Since the start of her online presence Jessica Smith set herself apart from bloggers as a thought leader and influencer. With an eye for utilizing best practices in business and a keen understanding of the blogger community, Smith was able to align herself with well known brands, PR firms and even start ups. Her knowledge and expertise transcends well into her first book: Spill: Secrets from a Former Agency Executive and Spokesblogger.
I met Jessica Smith about five years ago “virtually” through some head hunting she was doing for a start up parenting niche website. They were looking for a “mom voice” to lead their community and my experience as an online community manager and community volunteer lead me to a phone interview with Jessica, where after I eventually got the job.
From that first conversation I knew that Smith knew her stuff. Her advice on never selling yourself short and remaining true to yourself in order to find success has been the best advice I’ve ever gotten so when I learned she was writing a book, I was hoping to see more of that sage wisdom in print.
Smith’s book is a mix of How-to and Been There, Done That Bought the Coffee Mug. It reads like a conversation you’d have in person with Smith herself giving solid advice in an easy to understand manner. If you’re a blogger trying to figure out how to become a brand ambassador, find more paid gigs as a blogger or even just trying to leverage your blog as a business, this is a must have book.
Smith packs a lot of information into the 81 page book. I recommend that you save your Starbucks money for a week or two and buy.the.book. If you think you can read it once and then go on your merry way; think again. Spill contains enough information for three books and you’ll want to pick it up, read, take action, rinse and repeat for nearly every chapter. Smith offers advice and solid actionable tasks from working up your blog’s “About” page to re-vamping your LinkedIn profile for better, more relevant connections.
Spill offers advice and information that even seasoned bloggers like myself can take and put to use. I will be the first to tell you that there’s always something new to learn about blogging, especially as the industry continues to grow and change. What was comforting to read was that even as I’ve been at this for seven years now, the wisdom Spill delivers reaches far beyond whatever changes the industry may encounter. While some information might be considered common sense (see the chapters on Community and Credibility); the way Smith lays the information out for you puts a set of fresh eyes on how to best present yourself to brands, your readers and even your colleagues.
Overall, I’d recommend this book to both new bloggers and experienced ones; especially those who often wonder, “Why don’t I get picked for campaigns?” We’ve all been there and asked that question at one point or another and Smith explains both what to do and what not to do in a non-threatening and engaging manner.
I’ve always stated that I didn’t start blogging to make money (it’s actually the other way around; I was writing and making money and then decided to blog. How very 2006 of me, I know). However, experiences and opportunities have led me to a path to be able to add additional cash to my family’s budget from blogging (in addition to maintaining a successful freelance business and Telecommuting job). Were I to start from scratch, right now, I’d implement a number of Spill’s secrets to get off on the right foot.
*Disclosure: I was not given a review copy of this book nor was I asked to blog about this book. (Pretty sure Jessica has no idea I even read the book either). I did however borrow it from Kindle’s lending library and it has thus been added to my “Wish List” (which is about seven country miles long). Also? Despite the same last name, Jessica Smith and I are not related, we were just lucky enough to marry awesome men with that last name – who are also not related. (However there should totally be a “Smiths of the World Unite” club somewhere).