Why blogging is like hanging out in a big playground?

Nikki Parkinson Life 51 Comments

This tank is unfortunately no longer available at Forever21.com

When I started this blog almost three years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing.   I was kissing goodbye to being a journalist after 20 years and leaping off into the world of self-employment. I knew how to write stuff.  And I knew that I wanted to keep writing stuff.  Fashion and beauty stuff.

Thankfully my web developer steered me in the direction of a WordPress blog.  I say, thankfully, because at the time I didn’t know what a blog was but I quickly learned it was the perfect platform for me.

Since those early days I’ve learned A LOT.

But a blog is forgiving like that.

A blog is happy to morph along with you.  And I’m not just talking about making changes to all the bells and whistles of a good design, although that is a little addictive.  No, I’m talking about content and community.  And the excitement that comes from moulding that content to meet your community.

When that clicks, the Bloggerverse feels like one very big happy playground.  A playground where incredibly diverse and fab people hang out.

For me, I guess that clicking didn’t really happen until about mid-way through last year – yes, that’s right – two years after starting the Styling You blog.

That’s why I’ve decided to start weekly posts about blogging.

So many people start a blog and want it all to happen. Stat.  But as the old Rachel Hunter Pantene TV ad said, “it won’t happen over night but it will happen”.

It will happen if you stick at it. [There have been times when I’ve been pushed for time and I may not have posted as frequently as I should, but I just kept going.]

It will happen if you chose blog a subject that’s close to your heart to write about.  And that you write about it frequently. [In the beginning I wrote maybe one or two posts a week, now I aim for five to six.  Finding your happy medium is up to you – just aim to be consistent.]

It will happen if you understand who your target readership is. [Thanks to Facebook’s Insights I can tell you that 65% of my readers are women aged 25-44.]

It will happen if you communicate with your target readership. [I love a chat, so it’s not a stretch to do this online, via comments on my blog or on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Youtube.  Wherever your readership hangs out, you need to drop in and say hi.]

It will happen if you communicate with other bloggers [I make it a daily habit to read other people’s blogs and comment on them.  Not only do you get to read some amazing blog posts, but you’ll make some damn good friends along the way – friends who will become your most loyal “marketing managers”.]

I don’t claim to know it all but I like to share what I do.

These blogging-specific posts will contain a little bit of my blogging journey – lessons learned and tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.  There will be a bit of general blogging advice plus plenty of specifics for fashion and beauty bloggers. Believe me you never stop seeking out and absorbing new ideas.  Or maybe that’s just me and my inner geek talking?

It’s a particularly exciting week to be a blogger in Australia – this time next week, 170 bloggers and industry delegates will be in Sydney for the inaugural Aussie Bloggers Conference. [I’ll be blogging and tweeting throughout the day, you can follow along via Twitter with the official hashtag #ausblogcon2011.]

Apart from some serious(ly fun) networking, we’ll be all ears as panelists discuss a range of topics:

1.  Creating content

2.  Social media and you (yours truly is on this panel)

3.  My blog, my story

4.  SEO and blog monetisation

5.  Building your blog community

Some of the bloggers attending have been blogging for years; some are new to the game.  All have been bitten by the bloggers’ bug and are keen to learn.

Yes, the future of blogging in Australia is very bright indeed.  Are you on board the swings or monkey bars yet?

If you have a blogging question you’d like answered in these posts, pop me an email: [email protected] – I’m just a keyboard tap away.

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This post is getting some new love thanks to Life in a Pink Fibro’s Weekend Rewind.  Head on over to check out some more posts on blogging this weekend.

Comments 51

  1. Hi Nikki,
    I have been following you for a while and we’ve met ..both at AusBlogCon and Kerri’s book launch.
    Your blog title rewound through The Fibro was a timely one for me to read.
    Thank you for your insights. I am a teacher, so the playground title caught my eye. I feel like I am in Blog Pre School at the moment, but I do want to enrol at big school soon as I’m ready…all good wishes,and congratulations again on your super win..

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      Thanks Al. After the conference, I decided to post every Saturday about some aspect of blogging. It’s been a great way to download some of the information that I’ve got stored in my head … and brings out my inner geek!

  2. Sticking to it is so key to blogging. I’ve been blogging for just over a year and in the beginning i think could hear crickets when a new post went up. Thankfully, through joining relevant forums and networking, I now have a readership that I’m very happy with.
    Stopping by from the Weekend Rewind. 🙂

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  3. I’ve been blogging since the end of 2006, but it was only in late 2010 that I started hanging out in the playground – checking out other blogs, commenting, joining communities. Before that, my blog served only as an online diary that I didn’t want to show other people. But now, I’m having fun and getting addicted! 🙂

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      I hear you. It was the same for me – started in 2008 but really didn’t get *into* it until two years later. So glad I did as, yes, it’s addictive, but I’ve also found some amazing friends and enjoy reading other people’s writing.

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      I hope you can too! Will be even better because more and more bloggers are really getting a feel for what they are doing and where they want to go (if they want to go anywhere) with it.

  4. Nikki,

    as a blogging newcomer (visiting after rewinding at Fibro), this is such a great post. Your tips are practical and make sense as I learn the balance between quality and quantity. And how great to be able to benefit from the words of wisdom from so many great Aussie bloggers!
    Cheers

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  5. Our posts have a similar message but such a different style. Isn’t that just the epitomy of blogging? My story, my way. Your story, your way. I love it! I have been checking you out regularly since we met at the ABC (and visiting today from the Fibro). I may make an appearance out of trackie dacks any day now x

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      Haha! Yes, I think that’s one of the things I love about blogging. While sometimes we have similar points to make, it’s quite an individual thing how those points are made! I’m wearing my version of trackies today – leggings!

  6. I love this post Nikki – and wish I had read one similar when I started my blog. I’ve come to realise that successful blogging for me is all about creating community and connections so that I can learn from others in my field and share my own experiences. Communicating with your readers not only helps to build community and attract and keep readers and the feedback you receive in return motivates you to keep on keeping on.

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  7. Blogging is a journey indeed. It’s been a journey for me too. From something focused just on my business, to something that morphed into an outlet for me to express how I feel and share what I like/dislike! 🙂 And boy have I learned a lot. Even from YOU! 🙂

  8. Interesting reading, Nikki. I don’t blog, but I love to read them.

    I totally agree that interaction with your readers via comments makes a huge difference, I love being able to ask a question, or make a comment, and getting a reponse. It helps build connections. You are great at doing this, Nikki!

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  9. Looking forward to reading your insights into blogging!
    I can’t believe the stuff I’ve learnt since I started blogging… who’d have thought I would be learning and using code like css and html let alone the big scary php!?!?!?

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  10. I can’t wait for next weekend, its going to be such an incredible combination of learning, meeting, laughing. I don’t blog for the readers, I started blogging for friends and family and along the way have made new friends!

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  11. Awesome, Nikki! Absolutely, simply, cannot wait to read more of these posts! LOVE how you say, “A blog is happy to morph along with you”! And you’re so right regarding your topic – your topic has to not only interest your readers but interest you.

    I think you have the communication part down pat – I can’t think of another blogger I know who is as active as you when it comes to commenting! What’s your secret to managing this and finding the time?

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  12. Love this post Nikki, it’s been great to watch your blogging journey and learn from you. Well done on committing to this, blogging is such a great way to connect and share. Love your work
    Jeanne x

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  13. Great post Nikki. Your blog is the perfect example of finding a niche market and sticking to it. I may need to come to you for some advice shortly… I have a few ideas of my own…

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