Blogging Goals for 2018

I don’t normally write posts like this but as it’s new years day of course, like we all are, I’m feeling reflective. I feel excited to say my blog has stepped up a gear this year in 2017, I had so much more time to work on it being on maternity leave, plus having a baby that loves being photographed is a bonus too! So, as I’m hoping to continue on this roll, it would be good to set some goals to look back on next year and see how I did. One day I wonder if I could make this my career, that would be my ultimate goal and it’s looking more and more possible. This year I took my blog from a hobby to a small business, which makes me feel amazingly proud. I worked on some big campaigns with brands like American Express, Marks & Spencer and Aviva, just to name a few, as well as documenting life becoming a mother and Violet’s progress so far. I know that a lot of bloggers and ‘insta-mums’ have been slammed in 2017 for their participation in sponsored posts, ads and such like this year. I also realise I’m not anywhere near their league but I have included more content like that too this year too in between my personal posts. So, I just wanted to highlight other side of the coin to these posts – as by doing this I have also managed to fund my way through my maternity leave and support my family over the past year. Every post has still been as honest and genuine as before, trust me, I’ve also said NO to a lot of paid posts too, if they don’t fit my blog or I don’t like the product! So i hope when readers see ‘#ad’ on mine or other bloggers posts, they know they are still as down to earth and honest as before but like all people in the world, we have to put food on the table for our little ones (and me, mama gotta eat!), so it’s something to be proud of, rather than a negative.

Anyway, I slightly digress! My blogging goals this year are all with taking my blog to the next level over 2018. I will be returning to work in March but only part time and funding childcare too and oh-my-goodness if you’ve seen the rates of nurseries, you’ll understand why a girl needs to hustle hard this year. It’s going to be a tough year,  returning to work, looking after Violet and blogging, but I’m determined to make it work!

Here are my goals for 2018:

 

    •  Write more personal posts – I started my blog as a journal of my life and its easy to loose track of why I started it in the first place! I want to document all those little moments to create something I’ll look back on over the years and treasure. Look out for my new fortnightly ‘Life is Peachy’ post which will be a big round up of all our news, plus lots more opinions and personal moments.
    • Share more experiences  – I’m always chatting to people on Instagram about parenting topics like weaning, sleep regressions and such like. I’m not an expert but I want to share more of my experiences as hopefully it’ll help new mums, or even if I can’t help, maybe it’ll be something you can relate to. It’s good to talk.
    • Sort my finances – bit of a boring one but I’ve just finished my second tax return and I always leave it until the last minute, then have to cobble everything together right before the deadline. This year I’m going to get on top of everything as we go along, keeping track of my invoices, payments and expenses before the mad January rush. I’m not doing it in a panic again!
    • Grow my Instagram – isn’t this every bloggers goal? I’ll keep plodding on and hoping for the best! I really want to make my insta Stories more creative and vlog-style this year too, so watch out for that.
    • Pinterest – as my largest social media following and the biggest driver of traffic to my blog I really don’t spend enough time on Pinterest. I really need to get back into the habit of using Tailwind and Tailwind tribes. I need to remember to make a pinnable image for all my posts too.
    • Accept I don’t have much time and write on the hop! I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to blogging, I always try to sit down with my laptop in perfect silence, I don’t think in 2018 with a one year old (!!) running about that is going to happen. I’ve got myself a diary, notepad to scribble notes on the run and downloaded an app to turn speech to text. Just gotta get those ideas down there and then if I want to continue at the pace I’m currently at.
    • Make more videos! This goes hand in hand with the one above. I think I get put off making videos as I’m always feeling self conscious, like my hair or make up isn’t perfect or it’s not light enough, etc. This year I’ve just got to grab the camera and get on with it, let’s see what I can come up with!
    • Continue to work on my photography and finally learn to use Lightroom. I edit my photos (poorly) by muddling through the settings, I have no idea what I’m doing I just try and make them look nice. So to be sure I’m not missing a trick I’m going to sit and teach myself (via YouTube I’m sure!) and see how my photography evolves in 2018.

