How to fall back in love with your blog

How to fall back in love with your blog
How to fall back in love with your blog

It always feels a bit strange writing the first line of a blog post when I haven't really been around for a while. It's like when you bump into someone from school that you haven't seen in ten years. 'Whats new?!' they say. Oh you know, just everything. About four hundred hair cuts, puberty - you know how it goes.

So, what is new, you might ask? Well puberty is still going strong and I have had a few hairdresser trips lately (more on that soon) and - you know - I finished University with what looks to be a high 2:1, I've been on holiday and developed a (real!) tan for the first time in about five years and - above all - I'm just really really happy right now. Things are good.

I mean, things were never awful, but a few weeks ago I was struggling a little bit behind the scenes. I was finishing up my dissertation, running to and from London for multiple jobs just to make sure I didn't end up in my overdraft after my student loans stopped coming in. I was taking on as many jobs as I could to make sure I got a decent start at doing this whole full time blogger thang, and that resulted in my blog turning into sponsored post central. Now, of course I only worked with brands I wanted to that fit with my blog style (I mean, I'm not quite desperate enough to start advertising continence pads..yet), but because I was posting so sporadically it felt that every other post came with a disclaimer. Sorry about that, but, you know, rent and cat food bills are a killer.

So the thing that I could usually turn to when I was feeling stressed (AKA this blog) wound up being something that I had to fully rely on  to ensure I didn't get behind on my rent or - worst of all - not being able to prove everyone wrong who said I could never do the internet as a job. But, like everything else in life, we all come out on the other side, and after a much needed holiday (seriously, I slept for about 5 our of 7 days of it) I've  

 

 

come back to my computer, more excited about blogging than ever before. 

Blogging has always been something that I just liked to do, and every so often I'd get a bit of money thrown my way or the odd opportunity handed to me, making it that little bit sweeter. But when my life became a big ball of stress and I began using my blog for work as opposed to fun (with a few pennies here and there) it ended up becoming yet another thing that I felt I 'had' to do, instead of something I wanted to do. So after finishing uni I decided to fall off the radar for a little while. I wasn't sure if I'd be gone for a day, or if I'd choose to scrap the idea of blogging altogether, I just knew I had to take a breather from everything for a while, and come back when I was actually ready to, not when I felt like I should have been ready.

A week without any real internet did me good. At first, I didn't miss my overflowing inbox in the slightest. I was quite happy Snapchatting here and there and posting Instagram snaps like any other person on holiday would. For that one week, I had no need to login to wifi unless I simply wanted to. By the last day, I was itching to get back home and answer my emails. I felt like I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with this blog and my Youtube, and for the first time in months I actually got excited about piecing together a blog post. 

How to fall back in love with your blog

Because you see, there really can be too much of a good thing. You can love your job more than anything, you can be completely infatuated with someone, or you can just really, really like cake. But if you're forced to eat cake every single day of your life (#goals), after a while, you'll probably wind up craving some sort of salad. Unless it's an exceptional red velvet - that's a whole other story.

School holidays, bank holidays, weekends - these things were all invented for people to just chill the eff out - something I hadn't really done in, well, since my last holiday over three years ago. And after a few weeks away from uni, working blogging and just about anything that doesn't me sleeping and/or eating, for the first time in so long I've been able to blog - stress-free - just like I used to back in the day of bad photos and baggy clothes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. And whilst I'm not overly sure who 'they' are, they do seem to have a point. 

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How to get 100 instagram followers a week

How to get 100 instagram followers in a week

In the past few months I've started to take Instagram seriously, very seriously, or at least, as seriously as you can take a mobile app made up of squares and emojis (which apparently, is pretty damn serious). I dedicate days to stocking up on Instagram pictures, only to spend the next day editing them and typing out the 'perfect' caption. A few cute emojis, a few tags - not too many, not too little - just enough to keep things ticking over nicely. I have literally begun to see aesthetically pleasing things as squares on my iPhone. Will it fit my theme? Did I post something similar in the last few days? I don't know whether to be proud of my commitment to it or not..

