blogging advice

  • Writing around the Web

    It’s a lazy, sunny Sunday here in New Zealand. My husband and I have just purchased a 4 acre lifestyle block – eeee! – and it is sucking away every moment of free time we have right now. It’s wonderful to be spending so much time outside, doing physical labour, feeling the satisfaction of dirt under your nails and a sun on your arms. I haven’t had such restful sleep in years! We have a lot of work ahead of us before we can even begin to build our dream home, but we’re excited about building our future in this place.

    Since it’s a lazy Sunday, and you might be spending the day thinking about your business and catching up on your Internet reading, I thought I’d link you up to some of my most recent articles for writers and small businesses around the web:

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  • The Life (and grisly, blood-splattered Death) of a Ghost Blogger

    Ghost-blogging (or staff blogging, outsourcing or freelance blogging) has been a huge part of my income for at least three years now, ever since my other blogs have gained enough traction that I’m able to show people I have what it takes to produce viral/high traffic posts. Personally, I like the term ghost blogging, because I’m a horror movie nut, but you don’t have to call it that. Since I often get asked by other writers and business owners about the opportunities for ghost blogging, I thought I’d do a little guide for anyone who wanted to either hire a ghost blogger or find this kind of work for themselves.

    What Is Ghost Blogging?

    Basically, a ghost blogger writes blogs for a company or individual other than themselves. Usually this is because the client wants a blog but is either not a writer themselves, or has no time or energy left to maintain a blog. The ghost blogger takes some of the pressure off by writing and uploading articles, and in many cases managing the content of the blog itself.

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  • It’s Raining Chickens, and Rethinking Your Regular Blog Schedule

    For years I’ve been an advocate of a regular posting schedule for your blog. I reckon if you set a goal to write a post every day, or every week, and you work hard to stick with it, you become a better blogger. Because you’re forcing yourself to practice everyday – in the same way a guitarist noodles away every night no matter how shite his day at work was or how much he’d rather finish that George R. R. Martin book – you’re going to get better. Right?

    Not necessarily. Sometimes you just get pissed off.

    Sometimes you don’t have anything to write about. Sometimes you’re terrified of facing that blank page again. Sometimes you think, “Goddammit, if I have to write ANOTHER word about death metal/weddings/cat pictures/personal finances/zombies/tofu recipes/chicken coops today, I am going to stick that chicken coop so far up the universe’s backside it will be raining chickens in Russia.”

    How many blogs do you actually read? I mean, really read? Not just add to your reader, skim the titles and think “oh, that sounds mildly interesting, I’ll come back to that”, and never do. How many writers are so awesome they create something new every day or every week that you have to devour, word by glorious word? How many?

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  • On writing, shyness and never giving up: Epic Interrogation with Ali Luke

    When I was starting out on my mission to conquer the Internet world via Grymm & Epic, Ali of Aliventures was one of the first people to support this project. That’s how I first found her site and I’ve been learning and loving it ever since.

    Ali is a lovely, kind and easy-going writer who started off making a full-time income writing paid blogs for sites like Daily Writing Tips. She now coaches writers, writes and sells ebooks on writing (including the awesome Bloggers’ Guide to Freelancing), creates amazing writing e-courses, and is about to self-publish her first novel about what happens when the world of Geekdom becomes very, very real.

    General

    Firstly, we just want to know who you are, and what you do. Can you share your journey from mini-Ali to Aliventures?

    Sure! As a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I worked on a really bad sci-fi novel in my mid-teens, holing up in the school library in my lunch-hours. (I wasn’t the most sociable of kids…)

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  • How to blog about your Art and wow people’s clothes off

    Hypothetically, of course. Anything else might get me into trouble.

    In my ebook, the Grymm & Epic Guide to Blogging, I talk a lot about figuring out what to blog about. A successful blog strikes a balance between writing about what interests you, and writing that helps you find and build an audience – the right audience. The audience that will go on to buy your art. And sometimes, that audience isn’t whom you’d expect.

    A lot of artists get stuck in the habit of writing about the business of selling art. Often, they’ll get quite in-depth, writing epic 2000 word posts about their successes and failures at craft fairs, etc. These posts will be extremely useful for other artists, and they’re profoundly interesting for the artist writing them, because they offer the chance to put thoughts about business down in a cohesive way and analyse what is and isn’t working. But whenever I see an artist with a blog that’s all about running an art business, I wonder if the artist knows whom their audience really is.

    Who wants to read a blog about how to run an art business? People who want to become full-time artists, of course. And yes, many people who are full-time artists want to support other artists and love to buy art, but they are a small slab of an infinitely larger pie.

