And we are back for part deux on becoming a successful blogger! Although this series is aimed at individuals that want to make blogging their profession, I do think a lot of the information will work for us individuals that blog as a hobby or blog as a companion to their business (ie. for updates or behind the scenes, etc.), the basic principles will apply. If you missed part I you can find it here.
I tell everyone that asks me about blogging this. It is one of my top 5 tips for having a successful blog–being consistent. Of all those thousands of people that have asked for my precious droplets of knowledge how many have listened? I think that number may be hovering at zero. These are the same people that are wondering why they haven’t had throngs of readers blowing up their stats, or haven’t been offered a book deal or had a large sponsor try to woo them. If you are not consistent you are not going to make it to the higher ranks of the blogosphere. You don’t need to blog every day either, if you only blog once a week, then make sure it is the same time/day the following week. This minimal blogging is perfect for the person that is running a business and just wants to do an update on say a new design they are working on. Can you be successful with just one post a week? I don’t see why not as long as your post is freakin’ awesome, make people want to come back. Yes, there are blogs that are popular + make money that don’t blog on a regular basis but when they do post their posts are so interesting or ‘pinnable’ that they will garner attention driving readers to the site, one such blog is P.S. I made this. There are also many blogs turned mega sites like Design Sponge that post 5-6 times per day. When I discuss SEO you will know why this helps your search engine optimization.
PLAN YOUR POSTS
I used to think writing posts on the fly was just my ‘style’, and was more creative but actually it just proves that I am a world class procrastinator. When I decided at the beginning of the year to put together a calendar of posts (in the ‘biz’ they call it an editorial calendar) my blogging life became exponentially less stressful and in turn more creative. I can’t recommend this enough not only will your readers have an idea of what to look forward to, but you have time to do much better research on said subject. Do I deviate from my set categories? Yes, I do but rarely, most of the time I keep to a schedule. So, for practical purposes an example would be Thursday’s here are my Lettering Love posts, I know that some readers only stop by that day for them, which is fine by me I love that they are welcomed posts. I really believe if you are going to take this seriously as a business you are going to need to put some forethought into the process, sorry to break it to you but there is going to be a lot of work involved. Good news if this is your hobby blog you can still plan ahead, a hobby should be relaxing and not be a chore, don’t put undue stress on yourself.
Know your market & know your competition. When I work on a branding project with a product based client I ask them what products they envision their brand sitting next to in a shop. I can immediately tell if they are being unrealistic and also what it will take to get them to their goal. Do you know what blogs yours will be in good company with? That may become a great ally? That have a similar tone (perhaps same readers) but you both are creating your own wonderful + unique content? Are there blogs out there that are at your level that may be potential competition? Ask yourself constantly what you can do differently, what will make you better? For a hobby blogger this isn’t a big deal, ignorance is bliss, but for those wanting to go pro this is just good business sense to know what is out there, what is getting a good response and figuring out what content you can create that will be an enhancement to readers. No one likes to read the same blog posts on different blogs (taking your own photos and re-wording does not count), readers have very little time so give them something new and interesting and they will return.
CONTENT IS KEY
Once you have figured out the theme of your blog than you’re going to need to work on content. Remember, if you are trying to break into an already saturated market such as say food blogging really sit down and figure out what is unique about your entry into this category. I think Roost is a sublime example of this, the creator Caitlin’s food photography is always styled to the nines + her images are all frame worthy, she has a unique take on her recipes having worked tirelessly to create delicious food for her husband that was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (eliminating all sugar, grain and processed foods). In a super saturated market she stands out because she created a space that was different from what was available, she filled a niche and she is original. Be original.
Write about what you love. If you love something it is so much easier to wax poetic about it. I only write about what I love and what I am excited about sharing. There may come a time when a large sponsor wants to write their own content for your blog and what are you going to say? No thank you, but thank you, right? We’ll discuss sponsors in the near future but your goal for a future sponsor is to garner positive attention for them and for your readers your goal is to provide wonderful + authentic content, posts written by sponsors are usually a lose lose for everyone that includes the blogger you may get paid but without results that sponsor is not coming back and I bet neither are a bunch of your loyal readers.
I shall be back tomorrow with a few more tips. I will discuss classes, photographs, editing yourself and some no-no’s. Feel free to add your experience to the conversation below or ask any questions.
Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.