But alas, the reason you're here (which I assume is because of the title of this post, and not the allure of my sheer wit and beauty) - how the hell do you gain over a hundred followers each and every week, in the least proactive way possible? High five lazy ladies, I'm wid u.


Shoot in bulk

I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely do not live in a world of marble work tops, flourishing cacti (I kill every one I adopt) and good lighting. My life looks so ugly compared to what I plonk on Instagram, so if I had to take a photo of what I was actually doing in the day, as I was doing it, it would be a series of photos of me feeding my cats or sitting at my desk in some form of Primark pyjamas that are probably so old they should have been thrown away years ago. You know how they say Instagram isn't real life? Yeah, it's not. All those flatlays I shoot are pictures I've taken in bulk that I've scheduled throughout the week. Oops, secrets out. And editing my Instagram snaps? That can take me hours when I'm doing a bunch. Like I said, not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of myself. So to make sure that my feed is getting updated regularly with pretty pictures, I shoot everything one afternoon when the lighting is good, and I'm feeling patient enough to take five million flatlays. I literally turn my bedroom and office into some sort of photography studio, lights and all, just so I can take a few fancy pictures of latte art that went cold half an hour ago.


Queue your posts

So, funny story. During my last few weeks of semi silence I've actually been working behind the scenes to queue every single blog post, video, Instagram snap -you name it - weeks in advance. Why? Because it just makes life easier (once you've queued them..when you're trying to edit ten videos in bulk, it's hell). Queuing all my Instagram posts around a month in advance means I'm able to focus more on the content that actually matters without having to worry about what I'm going to take for my next insta pic. I use Latergram to schedule all my posts. You can upload everything straight from your computer and type captions on a normal keyboard as opposed to a 2 inch iPhone one. Whenever you've scheduled your post for you'll get a notification through on your phone. Just copy and paste the caption and boom, you're officially organised. Constant content = more followers. Bonus points if you manage to queue two or more a day.


Have a theme

When I follow someone on Instagram I don't follow them because they posted one pretty picture. I follow them because they post hundreds of pretty pictures. Just like with your blog, you need to have a theme. I mean, if I suddenly started writing about health and safety procedures in Mcdonalds you'd probably think I'd either lost my mind or been hacked by Ronald McDonald. #NotSpon. It's the same with your Instagram. My feed is predominantly airy and simplistic. I shoot everything on the same camera (the Olympus PEN E-PL7 for all of you that have asked before) at the same time or day, in the same type of setting. A theme looks pretty when you click onto someone's profile, and it means there's no surprises for the people that follow you. It's easy to get followers by spamming, but it's much more useful to get ones that engage with your content.


Take note of what's trending

Whether it's a new beauty product launch you've managed to get your hands on or a dress from the new-in section of Missguided. The trick to gaining followers is to be relevant. No one wants to hear the words 'sold out' or 'discontinued' when they ask on your picture, and companies probably aren't going to re-gram you if the picture you took is wildly outdated. Re-grams = more followers. You know the drill.

Hope that helped a few of you out! I've written a similar blog post including more tips and tricks on how to get more followers on Instagram, so be sure to take a peak at that one as well. 

Let me know if you have any tips on upping your Instagram game too!

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9 steps to becoming a more successful blogger

Oh internet, it's been a crazy few weeks, but I'm finally back with a truck load of blogging tips and tricks up my sleeve. Think of me as one of those old ladies that always seem to have a Kleenex or seven stuffed up their blouses. Only what I've got is a lot more useful. Unless you've got a cold, because if that's the case you should probably head on over to granny Kleenex. Wow I'm so out of the loop with these introductions. Let's just get straight to the tips, shall we?

