As an overzealous, hyperactive nine year old, a fan of Enid Blyton and writing, I’d sit in my Nan’s lounge steaming through notebooks. I genuinely thought that my debut novel, “The Adventures of the Wishing Lamp” would one day be published. I wonder, is blogging the modern day version of that? Some people start a blog as a hobby. Some down to fear of missing out. Others do it to get noticed as an influencer in their category. Lots intend on becoming bigger than their blog, noticed as an aspirational figure, a consultant or minor ‘celebrity’. Whatever the reason at the heart is context and curation.
There’s no denying that some blogs are ‘same-y’. So if you want to get noticed, it’s important to create stand-out content. With so many new blogs popping up it’s tricky to be known for what you do. Especially now. So given my media experience for websites like GQ, Cosmopolitan and wedding sites plus my time spent building a blog – here are some of my golden rules.
#1 Don’t Buy Followers!
There’s nothing more saddening and insecure than bought social media followers. A following should only ever be grown organically – not bought inflated numbers. I see some Twitter followings compiled of bots with no profile pictures. On Instagram, a follower list (of bots) where each ‘follower’ has only 1 or 2 of their own – or have weird names that are all similar in length (more bots). Media companies, PR’s and brands can all analyse traffic with tools and they won’t work with you now or in the future. With ‘Social Media Managers’ employed with the sole purpose of analysing your site and social media accounts, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The algorithm and engagement will also be way off kilter. You don’t need to be vain and desperate and it’s very obvious.
#2 Be Original
Don’t re-hash content. Notice the demise of many weekly magazines who did just that? Don’t be another ‘me-too’ blog in amongst a million others, be yourself it’s more interesting. I always try to avoid the ‘this is my favourite, now this is my favourite, now this is my favourite…’ because I think it’s boring and confusing. Keep it simple and don’t state the obvious. Some of my previous favourite bloggers started doing it and it really put me off; ‘I don’t like shoe boxes lying around’, ‘candle light will offer dimmed lighting’, ‘I cut paper to wrap this gift’. You don’t want to show that you’re struggling for text heavy content.
Do you have a niche and are you posting at the right time? It’s been said that most bloggers quit within the first three months of starting. The reason? Impatience and pressure probably.
#3 Finding Inspiration
Don’t set up a blog with the sole intention of making money from it unless you plan on monetising it in a few years – not overnight. When I see people complaining on Twitter about PR’s and brands not wanting to work with them, it makes you wonder what the purpose of their blog is. For me it is (and always has been) a hobby which I was fortunate to turn into a full time career. I love writing so find inspiration everywhere and I
think hope it shows.
#4 Know What’s Important
Before hitting ‘publish’ on any post, I always do a quick check on what I deem crucial before sending it out to the big wide world. Am I happy with the pictures? Am I conveying opinions in the right way? Most of all am I engaging my audience and will they care? Tone of voice is important to me. I never want to come across as condescending, self righteous or dictatorial.
#5 Are You Committed?
If you’re going to take it seriously know that blogging is difficult and time consuming. There’s nothing worse than a Twitter feed being clogged with people complaining that they haven’t blogged in a while or are feeling the pressure to get something up and fast. Content needs to be consistent and good quality. I strongly advise anyone who is doing it seriously to ensure they’re committed.
If you would like help or advice on starting a blog, comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org Xx