If you’re looking for tips on how to make your blogging millions then you are in the wrong place. If you are looking for a few tips on blogging and making the transition to writing beyond your blog, then put the kettle on and pull up a chair. There was a time not so long ago that I would wonder how people did things. How they saw blogging, writing, pitching and the like. How they motivated themselves to put out their thoughts and opinions week in, week out. The majority of the blogging books, articles and online advice didn’t hit home with me. It was a little contrived and not I felt, completely honest. So I started to ask. Simple really. I’d email, tweet and ask in person, to gleen information from people I respected and whose work I enjoyed. I’m now in a place where I get these same questions from friends and strangers alike, so thought I may as well post some of those nuggets that have helped me here.
Good blogging is not about how much free stuff you can get. I’ll put this one out first of all. I’ve heard too many stories from bloggers, brewers, bar owners, PR’s and the like. Ultimately you will have no credibility and in some cases be a laughing stock. You may be happy to be known as someone who would go to the opening of a paper bag. In effect you are a blagger not a blogger.
Accepting freebies is a finely drawn line. It’s normal and right to accept samples, but when the samples or hospitality is grossly over the top then it’s the slippery slope to being a PR puppet.
Find your style, develop it and be proud. Don’t be afraid to speak as yourself.
Lean writing wins every time. A flabby, flowery piece may display your fulgurant vobaculary (well done) but measured, lean language is ultimately more impressive. Left to run wild, I’ll wax lyrical for 1000 words when it should be 500. I first thought I had to write in a literary style, over time I found my style and you will too.
Ask. My above point, but worth repeating. Approach writers or others you admire for advice. Everyone likes a little flattery and love to impart their wisdom. Good people like to do good things.
Be brazen and take a chance. Think about where your ceiling is in terms of who you think would publish you and break the ceiling. We often underestimate ourselves.
Pitches should be short, snappy and to the point. Some books and online articles will tell you that a pitch needs to be detailed and a page of A4. It is i’ve found: bullshit. Most editors don’t have the time or the inclination to be reading it. they want it spelt out in a couple of lines. If you can’t distill your idea then rethink it.
If they’ve not said no, you may still get a yes. If an editor says i’m not sure it’s quite right, refine it. If they say i’m not sure we’ve got space right now, tell them you’ll get back in contact in a month or two. If you don’t hear back from them, respectfully chase the buggers… It’s a simple piece of advice that I’d credit to Zak Avery at last years European Beer Bloggers Conference. It’s served me very well.
People will say no, people will ignore you, some will be brutally honest… suck it up and carry on regardless, you’ll make it in the end. There’s a myriad of reasons why you aren’t right for a publication. Don’t take it to heart. Don’t blame the publication. Step back, re-read your pitch and the rejection and you should get some insight into where you are going wrong.
What’s the hook? I was asked this a lot when first pitching. Simply saying I went here, did this, drank this, ate that is not a hook. There has to be relevance, topicality, originality. if it’s been done to death don’t attempt CPR.
I’m sure there’s more that will come to me so I may post further points. If you’ve got tips, please share in the comments below.