A lot of people have asked me, "how do I start a blog?"
My response has always been, "what's the blog about? What is it for? Why are you starting one?"
You see, blogging can be a lot of things. It can be a diary where you put in your most private thoughts (just keep it anonymous if it's public or in private mode if you're using your real name,) or it can be a source of income in the long run. It can also be a way for you to pursue your passion and show it off to the world or it can be a way for you to keep in touch with family and friends minus the whole shenanigan of Facebook.
If you are blogging for yourself only, there are no rules. You can put in whatever you want, in any format you want, and with no outline to follow. After all, it's for yourself only. You just want a space in the digital world to dump your thoughts so just write away.
However, if you are blogging to eventually get invited to events and cover them, become an influencer, be a brand ambassador, or make a living out of things, then there are a few things that you need to be aware of.
So let's all be honest here. I'm not an influencer. I'm not famous or anything. I've been a brand ambassador once or twice in my life but nothing that would make me famous like David Guison and company.
What I can say though is that I have been in this industry for 13 years now and I am grateful that there are still brands that trust me and my work. I still get invited to some important events and I still get to do the one thing that I love the most doing: WRITING.
So, what are the secrets to lasting this long when it comes to event coverages and product reviews?
1. You need to LOVE blogging / writing. Seriously. If you just want to attend events and get the free stuff but you hate writing, you won't last long. At the end of the day, brands will look for the write up because that's what you offered them in the first place. A write up in exchange for your presence in their events and in exchange of the swag that you received.
Yes, there may be times life gets in the way and you won't be able to write things but this should be less than 5% of the events that you cover. No one is asking you to be perfect but if you are more prone to just taking and not giving, you will eventually be taken off the list.
2. You need to be professional. When you attend events, there are times where your patience will be tested. There will be people who will treat you like dirt, use you, abuse you, and sometimes, it can become too much. What you need to remember as much as possible is that you are there as part of the media group. There are certain levels of expectations required of you and one of that is professionalism.
You can report the person who did not treat you well to their superiors if needed. You can learn to detach from people who look down on you, and you can definitely choose to leave if things become too uncomfortable. This is still your blog. You choose what goes on your site and if these people or brand do not acknowledge your value, no one can force you to stay just for the sake of "content."
3. You need to know what's okay and what's not okay. You see, it can be quite exciting initially when you get invited to so many things. You'd want to say yes and exhaust yourself but after some time, you need to know what works for you and what doesn't? What do you really want to write about? What do you want to share with the world?
Do you really want to write about neurons or you just wanted to eat at that fancy restaurant where they are holding the event? Do you really know what you're talking about when they speak of unemployment rate or are you just after the gift certificates that will be given? You need to learn to cover only the events relevant to your site and to your life because only then will you be able to deliver articles that people would want to read.
4. You need to stop comparing yourself to others. This will happen and you need to acknowledge it then bury it to the ground because it will not do you any good. When others get invited and you don't, you need to remember that there are events where you will be invited and they won't be. You each have paths to take and where you are right now is where you need to be.
Create more quality content. Write more about what you love. Share what you have to say even if no one is reading or viewing. If you continue to do this, the right audience will eventually come along and the right brands will get in touch with you.
5. Just keep writing. They say practice makes perfect and it couldn't be truer when it comes to blogging. Keep writing. Keep posting. Keep blogging. Keep reading on how you can improve more and eventually, you will get your groove.
When it comes to DESIGN ...
1. Keep it clean. No one wants to read a site that has too many things going on all at the same time.
2. Make sure your site is mobile friendly. More than 50% of people read blogs on their phone nowadays.
3. Do not put multiple pop-ups. One is tolerable, two is too much. People will not want to visit your site if you have tons of pop-ups that spring forward every time they visit.
If you thought any of this was helpful, do leave a comment and I'll do more posts like this. We can talk about syndication, content creation, and the like.