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  • The Rise of the Personality Brand (and what it means for your creative business)

    [dropcap]L[/dropcap]a Carmina says it best: ” I love every aspect of my work; it feels like play, so I don’t mind the long hours … For example, Sebastiano and I are going to Hong Kong, where we’ll be having “fun” at a Macau hotel-resort opening, cute cooking lessons, and an art fair. But the trip and apartment are sponsored, and these activities are material for paid AOL Travel articles, my blog, and other projects.”

    If I could be so bold (what? Me? Bold?) I’d say personality branding is probably the biggest marketing innovation brought on by the internet – and, in particular, Web 2.0. Many bloggers have built full-time businesses by embracing the concept of personality branding.

    So what is personality branding? Basically, it’s creating a caricature of yourself that’s saleable. This means, you put yourself “out there” as a particular type of person, you attract readers/viewers/customers who WANT to be the same type of person, and you sell them things that will help them become that type of person. They might be things you’ve made yourself, or they might be things from companies who see

    La Carmina, this week’s Epic Interrogation victim, is one of the best examples of personality branding I’ve ever seen. The La Carmina we see through her blog and her other projects is outgoing, fun, quirky, upbeat, stylish, and an advocate for alternative subcultures the world over. She sells herself and her lifestyle through her TV work, collaborations with companies and her books. But what she’s really selling is her lifestyle (and personal style). Thats why she can make money with adverts on her site.

    The real-life La Carmina is much more complex. She probably has grumpy days, and walks around the house in her pyjamas, and yells when her boyfriend eats all the peanut butter. She’s probably interested in things that have nothing to do with gothic subculture or Japan.

    But you won’t see her writing about any of these things. Why? Because she knows her blog isn’t a personal diary – its business, and insanely fun business, at that. But even though her readers probably don’t realise it, the La Carmina they see on the blog has been filtered with a selective eye. What works with her personal brand is put up – what doesn’t work, is kept to herself. We see the cumulative effect of all her efforts, and we fall in love.

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  • Gothic lolita, cute food and a famous kitty: Epic Interrogation: La Carmina – gothic, alt fashion and travel blogger extraordinaire

    One of the best things about the Epic Interrogations series is that I get to interview some of my idols. One of the ladies I particularly admire is La Carmina – an alternative film, fashion and pop culture journalist, TV host, and author of three books. La Carmina has been profiling lolita, gothic, jrock and visual kei subcultures on her blog since 2007, and she’s built herself an incredible online presence – she writes for AOL travel, provides trend consulting, and runs her own coolhunting company, La Carmina and the Pirates.

    If your company name includes the word “pirates”, you’re OK by me.

    I first came across La Carmina through her column on the Lip Service webzine, and I love her laid-back, cheery approach to alternative subculture. If your mother ever tells you there’s no such thing as a happy goth, you’ve just got to show her La Carmina’s site. This girl is quite awesome, and gorgeous too. I’m stoked to be talking to La Carmina about making money being creative, gothy and cute, and how an ex-law student with no media connections made it into TV, and her famous kitty.

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  • Holy Shit, Guys, I’m on Problogger!

    [dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou got a blog – it’s awesome. You’ve been writing and loving it. But one day you wake up … and it’s not so much fun anymore. You think “Eh, it’s just the Monday blues, or the Tuesday terror, or the Wednesday willies. I’ll be fine tomorrow.” But you’re not fine. In fact, strange boils […]

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  • The Big Bad Blogging Wolf

    Once upon a time, a little blogging girl was working away on her little blog empire. She was typing at her little desk, eating sausage rolls and smiling and writing things that changed people’s lives, when suddenly, there was a knock on the door. “Who’s there?” asked the little blogging girl, peering through the peephole. […]

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  • Building a Blog Following with Clout and Style

    [dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you run any kind of business online, you’re probably attempting to capitalize on the aweosmeness that is blogging. And why not? It’s pretty cool having a loyal following of readers who eagerly await the next update from your life, and constantly send you cool emails filled with interesting facts. But if you’ve just set up your blog, you’re probably wondering how to bring people to it.

    The truth is, if you want to give blogging a real shot, you need to dedicate a YEAR of your life to getting it started. That’s 12 months to write tons of content, find readers, meet other bloggers, and get a real community spirit going. After a year, you should be able to take a step back and look at your blog and say “yeah, I’ve got the hang of this blogging thing.” You can’t simply spam a few sites with your URL and expect to see an instant spike in traffic.

    I know. Odin save me I know. I have received very few “lucky breaks” in my blogging career. I’m under the radar of my A-listers. I’ve never had a link that tripled my traffic overnight. I’ve worked my ass off for every single reader. This shit is hard work, yo.

    So, if you’re blogging away in your little bloggy world, how do you get people to pay attention?

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