Coffee with Christine

Some blogging tips and tools that I love

Balancing blogging, work, being a mom and wife can be nearly impossible. But I have learned a few things to make it a little easier. Here are some blogging tips, tricks and tools I use to help create content for my site.

A question that comes up a few times from you guys, is how do I balance blogging, being a mom, wife and still working part time. Well, this is a million dollar question and I don’t have the answer. But does anyone really? It can all be pretty overwhelming and frankly, pretty stressful. Blogging doesn’t have the traditional work hours, rather it’s allll the time. Learning to take breaks is something I plan to work on more this year.

There are some things that have helped me get partnerships, create content, balance my time, etc. Hopefully this tips and tools help some of you!

If are starting out blogging and what to know how to connect with brands and have affiliate links, I have some tips and favorite apps I use everyday.

Some links below contain affiliate links and/or discount codes at no additional cost to you to click through or shop through the links. I receive a small (like real small…ha!) commission if you purchase through the links.

Progress

I want to start off by saying things don’t happen overnight in the media world. And if they do, one of the two things happen. 1. Followers are bought or 2. a celebrity has shouted you out. Basically that’s it. I started the blog in 2016 and the Instagram account shortly after. It takes YEARS to grow and develop a community.

For a majority of that, I had two kids, worked full time and was not consistent. The past two years I have been working much harder and dedicating more time, which equals more partnerships, followers etc. It’s a job (one that I really do love) and it takes time to learn, grow and figure out how you want to use your platform. Be yourself, figure out your niche and go from there. Best advice I can give!

Scheduling

My number 1 tip is scheduling! I have content planned out at least a week in advance (some incredible bloggers are weeks to months in advance!), of course in perfect world I would be months out too. But I’ll get there one day.

My name planner has really helped start off the year organized. It’s pretty basic but so far I really like it. Many bloggers use different content calendars to plan their collaborations. I did for awhile, but I found it easier just to use my phone, a calendar and notes.

I try to stick to one or two blog posts a week. This helps plan out any photos I need to take and what I will post on my Instagram feed. The more prepared I am, the easier I can sit down and get the content out. I kind of think of it as teaching. In the classroom, I had lessons planned out way in advance, I knew what was coming. I approach blogging the same way.

I try to have content that is align with my current situation or any upcoming holidays. For example, many people are doing Dry January, so mocktail season is here. I updated this post and used current terms to help with SEO and Google keyword searches too! The more activity you have on your blog, the higher you rank on Google, or so I hear…haha.

How do I find the time?

Honestly, I write before the kids wake up, during nap time and at night. This applies to blog posts, captions, stories, etc.

For an unsponsored blog post, it typically takes me a 4-5 hours to get it out. For sponsored or travel posts, it can take up to 30 hours of work. The longest time it took me to write a post was this Saugatuck, Michigan because it was an influencer trip I took and there was so much content. Although, the post was not required, it was shared over 100 times and has bought A TON of traffic to my blog. It also opened up for lots of other opportunities, so that’s always something to consider.

The biggest tip I can share is if you know your topic ahead of time, the content flows much, much, easier. Do a little here, little there, it’ll add up. If you are using WordPress, download the app. You can draft out posts on the train, sitting on the couch, etc. But just start! That’s honestly the hardest part.

Update old posts

  1. REUSE, REUSE, REUSE! This is has helped me so much. I will take old posts and totally update them. Either take new photos, update links, fix any SEO issues, etc. This is something I learned from pretty seasoned bloggers along the way and it’s a lifesaver. It also helps drive more traffic to your blog and clean up any old content you don’t want anymore.
  2. Take Instagram posts and turn them into blog posts. Literally, copy and past. Hit 300 works for better SEO results and you have a blog post done!

Pinterest & Tailwind

I just recently became pretty invested in Pinterest and started using Tailwind, which schedules your pins way in advance so you don’t have to manually pin everyday. I was pretty skeptic and tried the free trial and my traffic has TRIPLED on my blog. It’s crazy. I know have the basic plan ($9.99 a month) and I think it’s totally worth it. The trial is based on 100 scheduled Pins or 30 scheduled Instagram Posts. Additionally, you can purchase SmartLoop and Tribes which is posted to larger groups, which helps increase your traffic too.

I am still learning how to make the best pins and overall how Pinterest works, but if you really want a steady stream of traffic to your blog, Pinterest and Tailwind are the way to go.

Tools

Apps

Some apps I use to create pins or Instagram stories are Unfold and Canva. I use the free versions of them, but there are different plans.

I use the WordPress App (I like checking my stats at least 2-3 times a day), Instagram and Pinterest.

For editing photos, I use the free version of Snapseed and Lightroom. Etsy also has some great presets as well.

Another HUGE time saver for me has been using Quick Books Self Employed to track invoices, mileage, expenses etc. When it’s time for taxes, I can just pull the PDF’s from here. It’s super easy!

Awhile ago, I did use the Preview app which helps plan out your Instagram feed and schedule photos in advance, but I found those photos never did well. Later, I found out that these photos were coming from a different IP address and Instagram was marking them as spam and we all know how the algorithm is…

Influencer Platforms

I think this sometimes kind of mystery for bloggers. There are now so many marketing platforms out there now, but here are a few I have either collaborate with or signed up for:

Magic Links– This program is AWESOME!!! It’s my personal favorite. MagicLinks has relationships with more than 3,500 retailers and a product catalog of more than 500 million products from which to share and earn from either CLICKS or PURCHASES. It’s great.

If you can’t get into Like to Know it, I would highly recommend this!

Linqia– I haven’t personally worked with them, but hear great things about some of their campaigns.

Foodie Tribe- This just specifically is for food bloggers and many of their campaigns are nationwide. The pay is good and they run campaigns with Potbelly’s, Red Lobster and other big brands.

IZEA– This platform is where you can bid on different opportunities. They also just have a big merger and complete website makeover, this are a lot more streamlined.

Clever– I just had my first campaign with them this summer. Very easy to work with!

Like to Know it– I applied to this platform a few times and got denied. My advice if this happens, KEEP APPLYING. This program allows for your followers to shop your links to get commission. Just FYI, it’s really just a few cents each purchase. It’s not much. I think people think it’s a lot more commission than it really is.

You can see my profile here.

Social Fabric- After years of applying and getting denied, I just got accepting into a few campaigns. Finally! I like working with them because all the deliverables are clearly laid out for you and they pay pretty well, it just takes time to get accepted.

Mavrck– They do a lot of product or gift card for payment, except, recently there have been paid opportunities. In my opinion, they have gotten better over the past year about communication too.

Social Native- I started off doing these campaigns and they are great, but payment is rather low. If you are just starting, they are a great start.

Share a Sale- This database has a ton of affiliate partnerships and I’ve always gotten approved for each program. Basically, find a sponsor for your blog and get affiliate links for pretty much anything you can think of.  Also, Share a Sale pretty easy to use.

Fohr– You probably have seen this around Instagram. This platform analyzed your following and “verifies” your followers to make sure they are real. Honestly, I love the weekly Youtube videos the creator of Fohr, James Nord, does weekly. They are super educational and helpful!

Final Thoughts

There is no “magic” formula for growing your Instagram. It’s a lot of work, time and it’s constantly changing. I think just knowing what you want for your business and connecting with like minded people is key. Network, network, network. Many partnerships have come from just meeting people (although hard mid pandemic I know..)

Ok, so that’s it! I might be adding on to this list as I can think of more. But if you have anything else to add, include it in the comments! Also, if you found this helpful, please share away!

Until next time,

Christine

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