Interested in a career in blogging? Read on as proffesional blogger and mum of 2 Vicki tells us what you need to know to start your blogging business.
Tell us about your blog
I blog about my passions: my family, food, travel and beauty on honestmum.com, and mine and my family's style at mummysgotstyle.com. On Honest Mum, I also blog a lot about blogging itself, offering tips and advice to others wanting to make their blog, their job.
What did you do prior to starting Honest Mum Blog?
I was a multi-award winning screenwriter and director making TV drama, documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials. I also edited a film magazine. I also lectured at universities-all great experience for creating a blog.
How do you make money from your blog?
In lots of ways- from sponsored posts and display advertising, to endorsements, modelling contracts, directing videos, appearing in campaigns, social media packages, consultancy for lots of companies from small start ups to global brands and more.
How many visitors do you need on average to make a living from online advertising on your blog?
It varies hugely, it's also down to the quality of writing, photography as much as the unique visitors. The profile is important too as are social media numbers but blogs that are young can grow quickly and high fees can be demanded. It's a lucrative field to work in.
How long did it take to get your first paying customers?
Very quickly, I was actually a finalist at the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Fresh Voice Category 4 weeks after starting Honestmum.com and I was offered paid work soon after. I chose not to monetise my blog then only taking one paid post, and was back on set directing fashion commercials, but the blogging scene and the power of bloggers, exploded not too long after, and I've been blogging full time for the last 3 years and truly love every minute of my job. I earn more than I did as a director but I'm not driven by money, nor have I ever been. There is no job as exciting as blogging, you are your own editor and boss, and no day is ever the same from writing honestly about your life (cheaper than therapy at times) to attending film premieres, the opera, writing restaurant reviews, modelling, appearing in films for brands like bareMinerals to taking my family abroad for press trips. It's the most perfect job for creatives, juggling work with parenting. You work on your time and your terms. It's brilliant.
How do you find new clients?
Most find me which is lovely but I've reached out to brands I like too to see if there's ways we might collaborate. The great thing about the internet is, it's so democratic. You have a voice, you use it and within seconds it's out there in the world, connecting you to others who might potentially resonate with what you're experiencing or from a PR perspective, who want to work with you. You see results quickly too, it's one job where hard work pays off.
How long did it take to build you audience to the size it currently is?
I've been blogging for 4 years but new bloggers can start up and find and build an audience quickly. Social media is key, as is not being scared to be your own publicist. I remember as a filmmaker hearing from a world renowned film producer that you could be the greatest filmmaker in the world, but if no one knows about you, how will they ever see your work. The same applies to any industry, especially blogging.
What do you find are the most effective ways to build your audience and market your business?
Writing from the heart, sharing parts of my life and this journey of motherhood always garners the greatest response. Blogging is an emotional transaction (similar to filmmaking 'it's emotion on screen'). Twitter drives a lot of my traffic as does FB and Pinterest and I do post very frequently which is great for SEO. My biggest readership is the UK (mostly London), then the US, Australia and the rest of Europe. I try and answer every comment or tweet, often not immediately, but I will always reply to my readers.
Could you tell us about the biggest challenge you have faced and how you have overcome it?
Ever or in blogging? Ever, was directing my first film for my MA in Screen Direction from Goldsmiths, University of London. I was 21, had never directed drama before and had a professional crew and actors to direct from a script I wrote. It was a huge challenge, so stimulating and such an incredible, life changing experience. We built the kebab shops on a location, I raised £12,000 for the film (at the time it was the biggest budget MA film the uni had seen). I got a distinction in my MA and the film, Rifts, about warring kebab shop owners in London won awards all over the world and started my journey as a director. The concept for the film was optioned by BBC Comedy not long ago and is now with DLT Entertainment being developed for TV.
What achievement are you most proud of?
My children: my two beautiful sons, Oliver and Alexander, and my marriage to Peter-those 'boys' are my life.
What advice would you give to other mothers interested in becoming a professional blogger?
This is a career that has levelled the playing field for women in the workforce, it's a job that works around children, yes it's hard work and success, as with any industry, requires time, love and sweat but if you're passionate about writing, photography and moving image, it is quite honestly the best career in the world.
I was on set for 15 hour days pre kids and then when directing commercials when Oliver was 1, I had to be away from home and hated it. I was miserable. Now I can work from my kitchen table in a way that works for my kids so I don't miss them growing. I couldn't recommend it more.