Today I'm kicking things off with Vicki from Honest Mum. Vicki is a full time professional blogger who works with some amazing brands. She has modelled, presented and been the face of several companies all the while blogging and being mum to her two boys.
You work with so many amazing brands and have fantastic opportunities, do you tend to pitch to brands or do they find you?
They come to me 99% of the time but if I see a brand I like who are usually following me on twitter perhaps, I will send an email or dm and ask if they are seeking bloggers or have any upcoming campaigns. I'm for being proactive, and self-promotion. My background as a filmmaker helps with this hugely, I've had to pitch to producers and networks a lot in my past. Definitely bloggers should pitch and start relationships with brands. Don't limit yourself whether you've just started or are established, everyone has targeted, niche audiences that matter to brands. Also when I'm approached for campaigns, I pitch my own ideas or offer my own angle on campaigns. We are digital storytellers who know our blog and audience best, great brands respect and understand that and will let you make paid posts personal. Those are the most successful and most natural campaigns. Be yourself.
If you could give a blogger any advice on how to approach brands, what would it be?
Ensure your blog is as a professional and slick as possible and that you have a media kit (without fees ideally - always negotiate based on brief) and a 'work with me' page too. Make it easy for others to discover and work with you. An clickable email at the top of your blog along with social media badges and an 'About' section. Always be polite and professional and work with brands which fit your ethos and style.
You come across as a fantastically confident person - is this something you've had to build on over time or does it come to you quite naturally?
I think most outwardly confident people are not necessarily always confident inside (it's impossible to be all of the time), we're just used to fighting the fear and doing it anyway - and confidence is a muscle to be practised, the more you feign confidence the easier it becomes and the more opportunities you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the greater you grow. A bit cheesy but true. I lost my confidence hugely after a traumatic birth with my first son Oliver - blogging, the support of my family and a councillor ultimately helped me regain it piece by piece after losing my identity after a tough time. Confidence is fluid for all, I think as long as we are aware of that, it's OK. No one really talks about feeling worried or nervous to save face so those who are struggling feel alone whereas in reality we are all struggling to varying degrees dependant on what day we've had and tasks await. It's natural for most creatives to struggle with confidence, we are laying ourselves bare whatever our medium and craft and it takes great courage to do so. It really is crucial to push through the self doubt though, to pursue our dreams and goals.
How do you manage to fit your busy work schedule around your family?
It works, I have a small team here, a publicist who negotiates my contracts and help with business development, someone who deals with IT and keeps my blogs looking their best, and an assistant. My eldest goes to school, and my youngest is in nursery part-time and my parents help a lot too. My husband shoots for me when he's not working in IT and we're a team. I expanded the business as it grew and having the support means I can focus on what I love-the written word and moving image. I work a lot on business development too and have some exciting new areas I want to pursue. This job is wonderful because I am in control, in the driving seat. I am there for my kids, working on my terms and in my own time. I work full time hours but they are structured around my family so I don't get to miss out on dinner, bedtime, fun. I always have Fridays off for Xander and I, and weekends are dedicated to my family too. This year more than ever has made me feel more balanced and happier than before. I'm also in a position to say no to projects I don't love and focus on those that feed me creatively.
If someone was looking to become a professional blogger like yourself, what would your top tip on how to go about it?
Trust your voice. The Internet can often feel like an overcrowded space but there is room for us all. The beauty of blogging is, with a touch of a button a like-minded audience can and will discover you instantly. Follow your passions, write from the heart and share what you love.
Vicki is a full time blogger, award winning filmmaker and Mum of two who writes http://www.honestmum.com and style blog http://www.mummysgotstyle.com.