Hey guys, welcome to the second week in my blogging mini series.
This is important for so many reasons. Firstly, because you’ll lose interest in blogging if it’s not centered around something you’re passionate about. Secondly, because readers will sense that lack of passion and lose interest too.
When I first started out I thought a blog had to be fashion-based as that’s all I saw other people blogging about and, while I love fashion I knew I wanted to offer more than that. I did personal style posts on my site for the first year or two but I wasn’t passionate about them as I felt like the offered very little value (I mean, I love seeing people’s outfit pics on Insta but is there a need to go on to their site to see 5 more pics of them in the same outfit? Exactly.)
Once I started blogging about my true passion; sharing Dublin city, I felt the respect and interest grow immensely from my readers and also (perhaps more importantly) I felt far more excited about and proud of the content I was creating. It’s not a topic I’d seen done before and it’s not content that everyone can utilize but, it’s what I’m passionate about and my readers can feel that off me.
You may know now that you want to start a blog but, may not be sure what it is exactly that you want to blog about or, you may have started blogging but feel you’re not aligning your content with your passions and that’s completely okay… it takes most bloggers time to find their niche.
Now that you’ve started working hard on your content it’s important to try to get the word out there! You could be producing Oscar-worthy content but, if no one sees it ain’t much good to anyone! Use your social platforms to let people know that the content is on your site using links and engaging headings to draw people in.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to share the content themselves if they enjoy it, this is a fantastic was to reach more people who’ll hopefully enjoy your content too. If you’ve spent time creating content you need to spend as much time sharing it, if not more.
Share it several times in one week if it’s time sensitive (for example: content that’s related to a news topic or, events posts which are only relevant during the week they’re shared). If its evergreen content (for example: content that isn’t specifically relevant to a certain time) then, remind yourself to return and re-share the posts months and even, years later.
I find this is easiest to do through Instagram analytics but, if you don’t have a business account (which I recommend you should as these analytics can be vital), you can create polls on Twitter/Insta stories asking people questions relevant to your content.
For example: If you’re a beauty blogger it’s important to know if your readers are more interested in high-end or affordable make up reviews. If you’re a food blogger it’s important to know if your readers are more interested in family meals/ vegetarian meals etc. This can all be found out through polls which your active followers will engage in. Use this knowledge to create the content your readers want to see while also creating whatever other content you want to create.
Another way to get to know your audience is to figure out which times in the day they’re most engaging on social media. Some people find ‘9-5 times’ work best for them (so, 8am, 1pm and 5pm) when it comes to posting on Instagram whereas I find around 8.30pm is generally the most engaging time to post. It’ll take time to figure this out but, it’s important if you’re using social media to seed out your blog posts (which again, I highly recommend you do).
With the Irish blogging community being so huge right now there are some people who think you just buy a domain and ‘free stuff’ will start coming to your door. I can absolutely promise you this is not how it works.
There’s no shame in wanting to receive press drops and wanting to attend press events once you understand that nothing in this world is for free. You may be invited to events if the PR company believe that you have a reach on social media or through your blog but they will naturally expect some exposure around the event in return for your invite… same goes for press drops.
If you believe a brand is relevant to your narrative and of interest to your followers you can reach out to the PR company that represents that brand, asking to be considered for their mailing list in a personalised e-mail. It usually takes years to be considered for press invites and press drops and by that stage you’ve likely spent an incredible amount of time creating unpaid content so, if you’re considering getting into blogging just for this reason I guarantee your time would be spent more effectively on something else.
Once you start getting invited to events and receiving deliveries from brands it’s important to share the brands you like but also, to polity decline invitations to brand’s events if it’s a brand that isn’t relevant to your content; it’s not fair to promote a brand that doesn’t interest you to your followers just because they offer you a glass of flat bubbly in a dimly lit hotel conference room.
If you want to be respected in this industry you have to respect your followers first and foremost, that means not peddling any awl shite just because you want a goodie bag and a snap in the social pages.
If you can create a blog post every day, great! If you can only create one a month? That’s totally fine too.
The most important thing is to keep your blog and social media content regular. I produce regular content every Tuesday (Beauty Tuesdays), Friday (Five For Friday) and Sunday (my Dublin events posts), people have come to expect that and it’s a schedule which, for the most part, I can keep up with. Don’t promise you’ll create 3 YouTube videos a week only to be down to 2 a week and then none-a-week by next month, it’s confusing to your followers and means they’ll start to lose interest in your content as they can’t look forward to it on a regular basis.
There’s absolutely no need to overstretch yourself as blogging is hobby when you start off and what is the main point of a hobby? To enjoy it.
Create a schedule which you can keep up with and share it with your followers, you’ll have a goal to work towards and they’ll know when to expect your content. If that schedule changes keep them in the loop; I’ve seen so many bloggers get a burst of energy and proclaim big changes to be afoot in terms of their content only for the following week to be tumbleweed on their site/YouTube all over again, it’s confusing and disappointing to readers.
Sounds obvious right? But, sharing your life online can be a scary thing to do, sometimes made easier by morphing into a persona instead of being a real-life person.
If you’ve started a blog and your nervous about ‘putting yourself out there‘ that’s totally okay, I think it takes most of us time to feel 100% comfortable being our true selves online but, it’s the best way to connect with your readers and feel confident in what you’re creating. I used to be nervous doing Insta stories and found myself being a more meek version of myself but over time I got more comfortable in just presenting myself online in the exact way I present myself with my friends… which was so much more relaxing and, made me feel a lot closer with my readers.
If you’re nervous that’s totally okay, tell people your nervous and be honest about the fear… they’ll respect you for it and enjoy growing with you along the journey into your bad ass confident online self.
This is invaluable for several reasons. It’s important to make connections in the industry as you’ll help each other in so many ways throughout your blogging career… from taking each other’s photos to helping with contacts to accompanying each other to events and, being each other’s knowledge source and advice giver when it comes to dealing with unfamiliar situations that arise.
As common as it is nowadays to be a blogger in Ireland it still is unlikely that you’ll have a close friend who is also blogging when you first start out so, it’s important to make some. I had no friends who were blogging when I first started out so, being able to make new friends was so exciting and, even more exciting that they were people I could share this journey with.
People in the industry and super supportive of each other and the majority of them will help you as much as you can; simply because they want to and because, from a business perspective it’s important to remember the old adage of ‘what goes around comes around’.
The best way to make new friends in the industry is simply to reach out to other new bloggers whose content you admire and suggest meeting up or, if you’re invited to a press event go alone and get chatting to people. Yes, its daunting but I promise that everyone is super-friendly… its tempting to bring a friend as attending these events can seem intimidating but it can be a lost opportunity to make connections which is vital when you’re trying to get yourself out there.