#BlogSchool- Originality Or Damned

Or how NOT to piss off other bloggers.

Now, this BlogSchool is a biggie.

If there is one thing, one major thing, that will get a hell of a lot of bloggers pissed off with you, whether you are a brand, an SEO or a blogger, its pinching stuff from their blogs or feeds.

Last year, just as the kids were all going back to school, a blogger, like many of us, took a “First Day Back” photo of her children. She posted it online and thought nothing of it.

Until a company- I forget which- suddenly used her photo, without permission along with other parent’s images. It was titled, in a condescending manner “Happy Stand In Front of the Front Door Day”.

Did they ask to use the images in their mockery of the practise?


So, it’s bad enough that they nicked her photo- amongst others- but to then use it to take the pee out of something many of us do now, well, that really did take the utter mickey.

Now, it’s sometimes more simple than that, you’re a newer blogger looking for ideas, and you wake up at 3am having a light bulb moment, a grand linky, or series, or conference that will make you the best known thing in blogging ever!

That’s all well and good, and we’ve all had flashes of genius at 3am that we think will make us the best thing since sliced bread. However, there are flipping loads of blogs around, here, and abroad, all of which, at some point, are someone’s pride and joy, or even their main source of income.

With that in mind, it’s best to check your wonder idea wasn’t already someone else’s idea before.

How do we do that?

Well, it’s easy, you can either google the idea name you’ve had, or, if that’s going to take you ages or you want to double check, then it’s always a good option to ask on Facebook blogging groups or on twitter. Search the hashtags on Twitter too, as some bloggers, myself included, often use these to maximise the reach of linkies or series type posts.

Recently, a blogger posted on one such Facebook group about a Link up she’d thought up. It sounded brill, I’m not going to lie (or nick it, I’m a nice blogger), it was based on music you like and in all honesty would work well.

Yes, in fact, I knew it would work marvellously, as it’s been done, and is still being carried, by another blogger. Now, that little slip up was dealt with before it went on the blogger’s site, but it shows how good it is to ask around of us old bloggers who remember these ideas the first time around and avoid a disaster!

As someone who has had their work pinched, it’s really infuriating, and trust me, I’ve had it done by well known bloggers who should know better. It will create a storm of annoyance from other bloggers, and unless you sort out an apology pronto, you will not be flavour of the month.

So, if you do accidentally slip up, don’t try and ignore the issue or deny all knowledge. Yes, it is hard to prove any liability of copyright on an idea- and some nastier types will know this- but in blogging community circles it is a big no no and people take a dim view on behalf of the wronged individual.

So whether you’ve seen an image on Google that would be great for your blog, or an idea has sprung to mind for a new name, check, check and for God sake check some more, because failure to do so could see you in the blogging doghouse or worse- up before a Judge for copyright infringement.

Yes, really- it’s happened, so don’t turn your little blog into a massive financial cock up, and do your research before launching an idea.


Is It Just Me: That Actually Kind Of, Sort Of, Agrees with JosiDenise?

I could’ve actually put this post under the #BlogSchool tag as it’s a bit of both that and Is It Just Me to be fair.

Its (another) howling at the moon, bloggers up in arms moment in the old homestead of Blogland, this time an American blogger has managed to rattle the collective chains of many thousands of bloggers across the UK and US.

Her post “Dear Mommy Blogger” has certainly divided opinion, but for the most part the post has gone down like the lack of wine at a blogger event- not well indeed.

She’s not a blogger I was aware of, I don’t think many people were over here, but her click bait and rant fueled letter of anger towards all thing Mum Blog has certainly brought her front and center now.

I first heard about it on facebook but the site had been suspended, probably because it had been shared around 16.1K times and had countless and relentless traffic. I was given the abridged notes that basically it was rather derogatory to parent bloggers, especially those who review, so I waited to see if it came back online and prepared myself to be as cross as a lot of my peers.

I read it twice, at about 6.30am.

At first, I read it and read the angry bits, and the swearing, and the waffle bits and thought, well, this is a bit off isn’t it?

But, as I was only on my first coffee, I made another and read it again.

The point is, and I think the point that is lost due to the righteous indignation of people who don’t like being called out by anyone, much less a fellow blogger and the fact it is so in your face and directly put, there are several issues brought up that are spot on if you remove the swearing.

