Type “starting a blog” on google and you’ll get a plethora of posts about how to start one; but there are few that tell you about the hustle, emotional rollercoaster, the discipline it takes and the one-woman show you need to be.
It’s less about a pretty posed picture and an Instagram filter, and more about late night writing, SEO keywords, google analytics, pitching brands, and marketing strategies; but yes, pretty pictures and filters are involved too if that’s what intrigued you!
Since starting a blog I’ve attended workshops, read blogs about blogging (the irony is not lost on me), invested in online programs, listened to podcasts, and conversed with seasoned bloggers at networking events.
Between my research and experience working on my blog, contributing to other blogs, and getting paid to maintain one for a company, I’ve learned a few lessons one can only truly learn by going behind the curtains of what seems to be a world full of perfectly curated Instagram posts and captions.
If you’re thinking of starting one or have just begun I leave with you 10 things I’ve learned since starting a blog that I’ve mostly learned from trial and errors:
1. EVERY TOPIC HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT. YOUR UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE IS WHAT’LL MAKE IT FRESH AND INTERESTING
How many times has the movie Batman been remade? 8 times. And yet, people still make their way to the movies to watch the same superhero save the world from the villain. Why? Because it’s a fresh take on the same story. This concept also applies to writing and blogging. Your own unique point of view on a product or subject is what will make your blog post interesting to an audience, so don’t let the fact that something has already been done before keep you from creating something you’re passionate about. Put your spin on it.
2. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Comparison will not get you closer to your goals. You can stalk somebody’s page for hours every day but that will never bring you what they have. I’d suggest dropping that unhealthy habit and hitting the unfollow button if their existence is making you doubt your own achievements and potential. Try doing something that will bring you closer to your goals instead, for example: learning a new skill.
3. BAD IDEAS ARE THE GATEWAY TO GOOD IDEAS
Someone once told me to write every idea down because the bad ideas will lead you to the good ones. A good brainstorming session for me usually consists of writing down everything and anything I can come up with until I feel like I have an idea or concept I can run with.
4. PLAN YOUR LIFE AWAY
Get yourself a content calendar. It will keep you on track and help you plan ahead as far in advance as you need to so you will never run out of things to say or post, even when life gets really busy. Trust me I’ve fallen victim to this and you’ll never grow an audience this way. Planoly.com creates my favorite downloadable calendars.
5. SELF-DOUBT IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
Anyone who has ever done something outside of their comfort zone encounters self-doubt, especially if it’s something creative that puts you in a vulnerable position. Embrace it, because that little or big voice in your head will never leave you, it’s part of being human, so learn to bring self-doubt along with you to all your creative endeavors. I suggest reading the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, it’s a game changer for any creative.
6. CONSISTENCY IS THE WAY TO THE PROMISE LAND
Imagine running into a great blog post you enjoy reading, so you hit the follow button to read what else this individual has to say. A month passes by and they have yet to post anything again. What are you going to do? Probably unfollow or move on to someone else who’s going to be consistent with their posts. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. Be consistent in your posting even it’s once a week to start. Pick a day and make sure to post on that day, which brings me to my next point…
7. SET DEADLINES FOR YOURSELF THEN KEEP THEM
Because starting a blog consists of self-motivation it can be difficult to be disciplined with your content calendar without a boss to answer to. Make deadlines for yourself then write them down in your calendar. The more detailed you are with your expectations and deadlines, the more likely you are to meet them. Without deadlines, you’ll get into the habit of doing things whenever you feel like it which will only hurt you in the end.
8. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
One of the perks of blogging is that you get to do it in your PJs at home without a bra! But if you’re like me and get distracted easily by the TV or your dog, I suggest going to a library or coffee shop where you’re more likely to concentrate and be more productive and get sh*t done.
9. YOU ARE A ONE WOMAN SHOW UNTIL YOU’RE NOT
When you’re starting off you have to be self-sufficient and basically do everything yourself, unless you have friends that are willing to help you for free. From marketing to editing photos, branding to analytics you need to do your research and make sure you are doing everything you can to get your work out there. Luckily, there’s lots of FREE information on the internet, just make sure you do your due diligence and get your information from credible sources. One of my favorite sites is melyssagriffin.com she gives great blogging tips.
10. KEEP LEARNING AND STAY IN THE KNOW OF CURRENT EVENTS
As a blogger, you have to keep coming up with fresh new ideas to write about. I like to listen to podcasts in traffic, read a book during lunch break, or read an article before I go to bed for new information. The more you learn, the more ideas and inspirations come to mind. Don’t be afraid to find inspiration outside of your industry; who knows, maybe attending a museum or watching a local play will inspire your next post. A great subscription news source for staying in the know is theskimm.com, it’s targeted at millennial women, so the content is worded in a way that is easy to understand and enjoy, for those that get easily bored with your typical article format.
Did I miss anything? I would love to hear your perspective and experience about blogging. Comment below.