Wow, it looks like it’s going to be a busy year, but I hope my goals are something I can aim for and hopefully make a difference! So, as a final thought for 2017, I just wanted to say I really appreciate everyone who reads my blog, follows me on social media and supports the little world of Fizzy Peaches. It sounds cheesy but none of these goals would be possible without you, so a massive thank you for all your support in 2017, it does mean the world to me and I hope you continue to enjoy our adventures into 2018!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

Pinterest: How to use Tailwind Tribes to skyrocket traffic to your blog!

I don’t normally write ‘blogging tips’ style posts, but I’ve been having so much fun and success with Tailwind recently, I just couldn’t help but want to share my experience. Plus, I have been inundated with tweets and emails asking about how I use Pinterest – so, it seemed the best thing to do was to write a post with all the tips and tricks. I hope you’ll enjoy this slight deviation away from my normal style and you’ll find it useful too! This post is not sponsored by any company, all tips and tricks are based on my personal experience alone. I have however included an affiliate link (which actually gives you a month for free and I just get a tiny discount) so I am not being paid in any shape or form for this post.

Right, onto the good stuff.

Pinterest is now the biggest driver of traffic to my blog, and I owe it down to one little tool – Tailwind.  Tailwind is a Pinterest schedule tool I’ve used for over a year now and is the best thing I’ve ever spent money on for my blog – I couldn’t be without it. I’ve been using it to schedule my pins both day and night (content and repins from others), this keeps my Pinterest account active round the clock. Using this method, I’ve managed to grow my following from around 1,000 – 8700 within a few months and this number continues to grow everyday. Fab! I have also found that scheduling my pins to publish during the night gets lots of traffic from around the world too. However, thats not really the exciting bit. This summer, Tailwind released a new absolutely amazing tool that has sky rocketed my Pinterest traffic THROUGH THE ROOF, so that is what I wanted to talk about today. It’s called Tailwind Tribes. 

I’m going to be slightly brave here, I know as bloggers we don’t normally share pageviews and stats openly, but I don’t think this post would have much impact if I didn’t – so here goes! I’m sure my stats might look small to some, but I’m pretty happy with the results so far 🙂 This month I decided to do a little experiment – the first half of the month, I didn’t use Tailwind/Tailwind tribes, the second half I did – you can see the difference below! The difference is crazy and is by far the biggest increase in traffic in such a short time I’ve ever experienced.

Before/After using Tailwind Tribes – an experiment

A screenshot from my Pinterest Analytics page

 

HOW DOES TAILWIND TRIBES WORK?

Using tailwind tribes is super easy:

  • Using your Tailwind account – you join a ‘tribe‘. This is usually done by invite, although I’ve included a list of a few below to start you off! A tribe allows you to connect to other people and bloggers who are interested in pinning in the same niche as you, so if you love recipes there are food tribes, if you love fashion, join the fashion tribe – you get the picture. There are lots of blogger tribes up and running already too!
  • You then pin your content to your tribe – Share a few of your best pins from your blog to a highly specific group of people who love the same things as you.
  • All of the bloggers and business people in your tribe are LOOKING FOR  YOUR CONTENT. They want quality, beautiful, delicious looking, creative content to fill their own queues. You’ll see the repins start to roll in!
  • Return the favour – don’t just pin and run, make sure you also take a good look at your tribes content and add some of their pins to your Tailwind queue. I usually work on the ratio of 1:5, so every one pin of mine, I’ll share 5 pins. This is super quick to do, just like on the main Pinterest site it’s literally clicking on the pins to save, it really takes just 2 minutes a day.
  • You can see your pins and your reach within your Tribe Dashboard, for example below I’ve already received 72 repins with a reach of 923K using this tribe and so far I’ve only shared 6 of my pins here! If you look around you can find tribes with reaches into the millions.
  • It’s a win/win situation, you get to share your content and have it repinned plus it’s a great way to find new content too.