 

Socialise with people in your network

This isn't about the numbers (although it certainly doesn't hurt) it's about forming like-minded friendships. Sure, blogging might not be the hardest thing in the world, but every thing in life has its downsides, so it's good to have someone to talk to. Same goes for the good stuff. When you reach a certain milestone of followers, or even when you just get a really nice blog comment, sometimes only fellow bloggers really understand how good that feels. Plus, these friends won't judge you if you take half an hour to take a picture of your food - hell, they might even snap your outfits if you're lucky!
 

Plan ahead and stay organised

The past month I've been swamped with other life commitments, and it made me fail at blogging. So. Damn. Hard. I mean, I posted three time last month. Three times! Give me all the virtual slap on the wrists you desire. But anyway, that wouldn't have happened if I managed to stay on top of my work over the holiday season because - when you stay on top of things - it gives you a chance to step away guilt-free without sacrificing your work since, you know, you've already done it. Sounds like someone should write a book about that sorta thing. Oh wait, I did. #GirlsGottaEat.
 

Know you and your blog's worth

I see this all the time on forums and Facebook groups, and that is people accepting big ass jobs for next to nothing. Now I know blogging isn't about the money what so ever, but when someone wants you to work for them - whether that's in a 9-5 job or an internet one - you need to make sure the money (or even the product) is worth your time. If something sounds too low to you, it probably is too low. Don't feel like you have to accept every job you get just because it's an offer - sometimes brands will respect you more if you say no. And sometimes - just sometimes - they might even come back with a higher offer. If you're going to be a successful blogger, brand yourself that way!
 

Be yourself, and be okay with that

Fake it til you make it? Sure, that night work for some things in life, but honey, 2016 is all about getting yourself out there. And by yourself, I mean your actual self, not the person you pretend to be on the internet because - let's face it - that person can only take you so far. If you're awkward, roll with it. If you're a selfie queen, own it. And if you're a big fat Minecraft geek with a handbag full of Haribo and an iPhone full of Candy Crush then hell, we should hang out.
 

Stay on top of your emails

This is almost a reminder for myself, since I'm so damn terrible at it. But! One thing I do know is that - on that magical Sunday afternoon that I manage to get on top of everything - it feels pretty great knowing I can start my inbox from afresh. Check that spam box, check that junk mail and make sure you never miss an important message (AKA an ASOS sale) ever again. 
 

Work with each other, not against

There such a stigma that comes with blogging, in that us bloggers all hate each other. When I first joined the community I thought I was going to be the odd one out, but oh how I was wrong. Blogging is still such a niche that us gals and guys have to stick together, not work against each other. 
 

Keep pushing yourself

Even when times get shitty it's important to always, always keep on truckin'. I think I've used that saying about five hundred times this year and - to be honest - sometimes I've felt like throwing in the towel (I'll divulge a little more into that soon) but if you want something in life you've just gotta keep on going. Think about it, when do you see brand new bloggers taking over the blogosphere? You don't - and that's because these girls (and guys) have been tapping a way for a while now. Give it time my friends, and keep on truckin'. There goes the five hundredth and one(th) time I've said that.
 

Stop comparing yourself to others

Some people are always going to appear better than you - that's just how the world works. We're insecure weirdos and nothing will ever change that. But you know what? Sometimes you're going to be that person that someone else looks up to. Either way, comparing yourself to someone else won't ever work in your favour. Let them do them, and let you do you. We're all unique in our own way, so be the best version of you that you can be. I swear there's some sort of inspirational quote here that I'm missing.

 

Give your readers what they want

If you want to give your blog that little step up in success, be sure to give your readers what they want. Now you might be thinking, bitch, I'm no mind reader, but you don't have to be! Just take a scroll through your comments to find out which blog posts are your most popular, and play around with that! You can even check out your Google Analytics to see which of your posts are performing the best. Give em what they want, and they'll keep on coming back for more. Check out my post on how to use Google Analytics to your advantage for a tip or two.
 

