I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now, but my introduction to blogging happened over a year ago as I started reading blogs regularly. I wasn’t much of a blog reader back then – I knew blogs were a great platform to express creativity and make a living (sometimes). When I started The Petite Bijou it was sort of just a way for me not to be bored during my medical classes. I was at a time in my life where I was on a path I didn’t really enjoy. As much as Dr. Mariam sounded nice, everyday I learned it wasn’t for me.
So I skipped the next semester to think about what I really wanted to do. Blogging and social media were my passions now and I started consulting others about how they could utilize PR and Social Media Marketing for their own blogs!
That ah ha moment finally came – this is what I’m meant to do: blog on the side and pursue a career in PR full time. That was great, but there was and (still is) so much more I need to learn about blogging.
So today I’m sharing the 10 things I did learn about blogging this past year. Some of it was easily learned and some of it was learned the hard way – with tears, anger, and frustration.
1. It’s Not An Easy Way To Make Money
Before I started blogging, I had a friend that did it full time and always portrayed themselves as having made hundreds of dollars by just blogging. They use to say: OMG, it’ the best way to work from home!
“That’s great!” I thought. But was it true?
It’s definitely not true. A good look behind the scenes of blogging will tell you that right away. Don’t start a blog just to monetize off of it. It took me 6 months before I could monetize off of my blog and even now I hardly make a buck everyday.
Blogging is not an easy way to make money. It takes dedication, trust, and influence to even get to that point. My advice? Blog because you love to first and then think about monetizing.
2. You Need To Be Passionate About It
There’s been days where I’ve felt like giving up and just moving on. I was writing about everything and nothing at first, It’s hard to stay focused when you are not passionate about what you are blogging about. I’ve seen blogs that started around the same time as me and fail because they had no passion behind their words. It was usually because they thought it was an easy way to monetize (see point number 1).
3. You Need To Have A Voice
You need to have a voice that is uniquely your own or you’ll never really get anywhere with your blog. One of the best ways to get noticed and followed is by having a unique voice. We don’t want to be pitched to. It’s annoying when blogs are sales focused instead of emotionally focused – especially business blogs.
This is also true for niche blogs. I like to use the example of fashion bloggers that just post 6 photos of the same pose, tell us what their wearing (with affiliate links), and then call it a day. These types of bloggers are the first in my “unfollow” list. It’s just blah, you know? Where’s the energy? Where’s the appeal? If you style is unique you need to back it up with not only pictures but your blog voice as well. I should be able to tell you are passionate and have something relevant to say by the way you say it.
4. People Will Find You Boring
Maybe you are writing great posts but interacting with the wrong audience. I certainly don’t have my perfect chemical balance yet with blogging. It takes a while to find your tribe and sometimes it can take a year or so if you aren’t focused. And it’s not a fun thing to do.
You spend hours crafting a post you think will be popular, you take kickass photos, you post it, and then……*crickets*
Whenever this happens to me I just remember that I have to focus on finding the right audience. It’s okay that people find you boring – it means they weren’t the right audience for you. Or maybe your content needs a change. So change it.
Confession: I find a lot of bloggers and their blogs boring
And I feel guilty about it. I don’t know…maybe it’s a personality clash? I can’t do plain. I need uniqueness. Honestly, sometimes I can’t even get myself to comment or check out the rest of their posts – even if they’ve left a dozen comments on mine (not that it happens a lot). The same goes for social media. If I don’t follow back on accounts or interact with them on a daily basis, it’s probably because I can’t make myself do it. And it’s nothing personal – just not interested.
I need to connect with people that can reach my energy level and mindset. I’m highly energetic and need a lot intellectual/emotional stimulation to make a decision on whether to “follow” someone or read their blog. Maybe I’m just reading the wrong blogs nowadays. And you know what? That’s ok. You need to read some boring blogs to find the style YOU like.
The point is – it’s ok, it was never meant to be. Maybe I’m not your ideal audience and maybe you’re not mine. It’s all ok.
5. Being Introverted Is Harder
I may be highly energetic but I am introvert. I’m a good public speaker and writer but networking with other bloggers and brands, and talking to potential readers, is harder to do.
Writing is an escape for me, like others. But only 5% of blogging is writing – at least I see it that way. If you want to be serious you need to be seriously networking – something I’ll admit I’m not very good at.
And it’s not that we don’t like to communicate, but it does that a certain formula for us to get to that point. Introverts are sometimes anxious when it comes to networking but the best thing I’ve done in regards to my blog is to get out of my comfort zone. That means attending conferences, workshops, and talking about my blog like it was my business. Best decision ever.
6. Social Media Can Really Suck
There, I said it. Social Media can be a pain in the ass.
It’s competitive, repetitive, and frankly a frustrating yet amazing way to find your people. All this coming from a social media marketer, nonetheless.
The best thing it’s done for my blog: get me connected to some really awesome people. The worst? Bring out the competitive nature we all have. It’s a numbers game out there, whether we like it or not. From everything I’ve learned: just forget it.
Post, comment, like, and forget about the follow and unfollows.
The more you compare to others the crazier you’ll get. I ALWAYS have to remind my clients that the best engagement isn’t the numbers but how people interact with your media.
7. You Need A Schedule
Blogging without a schedule is like boating without a life vest. One missed day or actionable item and your whole schedule is thrown off.
I went a month without a schedule and my entire #bloggame was thrown off. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to invest in a good planner. I love my Kate Spade Agenda.
8. You Need A Support System
I currently have an amazing support system in place: my family, my friends, and my online blogging groups.
But seriously, you need a group of people that tell you it’s going to be ok, that what you are doing is wonderful, and to never give up.
Because it’s so easy to give up. I’ve gotten to that point a few times this past year and thankfully my peeps were there for me when I took a step back and started second guessing this whole blogging thing.
9. You Need Stop Doubting Yourself
Yes, have your moments of doubt – everyone does. But you need to stop doubting yourself in order to get back on track with blogging. Remember why you do it. Why did you blog to begin with? If there’s any doubt with your why then maybe you need to take a step back and re-evaluate.
10. Taking A Step Back Is Good
And taking a step back is a good thing. Take a break from blogging if you’re not feeling it. Just remember not to give up on it. Use this time to treat yourself, spend time with loved ones, and re-evaluate your brand.
The best blogging moments and thoughts came to me when I took the weekends off from creating content. My latest inspiration actually came from a long walk in the city by myself. Just me, my camera, and my thoughts.
So take a step back and be good to yourself. Blogging isn’t everything and it’s certainly not more important than your health and happiness.
If you are a fellow blogger, please share your lessons from blogging below! I would love know what other people are struggling with or take joy in!