Can you believe we’re near the end of the year already?! My October Blogging Month has all been about experimentation and putting daily schedules in place, so I've been kept busy.
For example, I’ve been uploading daily stories on Instagram and have seen a leap in engagement – and it has been great chatting with new followers (and old ones of course).
The Insta Stories (when I can keep them up) go as follows: Monday is Monday Motivation and I’ll be delivering some sort of life hack, ‘cos let’s face it…we can all do with a little motivation on Mondays.
Tuesday is what’s new on the blog. Wednesday is #WednesdayWisdom and I’ll be delivering my top tips to help run your home that little bit better (or a travel tip) – or both!
Thursday and it’s what’s new on the blog again. Friday is #FridayFun where anything goes – from room tours and favourite products to family stuff and relaxing!
Saturday is newsletter highlights & great deals – sign up and you’ll receive my FREE guide 22 Top Travel Tips From A Travel Editor! And I sometimes also showcase my latest YouTube video (I'm uploading them weekly at the mo!) And Sunday….well, Sunday is the day of rest!
I’ve been keeping it up for a while now and saving the best Insta stories in my highlights, so do pop over to have a look and catch up on what I’ve been up to.
Oh, and thanks to those who voted on my Insta stories about me leaving my full time job – I received 100% positivity and encouragement, which was amazing.
It’s been strange, but since giving up my job to blog full time, I am taking my blog much more seriously.
It actually feels great to know my worth; when companies contact me with a collaboration offer and a budget of £50, I tell them I can’t accept anything lower than my starting rate (quadruple that amount), because I now rely on my blog as my source of income. Plus of course the fact that it’s an established blog of three years with a DA approaching 40.
Nevertheless, the ridiculous amounts I’m offered to produce content keep coming. In fact, just this morning I was offered $20 for a blog post. Do most bloggers face this issue or am I one of few?
In terms of collaborations, they’ve taken a bit of a back seat for my October blogging month as I’ve been getting my head around the HUGE event that is WTM (World Travel Market) coming up at London's exCel.
I’ve been a busy bee contacting exhibitors to try and arrange meetings ahead of the show (which starts next week – eek!), but my perseverance has paid off and all three days that I’m at the show are back-to-back with over 20 meetings which I’m over the moon about.
At one point, I checked my Google Analytics and saw 33 users on the blog – the most I've ever had in one go, so the companies were clearly checking me out!
I also applied for the ‘WTM Digital Influencers Speed Networking session’ where exhibitors have the chance to meet 100 top travel bloggers, so I need to update my media pack before the show.
World Travel Market only comes round once a year and is the largest travel show in the UK. I’ve been attending WTM for the last 18 years, which makes me sound so old, but as a relatively new influencer, I’d be a fool to miss it and the opportunity it presents to make great connections.
If you write about travel and haven’t been to WTM, I wrote a blog post on the opportunity it presents – and why you need to go!
Out and about
My October blogging month also consisted of a few outings. Firstly, I was invited to Canoe’s SS19 showcase in London, which I thoroughly enjoyed and posted on Insta stories about my day’s adventures.
And over half term I was invited to Hampton Court Palace with the family to experience Beast Quest – an immersive family experience that saw us pitted against a host of magical beasts by completing a variety of tasks. It was both entertaining and educational and the kids loved it.
As it was October half-term (and with VIP keen to get away), we opted for a three-day staycation to the beautiful city of York. The tourist board kindly helped us out with the visit and we were able to experience the fabulous attractions, activities and experiences, which I’ll be writing about soon.
The main picture for this blog post was actually taken on the train back from York to Kings Cross. I had to hotspot to my iPhone to get my emails though, as the Wi-Fi on the train was shocking!
Who I met
I had been meaning to hook up with Kerry from Kerry Life & Loves for a little while. If you don’t know Kerry – go check her out. Her blog posts are honest, refreshing and down to earth.
And that’s what I love about Kerry – she doesn’t try to be something she’s not. She does things her own way and it’s all very relatable. What you see is what you get – my kinda person.
Take her Instagram feed for example. You’ll see Kerry post on all sorts of situations – sometimes in not so glamorous poses such as falling over, and her Insta stories (especially Train Station Tales and Morning Minger) are bloody hilarious!
This is REAL LIFE people, not someone who’s trying to portray the life of someone living inside a glossy mag. The sooner we all pretend to not be “the perfect person with the perfect life on Instagram”, the sooner we can start appreciating the happy moments in our life. And when I say that, I’d love nothing more than to see big smiles on Insta instead of mean and moody looks!
