So you want to start a blog? Welcome to the club. Most bloggers unknowingly enter into the blogosphere completely unaware of what they're up against. In a world where Instagram celebs are a dime a dozen, it's easy to mistakenly believe that it's a simple as it looks. Spoiler alert, it isn't.
If you really want to make it as a blogger and/ or social media maven, you're going to have to do a few things first...
Be Prepared to Put in the EffortEvery blogger everywhere who has ever stated a blog successful blog will probably tell you that they weren't prepared for the amount of time, effort and money they've spent to get to where they are today. Unlike what Hollywood would have you believe, you generally don't gain legitimate followers and readers overnight. It takes quite a bit of time and even more planning to create a successful blog.
If you're looking to monetize your blog, and you're just starting off, you need to instead shift your focus to creating awesome content that people actually want to read. In the beginning, making money shouldn't be your primary focus. If it is, odds are you'll burn out long before you even make your first dollar.
Find your TribeAsk a successful blogger what the key to their success is and nine times out of 10 they'll tell you that they have a tribe. This tribe is typically a small group (3-10 people) that they can bounce ideas off of and collaborate with for giveaways and blogging series. Find a tribe that fits your niche and work with them. Promote each other, encourage each other, uplift each other.
Trying to explain blogging to your non-blogging friends and family can often times be a worthless pursuit. It takes someone who is just as eager to run a successful blog to understand what it takes.
All Good Things Take TimeBe prepared to spend long arduous hours in front of your computer screen. Some nights you'll question your ability as a writer. Some days you'll want to give up and press the delete button. Don't. Be prepared to have some stress filled nights, but understand that the reward will be well worth the sacrifice.
Blogging with a family or job can be even more difficult. If you can, try to carve out a hour or two a few times a week to create some great content. Sometimes this means you'll stay up well past your bedtime, but again, all great things come with a little bit of sacrifice. Be willing to put in the time and effort and you may be surprised with how quickly you gain traction.
Be SocialAnd by social, I don't just mean have a social media presence, I mean actively engage others. If you want people to share your posts, share theirs. If you want people to retweet you, retweet them. And please don't just promote yourself all the time. Nothing is more annoying than scrolling through someones Twitter or Facebook feed, and seeing nothing but links to their posts. Your readers should be your number one priority, and you should have more to offer them than constant self-promotion. You should be sharing links to articles that will be of interest to your readers--even if those articles are not written by you. This shows that you readers are your number one priority and you are a resource of valuable information.
But be warned, never ignore you're followers. If they're leaving comments and socializing with you, make an effort to return the favor. No one likes talking to themselves. If you keep ignoring them, odds are they'll move on and find someone who won't ignore them.
You Can't Buy SuccessIt so easy to fall victim to the lure of purchasing followers. It's quick, it's easy, and it makes you look attractive to brands you'd like to work with. But it comes with a cost. A few months ago, it became pretty clear that many of those "top bloggers" were purchasing followers on Instagram. During what became known as the great purge of 2015, Instagram removed spam followers overnight. When the smoke cleared, many of us were surprised to see that some of our favorite bloggers literally lost thousands of followers overnight.
Purchasing fake followers is a lot like cheating on your diet and gorging on pizza. You get instant gratification, yet, all you've done is fill yourself up on empty calories. While it's great to have thousands of followers, it does you no good if they're not engaging with you. If you have 2000+ followers on Instagram, but you're only getting 10-15 likes on each photo, it's not good. Not only do brands look to see if you have a decent amount of followers, but they look to see whether or not their engaging with you. And again, this goes back to tip number four, are you being social.
On both Instagram and Twitter, I have special lists of followers I chat with often, If I can see that you're making a concerted effort to engage with me, odds are I'm going to return the favor.
But You Can Invest in ItYou may not be able to buy success, but you can certainly invest in it. And that's what blogging is-- an investment. You will likely spend money on your blog layout, your domain, stock photos for your blog, advertisement for your blog, blogging classes or conferences, the list goes on.
Blogging can be an expensive gig, but it can also pay off. Be prepared to spend a bit of money. And if you're consistent, and stick with it, it will be money well spent.
So what are your pro-blogging tips? Sound off in the comment section below.
Until next time,