 

TOP TIPS FOR USING TAILWIND TRIBES

  • Join in with tribes pinning content you LOVE. If you don’t like the theme of the tribe, you won’t want to join in and this really is a two-way street.
  • Go easy on the self-promotion, like I said above, I find the 1:5 rule work’s well! Don’t spam your tribe with hundreds of your pins and then run, if you do this I’m sure they won’t stick around for long.
  • Make sure all the pins you share or repin fit your Pinterest aesthetic and style, don’t pin for the sake of pinning – be selective, you don’t have to pin anything you don’t want to.
  • Join in every day, regularity is key so keep pinning routinely (and shedule public pins alongside your tribes!)
  • Follow the rules of the tribe (you can see in the image above there will usually be a set of simple, but important rules)
  • Add a good description to each pin with fab SEO keywords

TRIBES TO JOIN

(If you’d like your tribe added to this list, tweet me!)

So, thats it! Tailwind tribes is a really simple idea but it’s so effective – the more bloggers we can get involved, the better it will be, so give it a go! Like I said above, it’s not just for Tribes, it’s a complete Pinterest schedule tool as well (which I might do a post on another day!) If you’d like to use my link (of which I get a tiny discount at no cost to you), you’ll get one month for free to give it a go with no charge at all and see if it’s for you – sign up here.

 

Let me know how you get on! 

Pin for later:

BLOGGING: 5 tips to avoid Blogger Stress & Social Media overload

I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels stressed out when it comes to blogging. I started my blog as a fun hobby alongside my full time job, and I never in a million years thought it would take over so much time and energy in my life. I’m so pleased it has but sometimes I just don’t know when to stop. I work all day using a computer and sometimes come home with a fuzzy head and square eyes, only to open my laptop and bash out a blog post because I feel I should write something. I’ve realised a very big life lesson just rececntly – The Internet moves at such a pace, if you try and keep up you will burn out, and thats a promise. When I check my Twitter/Feedly/Pinterest feeds I see hundreds of new blog posts I want to read, not to mention all the Buzzfeed’s, things to Pin and Instagrams popping up. Sometimes it feels like such a mental overload – how do we take all of this in? 

I will never ‘give up’ my social media, my blog is my favourite hobby, part of my life and one of things I’m most proud of. Thats not to mention the amazing blogging community. I’ve met some of my best friends this way! However, surely there must be a way to cut down on that overload/pressure feeling? Blogging and social media is supposed to be fun so when you think it feels like a chore – thats when something needs to be done. 
Here are my top tips to avoid blogger stress and social media overload: 
1. Stop trying to keep up with others
This is my biggest downfall – I’ll admit, sometimes I load up some of my favourite bloggers and realised that they’ve posted 3-4 times since my last post and I instantly feel a pang of guilt that I haven’t put that much time and effort into my blog. This is really silly as some of my favourite bloggers do this as their full time jobs, I could never keep up with that with my current full time job too. We don’t really know what someone else’s situation is, maybe they are a student with loads of free time, or a stay at home Mum, we can’t compare lifestyles to someone else. I know it’s not just me who feels like this about ‘keeping up’ so we really need to cut ourselves some slack and only post when we feel like it! 
2. Only check your email and social media in short bursts during the day
It seems to be an acceptable thing to check our phones for new tweets/emails/Instagram likes/blog comments etc. every five seconds. Quite often I’ll be at dinner with friends and all our phones will be on the table, meaning we pick them up every few minutes totally interrupting the conversation. I know I do it myself, and I wish I didn’t – it’s like an addiction. I’m really working on quitting the habit. I saw an article in the week on my trusted favourite site, Lifehacker that said this constant checking is ruining our ‘flow’, meaning we are only not able to concentrate on the task in hand without flitting in between tasks or checking of emails etc – this lowers our productivity meaning all we really do is procrastinate. Hmmph, thats probably true. Constant checking has also been shown my researchers to be a massive contributor to stress if you constantly live like this. I’ve been trying to leave my phone alone for long periods of time then check everything in one go, allowing 5/10 minutes or so to write replies… I actually prefer this, by the time I look at my phone I have received lots of lovely things to look at and it feels so much more rewarding than being a slave to my phone all the time! 

