5 Ways To Kill Your Blog (without even trying.)!

Picture it:

You’ve just set up a crisp, clean, new blog; domain and all. You have tons of ideas for content, in your mind, this will be a HUGE success. Unfortunately, the bubble breaks when reality hits; your new blog becomes dusty, the domain expires as its left on the back shelf until you “have more time.”

That’s the thing in life, we will never have “more time”. We have to manage the time we have and make the most of it. I have enjoyed my summer but it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

5 Ways to Kill Your Blog

Here are 5 great ways to kill your blog (without even trying); I know, I’ve done a couple of these myself.

  • Never update, at all. I’m red-faced while typing this one because I’ve done it to this blog and I’m honestly sorry for the neglect. Not updating means nothing new for readers to read, it’s time to get writing!
  •  Have too much sponsored content. Although I do not post sponsored content on THIS blog, I do on my other blog and I have done this. It can be very hard to come up with evergreen content when your inbox is swamped with sponsored opportunities. I try to pace myself and write a story to fit in between, something for my readers to enjoy besides the latest and greatest products or whatever I happen to be posting about. Not to toot my own horn but I have been review blogging for over 8 years now, I know what its like and how easy it can be to become overwhelmed. Take it one post at a time and breathe.
  • Copy and paste. It’s exciting when a press release for a product review or whatever comes into your inbox but unless it’s precisely asked by the brand or pr you’re working with, DO NOT copy and paste these releases as legit writing skills. They weren’t written by you and as a writer, you should be a little bit more creative when it comes to writing a good blog post. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be yours. Also, Google doesn’t like c & p.
  • Social Media Rudeness. “Telling it like it is” and being downright nasty on social media is a great way to add some extra sour to your personal brand. Brands won’t want to work with someone who drops “F-Bombs” every second tweet (if that’s what your social looks like they could imagine your blog without even looking at it) and followers will get tired of negativity. I’m not saying be Mary Poppins in all your social media posts but be real and be considerate of what other people have to see in their feeds, be considerate about what you share. What may be funny to you may be offensive to someone else and if you are one to be offended, don’t start an internet war, move on and “hide” the post and move on or if it REALLY bothers you a direct message can avoid any embarrassment on either party. You can do that on almost every platform now.
  • Brand bashing. You don’t have to LOVE every brand or product but if you want to work with the ones you do, I suggest keeping your comments about how horrid the ones you don’t like are for the next phone call to your girlfriend or significant other. Brands don’t want to read about you bashing another brand. If you say such things about one, who’s to say you wouldn’t say it about them? My policy when blogging is that if I don’t like I brand, I don’t give them any kind of attention simply by not mentioning them at all. If I have a beef with them, I’ll take it up with their customer service and vent to my better half about it. Simple and clean, no need to be mean.

What other blogging/social media “no-no’s” would you list? Leave your say in the comments!

 

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SmartWatches for Multitaskers

SmartWatches have been around for a few years now (Moto, Pebble, LG, Samsung, Asus, Apple to name a few) and it’s getting more popular as we speak. It seems everyone who is a multitasker when it comes to the internet wants to accessorize with a smartwatch. I know, I’m one of them. So, when it comes to a smartwatch, what kind is good for you?


 Apple Watch or Android Wear? 

Now, if you have an iPhone the obvious choice would be an Apple Watch for all your smartwatch needs. Yes, it is a category on its own (as well as the high price tag) but it’s compatible with Apple products and even has its own set of neat apps for things like texting, emailing, notifications, health and fitness, sports, stocks, weather, social media etc. You can customize the look with different faces and also get different bands and straps from Apple or third party sellers on amazon. I personally don’t have experience with the Apple Watch itself but my husband does and he loves it for what he needs it to do. He has the basic sport one, the less expensive one. This one is only water resistant so don’t go swimming with it. 

