Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Style Thief

19 comments
Dress : Florence and Fred
Shoes : ASOS
Bet : New Look
How often are you influenced by what you see on blogs?

To be honest, it doesn't happen to me often. But there are some bloggers out there that I am a little fan girlish with. I check their blogs daily and yearn to be able to rock those dresses and shoes just like them.

One of those bloggers is Amber of Forever Amber. She was introduced to me by friend who influenced me to start this blog, Janine - who has now stopped blogging. Boooooooo. Amber is adorable, her outfit tastes are perfect and boy, does that girl know how to pick a pair of shoes. Her dressing room makes me want to punch her in the face. She has these shoe shelves, you see, and every time I see them I think of my poor shoes all laid on top of each other at the bottom of my overfilled wardrobe and sigh. So if anyone was to ask me which blogger was my favourite, or most influential, it would be Amber. I've bought a few items she has either recommended or I've seen on her blog. Sometimes she posts outfits that are a few months old and now out of stock. This makes me cross. 

So yes, Amber got this dress for her birthday a few months back. I saw it and within a minute, I was tapping my card number into the checkout second of Tesco's clothing website.

This dress is coming to Florida with me. Only 18 days to go...

Which blogger influences you the most?

Linking up with:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Forum Moderators

18 comments
You may have noticed across twitter that I've been advertising for moderators to help me run the forums.

When I first created the forums, almost 4 months ago, I was investing a lot of time in promoting them, getting new members and interacting with everything else that comes along with starting a new blogging community. Everything was going really well, yet I found I was struggling posting on my blog, reading the blogs I follow, being active on twitter as well as doing those not so exciting, but essential, real life things. Such as work, eat, sleep, clean and so forth. The forums hit a peak around February, when there would regularly be several people on at the same time and hundreds of new posts were being posted each day. Yet, I as took my focus off the forums to concentrate on my main blog (let's not even talk about my second blog, I'm totally wank at that, too), less people were coming to my little community as I was not promoting it. 

I decided to recruit some help, I asked bloggers to apply help me moderate the forums. The application closed Sunday and were announced yesterday. Here they are:

The Moderators.

Danielle of Underland to Wonderland:


I'm Danielle, a 23 year old retail slave but most importantly mother to Baker, my border collie cross. 
I enjoy nature walks, bird watching and photo taking. Disney, Harry Potter and all things magical are pretty close to my heart too!
My blog is full of things that inspire me, that I love and places I've explored. 
Twitter : @theSweetnessD23



Nicola of nicolabishopx.com


I'm Nicola, a beauty & lifestyle blogger from South west England. I'm really happy that Corinne has chosen me, I can't wait to get stuck in and be part of blogger forums. On my blog you can find hauls, beauty reviews, lifestyle posts and lots more! I hope it has something everyone can enjoy! Blog: www.nicolabishopx.com
Follow me on twitter @nicolabishop7
feel free to tweet me :) I love meeting new people! Nicola xo

Sophie of Sophie's Plus Size Wonderland


My name is Sophie, a 25 year old  Actress and blogger from London. I blog about Plus Size Fashion, Beauty, Accessories and some of my life. I'm a outgoing and friendly person who will bring a lot of laughter to the team, I'm passionate about body positivity and showing people you can achieve what you want no matter what. I'm a plus size girl who loves fashion and is not afraid of showing that. Every size and shape deserves a fabulous wardrobe. I'm also a beautyaholic I love make-up!. A random fact about me... i got to audition for the part of Rae in My Mad Fat Diary.

My twitter - @SPlusSizeWonder


So go and check out their blogs, as well as sign up to the forums and get posting!


Recent Posts

Monday, April 21, 2014

#socialbloggers 12 - Successful Blog Advertising

15 comments
Hi all, I can't believe this was the 12th #socialbloggers! This last chat was focused all around advertising. Both selling and buying. There are so many things to consider and question when entering into this side of blogging, feel free to have a read of my thoughts, then the twitter chat under. Leave any questions or comments you may have below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Are buying adverts on blogs worth it?


