It’s one of those things that lots of bloggers want to know, especially new ones. I think, before I go into this post, that it’s prudent to mention that not every opportunity platform is right for every blogger. I think it’s also worth mentioning that brand spanking new bloggers should not ‘expect’ payment or items for review straight away, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t ask or pitch. Blogging is an absolute minefield and it’s also a market that, right now, is extremely competitive in terms of applying for opportunities and so you’ve got to have something to offer and a blog that proves you can review an item and write effective and engaging content.
You see, if you haven’t already noticed, there are thousands of us. Tens of thousands of us and a brand will be looking to work with that one blogger who fits their campaign the best, either that or they only want or need a handful. So if you’re wondering where to get started so these opportunities are landing in your inbox here’s how to get started.
Write Your Own Content And You’ll Be Found
I think that’s a pretty blunt thing to say but if you have nothing on your blog except for a single post saying how you’re now going to start a blog it doesn’t look particularly appealing. Start by reviewing items you’ve already got around the home. If you’re a parenting blogger review some of the more expensive purchases you’ve had to make, if you’re a beauty blogger why not review that skincare product you bought last month and if you’re a technology blogger then review technology around your home and so on. Brands and companies like to see that you can write good content so if you think something deserves some space on your blog, write about it! The more content you have, the more you’re able to showcase what you can do and what you can offer.
When I first started my blog I went on other blogs and found some of their first ever posts to see what kind of content they were writing to see if I could draw any inspiration for content of my own. I also had spider diagrams as well as notebooks that I’d carry around with me to make sure I wrote down ideas as soon as they came into my head – trust me they’re so easily forgotten.
Once you’ve got a bit of a rhythm going you’ll settle into your own format and have your own style of writing but as long as you’ve got consistent and good content going out on your blog, it will grow and brands will start to notice you. It’s definitely not an easy path to get started on but once you’re in the swing of things it’s quite addictive.
Sign Yourself Up To Platforms That Offer Blogging Opportunities
There are so many places you can sign up to where you’ll be considered for opportunities and here are just a few I use;
Bloggers Required is basically a free service for bloggers and it provides the initial connection between small businesses, agencies, brands and start-ups who are looking for support with blogger outreach.
The opportunities (or “assignments”) on here aren’t that frequent – you can go days without having one new opportunity added, and then you’ll have a day when three roll in all at once. You’ll have to apply for each opportunity individually and provide a pitch type message to say why you’d be the right blogger for them to work with; you don’t have to sign up to be able to apply for the opportunities, but if you do some of your profile is already filled out when it comes to applying for the assignment.
More often than not they’re not paid opportunities, but it never hurts to ask the question if they do email you, and you’ll be able to see this in the description of the overall job in the ‘how might you compensate the blogger?’ field. There are two plans you can sign up to; one is free, the other is not. I’ve only ever used the free version!
The Blogger Programme is about enabling brands and bloggers to connect with each other, as all of these platforms are really. Typically a brand will post an ‘advert’ with what they’re offering, a short description of what they want in return and their social media/follower requirements. You are able to message the brand to say why you think you’d be the perfect candidate if you fit their requirements but I can honestly say I’ve rarely had a reply from any of them. Sometimes there will be quite a gap between posted opportunities, but I usually check in daily to see if anything new has come up.
It’s worth noting that any email addresses you send in the body of the message come out as ‘xxxxx’s and so my advice is to split it up if you’d prefer them to contact you directly. Example: raisingtherings (at) gmail (dot) com usually works and I’ve had a few more replies that way, rather than through the platform.
You do always get the occasional email newsletter with highlighted opportunities, but these usually tend to be for those with huge amounts of followers. Having said all of that, I’ve had a couple of really good opps from The Blogger Programme so it’s always worth applying.
You do need to sign up and add as many of your social media platforms as you can. You can follow other bloggers, brand and publishers although I’ve not really done this as I don’t want it to become a social platform I have to ‘focus’ on, and would prefer to keep it as an opportunity platform.
Another brand and blogger networking platform where, after signing up, you’ll be able to see live assignments that you can apply for. There’s typically a little bio about the brand, an assignment description and a preferred timescale for the work to be completed in.
In your application, it’s best to keep it to a few lines. I actually spoke with Type the Hype at Blog On in September and they specifically stated it doesn’t have to be a full length CV, literally just a few lines about you and why you fit the job description. I guess that this is then passed on to the client who then either shortlists you, or declines you.
Once you’ve been shortlisted then you’ll either be accepted for a campaign, or declined – either way they let you know! Their opportunities are pretty random though – they’re seldom updated so it’s not a platform you can totally rely on in terms of regular work or campaigns to apply for. However, as with The Blogger Programme, I’ve had some really good opps through Type The Hype, and the contacts are super friendly too!
BritMums wants to connect bloggers like us to brands. Britmums Professional is a separate membership area within their social network and they match brands with bloggers on lots of different projects. This could be in the form of reviews, brand ambassadorships, competitions, giveaways, events and speaking and consulting opportunities. You do have to sign up and you absolutely must keep your numbers up to date here as they aren’t automatically pulled through like some of the other above networks, it’s a manual job.
Usually an email is sent through when an opportunity arises and there are a set number of spots – the first 100 people who apply, for example, will get sent something to do with the campaign. Anyone who applies after that is usually just left with a post to write, although this is totally optional. Most of the BritMums campaigns that I’ve seen aren’t paid, they’re usually an entry into a competition. In order to be considered for opportunities you’ll also need to display a badge on your blog.
