Gift Shop Hub was lucky to speak to UK Lifestyle Blogger, Victoria Sully from Lylia Rose, who was kind enough to give us some top blogging tips. After researching ways to improve her websites visibility for free, she found the same advice kept popping up. Start a blog. Blog. Blog. Blog. Her’s our interview with Victoria…
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Victoria I’m married to Ben and we have two children. Bella is four and Reuben is two. We live on the outskirts of Gloucester in south west England. We bought our first home together three years ago and have been manically doing it up ever since. I’m a full time blogger, stay at home Mum in the day times and I work a part time evening job cleaning.
How did you start out?
I started my blog to originally drive traffic to my online shop www.lyliarose.com/ourshop but loved blogging so much I decided to change it to a lifestyle blog. I never set out to be a blogger, but surprisingly found a new passion!
What do you blog about?
All sorts! It’s a UK lifestyle blog which features anything I’m passionate about as well as topics I find challenging to write about whilst relating them to my lifestyle. My favourite topics are natural beauty, parenting, wholefoods, healthy living and small businesses.
What platform does your blog run on?
It’s actually part on an eccomerce platform by a brilliant company called Create.
How long should a typical blog post be?
I think 500 words is a good length. Long enough to get the point across, but not too long you lose interest.
How can shops/retailers find the correct bloggers to work with?
There are lots of blogger outreach agencies and blogging networks which offer blogging services including finding the right bloggers. On Twitter you can search yourself using hashtags such as #bloggerswanted and #bloggerrequest. Companies such as Ace Media, Bloggers Required, Considerable Influence and Collective Edge, to name a few, can find verified suitable bloggers.
What is the correct way to approach a blogger to collaborate with on a project
I think a friendly personal email is the best way rather than a generic email which is sent to every blogger. I’d send the blogger all the information in an email: budget, topic, whether it’s prewritten or the blogger is to write, word count, deadline, payment terms. This will make it a lot easier and quicker for the blogger to decide if it’s a project for them. I have so many back and forth conversations via email to decipher all this information which can sometimes not result in a match and wastes a lot of time.
What time frame do you work to?
Most of my blog posts are completed within a couple of days, however I usually say 7 days just in case. Life with two young children can be unpredictable. It’s best to find out if there is a deadline upfront and then I’ll stick to this.
Do bloggers prefer to review products or paying for their services?
Both. I offer reviews (paid) and sponsored blog posts too. I used to accept reviews without payment, but when my blog was more of a hobby. Now it’s my profession I will only accept payment. It also takes a lot of hard work and time to blog. One review can take me around two hours of my time to take the photos, write the article, research the product, etc. It’s also taken me four years of 30-50 hour weeks to build a social following, promote my blog, build the website, create content and improve traffic. I don’t think it’s fair when companies, especially large companies, expect access to your tirelessly built up audience for free. It’s also evergreen advertising and links are good for SEO – it’s never just a review.
Do bloggers provide photos?
Yes most bloggers provide photos. Sometimes the company may provide stock images and if it’s not a product the blogger may find a suitable royalty free image.
Do you only review products that you like?
Yes. I won’t review a product if I don’t like it. I’m not someone who likes to have a lot of things or stuff for the sake of it. I’ll only review things I genuinely find useful and like. I’d rather not write a negative review. I will write constructive criticism sometimes or ways I think something can be improved, but I wouldn’t write a bad review on my blog. I’ve not reviewed something before which I was sent and I often turn down review requests because they aren’t items I’m interested in.
What tips do you have for fellow bloggers?
Write about things you are passionate about and enjoy blogging. It shouldn’t be stressful and I see too many bloggers on social media stressing about stats, when to post, what to post about or fitting into a niche. Just write about what comes naturally and have fun.
If you do want to make a career out of blogging don’t underestimate how much hard work it will take! Most people seem to believe blogging is easy, but it takes just as much hard work to make it a success as any other business. I’ve worked 50 hour weeks on my blog around being a mum to two young children and being employed for no pay at all, but I’m passionate about my blog and I’ve managed to turn it into an income. Anything is possible if you devote yourself to it!
How important is social media in promoting your blog?
It’s vital! My main sources of traffic are from Twitter and Facebook (and I don’t even have a Facebook page!) Twitter is my all time favourite platform and brings me the most traffic.
Can recommend any other great Twitter accounts?
There are lots of great Twitter accounts for bloggers to share their blog posts with for a retweet. Some of these are @ukbloggers1 @lovingblogs @femalebloggerRT @wetweetblogs @bloggerbees @lbloggerschat
What are your plans for the future?
I hope I’ll continue blogging and make a slightly better full time income!
What features/articles would you like to see on Gift Shop Hub?
Meet the maker interviews and behind the scenes.