Editor’s note: I’m incredibly grateful to my beautiful blogging friend Sarah for stepping in with this guest post today. If you didn’t catch my news, my Pop passed away on Thursday night. I was just going to skip my Saturday post as I’m helping with some of the funeral arrangements. Sarah texted me straight away and offered up a post. If you haven’t checked out her blog, then do it. Now. We’ll wait for you to come back. And, the trip she talks about below? It was when we first met. Good stuff and good people comes from blogging. It just does.
Hey Stylers, Sarah from A Beach Cottage here, contributing over at StylingYou on this lovely Saturday morning and sharing with you what I learnt on my first blogging event a few months ago.
I read a lot on blogging and when I went to a blogging related event just before Christmas last year (ahem I was so late to the meeting other bloggers party) I realised something, that I love the topic of blogging and what I realised on that blogging event is how powerful this new medium is … and it’s giving people who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity big options and big opening of doors.
…but rather than books and the professional blogging sites, the most I have learnt is through meeting real people doing the blogging thing …girls (and boys) like me on a similar journey … girls blogging from a corner of their lounge room one minute, on the TV the next, girls with a few kiddos, a busy life and thousands of Facebook followers hanging on their every word, boys with huge Twitter followings and dads who blog and love it.
I have made some new friends in lieu of that event and the last couple of months I have picked up a few things from other girls doing the blogging thing that I am getting to know … we have chatted on the phone and emailed and really for me, it’s made blogging so much more, well, just good for me.
Here’s what I have learnt from some of the bloggers I went away to Kuala Lumpur to a blogging event with – these aren’t magic things that will bam make you suddenly be a huge successful blogger, more things to just think about and do for your blogging … things that I noticed along the way over the last few months.
1. Don’t give up
This is my numero uno … I have read hundreds of professional blogging sites that bang on about this message. They fluff it up with all sorts of things to confuse you, but the number one thing I have learnt for myself and from the other girls I went away with is that we all started with low stats, no followers but a big old head full of ideas but all turned up regularly and kept at it. Even the ones who are very different to me and their main aim is to make money from their blog as a serious business, they started with nothing and worked unpaid in the beginning
So just don’t give up, no matter what your goals are … to get 100 followers to make friends with you and be part of your life, to rock the blogosphere with your greatness, to make a tonne of money and become famous, you have to stick with it. And if you find it really hard, then maybe it’s time to sit back and look at why.
2. Be kind and stay positive
My eyes were opened hugely to this on my trip. Everyone was so kind and more importantly so encouraging and I think that goes a long long way in blogging.
Sometimes in the online world things can get a bit heated – the best thing I have learnt is to try and stay positive.
Blogging is sometimes competitive and can be bitchy, copycats and trolls are horrid and if you blog, there’s a good chance you will at some point experience some of that. My best tip for all of that is to just be positive about you and what you are doing. I noticed that with all these bloggers that I was away with … we had all had moments that weren’t so nice but being positive was the best way out of it.
The worst thing is that in blogging people feel they can “openly” criticise you and what you do and it’s mostly not in a constructive way and people will openly steal your ideas too … to be frank, it’s not very nice being on the end of either of these but both have happened to all the bloggers I have got to know and the best thing to do is forget it and remain positive about the thing that you love – your blog.
So stay positive, it will show on your blog, oh and keep those negatives to yourself – no-one, ever likes a whiny blogger.
3. Be yourself and don’t apologise for it
I was a little bit worried about this on the trip. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be professional or clever or good enough among all these A-lister bloggers. I said this to my hubby and he said what he always always says …to be myself and I’d be fine.
So I did that and it was ok but more importantly what I noticed was that everyone else was doing exactly the same. We were all from quite different blogging niches but in that we were all being ourselves in them. I noticed how each blogger’s unique personality and interests was what made them excellent at their blogging and attracted people to it. In actual fact there were no divas on that trip – all of those bloggers were actually just ‘doing’ themselves and what they loved.
So be yourself and you will go far.