One thing that is important to remember, is that if you advertise your button on another blog, your views are not going to skyrocket over night. Think about how often you click on adverts - it's probably not going to be a lot.

Don't let this put you off - now think of your mindset when you do click on adverts. You are probably more open to reading, commenting and engaging in that blog, right? This is the point.

You are not buying advert space to get 1000 page views. You are buying advert space to get a few targeted views, from people that have an interest in your niche and are more likely to subscribe. 10 new followers who visit your blog a few times a week and engage with you are more important than 1000 hits that click off your blog straight away, increasing nothing but your bounce rate. Wankers. 

Pick a niche similar to yours, make your blog button attractive and inviting. Don't expect miracles.

How to get people to advertise on your blog.

I feel like a bit of a dick answering this question, because I am totally naff at getting people to advertise on my blog. I know how to get people to advertise, but I just don't do it. I am too busy promoting my forums, my blog posts, writing reviews, tweeting, full time jobbing, cycling, running, showering, texting, eating and drinking to promote my advert space on top of that. I need an assistant, seriously. But you know what, sometimes just having a page at the top of your blog does not cut it. I have seen so many people with smaller blogs than me sell more adverts than me. Here is how:
  • Offer a package, such as shout outs on your twitter and Facebook page throughout the month, an introduction in one of your blog posts to your sponsor, or an individual post every month introducing your sponsors. 
  • Tweet and use social media to tell people you are offering advert space on your blog.
  • Swap adverts with other bloggers so you appear in demand.
  • Use these advert swaps to get information off the bloggers you are swapping with, such as how many hits they are getting from you so you can be honest with future advertisers.
  • Offer a media pack, either stats on your advertising page, or by request.
  • Start cheap and increase as you are more in demand.
  • Offer to make a button if the blogger is not sure how to make one.
  • Be clear about the size of the advert and it's duration.

When to start advertising on your blog.

This is one of those questions I bloody hate. Actually, it's the answer I hate, I love the question. It's one of those that NOBODY has an answer for. Just tell me the answer already, goddamn it. Don't tell me it depends and everyone is different or whatever works for you. I feel like the most popular questions people ask regarding successful blogging, or how to make money blogging, end up with those types of answers. Just gimme the facts, dawg, don't tell me I should just 'write for with passion and the readers will come'. We all know that there are so many blogs out there, it's a lot more difficult than that in 2014.

Therefore, I have a call for action:
If you have sold adverting space on your blog, please comment with your:
  • Name.
  • Blog URL.
  • Number of followers you had when you sold your first advert.
  • How much the advert cost/how long it ran for.
  • How many page views you had per month.
  • How long you had been blogging for.
  • Any other relevant information.
I will edit the information here, so everyone can see the FACTS and make their decisions from there. I will start. 

Corinne.
I had around 500 GFC followers and 400 bloglovin followers when I sold my first advert. I sold it for 10USD and it ran for 1 month. At the time, I was getting around 10k impressions a month and had been blogging for around a year. 

I really hope some of you answer so I can get some useful facts to others, if you do not want to give this information publicly, you can always contact me privately and I will not include your name or blog. 

Ok, on to the twitter chat and questions:


Q1: Do you sell ad space on your blog? Is it successful? 













Q2: What do you look for when buying and ad what do you expect?













Q3 Do you have any Qs on selling ad space/getting buyers, or any tips?

If you are interested in buying adverts on my blog, see my packages here ;)  

You can check out any previous chats you have missed here.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight Review

23 comments
Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight
My hair is basically a massive knobhead. It does what it wants, when it wants. If left untamed, it becomes The Bush. The Bush is a mixture of ringlets and curls drowning in frizz. So when I was after some new shampoo, I saw this Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight shampoo by John Frieda, and decided to give it a cheeky try. It's more expensive than I usually buy, it was 2 for £10 at Tesco.
Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight, John Frieda
It's very rare of me to be wowed by a product, I usually am left disappointment, but this worked a treat. I could tell as soon as I was washing my hair with it that it would be good. It left my hair feeling so soft and silky as soon as I was washing it out. It smelled delicious too. 

