As my blog approaches it’s third birthday, I decided it was about time I throw some opinions and tips around from my own personal experiences. It’s also the most common e-mail to fall into my inbox, especially with the sudden rise of Blogging and Vlogging as respectable and profitable career choices.
I started out in my University bedroom with my iPhone4 (so retro) and an app with a photo timer. I was painfully awkward and you could barely make out my facial features the pictures were so grainy, please feel free to check out my archive here for some evidence. I got my first initial exposure via Lookbook.nu which provided my blog with a much needed push into the PR’s beady eyes. Within one month I was working with brands and creating regular content even sustaining it all through my dissertation. I loved my blog but it really was a hobby which I could take a month or two out of whenever I fancied. Fast forward to 2014 and the blogging boom happened, finally we were respected opinion leaders and “influencers” whose opinions are VALUABLE. So here are a few things I found helpful a long the way;
I can’t tell you how many “blogging top tips” I’ve stumbled across which tell you that engaging and eloquently written content is the key to setting your blog apart. Whilst I don’t doubt this is the case for some, I mean even I find myself wanting to turn the e-pages of a great blog with the same enthusiasm as I would when I read an enthralling book. But for some of us the gift of writing (or even grammar and spelling, as if you hadn’t noticed) doesn’t come easy! And nothing gets my goat more than someone saying that it is the “be all and end all” of being a good blogger.
People are good at different things and I was one of those kids that was not overly academically gifted, I wasn’t terrible I was just distinctively average. You were certainly more likely to find my name at the top of the Athletics score board than that of the creative writing class. So to then fast forward a number of years (I’m not going to count) and find me sat behind a computer having written my blog for three years is rather amusing (even if a distinct part is still to do with being active). I feel I’m rambling now, but what I’m trying to put across in my own distinctively average way, is that you shouldn’t be put off just because like me, English just wasn’t your gig at school. There are so many other ways to make your content engaging such as beautiful photography, humour, sharing life experiences but most of all just being passionate about what it is you are blogging about. So however you choose to make your content engaging do not be discouraged by the opinions of the grammar police!
Be an early adopter
Stay up to date with what’s going on in the ‘blogosphere’ and adopt the latest trends relevant to your brand as soon as you they land. This is where technology really will be your friend. Because of my hectic lifestyle I’m constantly travelling about the place and this is usually the only time I get to stop and relax so I always take my shiny new Iconia A1 tablet from Acer with me. This enables me to group all of the most inspirational and front running blogs (in my opinion) together and allow myself the journey to catch up and become acquainted with new industry trends. You don’t wanna be left behind!
I like to keep my list to a maximum of 5 key blogs so that I don’t get influenced by trends or styles which really don’t fit with my brand and I keep tabs direct to their pages so as soon as I get 5 minutes to myself, I’m on my Acer Tablet bringing myself up to date.
Don’t be afraid to engage
One person I will forever be grateful to is the beautiful Sarah from Burntheblonde.com who many moons ago introduced me to the wonderful world of social media, and actually schooled me in how you Tweet! If it wasn’t for her I don’t think I’d be sat here doing what I do, because whether we like to admit it, social media is an important part of being a blogger. My problem was, she was pretty much one of a handful of bloggers I interacted with for the next 2 years to follow. I let the fear or large groups of girls get the better of me when I should have been attending events, tweeting bloggers I admired and stepping out of my comfort zone. In 2014 I made a decision to change and be less scared of said groups of girls and I certainly feel better for it and learn a lot more about the workings of other peoples blogs, because if you hadn’t noticed, there’s no handbook for this.
There’s a lot of pressure to be a certain way or have a certain style in the blogging world at the moment and there’s nothing worse than seeing a blog succumb to the trends which you know isn’t relevant to their brand. There’s a couple of unwritten rules which I myself always abide, I’m not sure whether I read them somewhere or whether as a blogger you “just know” but will never use photography that isn’t my own without providing links back to the person who owns the images, it’s just polite after-all your blog will benefit from their hard work so it’s good manners to give credit where it’s due. I also won’t ever plagiarise (meaning to take someones work and obviously copy) we all take inspiration from each other on a daily basis which is wonderful and personally half of the reason why I do this, but I recently had it brought to my attention that a fellow blogger had taken it a bit too far and our posts were almost identical. I was shocked by how personal I took this, almost like it was a direct attack on my blog. But needless to say anyone who saw the post immediately knew which makes plagiarism really counter productive, people aren’t daft and can usually tell when somethings not legitimate.
I speak only from personal experience here but my blog only really started moving in the direction that I’d always wanted when I had the belief in what I was doing to invest. Whether it’s a shiny new blog layout or the latest equipment it really could be that one thing to set your blog apart from others. My biggest investment to date was my camera as I personally am captivated by beautiful photography, I not only invested in the camera its self but I’ve also invested time (and bandwidth) by watching tutorials online and reading up all about photography. It’s healthy to always aspire to be better.
So these are just a handful of what I’ve learnt over the past 3 years, every day I learn something new as the industry changes and evolves but I guess that’s what keeps blogging exciting, you just never know what’s going to happen next.