I went the cheaper (within the budget) but nonetheless just as good road with the ASus Zenwatch 2 instead of an Apple Watch. Yes, this is an Android Wear SmartWatch and it would honestly have more options if I had a matching Andriod phone but I am stuck in a relationship with my iPhone, I love it and it’s all I’ve loved in terms of smartphones over the past few years. Good news, unlike the Apple Watch which is only compatible with Apple products, the Zenwatch 2 is also compatible with my iPhone through the Android Wear app. Also, it’s water proof. I can drop it in the toilet and it would survive! 

I really like my watch. It does what I need it to do. It tells me the time and date, fitness steps, reminders and it works well with most of my Google services like GMail (which I can briefly reply to emails directly from my watch). I can control my iphones music and whatever comes up in the notification feed on my phone, comes up on my watch. If I’m away from my phone at least I can see if an important email or text or whatever came in without running to another room for my phone every time. 

I’ve been using it pretty much on a constant basis since I got it and I have to say other than not being able to use the actual watch to take calls and answer texts (text notifications pop up and you can answer calls on the watch but still need your phone handy to either pick up and talk or hit speaker unless you have a headset. I also hope they update it so it has standalone apps whether your android or iPhone. 

So far I think both Apple Watch and Android Wear each have their pros and cons like everything else, the choice is down to the user and what they need.

Do you have a smartwatch? 

What to do when you’ve lost your blogging “mojo”.

Over the years there has been more than one occasion where I almost wanted to close up shop on a blog I worked hard on for because things weren’t going exactly as I had envisioned.

I had nothing left to give. Nothing left to say. With life being as busy as it gets I had zero power to even pump out a generic product review post. I left my readers with gaps between my typically fun posts. 

What do you do when you’ve lost your blogging mojo?

First of all, breathe. So you’ve run out of topics, you need some inspiration.

Take a walk or a bath. Sometimes being alone with ones thoughts can trigger the best of ideas. Make sure you have a notepad or phone to record your ideas for later. 

Check out your favourite websites or your favourite blogs. Sometimes there is so much you want to say but just can’t decide on a topic. Check out the latest books, movies, music, trends, 15 minute famous celebs or whatever else that interests you and talk about it from your perspective. You’d be surprised about the conversations that may come of it. 

Sign up for a blogging prompt challenge. Sign up but don’t take it too seriously. Don’t lose sleep if you slip up and forget something. These challenges are usually made for inspiration and writing practice. They can also make for some fun content for your audience to follow. There are also some apps available that can give you daily writing ideas, just search for it in your App or Google Play stores. 

Ask for guests! Guest writing is a great way for you to help a fellow blogger get some exposure and share on your platform. It is also a good way to get great content from another writers point of view. You can ask your fellow bloggers in groups or post a blog post inviting people to apply for a spot. 

Take a break. Sometimes we have to shut down the computer and power off the smartphones, disconnecting in order to collect  and reconnect ourselves. The best part is you don’t need to explain it to anyone and you can be back online and writing when you’re ready. 

Do you have any tips on what to do if you’ve lost your blogging mojo? Leave a comment below! 

Sharing by mistake – social media blunders and how to recover

 

eyeball
That shocked look when you realize what you’ve done!

 

When you work in blogging and social media, errors happen. Sometimes these mistakes are human error, sometimes they are caused by technical difficulties, server crashes and lord knows what else we can be thrown in the virtual world.

I’ve been online since the days of the dinosaur. Not really but I have been online long enough to watch the web evolve into the social club it has become.

Examples of  social media blunders (some may or may not have happened to yours truly):
Sharing from the wrong account – Wait, why is brand A advertising a sale about brand B?

Sharing something to your public that should have been a private DM. How many people just saw your comment about your boss?

Scheduling an important message for the wrong time and/or date. Oh boy, you just got the audience excited about an event that isn’t happening yet!

Thinking your spellcheck worked only to find serious errors after you hit publish. Great, how many people have seen how unprofessional you look!

Dead links. Even though you triple checked, that link just won’t go anywhere.

Depending on your reach, little things like that can cause a lot of damage if you don’t take care of it pronto. You don’t want that if someone is counting on you to run their social media pages for them!

Check your work. Check it before you hit schedule and check it when it’s due to go live. The sooner you find out about any mistakes the better so make it a habit to check or have one of your team check social media channels often for any missed errors.