If you take out the fist shaking, in need of Valium and a nice sit down of it, I found myself nodding along and recognising some of the things she said that I had said myself many times in the last 5 years. All be it in a less shouting Harridan way.

I have often lamented the old days when we would comment because we actually liked a post or had an opposing viewpoint to express politely to that in the post. I have noticed that, since DA reared its ugly, manipulative head and ruined blogging forever, as my blogs are either on WordPress or a vanity url which has shit DA, I barely get a sniff of a comment, even from people who regularly commented on every post I ever posted before. Despite the fact that my writing style and my debate and opinion fueling posts are still here, it seems that the DA rule has meant my blog is not worth bothering to comment on as it wont allow someone to get a hit off my virtual stats.

I agreed 100% that the idea that anyone actually reads every single post we post is a daft notion- even Elder doesn’t read my blog, his sisters probably don’t get the blogging thing so don’t, in fact, I bet the fact my DA here is WordPress and not therefore good enough to bother with means I barely get a sniff of the action anymore, unless I write something which could be a bit controversial (to Mumsnet) and then I get thrown a bone. I don’t check my stats, so I don’t care, or bother to care, as my blog is my space to unleash the stuff in my head so I would write it anyway.

I agreed too that, actually, sometimes going to upteen conferences, and following advice from “experts” (most of whom are self appointed) can be very tiring, very expensive and get you precisely nowhere fast. I have long since gone to conferences to see people I haven’t see since the year before, drink gin with adults away from the kids, get a goodie bag and then I might, might, just take home some knowledge in the form of notes which I will be unable to decipher or cant be arsed to implicate once I get home hungover. BlogOn was the only conference I’ve been to recently where I actually learned anything, and that was down to the fact it was done in a fun, non preaching way. However, a lot of bloggers are still caught up by these (again, self appointed) better blogging Gurus and their lists, awards and seminars that are better than another, similar seminar run by another, similar outfit.

The best person to know how to do stuff on your blog that works for you and is your style and niche? Is it these outfits cashing in on blogger outreach, working as middle men? Is it old skool bloggers who have had varying degrees of success? Is it online marketers who will make your blog work and get you meaningless numbers of fake followers?


Its you.

You write it, you put your personality into it. No one can know how you want to portray yourself online better than you.

I cannot even begin to imagine how needy someone would be to buy fake followers and comments. Seriously. I guess this is more of an American Mom Blog thing, as the stakes seem to be infinitely higher over there. But no doubt, give it a while and it will happen here too.

Once something becomes more drama, more cost, and more aggro than fun, that’s when we need to reevaluate if we don’t need to find a better hobby.

You only have to look at “issue threads” and comment rings where people are really pissed off with one of the chain for not commenting back. Why would you care? Because it hits your DA, that’s why you care, if you’re the type of blogger who possibly didn’t set up with the ideal of telling the web about your day or getting stuff off your chest. If I comment on someone’s blog, I don’t chase them over social media to bitch them for not commenting back. I just think perhaps they didn’t catch my post, or they didn’t have anything to add. And that’s fine by me.

Blogging should not cost more than a domain, should you wish to monetise your blog. It should not cost x amount of pounds for layouts, or y amount of pounds for fake followers and hits.

Yes, its frustrating when you read a blog where the effort has gone more into the layout than the content, and these blogs are the one’s I tend to avoid going back to.But never would I ever buy my way up the ladder.

When all this batshit crazy stuff in blogging has gone, I’ll still be here, tapping away at my blog, with it’s wonky layouts and its shit DA score.

So, whilst it’s hard to read what Josidenise says in her OTT, smack you in the face way, some of what she says is bang on the mark.

Perhaps its time for the Blogland massive to reflect on why it pissed them off so much?



How to Approach Brands Without Causing a Multi Platform Sh*t Storm

OK bitches. This is where I jump in a virtual rocking chair, grab a blanket and sit you mad ass mofos down, Granny style and impart my hard earned words of bloggy wisdom.

You are welcome.

Its the summer holidays, always a time when blog folk get bored and caught up with looking after our children ‘cos them god damn pesky and frankly inconsiderate teachers bugger off for six weeks down the pub. The bastards.

