Wednesday, 25 January 2017

4 things I've learned as a small-time blogger

I've been blogging in this little corner of the internet for 3 years now, and it's safe to say I've learned a thing or two along the way. This hobby of mine is something that I really enjoy, but I've never quite found enough time alongside my full-time job to really grow my following. There are plenty of you, don't get me wrong, but I couldn't exactly monetise the site and go full time.

Although it's not really much of a surprise that the industry has taken off the way it has, it definitely feels strange to still be doing my thing while other amazing new bloggers out there are making the serious big time. But being small-time isn't all that bad. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I've picked up along the way.

The blogging community is amazing

I love to join in Twitter chats, leave and reply to comments, post on Facebook groups etc and generally just get in on the massive buzz around blogging. I don't get to do this as much as I used to thanks to a longer commute (most chats are over by the time I've driven home and warmed up my dinner!) but I know that influencers big and small are there in our little community offering support. I've made a bunch of brilliant new friends through blogging that I have so much in common with and I feel like that's an added benefit that most hobbies don't come with.

There is of course a negative side to this huge community, in so far as there are select cliques that can get bitchy, but I try to unfollow and mute people that spread toxic unkindness out of jealousy. It's not nice, and it can put smaller, newer bloggers off of speaking up and finding their voice even though 95% of the community is amazing.

Beauty and lifestyle blogging is an investment

When you have a tiddly little blog, it's not always easy to attract PRs and land those dreamy sponsored posts. When you're not making enough money from your blog to cover expenses like props, outfits, new products, camera equipment, custom domains and more have to come out of your own pocket. Blogging is one of the only hobbies I've ever really kept up, so I don't mind investing my own cash in improving it, but there is a part of me that wishes I was either from a wealthy background or was suddenly more popular with big brands. Luckily though I'm not consumed by the green-eyed monster. It just makes me want to get even better at this and work even harder at producing quality content.

Getting out there is good for you

I'm talking emailing brands directly ("I want to work with you because X"), going to PR events, handing out business cards to people, the lot. Blogging once had a reputation for being a hermit's hobby - an introvert's dream - but it's actually pushed me the other way. Getting invited to events and meet ups meant that I had to introduce myself to strangers on the reg, and it's put me more at ease with meeting new people and being in social situations with strangers. Again, that common ground of being a blogger or YouTuber is so important.

Quality is key, not quantity

Over the last few years I've experimented with the topics, length and frequency of my posts, and I think I've finally figured out what works best for me (and what makes you guys want to click onto the site and have a read!). I've churned out several ill-considered posts per week before and wondered why my views were down, but spending time planning, photographing and writing one or two posts per week and also putting the effort into promoting them has been much more effective. The more time I spend on each post the more relevant the subject matter and the more detailed and high quality my work becomes. I feel like this is what makes a single blog post stand out in what is a very noisy, crowded industry. 

If you're interested in making your blog stand out more, check out my top tips in this post.

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