Studying in any capacity is a daunting and difficult task.
You’re taking in countless amounts of information, having to stick to deadlines, often feeling rundown and a little overwhelmed. Perhaps you’re fortunate and know exactly what your career path will be, or perhaps you’re studying without a definite clear path ahead, and choosing to follow a journey in an area that excites you.
I studied theatre studies and had acting and creative writing in my vision from a very young age. After studying for my degree, I graduated without any clear mission of how to break into this big bad world of entertainment.
Soon, the 9 to 5 life was the norm, but it wasn’t quite where I had pictured myself going after years of drama studying.
Although the job was within media, I wasn’t quite using that creative muscle much, and that is when I began to take a peek online to see what else I could be doing. My main goal, was working for myself. I no longer wanted to be tied to a job that was only paying the bills, and the creative and extreme lengths I was going for to work for someone else, was not giving me any job satisfaction. I was keen to become self-employed.
During my college days, I had already started a blog; mostly a place to vent about day-to-day activities, but after careful research, I came to realize that Blogging was soon to be a legitimate job. A creative job; and most importantly, one where you get to set your own rules. Blogging is essentially copywriting, with a little bit of photography thrown in; it’s a way for companies to advertise through you, with links, with reviews; essentially Blogging is marketing.
The other exciting thing about Blogging is that, you can use it as a little side earner alongside your full time job, if you’re content with your job and are just looking for some extra income. It can be done as you study, to help finance your fees or accommodation.
At the beginning of 2015, came the rebirth of my blog, now known officially as The Elegant Life. The key things to note when starting your own Blog are, what is your passion? What do you enjoy writing about? Do you feel you have a niche? Think big; it does not have to be limited.
I started my blog as essentially a lifestyle blog. I would get in touch with companies and ask if they worked with Bloggers, what kind of marketing strategy they had, and sometimes they would work with me on sponsored posts. I reached out to anyone and everyone. Then I began reviewing hotels; if I had stayed somewhere, I would write about it. If I had visited a city, I would write about it. I did not focus solely on travel until mid 2017, however, after many months of figuring out exactly what I wanted, travel came through loud and clear.
Set up your blog firstly on Blogger or WordPress. Brilliant platforms, both different but choose whichever you find easier to navigate. Start writing. Gain content. The more content your blog has, the higher Google will rank you in searches. In essence, find your passion, write some articles, post them, and gain at least six months worth of posts before you begin to pitch.
Pitching & Getting Work
Pitching to companies may sound incredibly intimidating. However, this is really the equivalent to you promoting yourself, like any company would. Once you feel that you’re ready to start contacting companies for sponsored work, be sure that you have all your figures ready. Your readership figures, your social media figures, or better yet, have them all ready and waiting in a little media pack – basically a creative CV that displays all your info about your Blog.
Choose companies relevant to your niche. If you have a food blog, reach out to some food companies, or kitchen equipment companies. If you have a fitness blog, reach out to some sportswear companies, or if you have a beauty blog, look at businesses that sell beauty products. Make lists, and be sure to start emailing smaller businesses.
If you have a small following and a blog receiving 500 hits a month, companies such as Chanel or Saint Laurent are not even going to bother replying. It can be a fickle industry, and sometimes your jobs are dictated by the number of followers you have or the quality of your Instagram photos, but don’t let that deter you.
There are many Bloggers who earn nicely from having a small following. I had my first paid job when I was only receiving around 50 likes on a photo. It’s all about engagement. Send out your email explaining how you’d like to work with them. Then, follow this up in another two weeks if there’s no reply. Remember, business is all about persuasion, confidence and persistence.
Using Social Media
We all usually have a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. Probably all three, however each different platform gives you a chance to engage with a totally new audience. Instagram is another brilliant way to share your blog content, and also any photography you may have from your blog. Instagram is also a brilliant way to find potential business opportunities as most companies have accounts, and you can DM them to ask for opportunities.
Selling yourself is key and selling yourself means, having a keen eye for detail, and a vision of who you are. I have tried desperately to use my love of luxury hotels and a luxury lifestyle to shape my social media. Selling yourself also means a degree of consistency, whether it be logos, colour schemes, photo schemes, or online presence. Posting more regularly proves to be beneficial, it drives more traffic to you quickly, and engaging with other Blogger groups and Bloggers helps.
Take the time to look at what your competitors are doing, who they are working with, and always make sure to engage with them; as making friends in the Blogging world is very easy. Usually, people are happy to help, they are glad to find others with likeminded thoughts, in a world where Blogging is still a bit of an unknown industry.
Business Mind & Earning
As with any business, the boring admin bits must also be dealt with. When you’re starting up in business, you must register with HMRC, to inform them that you’re now a sole trader. They’ll get in touch with you either by email or letter when they need information. Keep a close eye on your earnings, keep a table if possible, which makes life easier when you come to relaying all your information in your tax return. Bear in mind, that your wage will not be taxable unless you’re earning £10,000 a year, and the likelihood is that in that first year, you probably won’t be hitting that.
You’ll still need to inform them of earnings, but if they want anything from you, they will be sure to let you know. Business is an exciting prospect, for people leaving work, in work, or still studying.
As a student, you have the freedom in a sense, to explore your creativity and explore yourself. It’s a time in your life where you’re learning, and whether you want to Blog for money, or Blog for a little bit of sanity through those tough exam months, it is there for all, and it’s a growing industry, that is going to continue to blossom. Don’t fear the thought of starting something new, embrace it!
Guest Post By Jennifer Durrans