After washing, I dried and straightened it like usual and my hair looked so much smoother than it usually does. I have photos to show you the difference, as I know nothing really speaks louder than photos when it comes to seeing the results of a product. So less babble, more pictures.

Before:

Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight, before and after

After:

Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight, long hair
Frizz Ease Flawlessly Straight, long hair
 How do you ease your frizz? 

That was so cheesy #sorrynotsorry


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dress Story #2

28 comments
Dress: Emily and Fin via Aspire Style
Shoes : ASOS
Necklace : Amazon
Belt : Newlook
Hi Internet Friends,

Do you remember my dress story? When I searched high and low for a dress that I saw and knew INSTANTLY must be mine, then, after months of stalking, it was finally in my own arms? Well. This dress also has a similar story. It is also an Emily and Fin dress. 

I first saw this dress while browsing the sale section of Aspire Style. It was not in my size, so I tweeted with the lovely guys over at Aspire Style and they confirmed there was none in my size. I sulked a lot. Then googled even more than I sulked. Which is a lot. I found Sarah of A Million Dresses wearing it and told her how much I hate her loved this dress and wished it was mine. If you think I bang on about Emily and Fin, or have a lot of their dresses, then you should see Sarah's collection! Jealous much. Yes yes. A million dresses is the perfect name for her blawg.

Anyway, a few months after me expressing my anger at her for having this dress, she sent me a tweet letting me know Aspire Style had one left in stock! I stopped being mad and even said thank you. I ordered it straight away, around 10:30am and had it delivered to me the very next morning. Talk about fast delivery!

Three things you should check out:
Emily and Fin.
Aspire Style
Sarah.

The end.  


Friday, April 18, 2014

Mexican Dave's Nachos

17 comments
Ingredients:
One back of Mexican Dave's Tortilla Chips
400g Beef Mince
500g Home Pride Cook in Sauce
200g Cheese
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Salsa
Jelapenos
I could have very easily have eaten this packet of Mexican Dave's Nachos that came in my March Degustabox on their own, they are lovely and have a wonderful salty, cheesy flavour.

But by the time I had discovered how yummy they actually were, Christine had already been to the shop to buy the ingredients to make Chilli natchos.

The method is easy peasy. Even I could do it. Actually, I kind of started to burn it so Christine had to take over. But any normal human will be able to manage it, no problem. I am a super hero in many ways, but when it comes to cooking, I've got the skills of a monkey with no thumbs. True story, bro.

Here's how to make it:
  1. Brown the mince in a pan with oil.
  2. When the juices run clear, add the chilli sauce.
  3. Simmer in the sauce using the guidelines on the jar to find your time (ours was around 20 mins).
  4. Put the tortilla chips in a baking tray.
  5. Pour the chilli over the top.
  6. Grade cheese all over.
  7. Place in oven on 180C until cheese is melted.

To get your own box for £12.99 including shipping from the Degustabox Website. The box is delivered between the 25th and 30th if each month.

I have a discount code also for £3 off: ZJX6W

How do you like to enjoy your nachos?

Thanks for all the lovely comments and retweets on yesterdays post, please read it and share it so more bloggers won't be afraid to ask to be paid for their work and more companies realise the that should be wiling to.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why you should get paid for your blog posts.

29 comments

There are many out there who believe that being paid to write posts or getting free products will result in your opinion being swayed by the money or the gift in question. Or that your blog will lose it's personal touch and become more of an online magazine.

Let's be honest here for a minute - everyone likes getting paid and everyone likes getting free things. It does not have to mean that your content suffers. 

I have seen time and time again, across multiple blogs, on Twitter and on other platforms, bloggers declaring that they would never accept payment for a post, or ask for free things as they want to keep their blog a hobby and do not want their content to suffer or be diluted by adverts masked as blog posts. This opinion is fine is perfectly fine as everyone has different reasons for blogging. 

