2013 // 10 Lessons Learnt From Blogging



It's the end of 2013 and I can't believe it's gone in so fast. I wanted to post these 10 lessons because I really hope they can help some others who plan to get into blogging for business or as a hobby. Blogging can be a cut-throat business with a ton of jealousy, to survive you have to have your house in order so to speak and know clearly what your aims and values are. For me jealousy has always been a pointless emotion, my dad taught me that at a young age and it's always stuck; I'm not saying it's easy to get over those feelings but once you do I swear it makes the world of blogging a better place to hang up your peruvial coat and get your write-on. 

Think of blogging as your business, as a business owner (regardless if you're making money or not) you're always going to have copy-cats, jealousy, gossip and those who would love to see you fail so breathe in the stress and hate and breathe it out of your life. So here is my ten lessons learnt over the past year... 

Blogging Can Hurt Your Feelings. Yup PR's, brands and readers all play a part in this. Blatant nasty comments, your blog's not good enough and obvious lies all hurt - you'd be supernatural if it didn't hurt your feelings at one point or another, but it's part and parcel of blogging. You definitely must own a set of steel balls to do this professionally (not literal balls of course). 

Peer-Pressure. What clothing you should be wearing, what you should be posting about and what make-up you should be wearing. How you film your vlogs, how you set out your photo's and even your views and opinions. Many succumb to peer-pressure by feeling they should be acting, wearing, saying and doing the same as the top blogger in order to make it - this isn't true. There's thousands of other girls and guys copying other top bloggers so this won't get you to the same level of success. The reason those bloggers made it was due to their style, writing and personality - chances are they were doing something different to everyone else before they made it. Realising who are you, what you can offer your readers and regular posting schedules all help to gain regular followers.

Jealousy. A lot of bloggers especially new bloggers feel jealousy at some point, maybe it's because another blogger looks prettier, gets sent on PR trips or gets sent better products to review. What I will say on this is look outside of the box, jealousy is such a pointless emotion and chances are if 'said' blogger is receiving a product that's well known chances are 100 other bloggers are receiving that item. If you start feeling jealous then remember in order to soar your blog needs to be different from everyone else's. What products can you show, what topics can you talk about and what fun features can you offer your reader that no-one else is publishing? If you have to think about it then you know you're onto a winner as clearly the market isn't saturated with it. 

Put Non-Literal Balls into Action. Remember those nunks we talked about earlier in the feelings getting hurt point? You're going to need them so that you gain full control of your blog. Yes you're going to have to turn down paid placements and paid features, you're going to have to reject products you wouldn't use or don't see fit for your blog theme and you're going to have to be strict on the guest blog requests you receive daily (like seriously this is no joke, there's a ton of these). It's better to decide what your terms and conditions are at the get-go so you can stick to these in order to ensure your blog doesn't sway from your initial plan. You're also going to have to be firm but professional when dealing with pr's and brands, this can be tough for new bloggers as you don't want to get into their bad books but, it will lead to respect in the long run - I promise.  

Plan Ahead To Get Ahead.  In order to keep your content and up to date it's important to think ahead, what major celebrations are coming up that you want to cover? what features would you like to publish for these events, days or celebrations? I would recommend that you work at least 3 months ahead just so you have time to work out the kinks and of course factor in any sick days or unexpected events. 

Socialise and Connect. This will take up huge amounts of time, like even more so than blogging does and while it's necessary it can wear you out if you don't have a regular routine. You'll find also that many bloggers, brands and readers won't answer back, don't let it get to you as people can be busy. If it happens time and time again what I would recommend is moving on, don't waste valuable time on something that's not important to someone else. Allocate yourself a set amount of time, say an hour or two per day where you can answer Tweets, Instagram pictures, comment on your favourite blogs, brands and posts and update your Facebook page or other social sites. Communicating with your audience is important after all it's visibility that will get you noticed, commenting and communicating (professionally) is key. 

Personality. Relatability and personality are two aspects that I feel will help to make or break you. Someone who has values, opinions and that special 'something' about them will find that followers follow and readers read. Someone who has values but can't see past their own opinions is going to have people hating and loving them, someone who moans a lot or is all me-me-me is also going to turn off your audience. I see these two aspects as being more like dating, you're effectively dating your audience in the sense of getting to know each other, finding out what each other likes and how can a compromise be made in order for the relationship to work. Remember your followers don't want to see the good the bag and down right u-g-l-y, not when they might have a lot of crap going on in their own lives. Be real - for sure, be truthful - always but dependable - as a rule but don't put it all out there, relationships can take a steady decline towards separation when that happens. 

Fear Won't Work. Are you scared to show your face to the nation? scared of being judged, called names or being teased? Are you scared of being told you're not good enough or scared that your writing won't cut it in the big world of blogging? Are you scared when people unfollow you or scared to say a product is absolutely not worth the money it retails at? If you answered yes could you force yourself into that position? take the imaginary blogging leap of faith? If you can push yourself to open up and put yourself out there or at least certain aspects of your life then I say go for it. Start a blog and see where it takes you. If you feel like your stomach's becoming knotted up and you just couldn't post a nude face selfie or a fashion outfit in last years clothes then wait. It took me years to get to this stage all due to my lack of confidence and anxiety. I actually started a blog way back in 2002 (I believe) and then moved to Blogger (not this particular blog) in 2004, back then it was irregular posting with not many photo's and I was so scared that someone I knew would read it. It definitely hindered me in so many ways, my advice would be to look about your favourite blogs, see what you like and try it out (the cosmetics, fashion, crafting or tips and tricks) - take some 'selfies' so you can get used to lightening, angles and how you look in different make up and when you're comfortable post your first selfie. Instagram will help to build confidence I promise and from there you can take baby steps. 

Don't Typecast Yourself. You maybe someone who see's the beauty in the little things, you may not specifically hold all of your passions in one basket and for this reason I say don't typecast yourself. There have been a lot of bloggers who jump on a blogging bandwagon, say beauty blogging for example who build up a following for that topic. Somewhere down the line you realise that you wish you'd also included fashion, parenting, fitness or crafting but now is it really viable? Would your current following stop reading if you started adding other topics? There are some bloggers who then create new blogs for fashion, a new one for crafting, lifestyle or a specific topic like thrifty living. My advice would be to blog about what YOU love as long as it's still relevant to readers, if your a beauty blogger who then wants to discuss mechanics or the fine art of pencil sharpening or football, chances are you will turn away some of your readership. List your categories (in your contents bar for example) and regularly cover all of your chosen topics, this way your readers will gain a full picture of who you are and your personality. 

Overloading - Shutting Down. Slow and steady wins the race apparently and I'd definitely recommend this mentality when it comes to blogging. Building up your readership and network of contacts takes time and there are some new bloggers especially who believe it is OK to overload people with cheeky requests. Firstly do not go on a tweeting spree with follow me's and check out my blog, do not overload other blogs with 'nice post follow me over on Bloglovin' and such like because it doesn't work. It turns people off. Communicating with other bloggers is pretty much an art in itself and really deserves a post on it's own. 

So balls at the ready, who's planning on joining or carrying on with the crazy world of blogging for the next year? I would be gobsmacked if I'm not still blogging at sixty with a totally fantastical futuristic laptop. As much as blogging can hurt your feeling each 'bad' aspect is always followed by two good ones. I adore blogging, I adore communicating with others and I adore working alongside some amazing PR's and Brands. I will always recommend this as a great starting point for every person who wants to build real-life skills, confidence or for starting in the crazy professional world of business. 


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