When I tell you I’ve been in the blogging game for just over 12 years, you would probably look me up and down and say “Get out of here… Yep! I began blogging in the Winter of 2003/2004 on a blogging platform site called Live Journal… and I even started a fashion blog there as well. Can you remember what you were doing in 2004? I totally forgot about that one…
These were some of the best times in my life and I recorded every minute of it. lol. After reading it and revisiting all my old entries, I’m now seeing my growth. It really started back on the dating websites BlackPlanet and Migente, if anyone remembers those sites, lmao. I met sooo many people while blogging and it’s even how I learned web design. Back then, it was kind of a “just do it” kind of thing and there weren’t people there to explain to you the ends and outs, what to expect, how to earn money or even how to take it seriously. Around 2009, I put blogging on the back burner to focus on modeling and acting. Seriously leaving all that to the side and loosing new and existing followers. That was a huge mistake because picking up where you left off is absolutely hard. I just wish someone would have told me, “DIYAH… DON’T DO IT SWEETIE !!! STAY CONNTECTED!!!” I would have totally listened if I knew where I’d be within the next few years. Well guess what… I’m going to share these tips with you that I had to learn when it came to starting and restarting my blog.
Know Who Your Target Audience Is
… better known as your Avatar. When I first heard the word “avatar”, I seriously thought it had something to do with photos or graphics, lol. My mentor at the time laughed and said, “Good try, but NO!” Honestly, being that I started blogging early in 2004 and no one seemed to mind the fact that we didn’t label anything… I felt that it was kind of unnecessary to even start labeling things now, all of a sudden, lol. For those who do not know, an avatar is your TARGET READER/VIEWER. Let’s make this a little more realistic. Let’s say you are a food blogger and you have a reader by the name of Ramona. She is a wife and mother of two. Her days are usually busy and she spends most of her time searching for ways to create meals in the kitchen. She hasn’t had much practice when it comes to cooking, so she needs all the help through videos, recipes and tutorials. Her ultimate goal is to prepare 30-minute meals for a family of four. What’s great is that you are the perfect teacher and have all the necessities she’s looking for. Ramona, is you’re avatar… your ideal viewer who you’re directing your information to. As long as you’re providing information and tutorials, she will continuously return and follow your every move because she needs you. and ultimately… you need her. When it comes to your blog, at some point, figure out who you’re talking to. My avatar is a cool, eclectic woman (or man) between the ages of 18 – 45ish, who’s either fashion forward or not quite hip to fashion trends, but interested in learning current fashion trends and curious about how fashion “works”. (Side note, I use to word, works because there is not standard way of making fashion work. It’s just a little play on words, lol. But back to the topic at hand). Do you understand? So ask yourself, who’s your avatar?
Start Off And Stay Original
As if there aren’t hundreds of thousand of bloggers out there as it is, finding original content can be a bit… hard at times. There are times when you think you’ve come up with a great idea, but someone’s already spoke on this topic. It’s not the end of the world. It happens quite often. It may sound stupid, but think of your next move as a tree. With the content you already have (the tree), add on a sub topics (the branches) to set it apart from everyone else. The perfect thing about branches or sub topics is that they are plentiful and there a many to choose from. For example, your original topic can be, How to Prepare an Excellent Meal in Under 30 Minutes. By adding on an extension, you can make this topic stand out further by adding something like, “… with only three ingredients” or “… that’s gluten-free”. That doesn’t seem hard at all does it? I seems too easy, but it works. You’d be surprised how many people search the web for specific topics like this and usually don’t find exactly what they’re looking for.
It Takes Time… And A Half
If you’re searching for something that you’ll gain instant fame from, this isn’t where it’s at. I mean, if you’re already a public figure and already have a following, clearly this one isn’t intended for you. As you start out and get your feet wet a little, you will see that your followers will come… as long as you’re starting off with original, informative and consistent topics. You know the old overused saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. When starting out, we all start at zero and want to be at 100 by the time the day ends. We all want to skip JV and start at the Varsity level. Give your blog time to manifest into something great, but it takes time, practice and consistency.
Network, Engage and Connect
Ahhh… some good old networking never hurt anyone’s business. In order to make yourself known and to share with the world that you really have a great product, you must get out there and make sure you’re seen. Be all up in everyone’s face, lol. Not so much in an annoying way. Make sure when it comes to social media, you are engaging with everyone… even if you know them or not. When you are visiting another blogs for the first time, try using the Hopscotch Method. When you’re leaving a comment on a bloggers article, scroll and see all the different types of blogs from readers like yourself. Then click their account. After engaging with them, find two more blogs that you find interest in and engage. One each of those blogs you’ve visited, search for one blog that sparks your interest and visit them. I call this the Hopscotch Method. As you are visiting these new blogs, the idea is to engage and connect and genuinely get to know who you’re talking to and building a rapport with. I still have great friends to this day because I used the method while blogging.
Find Your Inspiration Elsewhere
While some remain online and research what’s happening in the fashion world through forums, social media or from other blogs, being ORIGINAL and using what’s already in your face is a surefire way come coming up with the best material. If you live in the city, it shouldn’t be hard to gain fashion inspiration or tips from locals walking the streets (speaking from a Fashion Blogger stand point). I love to go into boutiques and shops to pick up any editorial pages/magazines and glance at how they paired each piece. I love to see what the model are wearing, see how they matched pieces that probably would never be paired. When looking through books and magazines, I tag my pages with ideas and substitutions on how I can change it into my style and what have you. I love reading books geared towards fashion and design. When I’m working with different clients, I also get the opportunity to step into their home and see their decor and see their wardrobes. It’s all about being observant and writing about what you see on a daily basis. Remember, go for what you know
I’d be lying if I said finding material and writing great blogs are simple and doesn’t take long to do. Listen, as I type and while you read, I am typing with both eyes closed and my head nodded to the right, lmao. I’m so glad I know where my home keys are and that I can type 72wpm, lmao. Just 15 minutes ago, I had to convince myself to walk back to my seat (and not upstairs), to stay seated and finish what I started. It is an exhausting task, at first. Don’t get me wrong, there will be nights that you’ll pull all-nighters because you want your content to be published the next morning exactly at 10am… on the dot. I’m not complaining because I know after all is said and done, I absolutely enjoy blogging more than working an 8 to 4. If you have one or multiple jobs and intend on writing daily content, you will learn that it can be a bit of a challenge and you have to be disciplined in order to complete each task. There are weeks where everything goes as planned and you’ll have everything mapped out. However, there will be times where nothing goes as planned. Expect long hours of coding, editing and spending time on social media engaging and connecting. Before you know it, when you start working with brands and have to be out on location, having some sort of discipline in order will help you stay focused and on track. One of the best ways to start is by being organized with editorial calendars and schedulers. A great calendar I now use is Co Schedule. When I first started using a calendar, I used an app that’s available in the iTunes store called Work Time by Nick Fanger. It kept me organized with my content material, notes and links and also helped with assigning which days I’d work. When I starting using these calendars, I noticed I was becoming much more organized and could actually see how I was spending my time (and if I was doing it wisely). I saved this one for the end because with our busy schedules, you can never be too disciplined when it comes to branding yourself and your brand.
I really hoped this list helped out if you’re thinking of or are now starting you blogging experience. There are tons of What You Should Know About… topics out there and I hope I added some additional tips you have seen before. At the end of the day, when it comes to blogging, you are in control of what content you put out there and how big your following grows. It isn’t as hard as it seems in the beginning. Just know that all of us have been through it and have our own opinions on how to execute through. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to contact through email or through social media.