Ok, I have been trying to get a FAQ page up for a while now, and it just isn't happening. I do get asked often how I get to contribute to other blogs and I just have to say it is a combination of really hard work, getting your work seen and luck. One of my readers, who is just sweet as all get out, Amy, from the blog THIS HEART OF MINE, sent me some questions the other day and I thought I would share my answers. I don't know if it will help you at all, if you were even thinking about it or if you were even wondering. Anyhoo, here it goes...
Amy asked me basically, how I found my contributor jobs, if I get paid, how long I have been blogging before I got paid, and if I decide what I post or I am guided. To which I answered:
...be prepared, it takes a lot of hard work and I still don't know what I am doing.
It all started when I had an Etsy shop. In an effort to promote it, I contacted one of my favorite blogs to see if they wanted to do a giveaway, so we did, and then later down the line the blog contacted me about doing a DIY for their new site. I did. We had talked about doing more but something was lost in translation and we never ended up doing it. During that time, I also did a DIY contest over on Ruffled. Then I saw in January 2011, Cyd from The Sweetest Occasion (TSO) was looking for contributors. I sent her a proposal for doing DIYs and sent her my links for the DIYs I did for the other blogs. She was interested and we tried it out on a trial basis, every other week. I was running opposite of Chelsea from Lovely Indeed. I had blogging friends, too, who would ask me to do a guest post when they needed to go on vacation or to spruce up the blog so I did. It is really important to get your work out there. I would suggest, if you don't have any DIYs out there that really stand out, make some up, shoot it and put those in your email. You want to show your best work. By far, some of my projects are not the greatest, but as long as you have some really great ones out there show them off.
I think, except TSO, and the first two DIYs ever, all of my jobs have come to me. I developed a style to my diys, clean and simple, based on what shows well and what more blogs were showing. My work is consistent. Meaning, each DIY is set up the same essentially. I think that is important. Whatever or however you shoot your work, make it the same. The blogs that will hire you want to know what they are getting. Make your work unique, some bloggers differ on this idea, but I always try to make my work original content. Big blogs want that. Creatively, I just don't work any other way, I'm just not built like that. If you are doing something similar, I mean how many garlands are there out there, change it up with a different shape, style, or material. That is what they are hiring you for.
I am compensated for my work. There are always exceptions, but overall, I am paid. I developed a rate that I thought was affordable for the blogs and "worth it" for me for the amount of work I do. When you are starting, it is important to get your work out there so you might not be paid. Smaller blogs can't pay as much as larger blogs. You might luck out and negotiate your supplies expense at least. That is definately something I would do different if I started out. I also think that if I had taken time and done some "sample" DIYs, a portfolio of sorts, I might have had access to being paid sooner. Sometimes, even large brands may have you do stuff, and you might not get paid, they think your payment is publicity and it is. The more people that see your work the better your chances for getting gigs later on. But always make sure it is worth it to you in some way, don't say yes just to be doing work. If the blog isn't a good fit, don't. Just decline nicely.
Right now I am pretty free to choose what I want to post about. It does go with the territory though. Hellobee is kid crafts and activities, Oh Happy Day (OHD) and TSO are party and wedding stuff. Each site has an aesthetic and that is something you can notice or even ask when you are negotiating. I have a posting schedule for OHD, and kind of one for TSO. Hellobee is when I want, but basically every other week or so. I have free range to do as many as I like for her, but only one a month for OHD. It really depends on the blog.
It's tough but fun. Try and get everything covered before you start so you are both on the same page. There are some mistakes to be made for sure, I'm still learning. But, I think that about sums it up. Work hard, be consistent, and be nice to everyone. If someone posts a link about your DIY, send them an email to say thank you. Let people know you appreciate their help, basically because it's nice. But you never know, and it might just get you a job, that's how I got on OHD. True story.
I really hope this helped answer some lingering questions. I just wanted to share my story, no one shares this stuff online. If you have any more questions, feel free to leave it in the comments section or email me! I'm still here for another half of a week before summer break so I can do more like this if you want.