For years when people asked me what I wanted to do, I used to wax lyrical about being a writer, being paid to write would be the dream. I used to pop up a blog post once in a blue moon and just hope I’d be discovered as the next big thing/ be given my own column in Tatler or paid to blog about whatever was making me tick that week.
While it’s nice to dream and have aspirations, I wasn’t putting in the work. It’s a bit like going to the gym once and wishing I had a six-pack, not going to happen!
This year I decided to put in the WERK and have been lucky enough to work with a whole host of wonderful brands and have worked on a number of paid posts and campaigns which enabled us to put a deposit down on our wedding venue! I have a long way to go but I’ve learnt a hella lot this year and wanted to share with you all, so I thought I’d put together a mini-series of blogging tips.
First up, 5 top tips on how to grow your blog…
1. Put some time into writing, regularly
Shock horror. Ok, this one sounds like an obvious one but I started blogging many moons ago, and by blogging I used to write a post probably every six months and really struggle to write any more than that. Partly that was because I was worried whether anyone would like my writing, it was also pure laziness, as well as lacking confidence in my ability.
What would I say to someone who was feeling similar? JFDI – just fucking do it. You might make mistakes but then again you might not, have some confidence in your ability and set your self some goals. That might be a blog a week/a fortnight/ one a month, whatever feels right for you.
2. People like pictures, good ones
Ok, so I’m a word gal. I like writing, I always have. I’ve always been comfortable with the English language and could always be found with my nose stuck in a book as a child, so blogging felt like a natural outlet for me. I thought that blogging was all about the words, WRONG. If you think about what you enjoy when you’re reading something, I’d put money on it that you favour a visual accompaniment.
Photos used to be something I’d chuck in last minute without much thought, normally fairly small and voila job done. Looking back at some of my earlier blogs I do cringe a bit, especially at the hastily added gifs that I used to chuck into my blogs in place of actual images, I mean did I think I was actually Buzzfeed?!
Anyway, the tip here is to spend some time thinking of what images would help the reader understand and enjoy the written piece. This might mean looking through your camera roll or even shooting some original content. Also look at the placement of the images in the post to see if they fit naturally with the flow of the piece.
3. Promoting your blog is key
I get a lot of non-blogging pals scoffing at my Instagram and rolling their eyes at my posed photos. Does it annoy me, no not anymore. I use my social channels to promote my blog, my Insta photos are no more true to everyday life than any other brands would be, (mine are just shot on an iPhone with a little bit of help from Lightroom rather than in 4K with a whole production set up).
I’m always very honest with the “truth” behind a shot, if there’s a funny story I’ll tell it, but make no mistake my photos are chosen and edited carefully to help promote my writing and to show me in my best possible light. People aren’t mind-readers and they’re unlikely to stumble across your post by accident (unless your SEO is on fire – more on this later).
When you’ve written a post make sure you talk about it, tell people, tweet about it, drum up some interest and engage in conversation around the topic you’ve written about. Make sure your blog has the ability to be shared on your socials and when you share the link to your latest post give a little intro on what it’s about to draw people in and make them want to read more.
4. Get other people’s opinions
Ask people that read your blog what they think, what they like and what they dislike too. I’ve found running polls on Twitter a really useful way to gauge what people want to read about, which is really useful when you’re a bit stuck for topics. You can then refer back to your poll, thank people on giving an opinion and get them to check out your latest blog that they helped you to craft.
Look at what other people are writing about, is there a trending topic that you have an opinion on or a conversation you’d like to join? This is a good place to start especially when writer’s block hits.
5. Engage with other bloggers
This has been the biggest eye-opener for me, I always figured that other bloggers were the competition but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Twitter is a great place to engage with other bloggers, to share ideas, blog posts and discuss what is happening in the “blogosphere”.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the number of bloggers I’ve spoken to who encourage and support each other, so I definitely feel like this support network has enabled me to grow my blog. I’d recommend following as many fellow bloggers as possible, there are so many great accounts that retweet blogger content too which can be really interesting to discover both people and new topics. Go to events, chat to people that have similar interests, follow other blogs and put yourself out there. You never know who you might meet and who will inspire you!
Next in the series will be a post all around how to stay focused when you’re just not in the mood…