If you’re a Blogger, or even a trainee journalist like myself, Jenna Farmer is… well, a useful contact to have. She is also one of the nicest Bloggers that I have interacted with. She blogs at A Balanced Belly; she also blogs about Blogging at The Bloglancer. She is also a freelance journalist. (Quite frankly, I admire her, simply put.) So, over email, I asked her some questions about Blogging and the industry.
What introduced you and got you into blogging?
I actually read the ‘I Heart…’ series by Lindsay Kelk (the main character is a blogger) which inspired me to start a blog! It was pretty terrible but it gave me a buzz-I experimented on and off until I settled on A Balanced Belly and The Bloglancer.
What was the inspiration behind A Balanced Belly and The Bloglancer?
The first blog, A Balanced Belly, came out of my diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I was living abroad and I had just been diagnosed-I felt lost; and starting my blog helped me connect with others and feel in control. The Bloglancer arose when people kept asking me about blogging- I tried to do this on A Balanced Belly but it kept confusing my readers (most of whom weren’t bloggers) so I created a whole new site.
How do you plan for posts?
I am not a great planner to be honest; I’m very emotions-led and my best content is planned and written on the same day-I can’t mass schedule! I actually had 2 sponsored posts to write yesterday but I ended up going out and having a terrible experience eating out as gluten-free. As soon as I was home, I started blogging- the post ended up going pretty viral; and I think that’s because I jumped on it as soon as I got home!
What do you think about Blog events?
Hmm- in terms of brand ones; they vary. I’ve had some fantastic events that go the extra mile; but I live out of London, so I get quite frustrated with events that expect the world from bloggers and don’t offer much value!
In terms of blogging ones by fellow bloggers, I’ve been to a few. I think there’s such a focus on the goodie bag and freebie grabbing; but the best ones are workshop led and teach you something!
Where do you see your blog in five years?
What do you have planned next?
I’ve just launched my next venture which is Chronic Illness Bloggers. It’s a blogger outreach organisation which connects brands to bloggers who write about chronic illnesses like myself!
What are your tips for pitching to brands?
Be very clear about what you would like AND what you can offer. Don’t be afraid to prove you can offer value-sharing stats and example of past collaborations that have been a success!
What do you think are the best resources for bloggers to use in pitching to brands at the moment?
What do you think about blogging for business?
It’s absolutely possible but you certainly need to a) find a way for your blog to stand out and offer something different b) constantly be working on multiple different income streams.
For a day at the office, what would we find in your handbag?
I work from home most of the time, but always pack my iPad, herbal tea, plenty of snacks, a bundle of notebooks and a selfie light ring! You’d probably find ‘Little Black Book’ by Otegha Uwagba in my handbag too- amazing book!
What would be your advice for aspiring bloggers?
As someone who now looks at bloggers for sponsored posts (as part of my new venture) the first thing is definitely change to your own domain if you want to make money. I find .blogspot a sign of someone who is a hobby blogger (which is fine, but then I wouldn’t apply for sponsored posts for one).Also check your theme actually works on mobile- again I’ve been looking at lots of bloggers’ sites recently and their theme just isn’t mobile responsive and it makes it difficult to navigate! Be proactive about making connections and don’t use hashtags like #journorequest to just ask for freebies!
Thank you to Jenna Farmer for answering my questions, and being so patient with me; don’t forget to check out A Balanced Belly and The Bloglancer. And if you’d like to see more interviews, click here.