What are your current blogging goals? Leave them in the comments below!


Everything you need to know about Twitter Chats

Around ten months ago I was sat on Twitter, scrolling through various life updates from people across the pond and favouriting just about any photo that contained some form of baked good and/or baby animal. I had been tweeting for what seemed to have been years, but the only people I had ever actually spoken to were either real life friends or famous people who, for some reason, never seemed to reply back to me. I like to think it was simply because they were having issues with their Twitter. Either that or they didn't fancy talking to someone whose profile picture was of a cat wearing a Victorian gown - I can't quite work it out.

Anyway, what I'm getting at here is that I'm generally really crap at Twitter. 140 characters to say what's on my mind? Have you lot even noticed how much I talk on here!? You're lucky to get a blog post made up of 140 words, let alone 140 letters. But I guess the main point of this susprise tip Tuesday (on a Saturday) is that - despite what you might initially think - you don't have to be great at Twitter, to seriously reap the benefits of a Twitter chat.

So what exactly is a Twitter Chat? Well, it's pretty much exactly how it sounds. You talk to one another about various topics, and you all use the same hashtag to follow what everyone is saying. More often than not these chats will have a host who asks a bunch of questions over the course of an hour, and - as a community - you simply pitch you ideas and voice your opinions. It's seriously fun, but also really beneficial to you and your blog, as you can bounce ideas off one another, inspire each other, and even make some friends a long the way. And on top of all that, you might even gain a few new followers at the end of it, huzzah!

In all seriousness though, Twitter chats can actually be an incredibly underestimated traffic booster if you use them in the right way - even more so if you actually manage to host your own successful chat. Wondering how to get involved? Just ask the people that run your favourite chat! Hosts are always looking for people to take over every once in a while - and you'll be able to reap the benefits of new followers and top notch ideas. Wanna know more? Here are a few extra tips and tricks to get you well on your way..

Create a routine

Twitter chats run at lightning speed, and it can be seriously overwhelming if you show up unprepared. So, come prepared! Arrive on time, minimise those tabs and focus your attention on all the tweets that are about to fly your way. You can also use TweetChat or TweetDeck to help track those tags!

Get involved in conversations

I swear Twitter chats are one of the only times it's fully acceptable to interrupt other people's conversations (but of course, in a polite way). I've met so many people from dropping in on their chats, and no one has ever been rude about it - in fact, quite the opposite! If you want to talk to someone, now's the time to do it.

Share your thoughts

Whether you know nothing, or know it all, Twitter chats are the best place to voice whatever is on your mind. If you have a question, ask it! If you have an answer, tell it! It might seem daunting at first, but trust me, Twitter chats are one of the most supportive places you can be as a blogger! You'll leave feeling inspired, that's for sure.

Anyway, that's enough from me for now, but if you want to listen to me ramble on for a bit longer (ahem, why wouldn't you?) then be sure to tune in to the #fblchat Twitter chat today at 3pm GMT. The topic is all about how to make money from blogging. If you're not a millionaire by the time the hours up, then I have failed you. You can find me at @cocochicblog - hashtag shameless plug.

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[Note: Timings are all GMT]

Monday

#blogtrends (2am)
#BDIB (7pm) 

#ambitionista (9pm)
#fbloggers (8pm)

Tuesday

#askablogger (7pm)
#fblchat (8pm)
#bloghour (9pm)

Wednesday

#lbloggers (7pm)
#careerblogchat (7.30pm)
#bbloggers (8pm)

Thursday

#crazybloggers (7pm)
#fbloggers (8pm)

Friday

#gbloggers (7pm)
#bdib (8pm)

Saturday

#fblchat (3pm)
#socialbloggers (6pm)

Sunday

#lbloggers (7pm)
#bbloggers (8pm)

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When to say no to blog opportunities

I don't know about you guys, but as a blogger I'm constantly inundated with hundreds of emails each and every day (granted, a large percentage of those emails are mostly centred around penis enlargement pills and/or Candy Crush invites from my Mum..) asking me to promote a product, review a service or simply guest post on someone else's website. Since more and more companies are beginning to understand the influence bloggers and internet people can have, the amount of opportunities that arrive into our inboxes are only going to increase. 

