dawned on me: I was missing the party!

    (I'm going to do a post on how I participate/balance Twitter parties in the next week or so because they're SUPER overwhelming at first).

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  22. You are so much wonderful. And I'm so thrilled you're back. SO. THRILLED.

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  23. Well. I heard this term blogwife this morning and now I might just call you that endearingly because DUH. You are dear to me.


    Twitter parties -there are so many tips, but check out tchat.io. You can type a hashtag into the search bar there and it'll stream the chat for you. I'm going to do a post on how I participate/balance Twitter parties in the next week or so because they're SUPER overwhelming at first.

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  24. Oh yes girl go read them! You'll love them, I promise. :)

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  25. There is definitely reward in sponsorships, definitely, the reward just happens to be outweighed by the work it requires of me... I realize that being honest with myself about my priorities when I'm sitting down to blog is SO important and that meant saying that I couldn't handle sponsorships.

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  26. SURPRISE! :) Now any insomnia you might face one day will feel serendipitous and bring you to TWITTER! :)


    GIRL. I CANNOT WAIT. Friday. We are almost there and I want to go skip in a circle over it.

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  27. I think sponsorships can be done and done well, I just have never been able to invest myself in ads AND in writing so I must choose one and the writing is far more valuable to me. :)

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  28. Girl you and I are on EXACTLY the same page. I didn't want to be in charge of anyone else but myself and, as a sponsorship provider, I felt responsible for them... Something that's WAY too stressful for myself. :)

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  29. Girl. YOU. ARE. KIND. All the love is ALL THE LOVE on a Friday for me! :)


    I completely understand stepping back from sponsorships when baby gets here... That's a LOT of balancing (and I can tell you I'm not good at it without a baby!). If you ever need some encouragement because it's different or frustrating afterwards, I am here. :)

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  30. HI Holly! I'm so glad you're here and YES, please make yourself comfortable and enjoy what's here. :) We LOVE new readers. :)

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  31. You are the kindest kind thing in all the land! :) This totally made my morning (literally got this after I left the gym from a hard workout) and it made my morning.


    I've realized authenticity is something I truly value about people and, well, that's what I hope this space is! :)

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  32. Oh you are so kind, SO KIND. I realize that it's such a balance and process... Something I feel like I'm winning at one day and struggling at the next, but it's a journey and so, so it is! :)


    Also, well chosen hashtags -these are something I've not yet mastered (other than using them on IG to organize my pictures) sooooo, tell me more?

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  33. NO YOU ARE AWESOME. Slash I'm ready to meet baby because she's going to be SO BEAUTIFUL and I want to see her RIGHT NOW.

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  34. Best blog marriage a girl could ask for! <3


    OK I'm going to try out tchat.io for #fireworkpeople and/or #createlounge tomorrow night. Wish me luck! Can't wait to see your post! :)

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  35. I love this post! Especially your last tip. I stopped doing certain series on my blog after I started getting bored or and was not enjoying writing them anymore. Towards the end of last year I was stressing over my blog, trying to find a niche, trying to make it "better", etc and I was just... so... sad/angry/depressed. This year I am all about writing about what I love and I have really been enjoying it so much!


    Jessicathe.pyreflies.org

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  36. I love reading your posts, the way you write is just beautiful! Thanks for the tips.

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