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Be a Better Blogger Week: Be a Contributor

Can I just tell you how excited I am to have a CELEBRITY on the blog today? You guys have probably all heard about this crazy fast growing blog called My Sister’s Suitcase, right? Well, you get the pleasure of hearing from Nat today! These girls are super amazing, funny, adorable, and everything that is good in the world. I am so excited that they are helping us all to become better bloggers!

Hi! I’m Nat, {one half of the sister-duo} from My Sister’s Suitcase! My sister Holly and I live in different states and started blogging to have a place to share our crazy ideas and work on something together. She is the best older sister (even though she’s so gorgeous that people always think she’s younger) and closest friend. We’ve been blogging for almost one year now, and it has been a fun, crazy, busy ride!

We met McKenzie at SNAP in April and had SO much fun getting to know her! Seriously, she let me hang out with her and her awesome friends for dinner one night when I was sister-less. We had a blast. {That’s us in the back. Yeah, check out all the cool bloggers at that table. Whoa!}

And NOW, I’m super jealous because McKenzie and Holly live by each other and get to do fun bloggy stuff together! Anyway, we are excited to be a part of Girl Loves Glam’s “Be A Better Blogger Week”! I feel like we are still so new to blogging and have a ton to learn, so I’m looking forward this week! Today we’re sharing what we do know about being contributors. {And if you’re totally new to blogging, that means writing a post regularly for another blog/or website.} About 8 months into our blogging adventure, we were approached by a few blogs asking if we would be interested in being monthly contributors. Holly & I were so flattered because we still feel so new! So how did we get noticed? Good question! We have a couple ideas to share with you on what seems to have worked well for us. 1. Content When Holly &  I started our blog, we honestly were just starting to start. We didn’t know what we were doing (and sometimes still don’t – Ha!) but we knew we wanted to have original ideas. On My Sister’s Suitcase we try to strive for original and quality content. That’s really hard sometimes! We rarely do round-ups or filler posts and that means we don’t post every single day. We recently asked one of the bloggers we are contributors for what made our blog stand out, and this was her answer: quality, original content. If you haven’t heard it before, that’s one of the things we have heard from our mentors in the blogging world over and over. The first year (or years) you really need to build up your blog through great content, original projects and quality tutorials.

{Note: we don’t have anything against blogs who do otherwise, and we have definitely not had amazing mind-blowing ideas for every post!} 2. Getting your stuff out there! Yes, linking up to Parties is still a huge way to drive traffic to your blog and get your ideas out there. They are time-consuming, but in the beginning we felt that was the best way to get our name and our content noticed. There are a few other things we have also done.

  • Social Media {Facebook, Twitter} 
  • Pinterest – Add “Pin It” buttons to every single post under your main picture(s) of your project Here’s how to do it! Pin It Buttons
  • E-mail blogs you like and give them examples of some of your greatest projects (only 2-3 and include great pictures)
  • Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Last Christmas, Holly sent one of her project ideas to some of her favorite bloggers/websites and it totally paid off! A Utah Daytime TV Show loved it and asked if they could feature it and do a live Skype chat with her on the show! So fun!

3. Quality Pictures of your Projects In the world of blogging, the quality of your pictures is one of the first things people notice…. so make a good impression! For small blogs like us, we are most often found by a pin of one of our projects on Pinterest. In fact, that is how we were discovered for our first contributor gig. You can have the most creative idea in the world, but if you have a bad picture of it, you are really discrediting yourself and your blog. Now, I am in no way saying that we have amazing pictures of all of our projects…. we don’t. BUT, we have taken the time to learn some photo editing and simple tricks to make the most of what we have.

Holly uses an old point-and-shoot camera for everything she’s done on the blog, and her pictures look pretty dang good! I honestly think editing your pictures and making some nice “pin-friendly” images, is one of the best investments of your time as a new blogger. Okay….  So once you have built up your content, have great pictures, and make it easy for people to find your projects {via link parties, Pinterest, etc.} what do you do next? I promise you WILL get noticed. One of our favorite blog mentors told us this, “The cream always rises to the top.” If you are consistently putting great content out there, it won’t be long before you might be contacted to be a contributor for one of your favorite blogs. When this happens, here are a few things that you should know…. 1. Most blogs require some type of contract/commitment from you when you agree to become a contributor – anywhere from 3 months to a year. So make sure you can really commit before you say YES! 2.  You may or may not be offered monetary compensation for writing your contributor posts. As a general rule of thumb, guest posts are not usually paid opportunities, but monthly contributor posts often are paying jobs. The amount you are paid will depend on several factors, but don’t sell yourself short! After all, you will be spending time {and often money} on your contributor project so don’t feel guilty expecting a little something in return.

If you aren’t paid, that’s okay too! More often than not, the exposure itself is well worth the time and effort it takes to be a contributor. 3. You will need to provide original content for all contributor posts, and each blog will have their own rules about when you can re-post it on your own blog. So make sure you are aware of their guidelines ahead of time. We have really enjoyed our contributor gigs so far! We have made some great connections within the blog community, and gained more subscribers to our blog and other social media sites. I hope this has inspired you to put your blog out there and seek opportunities that might be a little outside of your comfort zone. It will definitely pay off! Thanks for letting us join in your series McKenzie!

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Friday 27th of July 2012

Wow, thank you so much for this post. It is full of so much helpful information that I didn't even know I wanted to know. I'm a new blogger, so contributing is a long way off. But now I know that it's something I'd like to build a foundation for. I've seen tons of blogging tips out there, but this is the first post I've seen about being a contributor. Great topic -- thanks again!

S. Simpson

Wednesday 25th of July 2012

Thank you for such a great post. I really appreciate all of your great tips. I never really thought about how important a great photo is but that is one of the things that draws me in to others. I'm pinning your post right.✰ Stacy

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