When I started blogging back in 2010, I had absolutely no idea who I was waffling to and who would be reading. I also didn’t know just how much my blog would change my life around.. and within four years even create a new career path for me at Stir Up Media.
This is the most exciting a blog can get, it can carve out new friends, ventures, even careers, you just don’t know where it will take you and it’s worth every minute of your time and energy to get these sort of results.
But, be wary, it takes a lot of commitment and a shed load of blood, sweat and tears along the way, it’s a roller coaster and can take you through some real highs & some god awful lows. Many bloggers will post a few times and then simply give up, many because it simply “isn’t happening” for them, but I’m sorry to say that it’s not as simple as sitting down, writing a few words and then expecting your world to change. It really does take some dedication, so make sure that you’re up to the challenge before taking on a new blog.
I’ve recently been helping an old work colleague who has been made redundant from the corporate monster that we both shared desk space with a few years back and she’s now got her blog on too at “Into The Snuggery” (I love the name!) – it’s simply fantastic to see my advice being put into action.
What tips have I been giving her to help her get started? Here are just a few notes worth mentioning, all of which I wish I had known myself before I started blogging:
Share your expertise, knowledge & passion with your readers.
It should come much more naturally if you’re nattering or sharing advice on something you know well, it’s the reason people will want to follow you and it won’t feel forced when it comes to writing the content yourself. Write as you would talk to a friend or colleague, don’t force new language on yourself if it doesn’t flow naturally – your readers will be able to tell very quickly if you are having to force the content. Be yourself and people will want more of you! I have also blogged on how to create blog content if you’re unsure how to start, give it a read for some more ideas.
People aren’t just going to happen upon your blog (if they do, then you’re one lucky blogger indeed!), you need to put yourself out there, so to speak! Networking is the best way to spread the word about your beloved blog and people will get to know the “real” person behind the posts at the same time. Get yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and create social media profiles in line with your blog. A great tip is to have the same main photo across all platforms so that when a follower/reader adds you on a new network, they know it’s you!
Move away from that laptop!
Some people can become real keyboard warriors when it comes to hiding behind a screen, so always adopt the age old approach of “if you wouldn’t say it someone’s face…” and remember that everything you say online is then there forever, regardless of if you try to delete it later on. In regards to staring at a screen all day, take it from me, always give yourself a deadline and then switch off! Instead, network face-to-face and find your local networking events to meet fellow creatives, business owners and the like – there’s certainly something in actually meeting your online friends in person and you all remember each other much more when you have a fantastic conversation. Check out my own Cambourne Network as just one example of local networking, or try your nearest “MeetUp.com” group as just one other option.
Blogging can be expensive!
Don’t forget that in order to host a blog, you are going to need a domain name (so a small monthly hosting fee will be needed) and then you may wish to create a logo, maybe even a website when things start to kick off. These things can cost a fair bit for quality work, so I’d recommend saving between £300 – £500 as a guide for some basic logo design in my own experience. You could ask a friend if you have some talent in your circles, but be wary, as if you gain yourself a freebie it can be tricky to boss said friend around to get what you want… if you are paying, it can feel much easier to go all guns blazing if you aren’t happy for example. Don’t forget you’ll need a good laptop for all that coffee shop posing you plan to do (it’s fun, but handy too!) and if you’re reviewing hotels for example, this habit is going to cost….
Be consistent – as obvious as that sounds…
It’s very easy to pick out a regular blog idea and keep it going for the first few days/weeks/months and then let it drop, so if you plan to host a regular weekly “Freelancer Friday” interview spot or a “Monday Mourning” blog roundup for example, keep it going to keep your readers interested! It can take some time to build up a reputation for a certain element of your blog, so stick with it, stay true to the idea and be passionate, people will notice. Eventually!
Please, be original!
As you become an established blogger, PR companies may want to send you a product to review and this is fantastic news, it means people are really enjoying your work. But, please do stick to your guns and be yourself, it’s why your readers are enjoying your blog… dont sell out press releases and produce the very same copy that other bloggers are going to be using too. My own blog will never produce a post with a “copy & paste” of a press release, if a product or service is in need of a review, I like to sample it and photograph it myself for my own UNIQUE content. If a company won’t allow this, then don’t be scared to turn it down… it’s their loss (and your reputation)!
Most importantly, enjoy it.
The day you lose the passion, stop blogging. People will read because they love what you have to offer, so be yourself, enjoy every element and never be scared to show the real you… it’s what sets you apart from every other blogger out there
If you want to learn more or are unsure how to proceed when it comes to blogging or social media, then let’s talk and I’d be thrilled to help you here at Stir Up Media.
I’d also love to know what your top tips would be for starting a blog… do leave a comment below with your lessons learnt!