This week in a new ‘Meet the Promoters’ interview, I’m chatting to award-winning blogger Honest Mum. Vicki Psarias owns the parenting and lifestyle online magazine Honest Mum™, and hosts regular giveaways on her website. As well as blogging, Vicki vlogs regularly on her YouTube channel.
How did you get into blogging Vicki?
I started Honest Mum in November 2010 at an all-time low time for me while I was on maternity leave from being a TV Director and filmmaker. Suffering from a traumatic birth, I felt lost and alone – blogging helped me to rediscover my voice, slowly build my confidence back and importantly, opened me up to a community of like-minded individuals, many whom became friends and colleagues. Blogging and social media was an emotional lifeline for me. After 2 weeks, I was working with an ad agency, after 4, I was a finalist in the BritMums Blogging Awards (BritMums have been incredibly supportive throughout my career) – and by the time I was pregnant with my second son, Alexander, blogging had become my full time job.
What are the best and worst bits of your job?
It is my DREAM job, I get to write, direct, present, work in social media, consult for PR firms, speak at events and engagements and hopefully inspire others to work in this liberating and empowering digital field.
The worst is the internet never sleeps and sometimes nor do I! Kidding, I always sleep but I do find myself burning the midnight oil at times. It is ultimately a positive though, I have a flexible job that works around my family so I spread out full time hours any way I like. I always have 1 full day off during the week too. The ideal is to have a 3 day week. Sometimes I achieve that but not often enough. I love being busy, I used to work 12-15 hour days as a director, so this is actually not as stressful as those times.
Competitions are a great way for bloggers to gain readers and social media followers. What advice would you give to bloggers who are looking to host giveaways?
Giveaways are a great way for brands, big and small to reach a wide demographic so PRs will often want to work with bloggers to push their campaigns. I love working with companies to help reward others whilst offering me a boost business-wise as traffic is amplified along with followers. I would advise bloggers to pitch to brands they are working with or want to, expressing how competitions are a great way for a brand to get greater value too with a boost to their own platforms. I always like to include a competition with a review. Some of the world’s biggest bloggers and instagrammers run competitions on their platforms.
I sometimes run what I call a three-pronged attack for brands – Facebook, Twitter and a blog competition launched at the same time, offering a prize on each – that way I reach as much of my audience as possible. I had large social media followings and stats before I started running comps but of course these help. You can never have too much traffic right?!
On the website I use Rafflecopter (and have the upgraded version) but there are lots of widgets you can try. Read about the rules of hosting giveaways before you go live – Di is an expert on this so every blogger should read her super book and follow SuperLucky!
How do you promote your giveaways?
I like to plug on competition blog linkys like SuperLucky and U Me and the Kids – other favourite sites include Loquax, PrizeFinder, Competition Database, and the BritMums Competitions and Giveaways Group.
Which prizes are the most and least popular with your readers?
I don’t think (so far) I’ve had unpopular prizes. Ralph Lauren is always a favourite and gift cards do very well for big department stores. Smaller brands are always going to be a tougher ‘sell’ as they are lesser known but it’s still a great platform for PR and visibility for them. I only work with brands which fit my ethos and style and only offer the things I’d want to win myself if I was entering a competition.
How do you choose winners for your giveaways?
Randomly via the Rafflecopter widget and sometimes the brand selects randomly from social media.
For blog giveaways, a PR agency usually arranges delivery of the prize – which is where problems can arise! Have you had any trouble with missing prizes, and how did you deal with it?
So far, so good, if anything wasn’t delivered, new items were sent out and they were dealt with professionally and speedily.
Are there certain prizes you would recommend a promoter NEVER gives away?
Always host competitions which fit your brand, site and values!
Do you enter any comps yourself – and have you had any success?
Do you know, I’ve not entered a competition in a long while, I absolutely would for something like a luxury holiday or food items/ beauty products (I love all things food and beauty as you know)!
What frustrates you most about compers?
Again, nada, I’ve always had a great experience with those entering my competitions. Thanks for the support guys!
Thanks Vicki! Check out Honest Mum’s current giveaways here.