Blogger spotlight with Elizabeth Sellers, author of the lifestyle blog Rosalilium. Award-winning blogger Elizabeth talks to us about the highs and lows of being a blogger, developing a more collaborative relationship with PRs, and why she thinks the future of blogging will be video focused.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? My blog, Rosalilium, is a personal lifestyle story that celebrates the positive things in life from grand adventures to the simple things. It covers a range of topics including recipes, home and interiors, fashion, travel and daily life. Every time you visit there is something new to read. My audience enjoys that I speak to them like a friend. I always add my own voice and perspective to the things that I share. They know that I am generous with my knowledge and always ready to chat. I think being approachable is an important part of my blog ‘brand’.
How do you measure the success of your website? I think success comes in a number of ways for a blogger. The most important is genuine reader engagement, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as somebody messaging me to say they tried a recipe I shared or thanking me for the latest blogging advice I shared. Success is also being able to make a living from my blog. Being a content creator is when I feel most at home with work, so being able to pay the bills whilst still creating is huge honour and a mark of success for me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? My best advice is to start before you think you’re ready, reach out to the rest of blogging community, learn quickly from others using resources such as Blognix and find your voice as soon as possible. The other more technical bits you can learn as you go. The best thing I ever did when I started blogging was to spend every evening reading other blogs, commenting and totally immersing myself in the community. It’s so supportive and as your blog grows with content and audience that support network will be super valuable.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? My favourite commercial partnerships tend to be the ones where I can be creative with the content and interpreting the brief. I love being able to sit down with a PR, discuss the objectives of their client and figure out a way to work together that benefits them as well as me and my readers. I do a fair amount of one-off sponsored posts, reviews and collaborations. But in my view longer term partnerships are more effective both for the brand and myself.
How do you use social media to promote/share content? What are the challenges? I share content across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I find Pinterest the most effective as it has a higher engagement rate and I have a good sized audience there. The main challenges are the Facebook algorithm not showing content to all my followers, Instagram posts have a short shelf-life and Twitter has become rather ‘noisy’. With Pinterest I know the content there is evergreen and can be found for years to come.
What can PRs do in working better with you? I think lead time is probably the most challenging factor for me. I often get approached with projects that have very quick turnarounds. Yes, as a blogger we can be more adaptable with turnaround than a print publication, but I would prefer more notice with big projects so that I can prepare and produce higher quality content. It doesn’t happen as much these days but it can get a tad disheartening when I get asked to work for free. There is huge value in what I do; creating content takes a huge amount of time, not to mention the long-term advertising value of being featured on my blog. I think the days of expecting free advertising from bloggers has gone. It’s important to have mutually beneficial relationships for everyone involved and as most bloggers are freelancers they need to prioritise paid work.
What has been your blogging highlight? There’s been so many! This weekend I am going out to the Alps with a travel brand to learn how to ski. It’s an experience I have never had before and I know I can create some really interesting content around the trip. I also won a West Midlands blogger of the year award which was a great honour to be recognised. And of course, crossing the 100k visitors mark was a huge highlight, knowing so many people have read my blog is super inspiring to keep creating and making Rosalilium a great place to be.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? Video! I am currently organising my blogger’s conference and what I noticed is that when asking our attendees what their biggest challenge is or which skill they want to learn nearly all of them said video was the next thing for them to take on in 2016. YouTube is so accessible now and as bloggers we’ve realised we can take the skills we have as content creators and connect with audiences in totally different ways. It’s an exciting time.
Editorial information on Elizabeth Sellers, Rosalilium and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the Media Database