4. Flaunt it
I noticed one very common thing with all these bloggers. They all flaunted what they loved, whether that was home organisation, coastal style, traveling, dinosaurs or beauty products – all were blogging and celebrating the things they loved. Don’t be afraid to show a bit of what makes you special. Look at any of the Super Bloggers and you will see that in action left, right and centre. Pioneer Woman, cows and butter, yes it made her very famous … she was exploiting that special bit of her..
These bloggers walked the talk and mostly that came from their interests that had evolved into their blog. A mummy blogger who loves to give her view of the world? Flaunts it. Style blogger who adores fashion? Wears it. Parenting blogger who is all about making kiddos organisation better? Breathes it.
So show-off what you love and work it.
5. Be polite
I noticed these bloggers were all appreciative, polite and well-mannered on the trip (no-brainer right?) and since then I have quietly observed them being the same way on their blogs, interacting online and in the conversations I have had offline with them. Every single one of them is very busy, and working hard, some working big hours to make blogging pay the bills, some working big hours for nothing … but all have had the time it takes to say thank you and in their own way say “I appreciate what you have done for me” etc.
Try to be polite in blogging as you would in the real world and that goes for whether you are a blog reader or an up-and-coming blogger. The number of one liner emails I get from strangers who I have never met, along the lines of this:
Where’d you get that chair/paint/scarf from?
OK, I am no super-star and no Diva Blogger but a “Hi”, preferably with my name, and some kinda of thanks is in my book, good manners.
I have learnt online that being polite and patient goes a long, long way and people I have worked with and come across behind the scenes in both designing this blog and in terms of the media etc regularly comment on it, which always amazes me and makes me wonder quite how other people behave!
I am no super-kind super-happy super-polite person, but in online communication, a please, a thank you and recognising and appreciating others’ time at the other end of computer line goes a long way. I mean even if you are sitting on a broomstick at the time, how long does it take to type the six letter word thanks?
6. Know your stuff and keep learning
I noticed one blogger in particular knew her niche inside out, and as I chatted to her I realised that I knew mine too. A couple of the bloggers there knew their topic backwards, forwards and around the corner and it showed. So do your homework. Subscribe to blogs you love and learn from what they do. Subscribe to blogs you don’t love and watch what they do. Keep learning.
I have been in the blogging world for three years now and it moves fast and you need to keep up with that by constantly learning, but more importantly learning what works for you.
All these bloggers cared about blogging and their niche – not in a wishy washy way. Love your blog and your readers will too.
I noticed all these bloggers cared a LOT about their blogs … like really a lot. They cared about their readers, they cared about what they wrote, they cared that they might not turn up one day and let their readers down, they cared that they provided top content, they cared that they were good, there were careful that their blog was unique, they cared about what was coming up on their blogs, they cared about where their blogs are going.
Since then I have noticed this on every blog that I read, one in particular that is not written to attract followers, in fact she doesn’t even allow comments but she cares about her blog and it shows … and guess what, she has a huge amount of followers!
So that’s what I got from my very first adventure at a blogging event … not plug-ins and statistics and ways to get traffic, but that blogging successfully is actually more than that. That blogging needs you to work it in a real way – as you would anything that you want to grow – nurture it, promote it, give it a hand, water it and share it and it will show.
Thanks for having me Stylers.
Sarah A Beach Cottage blogs over at abeachcottage.com broadcasting from the beaches of Sydney on all things coastal and cottage, she loves home decor, collecting vintage things and white paint. She also dabbles in Real Girl Fashion and loves reading cookery books and blogging her favourite recipes. Oh and she sometimes can be found on a broomstick when a busy life, looking after the house and running around and feeding three kiddos all gets a bit much.
Parenting blogger Nicole Avery, the amazing blogger behind Planning with Kids, was also on the above blogger trip with us. Well, guess what? Nic has just launched her ebook that gives all the tool and tricks you need as a blogger to build your blog but in a smart way. Click on the graphic below … you’ll be doing yourself AND your blog a super favour!