Its also a time when clearly the heat (or in this case, widespread rain and gales) makes us all go a little bit stir crazy.

Such is the norm in this situation, bloggers be bitching at other bloggers, then other bloggers join in on either side and it all kicks off, with me in the middle requesting peace and using words like shizzle in a vague and futile attempt to make everyone laugh and thus stop acting like nutters.

Today, one blogger in a rather ill advised newbie error, decided that, as it was her birthday next week, she would tie this in with brands.

Now, if she’d done this via email, I’d have to give Brownie points and think “why didn’t I think of this?”.

But she didn’t, and in a move not wholly uncommon for new folk, she used the much maligned #PRRequest hashtag on twitter, several times to every brand in the known universe (or so it felt).

This does have the effect of finger nails down a blackboard to some bloggers. Not to me personally, I don’t really hate on anyone who tries to get themselves out there to brands when there are flipping shitloads of bloggers these days. However, annoy people she did, and faced a backlash from some who didn’t decide to @ her in their bitchie comments.

Someone did though, publicly, finger waggling for her publicly contacting so many brands. It gives us a bad name she said.

Yes, it probably does. But there is a certain irony, not lost on me, for publicly bemoaning someone for publicly begging companies to work with them.

So, how do you go about approaching brands with a cracking tie in idea without causing the sort of multi platform social media shit storm that happened over these two and their tweets and Facebook passive aggressiveness?

Well, the best way is not to carpet bomb twitter.

The thing is, you can, and I have done myself, say hello to a brand on Twitter, have a little social chat, then say, “oh, are you looking to work with anyone at the moment?”

In fact, I would suggest that, if you put the work in and play the long game, you can happily build up a rapport with a brand are/or PR firm or individual and end up working with them. If you do chat with them, they will no doubt have a look at your Twitter bio, and they’ll know you’re a blogger. That way, if you are a friendly soul who sparks up a nice little chat routine with them, they’ll hopefully think of you when they are putting together a list for their next round of outreach.

If you aren’t in it for the long haul, or have a deadline to meet, say with Back to School or Christmas, then the best way to contact your desired brands is to make a list.

Once you’ve got your list, you need to fire up Google, and do your research. Attack it like you did your GCSEs.

This will take a while, but you now need to go to each of the brands, and scroll down the page, right to the small print.

Most brand’s websites will have a small Contact link, or, even better, one which says Press.

This is where you have to forget you are a lowly blog (cos we aren’t lowly. We rock) and click that press link. If the contact us link is there instead, you need to click it and find press inquiries instead. Take down the email.

I find with carpet emailing, the best bet is to write a standard email which I can insert the name of the contact in and the brand I want to work with. I also add my important stats, or my media pack with these in.


Do not be graspy, do not act like you are the best thing since sliced bread, but do say what you feel you can do for them and their brand. Explain that you can test an item out and will then insert a link to their chosen brand page, and that posts are then put out on all your social media channels. Got an instagram page? Make it known that you can show what you are currently testing and of course @ their instagram page.

You have to bear in mind that these people get lots of approaches, so you kind of have to sell yourself but without sounding too up yourself.

If you don’t get a reply, move on, try again next year. DO NOT DRIVE THEM CRAZY on Twitter. They will think you are nuts and they still, definitely will not work with you.

Most importantly, work on your blog, work on your social media output and gain a following first, If your blog is basically two three paragraph posts, and your twitter follower list is nearing on empty, that is not the time to hit up companies to work with you.

If you have a less than great DA (DA, this years PR for annoyance and smugness in equal measures and sure to be replaced by something else as before), but a good twitter following, mention that.

So, to recap, do not carpet bomb twitter in an epic style which will do nothing but offend.

Do build up relationships with brand, PRs, and other bloggers.

Do work on your blogging and social media output first.

And for Gods sake, please don’t be bitching at each other and causing fuckwittery. We were all new once upon a time and we all make epic faux pas. Just take it to private message, even if you have to ask said blogger to follow you first.

Elsewise your point about “making bloggers look bad via overuse of the PR hashtag” will result in “making bloggers look bad by causing epic who said what, she did this” anger and side taking. Which makes us look even worse.

And if you’d like any tips, send me a Tweet 🙂