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March 2015

Why Bloggers should say “yes” more often!

I read a lot of stuff online where new bloggers are told the many reasons why they should turn down opportunities that are considered to be beneath them or not giving enough return for their work, but I very rarely see anything where bloggers are encouraged to say YES more often. In this post I’ll explore some of the reasons why it might pay to swim against the tide and answer in the affirmative…

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Scenario : You are offered a low value product to review
Why you might say no : The time it would take you to photograph it and write the post isn’t worth the value of the product
Why you should say YES : If the product is new or unusual it might generate a lot of interest and traffic to your blog. Perhaps the product fits particularly well with the kind of things you write about or want to align yourself with. The product might look beautiful and if you write a photography lead blog, it might provide you with the inspiration and opportunity to take some great photos and of course most importantly, this might be a brand that you are keen to work with again. Often PRs will test the water with a low value product to see how much effort you put in before they offer you a role in a bigger campaign.

Scenario : You are asked to write a post for a website for free
Why you might say no : What a cheek! This company has money, why aren’t they paying me?
Why you should say YES : The opportunity may help increase your blogs visibility. You can get a good idea about this by checking the websites own domain authority and Google Page Rank. Alternatively it might help increase your own visibility. It’s incredibly important to get your face and name out there as much as possible. PRs need to find their bloggers somewhere and the more your name and face is splashed around, the higher the chance that they will find you. Finally one free bit of work might lead to other opportunities. Last year I wrote one free 500 word article for a website which has since lead to regular monthly work and several hundreds of pounds of income.

Scenario : Helping another Blogger
Why you might say no : If I help them and give them my secrets their blog might do better than mine!
Why you should say YES : I seriously didn’t realise not helping other bloggers was a thing until someone shared the horror stories of rudeness and lack of co-operation she had experienced in her early days of blogging. The positive side to that is it does make it so much easier to be remembered if you are kind and helpful. There is a Dale Carnegie quote which sums this up rather well. “The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.”  I remember all the bloggers who have helped me along the way and I try wherever possible to return the kindness in triplicate.

Scenario : Blogger competitions
Why you might say no : I’m just going to write a post that publicises the brand when I might not get anything in return
Why you should say YES : I love blogging competitions and I love the challenge of putting together a really great and creative post that tests my skills and maybe just maybe might win me something. Don’t bother if you are going to make a half-hearted effort or if you can’t see a way of making your entry stand out from the crowd, but people can and do win. I am typing this post whilst sitting on a lovely leather office chair I won in a blogging competition and I nearly fell off that very chair last year when I won a £500 Amazon voucher for this post! If you are struggling for ideas for a winning entry, Tots 100 has this really great post about how to write competition posts.

Scenario : Affiliate advertising
Why you might say no : Most people say they don’t earn a lot from them
Why you should say YES : I don’t see affiliate relationships as solely about money. By linking with brands in the past I have secured invitations to press events and sponsored posts and I am able to visually align my blog with the kind of brands I want to work with attract more of. I also believe that by having adverts in place on a blog it can make that blog appear bigger and more professional. There are many websites you can source your ads from, but I use and recommend Affiliate Window

Scenario : Doing a PR a favour
Why you might say no : Bloody PRs they are always taking the p***, why’s there never a budget?
Why you should say YES : Seriously, have we forgotten that PRs are actually people trying to do a job? I get lots of requests to help a PR with something like a short survey or a quote to endorse them and if I have time I always try and help, if not I reply promptly and let them no I can’t (which is often helpful in itself.) If you are friendly and chatty and you help PRs out when they are desperately trying to work to a tight deadline, you will be remembered. Building a good relationship with the people you work with is an extremely effective way of ensuring you continue to gain commissions.

Like this? You might also be interested in…

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Rediscovering Roald Dahl…

Rediscovering Roald Dahl…

by Clare Mansell

As a child I always loved reading and I have carried the habit on to adulthood, mostly reading real books, with the occasional ebook in the mix. However despite my own love of reading I have always been wary of assuming Theo would automatically follow in my footsteps

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Children of his generation have been born into a world of television, tablets and apps, brighter, flashier more alluring things that I wouldn’t blame him for being drawn to. However it seems I underestimated him, books have been a staple of the bedtime routine for a while, but are also becoming a frequently requested distraction during the day. We have read through all the popular books (can you ever get enough of Julia Donaldson?) worked our way through a library of Thomas The Tank Engine stories (whose phrasing is a little clunky and stuffy, but apparently still alluring) and even dipped our toes into the world of Beatrix Potter.

So on Friday when we were stuck at home all day whilst the car was being serviced, Theo asked again to have a story read to him and I decided to test his attention span by reaching for something a little older, with a little less pictures… Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.

I had a blanket memory of all Roald Dahl books being great, but honestly I had forgotten just how fabulous each book is. The language is delicious, the stories wild and ridiculous and the pace frantic and compelling. We both sat on Theo’s bed in a heap of pillows and read and read and read…. He finally elected for a break after an hour, somewhere after George’s grandmother had exploded through the roof and there were giant pigs and cows leaping around the farm.

He asked for it again on Saturday and Sunday and we are perilously close to finishing, so I will have to see what other classics I have lurking on the bookshelf for our next read.

On another subject entirely, Theo’s hair is growing wildly out of control and I am still building up the courage to take him for another cut. Even at our local children’s salon with ride in cars, cartoons and lollipops, a haircut always induces a public meltdown with oceans of tears and desperate pleas for me to let him grow it. It’s not my favourite task.

