I've been blogging for two years now - a fact that is really surprising to me. It doesn't seem like it has been that long at all. With this in mind, I wanted to share a few things that I've learned over the past two years from blogging and about blogging. As a disclaimer, I am by no means an expert and there are things I learn every day - but these are a few key takeaways that I wanted to share with anyone else thinking about starting a blog or perhaps already blogging and looking for information like this.
1. If you're going to blog, invest in a good camera. We're talking DSLR. This was the best purchase I made for my blog and just for myself in the last two years. I actually got it before I started blogging and I am so happy that I did. Use it for all of your content, whether a post for your blog or for your Instagram account. Phone cameras have come a long way, but I maintain that they have nothing on the quality photo that a DSLR camera can produce.
2. Yes, Blogging can be a business, and no, it is not easy. I think this is starting to become more "household knowledge", but there are still a lot of people who are surprised that others can make a living off of blogging. While I am not one of them, and this blog is purely a creative outlet, I do know how much work goes into mine, so I can only imagine how much work goes into those blogs that actually support someone's livelihood.
3. My blog motivates me and keeps me accountable. I am really terrible at making these schedules/to-do lists. I promise myself that I will follow said schedule.... and because it's only a promise to myself, and I don't always follow-through. It's a different story, though, when you're sharing it with others in a blog format or when you actually need to follow through or else you won't have anything to write about the next day. It's also motivated me to explore my home city in a way that I probably would not have.
4. Having an editorial calendar really helps so that you don't have days where you have nothing to write. Of course, the dreaded "I have nothing to write about, why I am even doing this?!" has happened to me a few times, but not too often and much less now that I keep an editorial calendar.
5. Create a shot list - this is something that I've been doing since last July when I traveled to Europe. I obviously wanted to capture a few things to share on my blog, but didn't want to be so busy taking photos that I forgot to actually enjoy the travel experience. I created a shot list based on each location I was going to - images I would take and share on my blog. It made the whole photographing thing go so much faster so that I wasn't just constantly taking photos. I do the same thing now for all of my posts - I create a running shot list of images I want to get (this includes examples of angles and styling) and then have mini photo-shoots in my house every other Sunday. If I'm traveling, I have the list on hand and try to capture what I have called out on this list. It really helps so that I am not just spending all my time taking pictures and I get the pictures that I want.
6. Use the schedule function. Most blogging platforms have a schedule function. I actually write most of my blog posts ahead of time (especially if I am traveling) and then schedule them out through out the week. This helps me make the most of my time while still blogging about 4-5 times a week.
7. Blogging can help your career. If a blog is truly a passion project, I say craft it and use it when applying to jobs that fit that passion. Let's be real - every employer wants someone who is passionate about their work. Yet, it's pretty easy for anyone to declare a passion for something. You almost have to be able to show it for it to really stand out... and what better way to showcase your passion for a topic than to blog about it every day? It's a pretty compelling piece of evidence. I have my blog listed on my LinkedIn for this exact reason - and I have been working for companies with interior design focuses ever since.
8. Niches aren't necessary. I am going out on a limb by saying that because it contradicts a lot of what you may find elsewhere. Niches are recommended by many others because there are so many blogs are out there - a niche helps you stand out and find the right readers. While that can be true, I think niches can be more limiting to the blogger than they are helpful to the reader. Now, I think everyone should have a focus, or a passion, that their blog showcases. For this blog, it is clearly home styling and interior design, but that's not the only thing I write about. This is mostly because it's not my only interest. We're all multi-faceted people, and I think that it's totally okay for blogs to highlight that. Now, that is nothing against the very targeted and niche blogs. These blogs are great because you always know what to expect - it's comforting and nice to have from time to time. I just don't stand by the idea that every blog should be so specific or that it has to be niche in order to be successful.
I also just wanted to say thanks to all who read this blog, whether it's every day or just from time to time. We're all super busy, and I appreciate you taking the time to read. :) Thank you!