Of course, as soon as you start to exchange money or products - there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes along with it:
  • You need to be professional while communicating with PRs and brands. 
  • You need to keep to timescales. 
  • You need to keep them updated on the delivery/post progress. 
  • You need to follow through. 
Some people simply do not want that kind of responsibility, and it can be stressful trying to plan when you are going to post certain things. 

Just because you have been given something, either money or an item, does not mean you have to post a positive review. Throughout my blog, you can see examples of when I have:
  • Given a great review for free, because I loved the website or brand and wanted to share it. Example.
  • Given great reviews of a product I've been given for free, because I found the items worked well. Example.
  • Reviewed a product I liked, just because. Example
  • Given bad reviews to products I've been given as I don't recommend them. Example.
  • Given a mixed reviews of my experience with a website after getting free items. Example.
  • Joined in collaborative posts with no payment or incentive, because I thought it was good content for my blog. Example.

The question is:

Should you get paid when you are asked to write a post about a product or website?


I've recently been approached by some PRs, either through answering #PRrequest tags on Twitter, or them e-mailing me and have been asked to write a post about a new collection or write about a certain theme as part of a project that a website is doing. When I e-mailed back asking their budget, the reply is the same.

We do not have any budget for blog advertising. We have never had to pay any charges for bloggers to feature our news stories in the past.

I've noticed that it is often sold to bloggers as a great opportunity for us to feature their products on our blogs, but just think about it: It is us that do the research, us that spend time writing the posts, us that take the photos, edit the photos and do the finishing touches to then publish it to an audience that we have worked so hard in building, to then use our influence and the trust we have built to drive traffic and potential sales to their websites. For free.

How do you feel now?

Manipulated? Taken advantage of?  Used? 

I find most companies that are not willing to pay or gift bloggers physical items to review are those bigger brands. Blogger opportunities are often masked as a competition where you have to make a wish list or post a certain theme and then will be entered into a prize draw to win something, or be judged. These are not blogger opportunities. These are competitions. These are a way to get you to entice your readers to buy products. I have no issue with companies doing these types of competitions, the thing I have an issue with us companies masking them as a unique blogger opportunity! 

Why you should get paid for your blog posts:

  • You are spending your time promoting something. How valuable is your time?
  • Do not underestimate the time it takes to research, write, edit and proofread a post.
  • You are sending your traffic to a website or promoting a product.
  • You are using the trust you have built up with your audience to influence their decisions.
  • Most of these companies will spend a lot on magazine, TV, newspapers and other advertising, why should blogs be any different.
  • The person you are communicating with is probably getting paid to get you to promote something, why shouldn't you?

When you should consider not being paid for your blog posts:

  • If you are new to blogging, or do not have much experience in working with companies. Accepting posts like this for no payment is a way to build up both contacts and build a portfolio for you to show your experience in the future.
  • If you are struggling to find content for your blog, but want to be more active.
  • If it is a product or brand you truly love and endorse, or find the pitch enjoyable and just a bit of fun.
  • If it is something that will be of benefit to your readers.
  • If it is something that will help promote a charity or good cause.
  • If you are getting an item to review for free.
  • If you you get other benefits, such as your post featured on the companies website that would bring you traffic.
  • A new brand that you feel could benefit from or want to promote.
  • A new small or local brand/site you feel you want to promote.

How to bring up the money question:


There are several ways in which I've asked for payment, it can seem awkward and you might often feel uncomfortable about asking for payment. The key is to get the conversation out of the way from the start. I often get e-mails telling me all about a product or website attaching images and giving me a full history of the thing they want me to promote. Some of the ways I have brought this up have been saying things like:
  • Can I ask what your budget is for this?
  • I usually charge x amount for this type of post. 
  • Can I ask what the incentive is for me or my readers if I was to promote this on my website?

What to charge:


If you are asked what you charge, you will probably be pretty clueless regarding what this amount will be. You can either start small and then up your price with future projects, or start high but state you are willing to negotiate. My first sponsored post, I charged $10 and I had around 600 followers on Google Friend Connect and 400 on blogging. I know of bloggers that would think $10 be too low, but go with what feels right for you as you can always adjust this in the future.