3. Get organised
When I feel disorganised I immediately start to stress, it feels like I have more to do than I really do and things are just chaotic. I try and keep as organised as possible when it comes to blogging by writing things-to-do lists and keeping records of products that need reviewing. I’ve also started to only accept opportunities that really suit my blog style and will fit into my posts… It’s so easy to just say yes, yes, yes when PR’s get in touch for the first few times, but after nearly 2 years I just limit my ‘yes responses’ for things I really love and feel passionate about writing about. Anyway, getting organised sounds like a good excuse to buy a new beautiful notebook to me! (any excuse!)

4. Organise social media and reading lists 
I was completely overwhelmed by my Twitter feed until I organised it into lists, now I feel a lot calmer being able to pick the list of tweets I want to read. I know it sounds terrible, but if someone is annoying me I have to unfollow them – Twitter is now a calm place for me and drama free (anyone else noticed the amount of drama on there?!). Following this, I’ve now sorted everything in a similar categories – including my blog reading list on Feedly which is in sections like Brighton Bloggers, Beauty Blogs, Lifestyle etc. This totally saves my social media overload and panic when I feel I can’t keep up on the ever moving timelines. 
5. Take a break 
The pressure to keep up can get to us all so sometimes, we just need to switch off and get away. I recently did a blogger challenge to take 24 hours off the Internet and it was a real eye-opener as to the amount of time I was spending in my virtual little world. They also say that not switching off is one of the biggest ways to kill creativity, so in order to have some amazing things to write, you need to do something amazing, experience something wonderful or just rest… (then come back and tell us all about it!)
Have you felt like this before? How do you get away from that awful ‘overloaded’ feeling? 

BLOGGING: 5 top tips on promoting your blog through Pinterest

I haven’t done a ‘blogging tips’ post in ages, however I’ve recently become absolutely addicted  to Pinterest and have seen my blog traffic just explode! I’ve actually had my account for years, however in the short time I’ve been actively using it that my blog traffic has grown drastically, and all of these hits are from Pinterest. Also – who doesn’t want to spend time pinning beautiful pictures, gathering creative, fun ideas and just generally entering into a whole world of loveliness for a few moments. It’s got to be the best social network for that, Twitter and Facebook both get me down with some of the mindless tweets/posts, not to mention drama, so Pinterest is a total escape from that, you can drift off into your own world and Pin to your hearts content – drama free – and promote your blog posts at the same time, it’s actually pretty damn amazing. 
5 Top tips on promoting your blog through Pinterest
With all that in mind, I’ve put a few top tips for using Pinterest to promote your blog. There are lots and lots more, but so far, this is what has worked for me…. 
1. Use Pinable Images –  Chose high quality, eye catching pictures to pin from your blog. Vertical images work best on Pinterest (yes, I know blogs are all mainly landscape, this is my eternal dilemma!). Pin these onto multiple relevant boards, although space them out throughout the day as you don’t want to continually spam your followers with the same image. 
2. Have a Pin-it button – Install a Pin-it button on your blog, this allows your readers to hover over your page and Pin images for you, generating links back to your blog. The easier you make it to share your posts, the more likely readers will. 
3. Join community boards –  Community boards are such a fab way to join up with other bloggers and share posts, ideas and images. Community boards help you to gain extra exposure as you’ll be pinning to completely new audience to your current followers, so it’s a great way to get your pins/blog posts out there and to find new blogs to read too! I have created my ‘Bloggers Unite‘ board which is a place for bloggers to Pin their latest posts. I am looking for bloggers to join and share posts, so please tweet/email/Pinterest message me to join as the more bloggers we get on board, the more successful it’ll be for us all 🙂 

