What I've Learned After Fifteen Years of Blogging
Posted by Raymi Lauren White on August 27th, 2015
My name is Lauren White but I blog as Raymi the Minx and Raymi Toronto. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years as previously mentioned in the title. That’s about how long blogging has been around for. There’s so much I have learned in this period that it’s turning into something of a book to write that would be a reflection on me, the art and science of blogging, and its impact on society in general. For now though, here’s some insights broken down into a handy article.
Why should a business or you personally blog? Well, you blog to show another dimension of your “brand” or persona. No one will know what’s going on with you or your company otherwise. Facebook and Twitter are limiting whereas a blog is where the meat is. It’s the space where the content goes and where you wanna drive traffic to show them your perspective on things. Do these things well and blogging will pay off for you.
In the past ten years blogging has been both embraced, and exiled by corporate news media, vindicated and vilified by agents of the free press, and I think ennobled by celebrities and cool people who blog daily. It now exists as a separate line item on web marketing campaigns. Review blogs are dead, but event blogs are back. P.O.V. blogging or ‘consumer perspective blogging’ is when I go out and enjoy myself somewhere, and the reader experiences it second hand through my blog. Some other writers, including account managers here at Surround call this ‘experiential blogging’, which I guess is the new term for something that I’ve been doing for years. People wonder if bloggers get paid? Listen if you see me out using something, drinking somewhere I name and link, and in general doing something profoundly weird, then you just know I’m getting something. I do pro bono stuff periodically though.
Blogging should be fun so try and enjoy it. It’s stressful but the long term rewards in the form of opportunity emails can be sweet. I’ve always said people won’t know if you don’t show and that’s ultimately what blogging is – Show and Tell. If you’re interesting in real life activities and niche things then you can be interesting on the net and everyone is well trained in that capacity by now thanks to Facebook.
(Above Vancouver popular blogger Miss 604, Rebecca Bollwitt)
Don’t let others slow you down. People will waste your time all day long if you let them, so don’t. I’m still having a conversation with the first person who ever emailed me fifteen years ago, catch my drift? Get to WORK. Blogging IS work so DO it. Wake up early and get as much done as you can before you start to come undone from all that coffee. Being your own boss comes with power and responsibility and that can get hard to harness in the Peter Pan world you’ve created for yourself. You have to grow up a little bit and be your own boss.
Avoid Social Media if you want to blog. The immediate gratification that came with these new social tools destroyed the blogging for a bit, but then made it bigger. People would say to me, ‘I wish you were more social [media] Raymi…’ So I finally gave in and now blogging is a lot harder to do and my Attention Deficit Disorder is through the roof BUT adopting the social media trend does not necessarily bring amplification with it. You have to engineer that result.
The internet is fun, avoid it entirely when actually writing your post. You can play on there after you publish and have fun promoting your piece. Make your post then reward yourself with fart videos and celeb gossip.
(Vancouver fashion/Mommy blogger Danielle Ciavarro of smellydanielly.com)
People like lists – here’s one now. Break down your thoughts into cohesive lists. Actually, they don’t even need to be cohesive, people just want to see bullet points and it can be as nonsensical as you like. No one has that much attention span for anything anymore. In so many ways social media is about competing now. Look at my boat! I am on a boat I AM a boat. Etc.
Rip yourself off not others. Go into your archives to dig up content you spent hours making, many weeks, months or years ago, and revamp it, post it, link it anywhere and everywhere applicable to the subject.
Be your own PR because no one else will also PR isn’t free.
You WILL get haters. You’ll put up with a lot but just keep going. You will get beef thrown at you from rivals that you’re doing better than. You will HATE others too. Do not ever show that though. You will go through a period of “not getting it” and might have online meltdowns. Please don’t. However, you can reinvent yourself too. You can make a new website with a new topic, or venture. You can blog anonymously or for other businesses. There is more than just personal blogging although that is all I know.
Your (writing) voice gets better over time. It feels awkward at first but then the words start to come easier. Enjoy and embrace the blogosphere; I sometimes imagine myself talking to my readers, talking to you. I think I am the best at writing I have ever been to date but it thrills me to consider that I’m just getting started and also still improving.
Go to events. Play the game. Mingle but don’t be desperate. Let them come to you and if they don’t, readjust your brand.
(Liz Holcomb, glitterforall.com blogger aka Artwaif on instagram).
Believe in yourself and what you do and how you do it.
Engage with your audience. These people are important! They will vote for you someday. Nurture your relationships with people who read your blog. These people love you. Suck their souls dry and go back for more. I love my Little Raymis. I am the type of person who will die if they don’t get attention.
Post real and insightful posts in between your blogvertorials. You can’t always be selling (out)! But if you do, own it. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are and land those clients. Weave it into your real life organically (everyone’s frigging favourite word when it comes to brand partnership building) and sometimes just being in the right place at the right time IS the organic sauce itself. Which leads me to…
NETWORKING. Do it. Don’t question it, just go to that party, that event and talk to everybody there and don’t be shy. There are so many gems in that crowd and you never know which one it’s gonna be or three years down the road they will remember you so make an awesome everlasting impression and blog your brains out about it afterwards with links and work you can be proud of in the future.
Casie Stewart – CasieStewart.com/blog
Get in the news! This is like saying build a spaceship, except its not. Its not hard at all depending on your niche and your network. If you blog about model trains then go the model train expo early and write a tell all piece then use HARO – Help a Reporter Out and leave all the details of your super informative blog post and pictures they can use etc and you’d be surprised what can happen. Good things.
See your own blog as a brand, as a business and operate accordingly. Depending on your revenue stream it may be a game of make believe, but its important to adopt the perspective that you matter to many readers and they want to share your wisdom and experiences, your art and photos, your games and anecdotes withe their own audiences.
SEO matters. My content is mislabeled and largely unfindable now because of the nonsensical titles I’ve given my blog posts over the years. I didn’t use categories or keyword labels much and I didn’t label my photos or bother to add ALT text… But I do now, and I see the difference it makes. It costs time and its annoying but I don’t think there’s anything you could do to make your content more findable in search engines than what I just said and if you’re going to spend time promoting the piece you might as well start at the start.
Work on your image. Looks matter. You don’t have to be the skinniest or prettiest but you should try to be the best dressed. Or be cool as hell if you’re not.
Social Media your brains out. Make connections, foster relationships. And if ad agencies offer you a chance to guest post then you should always take it, and hope their readers will like and follow your work going forward. Follow my on Twitter @RaymitheMinx