The Bottom Line:

Do not be afraid to ask, everyone I have asked for payment, but been told that there is no budget, have always still wanted to go ahead and work with me if I was willing to. So if cutting ties is a fear - don't let it be. Your time is worth something, you have every right to ask to be compensated for your time and effort. There are circumstances where you may want to promote something for free, but in general, it should be a collaboration which is beneficial to both parties.

Other blogging tips that may help you:

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10 Facts About Me

28 comments
For the past month of so, I've been lucky in that I've had the opportunity to review lots of lovely things for some companies and brands. While I love doing this as it gives me something great build content around, as well as allowing me to build up a portfolio of reviews for when I want to make a career change, I've been a little concerned about losing the personal touch to my blog! So, I wanted to do a more personal post by sharing 10 things about myself to let you all get to know me a little better and see the girl behind the blog! Let's go let's go:

10 Facts About Me:
  • I was a complete accident. My mum had three boys before me and fell pregnant with me when she was 40, nine years after her last son was born. She was terrified I was going to be a boy because she always wanted a girl, but had been cursed blessed with three boys. Who were quite frankly, little shits.  
  • The story of my name is not that interesting. Corinne is the French form of 'Corinna' and it means 'maiden'. My mother did not know what to call me and didn't pick out a name before I was born. She read it in a book of names and liked it. I always hated it growing up as nobody had every heard of it before so when I made new friends or met new people, they would always look at me funny and never be able to say it properly. People always spelt it and pronounced it wrong, or called me something completely different. I used to make up 'normal' names when I went on holiday and met other children. 
  • In 2007, I lived in France for a year teaching English in a French school while I was doing my French degree. I never would have thought that I could move to a different country on my own. It was very very scary, but after doing that, I know 1) I can do anything and 2) I have no patience to work with children.
  • Everybody at work thinks I'm a lesbian and often make jokes that I have a penis. I have no idea what draws them to this conclusion. Maybe it's the long hair. Or the skirts I wear every day. Shrug. When I went to a concert a few months ago, I got asked of I was going to a lesbian convention to do a talk about life post-op. 
  • Before I started this blog in December 2012, I spent most of my free time on the xBox. Call of Duty, Skyrim, Assassins Creed, Bioshock were all favourites. I rarely play now as I'm too busy with the blog. Maybe this is where the previous fact about me comes from. 
  • I would make a terrible beauty blogger. I never wear make-up, only mascara, eyeshadow and eyeliner. I am trying to get brave with lipstick and wear BB cream on a really special occasion. I also own no Mac products. 
  • I hate my voice SO much. If could change anything about myself, it would be my stupid voice. I sound like an 8 year old boy. Sometimes my work phone does that thing were your voice echos back to you and I cannot bare to listen to it. This is why I quit doing YouTube videos and moved to blogging because I would rather stab myself in the face than edit my stupid voice.
  • I take pictures of everything. I have over 7000 photos on my phone and most them are what I have sent by text or twitter while having a conversation with people. Why write it when you can just photo it? 
  • I don't have any pets, I can barely look after myself, never mind another living thing. When I was a teenager I had a dog called Ollie. She was the cutest little thing in the world, but I was not a good pet mum. She was more my Dad's dog than mine in the end, he would take her on really long walks and she loved him the most. Weh. One Thursday evening I was waiting for my Mum to finish on the phone so I could use the internet (dial-up, ew) and I was laying on the floor of the living room. I decided to call Ollie so I could play with her, when my Mum stopped talking, looked at me and said 'Corinne, are you being serious?' and I was like 'What'. And she said 'We gave Ollie away on Sunday, have you not noticed? We thought you were just not talking to us about it'. When I complained and stropped about them giving my dog away, she said I didn't pay enough attention to her. I decided this would be an argument I would never win and waited quietly for the internet.
  • My blog is a secret to everyone apart from my housemates and 3 friends. 
Tell me a fact about you.

 

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