4. Use descriptive titles and add alt-text to images – When you add an image to your blog, make sure to give it a descriptive title and fill in the Alt-text, as when a reader pin’s your image, this will be the text that is brought with it to Pinterest. 
5. Schedule Pins – I am only just getting into this, but you can schedule Pins using tools like Viral Woot. Scheduling pins means your are active throughout the day (even when you might be busy) getting your pins out there at the optimal times to catch your target audience. I’m finding my feet with this one at the moment, but it’s a great idea for me as I work full-time so can set this up to run whilst I’m at work during the day. 
So, thats my tips so far! Happy Pinning! 
Please do share your top tips your have in the comments below and consider joining my board 🙂 

BLOGGING TIPS: How to pitch to a PR, brand or company

There seems to be quite a lot of debate over whether bloggers should contact companies themselves, or wait for companies to come to them. I’ve seen many a blogger chat, twitter debate and talked it over with bloggers at events and everyone seems to have different views. It seems there is no definite right or wrong, you just need to do what feels comfortable to you. Personally, I feel there is no shame in sending an email, a quick hello and an introduction can go a long way. I’m really no expert, but I’m often asked what I do when I contact brands, so I thought I’d share a few tips.
When is it ok to contact brands? 
For me, I think it’s perfectly fine to get in touch with brands, introduce yourself, your blog, tell them about what you do and why you stand out from the crowd. That’s totally fine – there’s a huge, huge amount of bloggers out there so you’ve got to put yourself out there! You never know, you could be the  blogger that fits perfectly to their next campaign. If you wait for companies or brands to come to you, it might take some time! I often send emails to PR’s and brands so they can add me to their press release lists. I also link in with companies such a Total Media Agency or Branded 3 on a regular basis as through these have managed to secure sponsored posts and reviews. There is really no harm in getting in touch as long as you are polite and courteous! 
You might also see websites like Bloggers Required, which post blogger opportunities. In reply to these you need to supply a decent pitch to stand out against the sea of replies they will be receiving. 
When is it NOT ok to contact brands?

In my opinion, it’s totally not cool to contact brands just to ask for samples or to get products. It’s all about building a relationship between blogger and PR. I believe you should take an interest in the brand and build a genuine relationship, so if you are just after the freebies -this will totally shine through. 
I also think it’s important to contact brands that suit your blog, don’t just go for companies because you like the look of the products, they need a reason to want to work with your blog too. 

Right,  so what should your pitch include? 

  • Firstly, your opening lines need to shine! Introduce yourself informally, describe your blog, your niche and what is great about your blog. Remember to include your link at this point!
  • The next step is explaining why you got in touch. Was it because of a campaign you have seen, or did you just want to introduce yourself to the team? Be clear on your intentions and let them know here. 
  • If you are applying for a certain campaign, try to match some features of your blog to the campaign, this will speak volumes as to why your blog would be fabulous for the campaign (i.e -‘ I’ve reviewed similar products to your beautiful coral blusher, such as xxx which have been really popular with my readers’) 
  • Now is a good time to include details about your target audience, are they male/female, how old are they and what are their interests? You could also include stats, but I usually just say that I can provide stats, if they need them. 
  • Make it personal, tell them about what skills you can bring to the table. Do you use a DSLR camera for your photos or write a lot of sponsored posts? Now is the time to show what you can do and what you’ll be bringing them.
  • Include a question! Just like writing a blog post, you need to give them a reason to reply to continue the conversation with you! Think of something to ask, that you genuinely would like to know about them, showing an interest will really help you to stand out. 
  • Close the email in a friendly, informal way and let them know your looking forward to hearing from them! 
Ta da! That’s it – you’ve just written your first pitch, it really wasn’t too scary was it? 
As a first email, it really doesn’t need to be long, just keep it short, sweet and to the point. 
Hopefully this guide will have helped. Like I said before, I am by no means an expert but I’ve found this template has been working for me, so hopefully it will for you too! 
Whats your opinion on contacting brands/companies? Do you have any top tips to add to my list?