I have a social media crush, some of you close to me know ALL about it. I love Gary Vaynerchuk. I hang on his every word… why? Because he’s so fucking real and tells it like it is. Like Gary, I am known for my colorful F-bombs. I think swearing is a form of passion — I realize it’s not classy but it’s a burst of emotion and one that just comes out when you are talking about something you care deeply about. It’s that kind of fire and passion that gets shit done. I actually see many similarities between Gary and myself and I am not just talking about the swearing. I’m talking about the heart and the hustle. I know I am not even 2 percent as successful as Gary, but I look up to him and what he’s achieved at such a young age (he’s only 38) and I find it not only inspiring but intoxicating. (In case you’re wondering, I’m 36.)
I discovered him about three years ago when I read Crush It and let me tell you, that book changed the way I not only looked at blogging and Savvy Sassy Moms but myself. It really flipped the switch for me. I knew that I had to own it and take on social media and blogging with intention. I was here to play and win, bottom line..
Reading his latest book Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook could not have come at a better time for me. Many of us in the blogging community feel that things are changing and there is a shift happening. Those of us that have been blogging for 5+ years are starting to wonder, “What’s next?” It’s like we’re in blogger purgatory. We’ve built a brand, we have an established voice, we’re making money some months and none the next. With all this online noise it’s hard to stand out and do anything original, there are just so many blogs and so much competition. So what the hell do we do now?
After subscribing to Gary Vaynerchuck’s YouTube channel last night and watching about six video clips, he got me all fired up and well, this is what’s on my mind…
Warning, this is where I get sassy and channel my inner Gary Vee…
1. Bloggers should stop listening to other bloggers.
The last thing we need is to attend another conference or speaker panel and sit through bloggers giving vague talks on how to be successful, and never really saying anything that makes a difference in their approach to blogging and business. Nobody takes away anything useful. If you are in this as a business then listen to smart business people, attend a business conference and hang out with people that are running small businesses.
2. Brands, stop asking us to share shitty content.
In Gary’s book he gives prime examples of shitty content. This content fills our inboxes daily, it’s mind numbing. We get hounded to share the most ridiculous shit with “our readers”. It would blow Gary’s mind to look at a bloggers e-mail inbox and read what PR people are pitching us. We realize that It’s not always the PR person’s fault. AND please for the LOVE of GOD do not send “Partnership Opportunity” e-mails when there is no equal benefit at all. A partnership should be something that is mutually beneficial to both parties whether that is in a form of compensation or some huge amount of PR, e-mail subscribers or traffic.
3. Bloggers need to stop being so damn demanding.
Listen, you are not a celebrity and you are not going to get paid the big bucks like celebrity endorsements. Your rates and fees should be realistic. I don’t have huge traffic, but I do have a pretty solid social media footprint overall and I use that as my negotiating tool. Just because you have a blog, that does not mean you get everything for free or people have to say yes to you. This is why the term Mom Blogger has turned into a four letter word.
4. Bloggers, don’t promote stupid shit.
I was offered $500 to do a sponsored post for a hideous TV wall mount, I turned it down. Nothing about a TV wall mount is savvy or sassy. Could you imagine the tweets I would have had to tweet out to promote that post. “Hanging a TV this weekend Moms?” Gross. We all want to make money but when you take money and promote something that does not match your brand and voice it dilutes everything. I realize we all have mouths to feed, but something else will come in next week. When you say no, it allows you to say yes to something better.
5. Brands, hire a blogger to lead your blogger outreach campaign.
We know a thing or two about how to reach out to other bloggers and what we would be receptive to. We also know what bloggers would be a great match for the program and are professional to work with. Don’t forget, Mom Bloggers are also your customers so you can use that to your advantage and actually listen to us as a consumer and not just a “mom blogger.” We’re on social media and engaging with other moms before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee.
6. Brands, invest in us long term.
Brands need to see the value in quality websites and bloggers and pay them for their worth and hard work. There are many of us willing to work hard for you, but you need to pay us. We want to create long-lasting relationships and be a valued partner and voice for your brand. One sponsored post is not going to cut it or make an impact, but if our readers keep seeing our loyalty and longevity with the brand they’ll know our partnership is authentic and that we actually do know more about the brand other what it says on your packaging. Invest in us long term. We’re willing to go the distance.
7. Bloggers need to re-think their strategy. Or get one.
You still need good ol’ fashioned editorial and authentic content, you cannot be paid for everything. Do you have a mission statement, do you know what you stand for, do you even know who your reader is? What is the value you are giving people, and why should they come to your website? Are you just throwing up random content and copying what other people are doing? Does your blog feel like an infomercial, sponsored post after sponsored post? Great, you got a free trip to Disneyland, a free facial and car service! How does that help your readers?
8. Bloggers, set your own standards.
Stop wanting to be on the top blog lists and curb your jealousy for not making the top lists. Keep your head down and work hard and stick to your own goals and objectives. No one can measure your success but you. At the end of the day you should be able to look at what you accomplished, who you connected with, how well you moved forward or made progress on a project and be happy with that. Set your own standards, don’t live by other people’s.
9. Brands, create a REAL brand ambassadorship program.
Here’s an idea: Maybe you should sponsor websites instead of per post content. Find a blogger that matches your brand’s voice and demographic. If you believe in what they are doing and what they are putting out then help them to continue what they are doing by sponsoring the entire website for a year. Work with them to create editorial content that is in sync with your brand and theirs. (If anyone wants to test this theory with Savvy Sassy Moms, email me.)
10. “Surround yourself with people who piss excellence.”
This advice I got from my husband, Harris Fellman, a very smart internet marketer who gives me epic nuggets of wisdom like this constantly.
If you are working with people that do not have the same work ethic, values, aesthetic and moral compass you should not be working with them. Seek out people who piss excellence not just in work but in life. These people are dependable and show up every, single, time.You don’t need to piss perfection, but you need to be consistent and always do your best no matter the task or the situation. I put the same effort into a $150 job as I do into a $1,500 project. This is your work and reputation, nothing is more valuable than that.
Gary talks a lot about knowing your strengths and knowing what you’re good at as the key to success. I have been working more towards this, focusing all my time and energy on what I do best, outsourcing my weaknesses and building a team around me that only lifts me up and makes me want to do better.
Blogging is never going to make you rich, “you need a backend” (another nugget of wisdom from Harris Fellman) and the more people realize that, we can all get busy doing what we’re good at and leveraging our strengths. Then using our contacts, our relationships and our reputation from blogging to make our next move. If nothing else, our blogs have been a stepping stone on our path to what we should be doing next.
I’m not just @SavvySassyMoms, I’m Andrea Fellman and I believe I can do more than this.
Bloggers and Brands you should really read Gary’s latest book Jab, Jab Jab, Right Hook for everyone’s sake.
*I apologize to the savvy sassy mom readers that come here for the latest and greatest in fashion, baby gear, travel tips and our favorite apps. This is not a typical post on Savvy Sassy Moms but it needed to be written. All of the above affects my business and how I am able to sustain and keep Savvy Sassy Moms alive.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I bought the book myself with money I’ve earned working my ass off on Savvy Sassy Moms and the Amazon links are not affiliate links, but probably should be.
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