This one seems simple but actually comes with a lot of careful complexities. You see, as simple as it is to start a blog, to really develop one [that thousands of others find valuable, daily] can be challenging.
There are two types of bloggers. Ones who start and keep a blog for fun, as a form of creative self-expression OR those who leverage their digital platforms & loyal following to earn a living and a thriving business. I think it is important to distinguish which category you fall under. This will give you clarity. Not everyone who starts a blog is solely in it for the money.
For me, starting a blog came at the request of my university professor. I majored in Digital Marketing so my program was very much tailored to new methods and practices outside of traditional advertising. Our task was to start and keep a blog for the semester, writing anything that interested us so that we could then demonstrate how we would go about marketing that blog or article(s) using our social media presence. This was around the time that Instagram first came out, so def pre-2012.
Once I graduated, I was hired by a very prominent Advertising Agency in Vancouver and spent three years on the accounts team handling multiple clients and teams to coordinate smooth campaign executions. It was while I was working here that a huge fire was lit in me, to use my creativity and what I was learning and apply to my own blog and marketing channels. Just to see what / if anything happened.
At the time, my thinking was I would rebrand my blog to TheWorkingGirl.ca and keep building it up while working at the agency. I thought this would be a really great way for me to learn, be creative, explore my passions more and create this digital portfolio that I could potentially use in the future as I moved along in my career.
I know in an ideal world, everyone would love to start a blog, clap their hands and make hundreds of thousands of dollars doing what they love, working from home. If you were one of the ones who sky rocketed to success (back in the early days) consider yourself one of the lucky few. Overnight success rarely happens in this industry. It takes a lot of time, work, expertise, consistency and so much more to create this kind of lucrative career.
It might also be helpful to think about how you define success. To some, it may mean the number of dollars in their bank account, to others, their impressive resume working with top tier clients, to others, the amount of followers they have on IG or number of views their blog receives each month — everybody has a very different idea and approach to success.
You may be looking at me and think– she doesn’t have 100,000+ followers on Instagram (or whatever the case), what does she know? No, I would not classify myself as an IG superstar and nor do I care to be. For me, it’s about the challenge, the build. The pitch, the campaign creation, the process from start to finish. It’s making all the decisions and figuring out how to communicate with trust rather than on impulse. It’s building a thriving online community with all of you! I’m not stuck on a number — those are so convoluted anyway (could do a whole post on just Instagram).
What I do have is over 15+ years experience in Marketing/Advertising at all different capacities and 5 years experience blogging. I spent 3 years blogging part time while I was working before quitting and diving in full-time. Let’s just say I’ve come a LONG way since 2014 and I still have so far to go. Since then I’ve garnered so much learning and knowledge and tricks and tips that I know would probably be super useful to a lot of you. I’ve been keeping note of all the questions you’ve been asking for months about blogging and the business side of things, so I thought I’d start here and build out a series focused on Blogging Tips for those of you who are looking to learn more.
In today’s post I am going to provide you with a few things to consider during your initial process, before you’ve taken any action. This will help to get clear on your ‘why’ and will help you figure out a path to follow so that you can build from there.
Here are 5 things you should consider if you are thinking about starting a blog yourself:
what is the purpose? will this blog be more of a hobby for fun or more strategy for business? They require very different approaches.
what do you want to write about/ talk about? Nailing down what topics you’re naturally passionate about will help you determine what blog categories you might want to list on your blog’s navigation (ie; I write about home decor, quick & easy recipes, beauty products I love etc.). Being specific helps to give content depth and value as opposed to being super vague & open-ended.
what’s your plan to start? will you be working a f/t job while you embark on your new journey to blogging? or what is your plan — taking into consideration that blogging can be very sporadic and both jobs and payments can be very inconsistent and spread out. There are definitely seasonal opportunities and a lot of down time especially when you first start out, so having a loose plan in place would help keep the stress to a minimum. It’s very normal to have a f/t job while blogging, until you can consistently develop a more steady stream of income. I started making money and being approached by companies almost right away, however I can tell you that pay checks were super sporadic. My advice would be to do what you can until you can do better. Then when you can do better, do.
how will you produce your content? will you work solo or hire a photographer? This was a hard one for me for many years. I struggled with wanting to keep everything as natural (looking/feeling) as possible but torn because I felt the blog deserved a more editorial/glossy approach to photography. Where I eventually settled is I take the majority of my own photos with my iPhone when I can but for any sponsored campaigns or story’s for the blog, I work with my photographer Melissa to ensure quality and consistency.
where will you work? Where you settle in to work everyday could be the difference of struggle vs success. I find that my environment greatly affects my mood and productivity, which is why it was so important to set up an office space (even if it’s tiny) at home that I could make my own and feel creative and motivated in. If this is not possible for you, then what’s the next best situation you can put yourself in until you can do better? A cute coffee shop down the street? Maybe in a shared workspace? The key to becoming successful regardless, is to learn how to hustle and be extremely resourceful.
I hope this was helpful! I have lots more topics to cover when it comes to blogging so I’m going to split them up so I can try to be as clear as possible — it’s already confusing enough! If you have other questions for me to follow up on, let me know in the comments below!
Images: Melissa Skoda