Following my Fashion Careers, Blogging and Business I have been reflecting on the content I delivered and the key messages I aimed to provide. I focused largely on the business and branding side to Fashion while Jemma from A Stylish Moment delivered the blogging topics. Since making the decision to finish up part time work, along with a regular income, to focus solely on my business and blog this year, I have absolutely no regrets. I now have more time to style clients and most importantly, more time to write, blog and create. I have blogged on and off for years but not consistently, intelligently or strategically - by this I mean I was blogging without structured, consideration for what I was trying to achieve or a clear branding vision. This was very much a time issue and also a learning curve.
I love my Blog like a baby (well not quite..my actual baby aka my 3 years old boy makes my blog love seem like a grain of sand on the beach I love him so deeply) but honestly, blogging is my 'me time', my creative outlet, my means to express myself and the things I believe in or want to recommend. The Style Side began as a Styling Business but has developed into so much more - starting my blog was the best thing I ever did professionally and personally. Here are some things I have learned along the way through trial, error and experience. Much like my recent post 'Want To Be A Stylist?", here are some of the tips that I would have found helpful starting out....
The first thing to writing a good blog post is to throw all fear of judgement out the window. If you want to express yourself on an open platform be prepared to be judged - human nature can be a bitch..or an angle, more on that later! Worrying how your words or images will be received is the poison to flow and creativity. You must go for it full force, no fear.
Write Often, Blog Post or Not
I have been a committed writer since I first picked up a pen. Books, words, writing, stories - these were all part of my childhood, my identity and my best friend through the tough times. Writing a little opens up your creativity and turns into the need to write a lot, it becomes almost a non negotiable sanity keeper. Being a good writer is obviously vital to being a good blogger and good writing takes practice. Write for yourself, write letters, write poems, write words you love. Blogging is very topic specific which can quash the writing flow, so writing often ensures ides and creativity are fresh in the mind and the topics can come later.
Keep a notebook in your bag or jot down notes in your phone. Often I have topic ideas spring to mind at inconvenient times so I always jot them down briefly in my 'notes' on my iPhone, there are pages and pages stored in there which I refer to regularly.. Sitting down at a desk and trying to conjure up ideas is frustrating, creativity can't be produced on demand - it is a natural process, flashes of inspiration cannot be planned. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Have your single post format consistent to your home page and break your posts into categories in a drop down tab. This ensures better navigation, while also keeping your ideas and voice clear. Have a system for the layout, for example: title, intro, image, paragraph, image, paragraph, conclusion. Stick with this layout every post for visual appeal and structure for both yourself when writing and also for the reader. Choose a font which is easy to read and make the title stand out. I often use alliteration to sell a title, for example I used 'Seriously Stylish Spaces' for my last post detailing some beautiful venues rather than 'beautiful venues' or something similar because it is more catchy and descriptive.
This is by far the trickiest thing when blogging. I don't think any blogger is immune from 'bloggers block'. The best way around this is to venture, explore, socialise and reach out. Take yourself out, whether to a cafe, the park, a random road trip or embark on a full blown get-away. Photograph absolutely everything. You never know what angle or concept you can create in a post so having a back catalogue of images is really important. Explore your local area, eat at new restaraunts, go shopping. See the world through the eyes of a Blogger: everything is potential post material.
Get social - online and more importantly face to face. Discuss ideas, surround yourself with inspiring, interesting people. Reach out to someone who influences you and ask to run a feature or interview. You never know who might say yes, unless you ask the answer is always no! I keep lists of .local business people and national public figures that I admire and may want to approach for a feature. The main questions I ask when looking at who to feature are:
Does this person inspire me?
Does this person fit with my branding/style?
Does this person have an inspiring story?
Will this person be interested in featuring on my blog or working with me?
Remember, a great feature fit means a benefit to both parties.
Much like 'have no fear', getting personal means putting yourself out there and not worrying how you will be received. Humans are curious creatures, hence why we love Instagram stalking, Autobiographies, Reality TV etc. Getting a glimpse into the life and mind of another person can be captivating. That said, there is no need to overshare. Find the right balance between being open and allowing yourself to come through in your writing and telling the whole world things that don't need to voiced. This balance is different for everyone. I adore Constance Hall for her raw, too much information amanzingness and I also admire and love bloggers like Harper & Harley's Sara Donaldson who hold their cards close to their chest. It comes down to being authentic and being who you are.
Lastly have fun. Blogging should be an enjoyable hobby, a platform to connect and way to contribute positively to society. Remember this when creating a blog post - who can I help, who can I inspire, who can I inform and who can I connect with? As with everything in life, blogging is about what you can offer, not what you can get!