Don’t panic. Just delete or save the posts in draft for when you do need them. Chances are by the time you find out, it’ll still be able to be resolved.

Sorry! Send out an apology to your community briefly explaining your situation. Hopefully, your blunder isn’t something that can’t be resolved easily.

It happens to everyone, we are all human.

What tips do you have for social media blunders? Share in the comments, let’s chat!

3 useful photo editing sites for bloggers

Having great content on your blog is fantastic but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that people like visuals.

People like images, usually decent sized images that help give life to the words they are reading. For example images for a product review give the reader a better idea of what the product is. Images for food posts give the reader an idea of what the outcome of a recipe is. You get the idea. 

I am not a professional photographer. I don’t even have a real camera (my Nikon broke, long story.) but photos need to be taken for the blog nonetheless. I use my iPhone for almost everything and sometimes the pictures can come out subpar. 

That’s where editors come in handy. The iPhone has an editing option for your photos and Instagram has some nice filters but sometimes you just have to add a little more. 

Here are 3 useful photo editing tools I use:

Pixlr – When I first started blogging I used Pixlr. I still do from time to time. I like switching up my programs depending on the project. With Pixlr you can create graphics from scratch or use it to edit images. Crop, edit the colour etc. It’s almost like photoshop but it’s web based and free. There is an app for on-the-go editing but it doesn’t have as many options as the web version. 

Picmonkey – This one is great for photo and other image editing. You can add things like boarders, effects, stickers, make collages or different sized images for your social media pages etc. You can use Picmonkey free or they have a Royale (paid) option too. They also have an app for quick, on-the-go editing.

Canva – This one but it pretty much has everything for whatever photo project you have. It’s great for adding text to photos with a lot of different options. There is a free and paid version as well I believe. They also have an app which has some pretty neat features! 

There are many more options available on the web when it comes to photo editing, anyone can be a photoshop pro with the right tools. Use what you’re comfortable with and have fun!

If you know of any great sites, recommend them in the comments below! 🙂 

Tips for bloggers when working with brands.

Over the years I have worked with several PR agencies representing brands to help promote products, services and events. This can be fun but it can also be a lot of work and sometimes overwhelming. I thought I would share some tips on how to get through the waters when you first begin working with brands. 


If you’ve worked your butt off and have taken your blog down this road, accepting pitches from pr reps representing brands, that’s fantastic!

How did you get on their radar? 

You know, even after seven years of blogging, I’m not 100% sure about this one. 

Chances are you blog and are also active in social media, brands notice this engagement and thus you may have been put on mailing lists. People are always looking for fresh and new voices, yours may be it! Whatever the reason, you’re on their radar, congrats!

If you aren’t on the radar, don’t worry. There are also a lot of influenser programs on the web you can sign up for in the meantime!

Not every email will be for you. 

Bloggers get many emails a day asking them to share something on their blog and with their socia media audiences. If the topic or product etc doesn’t suit your theme, politely decline the offer. Don’t be rude. It’s always better to build a bridge than to burn one. 

Have a media kit ready.

A media kit is a document that displays all of your current blogging information. Your social media handles, a bio about you or your blog, what you offer and some also include rates (prices) for sponsored content. You can also include prices in a different document called a rate card. Kind of like your service menu. 

Be crystal clear.

Know what’s expected of you and what you expect in return. Make sure the person on the other end of the email is clear as well so there are no bumps from miscommunication. It happens, it will happen but don’t worry it’s nothing you won’t recover from. 

Keep your promises.

Meet expected deadlines and make sure to do what you said you’d do. Sometimes things happen and you’ll miss a deadline. If that happens, keep in touch with the rep you’re working with. They’ll appreciate it. 

Follow up.

After you have posted your review/giveaway/promotion and its run its course, follow up with that rep and let them know how you did. Let them know if there were a lot of comments, shares etc, give them statistics. 

It can be fun working with reps but know it is work. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions or reach out to a rep you’ve established a connection with. You never know where a simple email may bring you!