Blogging 101: 10 Small Things That Can Have a Big Impact
Today we’re talking about the little things…those small details that can actually make a big impact when trying to turn your blogging into a business. As someone who has spent hours of time researching and recruiting content creators, I speak from experience when I say there are a few elements that are often missed but can be extremely impactful to an agency or brand who is looking to work with you on a sponsored project.
A Thorough “About Me” Page
Want the inside scoop into the other side of this Influencer Marketing business? Sometimes we recommend you to a brand before we even speak with you. Before the paperwork is signed. Before we’ve even won that brand’s business. This means the more we can learn about you from your website, the better. We want to make sure we’re giving our clients a strategic recommendation and suggesting you for a campaign that truly “fits”.
A thorough “About Me” page is the perfect place for a brand or agency to get to know all about you. Don’t be afraid to use this space to promote yourself! Here is where you can let your readers (and potential business partners) know about you as a person, as well as a content creator. We highly recommend sharing some personal information—including at least your first name (yeah, sometimes this gets overlooked on your website and we have to stalk all your social sites in the hopes we’ll find it).
Number 2 on our list of 10 is essentially a piggy back on number 1. It doesn’t hurt to overshare (to the degree you’re comfortable with, of course). Oversharing can actually win you business that you may not have otherwise won. We often get very niche requests from brands about the type of content creator they want to partner with. Everything from certain ethnicities that match their target audience to specific age ranges. Some things to consider including somewhere on your website to clue in brands:
Do you blog full time? If not, what is your other occupation?
What is your ethnicity? Do you speak multiple languages?
Do you have children?
What is your age (doesn’t need to be specific, can be a range—ie. I’m in my “30’s”)?
What are your hobbies outside of blogging?
Do you also consider yourself a photographer?
Easy-to-Find Contact Info
Again, this may seem obvious, but contact information can sometimes be the most difficult thing to locate. We highly recommend including your email address somewhere on your site (rather than just a contact form). It’s ok to do that trick where you add spaces to your email to avoid spammers (you know the one…kelly [@] ahalogy . com)—this way, no bots can scrape your information and add you to lists you didn’t willingly opt into. In reality, your email address is all a legit agency or brand really needs to reach you.
If you have a preference on how to be reached, say so. Is Instagram DM the best route vs traditional email? Let your site visitors know so you’re not missing out on business. Have a different email addresses for different needs? That’s ok, too. Just make it clear and have a section of your website dedicated to sharing the best way to reach you.
BONUS TIP: Include your email on ALL your social accounts as well, not just your website. If you don’t make brands or agencies hunt for it, you’ll ultimately get more business inquiries.
Sharing Where You Live
Let’s be clear…we don’t need to know your street number (creepy, amiright?) but let us know what city and state you live in. A lot sponsored content programs are very location specific—whether it’s because the client is a retailer and only located in certain areas throughout the country or because a certain brand or product is only available in specific locations—this is a common request amongst our clients. Long story short, blatantly advertising where you live can earn you more business.
BONUS TIP: Are you a country-dweller, suburbanite, or livin’ it up in the city? This might seem like a little detail, but saying so can also help a brand or agency make sure you’re a fit for certain programs.
A Website Favicon
What’s a favicon, you may be asking? A favicon is a small icon associated with your url that appears as a graphic in a desktop tab next to your site name or when your website is bookmarked. This is often overlooked and can make your blog seem less professional and polished if you don’t have one. And let’s be serious…for most of you, designing your logo and coming up with your blog name was something you labored over for quite some time to get just right—so don’t forget to utilize it everywhere you can!
So what does it look like if you don’t have a favicon associated with your url? We see this boring grey box next to your url when we could be seeing your very own, custom branding.
A Professional Headshot
Food bloggers, this one is mainly for you as lifestyle and fashion bloggers are often featured in their blog post photos. Nothing makes you look quite as polished, together, and professional as when you include a headshot on your website—whether it be on your “About Me” page or your "Contact” page. Consider hiring a pro (or simply ask a friend!) to take a few headshots for your blog, social sites, and media kit. You’ll find lots of ways to utilize those premium photos. Another fun idea? Why not capture some photos of you in your element: cooking in the kitchen!
Having a headshot handy can help agencies recommend you to brands; help brands feel a more personal connection; and allow other online publications and bloggers to give you credit, shoutouts, etc. on their blog and social sites. At Ahalogy, we often share spotlight features and testimonials featuring our partners and find ourselves seeking out a headshot to showcase you in those venues!
BONUS TIP: Skip the selfie and hand your camera to someone who knows how to capture you in your best light.
It happens to the best of us. We make website updates, change our blog name, or delete old content and old links scattered across the webisphere become useless. But nothing is quite the turn off for a brand or agency looking at your blog or social sites like broken links. Schedule yourself a recurring invitation to do a link-check on your pages and take the time to update accordingly and/or delete social posts that no longer correlate to a live blog post.
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget to check your social icons—are they linking to the right platform? Are they linking at all? We see these broken most of all.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. When a brand is considering you for a program, they often do a search on your website for A) Their brand/product by name and B) their biggest competitor(s) by name. Sure, you can’t really help it if you’ve worked with their competitors in the past, but before you apply to a program, be cognizant of what you’ve posted before and how recently—whether it be in a sponsored or non-sponsored post.
Believe it or not, we’ve seen content creators apply to work with a brand they have actually stated they dislike somewhere on their blog. Sure, opinions change, but before you apply, it may not hurt to do a quick sweep or search of your past content to make sure you haven’t said anything that could harm your chances of being selected.
Also, be aware of timing. If your most recent post was sponsored by a coffee brand, you may not want to apply to participate in a different coffee program so soon. When the brand (or Ahalogy) goes to your website and sees you just wrapped up a campaign with a competitor, we’re going to scrap you as an option. (Typically, 3 months is a good amount of time to spread out projects with similar products/brands.)
Make sure your site not only has search functionality but that it’s also easy to find and works properly. Brands and agencies probably use your search function more than you realize to learn if you’re a good fit for a campaign. If you’re a food blogger, for example, we may want to know if you do any dairy-free recipes. If you’re a DIY-er, we may want to know if you include DIY ideas for kids. The ability to search your site quickly and easily may (again) earn you more business.
BONUS TIP: Knowing we are searching, be extremely considerate of keywords to include in your blog post titles and body copy that may help guide more readers and business your way.
Following FTC Guidelines
Ok, so this one is not so “small”—this is kind of a biggy. However, some agencies and brand partners are more strict and some are more lax when it comes to FTC guidelines and the rules for disclaiming any sponsored blog or social post. In order to protect yourself, we recommend following FTC guidelines in your paid partnerships regardless of if you are asked to by the client. Unfortunately, the guidelines are a tad vague—stating that your disclaimer must be “clear and conspicuous”. At Ahalogy, we recommend (and require) all our partners to say “sponsored by” so that it is clear they were compensated for their post. We often see references to “partnering with X brand” but with this language, it is unclear if that was a paid partnership or not.
Have questions about FTC guidelines? You can find the answers here.
We’d love to hear from you!
Are there things we missed on this list that you would consider small details with mighty importance?
Tell us in the comments below!
About the Author | Kelly Killips, Creative Director
As Creative Director at Ahalogy, Kelly oversees all in-house creative—from marketing and sales materials to quality assurance and paid media design.