Anyway, I digress. Kerry and I met up yesterday at The Spirit Of Christmas Show at Olympia. It was a great show and I'm hoping that some great contacts will be made in the coming weeks for both of us.
But I definitely need to arrange a spot of retail therapy at my favourite shops (Lakeside Retail Park in Essex) with her in the run up to Christmas. They have all of my favourite shops there – Matalan, Dunelm, The Range, B&M, George At Home, TK Maxx….the list goes on…
In the charts
For my October blogging month, I’m on the rise in the HIBS chart, but with charts, things are always up and down, so I’m not paying too much attention. Next month I’ll have probably dropped again.
What I am pleased about though is that my DA has remained at 38, so my goal for the New Year is to reach the magical 40. And you know what? When I do (notice I say ‘when' not ‘if'), I'm going out to celebrate. Any excuse to let my hair down when I count doing the weekly shop as part of my social life.
Guest Posts & Opportunities
Not much going on for my October blogging month, except Foray Motor Group put together an article on Ideas for keeping the kids entertained on a long drive and quoted my post – ‘How To Survive A Long Car Journey With Kids’.
There are some great ideas and inspiration that you can try yourself if you find it unbearable to be in a confined space with your kids when they argue (I'm sure it's not just me!).
The lack of collaborations for October was an epic fail in itself, but I can’t see how I would have got all the other things achieved if I had decided to write a few sponsored posts.
It’s not through lack of being approached, but I’m conscious of staying true to my blog’s theme. There’s no point in posting on gambling sites when I’m not a gambler for example. Integrity is everything.
Having said that, I agreed to a couple of review collaborations that are true to the theme of my blog, so I’m looking forward to getting them written up in due course.
My vlogging channel
I uploaded 5 videos this month, achieving my target of uploading a video every week. Yipeeeeeee!
Here’s what I managed:
- Bargain Hunting: What’s In Store At B&M?
- Halloween Edit: What’s In Store At Lidl?
- Sainsbury’s Half Price Toy Sale (the bargains I picked up)
- Sell Clothes For Cash (how to make money from bulk selling)
- Last Minute Dash for a Poundland Halloween Haul
- PLUS…A bonus video right at the end of last month: A Week In The Life Of….ME!, which was one of my favourite videos to put together, but also one of the trickiest to edit.
Trouble is, I’ve still got at least 20 videos sat on my phone waiting to be edited and uploaded. The phrase ‘time poor’ springs to mind!
If there’s one thing I learned this month is that you can’t rely on blog sponsorship for content alone – you have to have more strings to your bow in terms of earning money.
The second thing is – you can’t wait for brands to find you – you have to find them! So that means putting yourself out there, explaining what you can do and how working with them can be mutually beneficial.
I removed most of my affiliate links from social media this month as I have been repeating them far too often and the whole posting schedule needs a bit of an overhaul if I'm honest.
The problem being is that I haven’t quite managed to work it back into my schedule, so the only money made was for a solo Top Cashback recommendation – for the grand total of £1.43.
I also pared-down on the freelancing so that I could focus most of my efforts on securing meetings at WTM and sticking to my new schedule. Maybe, just maybe I’ve overdone the schedule and need to adjust it slightly to lower my expectations, but I do need to make room for affiliate marketing if I want to start seeing some decent money rolling in.
However, I did up the ante when it came to eBay reselling. Using the everyday items I’ve got at home (that I don’t use) I managed to sell a few items giving me a grand total of £25.
Other income streams in October:
– JustPark £23.28 (I rent my driveway for parking and also use JustPark for when I’m visiting hospitals, town centres, stadiums, airports etc) here’s £5 to get you started!
– Top Cashback: £69.38 – this is how I earn FREE cash for shopping online! Check it out for yourself.
Total amount: £119.09
I was invited to join The International Travel Writers Alliance at the beginning of the month.
The alliance is a professional network of travel writers and it represents journalists who have a ‘genuine and professional ‘ interest in travelling worldwide to write, edit, broadcast or create images. The great news is that journalists can join for free.
The MyBump2Bab app includes a database of thousands of listings and events full of reviews from the MyBump2Baby community, plus a new ‘favourite blogger section’ allows you to read blogs from multiple bloggers all within one app.
There are also features such recipes, reviews on days out, holiday, products and services for all the family and helpful parenting support articles.
October At A Glance:
What was great? Sticking to the schedule I’ve devised and uploading a YouTube video every week.
What wasn’t great? Not yet implementing an affiliate marketing schedule that I can stick to (I’m working on it) and the lack of appropriate sponsored content.
Goals for November: Work on perfecting my schedule (with too much expectation from myself!) and start pitching to companies for the blog!
A Pin For Your Blogging Board