Although it’s been pretty quiet around here so far this year, I’m actually really excited about what 2018 holds for Tails Of A Mermaid. I’m busy wrapping up a big freelance project that has kept me busy from 8am-5pm every day, and I can’t wait to get stuck back into this blog. I get a lot of questions about blogging, as I’m sure most bloggers do. So I thought I’d kick off the year by sharing my top 10 blogging tips to help you blog better in 2018. Here’s to a great year!
10 Blogging Tips for 2018
1 Blog consistently
One of the easiest ways to get your blog to stand out is simply by consistently working on it. It’s so easy to start a blog, but it’s not quite as easy to run a blog. There are millions of forgotten blogs that were started during a moment of inspiration, only to be left in the dust like the pair of rollerblades I got for Christmas when I was 10. Even if it’s just once or twice a week, blogging in a consistent style and tone will help you build your readership and gain a following. People like to know that when they come back, there will be new, great content. It also helps to have a good web hosting service, for example, something like hostiserver, to give your blog a home that you can control.
2 Be consistent in quality
Don’t ever compromise your creative integrity just because you feel like you need to put something out there. Taking the time to edit your images (always straighten the horizon!), proofread your copy, research your topics and create work that is really of a high standard never goes unnoticed. It’s what sets the professionals apart and what will help bring in the paid campaigns you’re hoping to secure in 2018.
3 Stay organised
This has been my one of my biggest hurdles as a blogger. Trying to manage my time and image bank and finances really is a full-time job and I have committed myself to staying on top of it all this year. As a blogger, it’s obviously super important to have the right equipment. When Digicape sent over the stunning LaCie 2TB Porsche Design Mobile Drive I was inspired to stay focussed on organising my images and backing up my work on a regular basis – in fact, it’s what inspired this post. The LaCie is super slim, super powerful and honestly just a super pretty piece of tech. There is nothing worse than losing your precious images, and LaCie even has a really affordable backup storage system that means you will never have to go through the heartbreak of lost data again.
Right now, until April 30 2018, Digicape is offering 15% off LaCie hard drives PLUS automatic entry into their competition to win a trip for 2 to Mauritius. All you have to do to enter is order a LaCie hard drive online or buy one in-store. There’s never been a better time to get organized.
4 Cover all the angles
One of the most difficult things about being a blogger is overcoming writer’s block. Sometimes you just feel like there’s absolutely nothing interesting going on in your life worth sharing. But there’s always something to write about! Remember when you went on holiday with your family last year? Maybe there’s a “10 tips for planning a family holiday in South Africa” blog post in there. Or maybe your family came up with “awesome camping recipes you can cook on a fire”. When you haven’t had time to do interesting things, use past experiences and share interesting content from what you’ve already done. When I got back from my trip to France last year, I covered everything from what to pack, to a full holiday guide while I planned my next adventure.
5 Get your rate card and media kit in order
One of the easiest ways to step up your blogging game is by creating a media kit and rate card. Even if your readership is small, being able to show potential partners that you know exactly who’s following you, where they’re from and what they like to see proves you understand the business of blogging. A professional media kit should include your monthly stats (don’t be shy to share them, even if you think they’re low), who your readers are and examples of your most recent work. Your rate card should provide an overview of your platforms, your reach and your cost per content piece.
6 Use accounting software to stay on top of finances
Especially if you plan on going full-time as a blogger in 2018! I have found Freshbooks to be the single most useful platform out there for creating quotes and invoices and staying on top of outstanding funds. You can even see when your client has opened your invoice, or set up auto-reminders to go out around the end of the month.
7 Get a good tax consultant who knows how to help you
Come tax season, you’re going to wish you had someone to help you. I normally spend a few hours at the end of each year putting together a spreadsheet of what I’ve spent on business-related costs during the year, then send them over to my tax consultant who helps me figure out exactly what I can claim for. When you’re paying 25% tax as a freelancer, this can actually be a really nice chunk of cash back!
8 Say yes to opportunities
Especially if the opportunity is outside of your comfort zone. Maybe a magazine loves your food photography, but you’ve never shot for anyone professionally before. It’s totally ok to admit that, then grab the opportunity with both hands. But remember that once you’ve committed to a project, it’s important to always try to over-deliver. I’ve never once regretted saying yes to a new opportunity that intimidated me, and I normally find it’s where I learn and grow the most.
9 Don’t be scared to follow up
A quick follow-up email can lead to the opportunity you’ve been dreaming of. Everyone is busy, and it’s easy for your email to get snowed under. Rather than sitting around refreshing your emails, be pro-active. Simply reaching out and reminding the receiver that you’d love to work with them or hear from them isn’t desperate or needy. In fact, I think it’s very professional. There have been countless times where my casual “hi there, just following up on this. I’m really keen to work with you on this project, so let me know if you have any questions I haven’t answered” has lead to a positive reply.
10 Consistently pitch new work
If you have an idea, don’t be scared to pitch it. We all get shot down sometimes, and I’ve had loads of my own pitches turned down. But I’ve also had loads of pitches accepted. The key is to present your idea in a professional, easy to read format. A hastily thrown-together email with your brilliant idea rambled in several paragraphs is never going to be as effective as a presentation document. I use Canva to put together pitches, that include an overview of my blog and my readership, what I love about the potential partner, and exactly what I would like to do for them. I find that providing a clear overview of exactly what you’re offering and what you’d like in return right from the start leads to far more positive replies.
So, let’s make 2018 the best year yet. If you have any questions, or blogging tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below.
*This post is sponsored by Digicape, South Africa’s premium independent reseller of Apple products. I’ve been a supporter since I bought my first Mac back in 2010, and I have purchased all my Apple products from them since. What I love about Digicape is their friendly service (they’ve often quickly fixed something for me without charging), and of course the ease of online shopping.