Now obviously I feel very, very lucky (and sometimes completely unworthy) to even be considered for some of these different jobs, but I can't go around accepting everything that pops into my Gmail account without sacrificing my readership (AKA you sexy people) and generally working my fingers to the bone. So sometimes you do just have to suck it up and politely said 'no thank you'. It might seem a little counterproductive, but trust me, the more picky you are with the work you accept, the more brands will respect you, and the happier you'll be with your blogs content overall. I mean, did you really want to review dog poop bags for the sake of a free £10 voucher? Maybe not. So here are some questions to ask yourself before accepting (or denying!) an opportunity.

Does it fit with the style of my blog?

See above - do dog poop bags really fit with my blog? Considering I don't even have a pooch (woe is me) I'd say not really. I mean, sure, it's all down to you and how you feel bout what's on offer, but if you want to keep your blog to a certain standard ten it's best waiting around for the better, more relative opportunities to come about. I always say that if it's something I could write about without making it look like an ad, then it probably fits with my usual blogging style - if not, well, then it might be a good idea to let someone else have this one.
 

What's in it for me?

Whether you're just starting out as a blogger or someone that does it as a full time job, if you're doing something for someone else you need t make sure there's something in it for you. This could be anything from free products, to actual payment, to promotion on social media. Either way, you need to make sure you're not constantly working for free, and that you're going to benefit from your partnership as well. You wouldn't serve tables all day for free, so why give away your skills for free too? If a brand is reputable, they'll compensate your time in some shape or form.
 

Is it worth doing?

Similarly to the above - f you are getting compensated for your work, you need to make sure it's actually worth your time. Think of your time spent on your blog like any other job. If it tales you an hour to write a blog post, a product worth (or more than) minimum wage is probably worth it (if it' something you want, of course). But what if the work your doing will take around ten hours in total? If you feel like you deserve more than a free pack of face wipes, you probably do.
 

Are there too many demands?

Sometimes PR companies do have a few regulations for you to follow if you agree to work with them, which is expected, but sometimes those requirements turn into a huge list of demands that give you little to no freedom for making the post your own. If it sounds like the company are asking too much of you, or you simply don't feel comfortable fulfilling everything they ask, offering them an alternative. If not, pass it on..
 

Am I breaking the rules?

There are so many laws and rules that come with blogging these days (check out my blog post all about blogging rules to follow for more info) that it can be hard to stay u to date with what's what sometimes. In the past I've had companies ask me to create posts that don't quite coincide with the law. I've obviously denied them, but I know of other bloggers that have said yes just because they weren't clued up on the legalities of things. It's worth swotting up on to make sure you don't get yourself into trouble further down the line!
 

Does it sound a bit spammy?

Copy and paste emails are generally a no go for me, because they usually end up being more spammy than anything else. For this sort of offer, I usually send back a bog standard (yet still polite) no thank you email, but if it does seem super spammy in a 'this will eat your computer' type of way', I put that email where it belongs: in the spam folder. Sometimes of course these emails may just look spammy, as opposed to actually being spammy, but I always think that, if they can't even bother to write an email to me by name as opposed to 'Dear blogger' or (my personal favourite) 'Dear webmaster', then they're probably not the best sort of company to work with in the first place. Unless your first name is actually 'blogger' or 'webmaster'..

Of course these are all personal to me, but hopefully this blog post helped you guys in some shape or form! Oh and uh, sorry about this Tip Tuesday being on a Wednesday - the days kind of got the best of me this week..oops. Leave your own tips in the comments below for others to take a peak at!