\ Blogging: Planning To Succeed? or Planning To Fail? - Sweet Elyse

Blogging: Planning To Succeed? or Planning To Fail?

It can be tough knowing how to start blogging, yes you could go wholeheartedly into it and start blogging about your week or favourite products but it could become problematic. What some new bloggers find is that they get that first initial post or two out of the way and then get post block. This then leads to an irregular gap in-between posts and ultimately your new readers will stop reading. 

Think of blogging like your favourite TV show. For example, purposes let's say you always watch E! online news. You choose it over other programmes because it does a few things. 

  • Holds your interest 
  • Offers some form of entertainment 
  • Is on regularly - you know you can trust it's scheduling
  • Has unique qualities such as new celebrity updates, fashion tips, gossip or excitement. 

If E! news suddenly decided to show later than normal for a few days, then took a week or two breaks then came back as normal you would be pretty irked, wouldn't you? If it happened again you would be forgiven for stopping watching the show. If that happened you would feel annoyed, unhappy that E didn't seem to care about its viewers and you would stop trusting in what it said. The same can be said for the relationship between bloggers and their readers. 

As a blogger readers expect a lot of you. They expect a clean design, fresh content, clear pictures and trustworthy information; reliability in posting and showing that you care and appreciate your readers is also huge importance. So what should you do to ensure your readers trust and respect you and your blog? Here are my top tips for keeping your readers entertained. 

Writers Block - If you're a new blogger or just planning on starting to blog you can do a few things prior to posting your first posts. Keeping a notebook, Pinning some pins over on Pinterest (try saying that ten times fast) or keeping an Excel spreadsheet on your computer. You should aim to think of around 3-5+ new blog post ideas every day, aiming for 5+ and only thinking of 1 still ensures you have at least 1 blog post in your arsenal every day.  

Inspiration - Pieces of clothing that you like, favourite colours, celebrities, interesting blogs, people, stories from your past, aims and dreams for the future and interesting tit-bits that have happened are all great starting points. Sometimes I simply pop down ideas for a blog title like top 10 scandalous celebs or DIY: pom-pom Shoes, it may be a word such as 'glitter' or 'magpie' that spurn an amazing post. 

Theme - Do you know what your main blog theme is? I find sticking to your theme (technology, couture, baking, parenting etc) 80% of the time is the best way to keep your readers visiting your blog. It's OK to go off track but going off track and becoming fully eclectic is either a terrible or genius move and very few can pull it off from the start. 

Draft Buddies - Drafts is your best friend. You can just put your ideas into a draft post and come back to it when you are going through blogger block. Drafts are especially great when you fall ill or an unexpected emergency happens. I try to always have 7 posts written up and ready-to-go, this is so I can publish one post every day so my blogs readers always have regularity. 

Ahead of The Game - Try to work a season ahead similar to how the fashion world works. This ensures you stay ahead of the game and continually offer fresh content that's appealing to your readers. Yes, this does mean that you're going to have to work off your own styles, thoughts and ideas on what you think are going to be huge rather than what everyone else is posting about. 

More Than Just a Blog - Also start thinking about your blog as something more than an online diary. Whether you want to or not as soon as you put something online especially on a blog you're opening yourself up as offering a service. You put it there in hope that people will read it, why? Why would you post something for people to read and then not continue to follow it up? Your blog can be treated as a business (if you want to go down that route), as a PR vehicle and also as an online magazine so keeping your content up to date and interesting is imperative. 

So we've covered the ideas and the why part. How do you get yourself organised? Figuring out a few things before hand will save you a ton of stress and time. 

Sources of Inspiration - What sites do YOU like? I adore sites such as Pinterest, Etsy, Shopbob, Urban Outfitters, French Connection and Shopcade. I use these as a continual source of inspiration and do feature them in a variety of posts - not because they offer me anything in the way of money or freebies (because they don't) but because they entertain me and make me happy...simples. Keeping a bookmark tab on your computer with your favourite sites, sites that you can source story ideas from and sites that feel your readers will enjoy too. 

I also keep a separate tab with my favourite blogs. I like to give back to my favourites by including them in posts if possible. 

Equipment - You're going to be including a lot of photos so you firstly need to decide what you're going to take those pics with. Personally, I use my Samsung Note because it offers clear pictures and I also use my Nikon Coolpix digital camera. You're also going to be editing pictures so having the software to do so prior will save some time. I use Pic Monkey, I do pay for it but it's been so worth the money and only cost around £12 a year. 

Home Organisation - A diary, journal, file or folder is going to be your best friend. Planning your posts, product specific releases, interviews, meetings and promotions requires a diary for sure. A journal is great for quickly planning post ideas when out and about or writing quick notes in, maybe something you read, overhear or see switches on that idea light bulb - jotting it down makes sure you remember it when it comes to typing it up. Files and folders are great for magazine inserts, pictures or press releases that aren't released - keeping them neat and tidy together ensures you have them at hand when you need them. 

Time Keeping - Plan a day (if you don't blog daily) or a time (if you blog daily) to sit down and write. Writing daily helps you to improve and isn't that what we're all striving for? I publish my posts every day at around midnight because that's when my Blogger updates otherwise, Blogger emails my freshly published posts with my previous posts reducing the amount of visibility new posts get. I also start my writing at eight pm when my sons are in bed and during the day between one and two I take my photos and alter them ready for my night time writing. I do this every single day  (unless I'm ill) and it's become second nature. Sticking to a routine stops it feeling like a chore - blogging is so much fun so enjoy it. 

Honestly it really makes a difference when you plan, it means that you can blog about what you're passionate about rather than finding a story just to fill a gap. Have fun with your blog, show personality, passion and your quirkiness - think of your blog as an extension of your personality and you will find readers will continue to return. 


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