This guest post is by Stuart of averagejoesblog.co.uk.
I don’t write in a niche, and I don’t really write to make loads of money.
The main reason I started writing was to put my own opinion and mark on things that I love. I founded www.averagejoesblog.com many years ago, but it was always just a brain dump—a place where I could be honest, and where if the odd visitor could read something that wasn’t a standard press release, or some old hack (writer) sucking up to a brand, then it was a bonus.
Then, in February 2011 I was approached by one of the biggest brands in the world: Ford. They asked me to cover the launch of a new car. This was one of my first experiences of a rather awesome press trip, and the first interest my blog had attracted from an international brand. The best thing about it? They approached me—I didn’t go to them. That is true for 90% of all the brands I work with (yes I may be a little lazy!).
In the past 18 months I have travelled to Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Switzerland, America, Spain, Belgium, Germany, and of course the pièce de résistance, Queensland, Australia with Problogger himself Darren Rowse, as well as nine other bloggers from around the world.
In this post, I’d like to give you a few non-standard tips on the things I do which are slightly out of the box.
How I got to Queensland
Why I have been chosen for these experiences? I honestly don’t know 100%, but I am pretty sure there are a few major factors. I have left out the usual stuff about quality content, readership, and so on—everyone knows that!
Here are the things that I think I’ve done differently.
- Timing: I don’t like to use the word luck, but I do believe all aspects of life are about timing. You can have the best idea in the world at the wrong time, and it will never work. Because of this, I make sure I keep in contact with agencies and brands on a regular basis. If you are in their mind at the time of a big event or launch, you are much more likely to be invited to cover it.
- Social: I have a private Twitter list of people in my industry, and those who I might want to talk to. This allows me to keep an eye on them and anything they might be working on. I will also tweet to them on a regular basis, again to make sure I am in their thoughts.
- Honesty: Don’t get me wrong, we all like to get paid, but I personally won’t work with anyone if it doesn’t feel right. Never sell yourself short, and always make sure you have final say over everything that has your name attached to it.
- Be pro-active: Now this is something I’m not as good at as I’d like to be. But if you have a good idea, do it! I’ve saved the contact details of every single PR person I have ever worked with. You never know when you might need them!
- Be quick: I don’t think you can ever email or call someone back too quickly. There is a misconception that bloggers aren’t professional in business, and that just isn’t true. Very few emails sit in my inbox for longer than 24 hours, and if it’s a good one, it’s turned round in minutes.
- Processes and templates: There are some things we bloggers are asked over and over again by people who can help us build our audiences. Our history, readership, rates—you name it. Don’t make the answers up as you go along. Spend some time making them perfect, and put them in a template. Then all you need to do is copy and paste.
- Controversy: For me, there is no such thing as bad press. It comes back to honesty in a way: I won’t go out of my way to be nasty, but equally I won’t go out of my way to be nice. If something is garbage, everyone has the right to know it is! Now of course, you might not agree with this, but ultimately, that’s why controversy works…
That’s a sample of the reasons why I managed to end up in Australia with Darren. This was one of the few times I’ve been proactive in getting to an event, and look how it turned out!
As I said, blogging’s not about the money for me. It’s about the once-in-a-lifetime experiences we get the chance to have a go at. During five days in Australia, I ticked three things off my bucket list! That’s pretty good by anyone’s standards.
What one-in-a-lifetime experiences have you enjoyed through your blogging? Tell us about them in the comments.
Stuart is a UK based Internet ninja and digital geek, the founder of averagejoesblog.co.uk. He helps organisations build and manage their digital footprints.