I’m sure that these rules (and I use that term loosely) are no longer unwritten. You can pretty much bet that there are a fair few incarnations of these written down in lots of places – and this is a good thing. I wish that had been the case when I began my venture into getting serious about this business.
So without further ado, I’ll add my musings into the mix and set out my top five unwritten rules of blogging.
Ooh this is such a hot potato and one that has sparked many debates, arguments, attempts at public shaming and in some cases, all out online war! Which by the way is not the way to go…see number two below.
Blogging integrity seems to be very subjective and sadly something that has a “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t” feel to it. List your gifted items as c/o and place two or three sponsored posts a month and you’re a sell out. Don’t declare and you’re deceiving your readers. Well, you kind of are actually!
I’m not telling you what you should do but I’ll tell you what I do based on my understanding of what is required. I have a page here that tells you or any brand who wants to work with me pretty much what they need to know. I also have a comprehensive media kit with advertising and gifting polices that I send on request. Hhmm…media kits. There goes that whole other post thing again!
I declare all gifts. I state I use affiliate links on the blog. I declare ALL sponsored posts and have turned down brands who’ve asked me not to declare. Most importantly I only ever promote products or brands that are relevant and that I or my readers would love. That’s why I turned down a free lawnmower…possibly to the annoyance of Mr OS but he got over it.
I also ignore occasional mutterings from those who bleat on about gifts/being paid to write posts etc. Get over it – it’s what I do for my job. A job I built all by myself and have ploughed blood, sweat, tears and years into. So you do your thing and I’ll just chair dance and shake it off along with Taylor…
Support Your Fellow Bloggers
For the most part this happens and it happens beautifully. I love the community attached to blogging and have met so many people who are now my friends both in and outside of the blog. A lovely and unexpected bonus.
I’ve also witnessed a little blog trampling here and there along the way and trust me, it ain’t pretty. Jealousy can do funny things to people but I’m a firm believer in you’ll get yours.
As in, so you didn’t get invited to that event or to take part in this campaign, but don’t worry, there’ll be another one along in just a minute if you’re the right match! Celebrate each others achievements and be supportive. It gives you far less wrinkles in the long run. And you thought you were just getting blogging tips here…
Compare? Don’t go there!
“Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy” – Theodore Roosevelt and a gazillion Pinterest boards weren’t wrong. Don’t compare your blog to others, just don’t!
A blog is or should be an individual thing and besides that, we’re all at different stages of the journey. Be inspired by other blogs – without that dose of fellow blogger inspiration I would be thoroughly de-motivated. But leave it there and concentrate on what you and your blog can bring to the table instead. The blogging world is your lobster. Or your oyster. Actually it’s my lobster – we’ve mated for life.
Don’t play the imitation game
Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to blogging. Both myself and fellow bloggers have had incidences of having content and even elements of blog design pretty much replicated and passed off as the replicator’s own without so much as a doff of the, no doubt stylish, hat. I don’t think flattery was the F word that first popped into my mind if I’m honest!
By all means take inspiration from a great post and spin it your way, crediting the inspired soul who spent hours creating it. They’ll love you for it. I certainly will anyway.
Be a perfectionist
I sometimes berate my inner control freak for this. What I think will be a quick win post ends up taking hours because it’s just not right. Or I haven’t read through it enough times. Or I don’t have enough decent shots to use.
But I’m learning all the time that the quality of imagery, the basics and also the tone in which you choose to address your audience is everything. Check, check and treble check that post for grammar and spelling. Take 10 Instagram snaps to get The One. Take 250 outfit post shots in one shoot to get 10 great ones! Question ALL the time whether a post can be more useful to the reader.
That said, I do all these things and still get it wrong, miss a typo or end up with 240 out of 250 shots where my facial expression as Mr OS succinctly puts it is “Gopping”. Like I said, still learning!
Phew…this was definitely not one of those quick win posts so if you spot any spelling mistakes, drop me a comment and watch me cry quietly in the corner. But I’d also love to know if you have one to add to these unwritten rules of blogging!
UPDATE NOTE: If you’re thinking of starting a blog, click here to download my freebie guide with some practical tips for getting started!
recommend reading and resources
Four Business & Creativity Lessons We Can Learn From Alain De Botton – Jenny Purr. All good – especially number three. I’m embarrassed about so much of my older content despite my last perfectionist point! Evolving is everything!
Bloggers Who Don’t Disclose Are Giving Us All A Bad Name – Forever Amber. I completely share Amber’s frustrations about being tarred with the same brush!
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing – IFB. I told you these guys were good – bookmark ’em!