How to Get Blogging Jobs: Professionalism
When I decided to make blogging and social media a career for myself, I didn’t realize how tough it would be. Although I was an experienced business owner, having managed an online eBay store for many years and assisting my husband’s traditional media business, I was not prepared for the business side of blogging and working with brands. It was a completely different world.
With eBay, managing my business was somewhat easy. It did take tons of time and labor, but was more or less straightforward – sell the widget, mail the widget, do a little marketing, and repeat. There were no contracts, NDAs, conference calls or reports involved. I rarely even communicated with my customers. So, when I made the decision to start working with brands, I had to quickly learn a new skill set. I failed many times along the way, but I wouldn’t have learned a thing if I hadn’t.
I quickly understood that professionalism was everything. Even if you are unsure or not feeling confident, you must always keep your cool, stay classy and above all, be professional. The tips below may seem basic and obvious, but these are common mistakes I see daily in my line of work with new and seasoned bloggers.
Remember, once you make the decision to work with brands and companies, you have entered into the business realm. Whether you receive product or cash in return for your services, you have officially become a business owner. As a business owner, you will be expected to act professionally, whether you are ready or not.
RESPONDING IN A TIMELY MANNER
Yes, we all receive mountains of email each day, whether we are experienced bloggers or newbies, but it is important to reply to messages, phone calls or any type of important correspondence in a timely manner. If you fail to do so, you risk losing an opportunity, a chance to build a new business relationship or perhaps an invitation to an exclusive event. In my line of work, lack of response is the number one problem and issue I deal with on a regular basis. When this happens, it can taint the relationship and caution companies to avoid you. Your lack of a timely response looks as if you are uninterested, when you may be anything but. In the blogging and social media space, email is the key form of communication, so if you cannot regularly read or reply to messages, you will have a much harder time building business relationships. A typical response should be given within 24-48 hours, and beyond may be fine, but the longer you take the more the opportunity starts slipping through your fingers.
HAVING A MEDIA KIT
I remember the first brand that asked me for a media kit. I replied with, “Yeah, no problem! I’ll have it over in a bit.” Truth was, I didn’t have one at all. I didn’t even know what I was supposed to include in one. So, I immediately conducted research, asked a few questions from bloggers I trusted, then sat down and created one. Now, when I am asked for my media kit I have it ready to go, which saves time for everyone involved. I typically update the stats (or any other information that needs to be edited) before sending over, but that only takes a matter of minutes. Need help creating media kit? I have a post for that. Make one, like today. Not only will your media provide necessary information to a new contact, but it legitimizes your blog which a company will respect.
This is a biggie. Missing a deadline for a blog post, especially if there is a contract involved, can result in a broken relationship and possible loss of future opportunities. Your contacts must trust and rely on you, just like any other business. If an emergency arises and you simply cannot fulfill a deadline, offer a compromise. Communication is key. Do not avoid the contact if you make a mistake. Instead, offer to make the situation right.
WORKING TO IMPRESS
Whether paid or unpaid, product or no product, work to impress your contact. Doing so will put you ahead of the rest (and let’s face it – there are a LOT of bloggers competing in this space) and will raise the quality of content of your blog. (which can lead to potential work from other brands who read your fabulous content) Go one step beyond what is required and you will never disappoint your client, or yourself.
ADMITTING WHEN YOU ARE WRONG
We all screw up. I do almost daily. Even so, as a professional, you must admit when you have made a mistake. Your business contacts will think more of you when you’re honest and transparent. If you miss a deadline for a blog post, fess up and offer to post it immediately. If you forget a conference call, say you forgot and reschedule. As a mom, I know how easy it is to blame my lack of productivity on something relating to my family or life (i.e. the kids are sick, my car is in the shop, etc.), but we have to stick with our commitments if we expect the other side to stick to theirs, especially when cash or product is involved. Again, life is not without flaw, and emergencies and distractions will happen, but that doesn’t necessarily excuse our prior commitments to clients.
RESPECTING YOUR PEERS AND CLIENTS
Even if your traffic is enormous and content is magical, you can be horrible to work with. Or, maybe your personality is completely different with companies than it is with your own peers (i.e. other bloggers). If so, you aren’t fooling anyone. Professionalism must exist with your peers as well as your business contacts. Failure to do so will ultimately backfire, especially when brands turn to your peers for recommendations.
Also, be sensitive when working with direct competitors of established relationships you currently have, even if you are not contractually obligated. Avoiding this scenario creates trust and credibility with your brand, which can then lead to a lasting business relationship. Saying that, some projects may be “one time only” experiences where no commitments are made beyond a blog post or two, but some may last years. Weigh each relationship delicately to decide the future of the relationship, and do not be afraid to ask the client their thoughts as well.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you embarrass yourself or make a huge mistake, learn from it and move on. We all do it! If your heart leads you to this type of work, stick with it and don’t get hung up along the way. Don’t expect too much, too soon, especially when it comes to money. Concentrate on the relationships of this business and the work will come naturally, along with the cash. Work hard, but love the work. If you don’t love the work, you may consider changing careers or keeping blogging as a hobby. There is no right or wrong path to take!
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any tips to add or want to leave feedback, please do so in our comments.