Linking up with Katie for The Ordinary Moments and …

Living Arrows
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Men’s fashion – Spring stripes

It’s not often I write a post about men’s fashion, but after putting together a board for Pinterest all about our enduring love affair with striped clothing, I started to wonder if there was any good stripey fashion out there for men too and after a little research, I discovered that stripes are everywhere in the new spring/summer ranges for the high street.

So for those of you who (like me) tend to “help” their men’s wardrobe a little by making the odd purchase for them (not just me surely?) I thought I’d share a few of my picks for spring/summer 2015. All these selections may well be new, but they have a certain timeless appeal which means they’ll be wardrobe staples for years to come .

men's stripe fashion

1) Multi Stripe Rugby Shirt, Boden, £55
2) Fabric Belt, H&M, £7.99
3) Vans stripe plimsols, Very, £36.50
4) Hooded Jacket, H&M, £14.99
5) Howick Butcher Stripe Swim Short, House Of Fraser, £30
6) Thomas Pink Latitude Stripe, House Of Fraser, £79
7) Padstow Pique Sweat, Crew, £55

Do you have a favourite amongst my stripey selection? Don’t forget, if you’re looking for some ladies stripey fashion inspiration, feel free to check out my Pinterest board…

Follow Maybush Studio – Family & Lifestyle Blog’s board How to wear stripes on Pinterest.

Written for House Of Fraser

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The healing power of spring sunshine

I have been feeling under the weather for the last few weeks. Nothing serious, but enough to rob me of energy and to laugh in the face of plans I had made. I’ve been forced to slow down, which I almost never do and to spend time sitting still and (horrors!) even napping during the day. It hasn’t all been bad, I think the rest of the family had probably forgotten what I look like when I’m not a blur buzzing round doing things and Theo has found it a novelty to watch CBeebies with Mummy instead of on his own, but I am slowly coming out of the other side of it and ready to start doing stuff again.

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And it’s funny how the phrase I picked to sum up the last few weeks was “under the weather”, because the springtime sunshine this weekend, has really felt like part of the cure. On Sunday morning we went to Stansted Park for a dog walk and marveled at the subtle, but definite changes to the landscape since we were last there in January and then in the afternoon we wandered across the fields near our house for a paddle in the sea.

beach2203_2_editI love standing on the shore on a sunny afternoon and listening to the sounds of the harbour, a dog barking across the water, the cry of curlews rippling through the air and the water slowly trickling through the rocks as the tide recedes.

There’s lots I should be doing this week, but I think I shall spend a chunk of my time in the cabin starting a new quilt, away from the phone and the postman and the daily distractions that bog us all down and I’ll try not to give up entirely on watching Cbeebies on the sofa with Theo by my side.

Linking up with…

Living Arrows
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Our Ideal Home Magazine photo shoot

Last week a stylist and photographer from Ideal Home Magazine came to photograph our bathroom for a forthcoming issue. I shared a few photos on social media which prompted some questions about what it’s like to have Ideal Home magazine photograph your home, so I thought I’d do a post to tell you a bit more about the experience, if there’s anything I missed please feel free to ask further questions in the comments!

Ideal home photo shoot

How did the shoot come about?

When we finished the work on our house last year a journalist who works regularly with our architect approached us about featuring the house. As a result of that in December Self Build & Design magazine ran a general feature on the house makeover. The journalist was able to do a lot of her research from things I had written on the blog and as a result of seeing the post about our bathroom she suggested Ideal Home Magazine featured it

Did you get paid?

A favourite question! No we didn’t, but the stylist Dilly did bring some lovely M&S goodies for us all to have for lunch

Why did we do it?

I’m always slightly wary about publicity for the sake of publicity, but I was really curious about styled shoots and wanted to know how a professional photographer would shoot the bathroom differently from me and also how much of my own stuff would be cast aside in favour of prettier props the stylist brought with her.

UntitledWhat was the experience like?

Dilly & David were both delightful and allowed me to be involved in the day, watching as they made decisions and David humouring me as I asked questions about his set up. They were there for most of the day, but it wasn’t rushed and we had time for cups of tea and a chat in between working. I’d invite them back again tomorrow!

What did the pros do differently?

The  first thing David did differently to me was taking the bathroom door off its hinges! By doing that he was able to get a really nice view of the wallpaper and bath with the towel rail in the foreground. David also brought lights to balance out the lighting in the bathroom and he took a photo of the basin with the tap running, simple but effective! As far as styling, I was quite pleasantly surprised that all my things weren’t discarded as being unphotogenic! Dilly added some really lovely stripey towels and a few pretty toiletries, but everything else was either in the room  to begin with or was borrowed from other areas of the house. I was quite amused that a cushion I made years ago with a lighthouse design on it actually got put into shot, as I didn’t think it was that great!

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What did you learn?

Dilly has guided me towards some decisions about our bedroom and promised (threatened!) to come back and shoot the finished room when I have done them. It was great to have another eye to look at the room and back up some ideas I had and introduce others and whilst David did do some things differently to me, I still think I photographed the room to the best of my abilities at the time. The main thing I learned though is how us bloggers put ourselves under pressure to achieve things in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the resources that the professionals have!

When is the feature published?

It will be in the July issue which is out at the end of May, although confusingly the exterior of our house is also in the May issue which is out at the end of this month.


Other posts you might like about our house…

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