Britmums also run a conference ever year called BML. The format recently changed but I really loved the social aspect of this conference. It’s quite a big event so if you’re a new blogger and not good with crowds, I’d say it probably wasn’t for you – but otherwise it had some really useful sessions.
Bringing together the best bloggers around is what Mumsnet claim to do. It’s definitely worth signing up, although opportunities are quite sparse. Once you’re all linked up your posts are, usually, automatically added on to their roll – you can make ‘Mumsnet front page’ and their ‘blog of the day’ and it’s always worth tagging them in a post if you think it’s something they’d like their audience to see.
They do hold a blogging conference every year called BlogFest. Personally, I’ve only been once and found that it wasn’t for me but it benefitted a lot of others, it seemed to have quite a lot of mixed reviews compared to the year before where everyone was raving about it.
A blogger network that wants to promote and build your blog, Joe Blogs is a community of passionate bloggers from across the UK. All you need to do is sign up and then you tend to get weekly emails with any opportunities that may arise from the network – occasionally you may get a direct email. It’s not really a platform where you can go and see opportunities that are available but they are pretty good at keeping you up to date with what they’ve got in their newsletter.
Buzzoole is an international IEO (Influence Engine Optimisation) platform where they help brands to optimise their online presence. This is done by connecting those brands with people like you and I.
You are unable to apply for campaigns, they will contact you if you have been chosen. All you have to do is connect all your social media accounts and they’ll do the rest for you, and keep your numbers up to date (occasionally you may have to reconnect your accounts, so check in every now and again). When you’re chosen for a campaign you will be shown a brief, how many Buzzoole credits you’ll get, and a deadline which you will have to accept.
Buzzoole credits, when you have enough, can be converted into Amazon vouchers – no cash alternative – just make sure you select the UK store, not the Italian one.
One that I’ve very recently come across actually. I’ve not had any opportunities from it yet, but have applied for a couple here and there. They require very basic profile information and you have the option to link your social media accounts as well as Google Analytics. I’ve heard good things about this platform so far and I really hope they live up to the hype!
I am in the Tots100 chart (see badge on the right) which is an index of UK parent blogs. Members of Tots100 don’t just write about parenting – we cover fashion, interiors, politics, books, culture, food and much more! But all the blogs in Tots100 are written by parents and are in whole or in part about family.
However, there are also three other charts you can join if you wish to be ranked and they fit your niche a bit better. This may lead to opportunities, or it may not! Other charts include HIBS (home and interiors), FOODIES (er.. for food bloggers obviously) and TRIPS (travel bloggers). Watch out though – don’t get too caught up on your ranking, it’s not the be all and end all and my position in the charts hasn’t given me an increase or decrease in the work and opportunities I’ve been offered through the charts.
The Power Of ‘The Google’
If you’re looking for a specific product to review but you don’t know who runs the PR for the company the best thing you can do is ask Google. Type in ‘X Product, press release’ which may give you the name of the PR company or, if it’s feeling really helpful, an actual email address to the person assigned to that product’s promotion. You ‘could’ ask a fellow blogger if they have contact details for a PR company but it’s mostly frowned upon as the PR won’t be expecting your email and it may reflect badly on the blogger providing the details. A better way to do it is to ask if anyone has a contact, but ask if they could pass on your email address and then, if the PR is interested in working with you, they will email you.
Twitter Blogging Opportunities
I tend to follow a lot of PR companies on Twitter too; look in the ‘suggested’ area, look out for them on the hashtags (a bit about that below), or you’ll see a fellow blogger interacting with them or replying to a call out. They usually have a website or contact details in their profile so just email them or contact them and ask to be put on their outreach lists. If they don’t know about you, they can’t contact you so make yourself known! I do this with most PR companies so that if they ever take on a new client, or have a campaign coming up that might suit, they have my contact details on file.
Hashtags on Twitter can be handy, but don’t appear desperate! Searching things like #prrequest #bloggerswanted #bloggersrequired #journoswanted #journorequest can throw up some really cool opps. However, they can get pretty popular but even if you don’t get the campaign, they’ve got your details!
If you feel like you’re looking for something you can always send out a tweet with one or more of those hashtags which may catch the eye of a PR who has just the thing you’re looking for. But beware.. tweeting and saying ‘I need a holiday, lolzies #prrequest” won’t get you anywhere and people will eye roll you from behind their screens. Try and be specific about what you want and, if you have the characters left over, have a link to your media pack.
Blogging Opportunities Facebook Groups
There are lots of Facebook groups you can join that are dedicated to sharing opportunities. Finding Facebook groups that represent your niche are good ones to be in as people will tend to share opportunities they’ve had but aren’t relevant right now. Usually there’ll be a Google form to fill in so that candidates for campaigns can be filtered easily but, again, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the job – THEY STILL GOT YOUR DETAILS, right?
Check Your Spam For Blogging Opportunities That Have Gotten Lost!
Despite emails being sent to you there always seem to be one or two that go astray, and don’t for a second think that just because an email has come through perfectly fine before that it won’t be filtered. Always keep on top of your junk box because you can find some absolute gems in there!
Other than that it’s about literally just keeping your eyes and ears open at all times. Spotting an opportunity and taking the opportunity to apply for it. Of course, this is by no means an extensive list of places to sign up to, or places to look – there will always be new connectors coming up all the time! If you think I’m missing a trick or a really good place to find blogging opportunities then let me know and I’ll get them added to this list.