Taken from a Conversation with Justine Picardie & Susie Lau of ‘Style Bubble’
It can be argued that as a population, we absolutely love a ‘How To’ guide. In fact, helped along by the presence of the internet, you can literally find a step by step guide on anything. How to apply make up like a pro, how to bake almost anything under the sun (Pinterest must be given a well deserved shout out in this category) and of course, how to write a blog is no exception. While it is extremely useful to have support to achieve your goals (be them teeny, moderate or HUGE), the process can become quite prescriptive, and putting your own creative stamp on things becomes more tricky.
The conversation between two powerhouse women at The Dorchester, reminded me clearly of the intentions that should sit behind any blog. So, in summary, I give you 10 things to consider when starting a blog… the list that doesn’t include creating the ‘perfect logo’, as inspired by Justine and Susie.
Add value through your blog
It is a quote often said – opinions… everyone has one. Not only does everyone have one, everyone has one on EVERYTHING, and that is just fine. But don’t make a blog just a record of your opinions, make it something deeper. Conduct your research, collect your evidence, and then make an intelligent comment on your findings. Know your subject, and then share the knowledge – there is no greater gift.
Be True to Yourself
If you do this from the very beginning you will thank yourself. Not only will you feel better in your work, but pretending to be something you are not is just plain exhausting after a while! Honour you truth and the respect will come. You will draw the readers that you want, people can smell insincerity a mile away.
Write your blog with unbridled passion
If you aren’t passionate about your subject or blog, find something else to do (This rule applies to everything in life) Quite frankly, life is too short, and as cliché as it sounds, you are going to have to love, love, LOVE your baby blog.
NOTE: While Justine was discussing the creativity she is allowed to express, and the legacy that has been forged at Harper’s Bazaar, you could see the passion literally radiating out of her.
Be honest… but never rude
If something makes you feel uncomfortable then of course you have every right to express that, but, do so with respect. Chances are whatever you are commenting on is the result of another person’s hard work and effort, so be mindful of that when putting across your point of view. There is nothing admirable in being difficult for the sake of it either.
Engage with your audience
Start each article with your audience in mind, and when they comment on your content, take the time to connect with them. Consider what they may want to read, ask them, then action if appropriate. Nothing makes a person feel more valued than actually being listened to.
Always act with integrity
Integrity… A loaded word if ever there was one! Easy to say in an off the cuff comment, yet not always so easy to implement! This becomes more relevant as your blog starts to become more successful and especially if you consider monetising you blog. If you are being sponsored to write a post, say. If you have benefited from a free product, thank the provider (after all, it’s only good manners!), and write an honest review. Consider carefully brands that wish to advertise on your site. Do they back your ethos? Do they conduct their business ethically? Ask yourself what is non negotiable in the quest to stay true to yourself, and then consider whether that particular brand adopts the same stance.
Start small, but always deliver the best quality
So when you start, it maybe that only a handful of people read your blog… in fact, being harsh, it maybe no one reads the articles that you have poured your heart and soul into. But, even if this is the case, I urge you to continue pouring your very best into your writing. From small beginnings come great achievements, and the habits that you instil within yourself early doors will serve you well in the future. Set out to deliver the best, do your research, write and re-write, edit and re-edit. Do whatever it takes for you to know that once you have hit publish, you have given it your all.
Seek inspiration continually. Keep it fresh
Keep your content awesome. Easier said than done I know! Look for new adventures to share with your reader, and seek out things you haven’t done before. Even if you have a regular post that you publish on a weekly basis, consider switching this up from time to time. To keep inspiring, you need to keep moving forward.
When you want to give up… don’t
So, if you are continuously ‘giving it your all’ and the results are coming a little slower than you would like, it’s only natural that you start to get, shall we say, a little fed up. There is so much literature, not just on the internet, but everywhere you look, advising you to ‘keep going’ or, to quote our favourite ‘tick’ sportswear brand, JUST DO IT. Now that’s all very well and good, but sometimes this type of talk which we can all be prone to, is just not helpful. So, in response, take a little time to step away from things and just recharge yourself. Get away from the laptop, and go seek inspiration. Remind yourself WHY you started your blog, and rebuild the belief that you can achieve amazing things. Work through your resistance to starting, and then gently lean back into it…
Success is not measured by numbers
This comes back to the age old question… how exactly does one measure success? When reading about starting a blog, especially guidance about how to monetise your blog, the emphasis seems to be on building traffic. In fact, it seems to be all about traffic and followers. Success is reflected in thousands of Instagram likes, and general worldwide acclaim. I urge you to consider this choice. Which would you rather have – 1000 new followers on Facebook, or to know that your work had struck a cord with just one person at their lowest ebb and encouraged them to reach out and follow their dreams. Success is a personal journey, just like everything in this life, and I guess the point here is can you really measure ALL success by numbers. Is it statistical success you look for, or do you seek to inspire something more emotive in people ? The choice, as always, is yours.