3 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My Blog
For this week's business-oriented post, I want to dive into some behind-the-scenes about the blogging aspect of my business. Blogging is one of those things all of the 'experts' say entrepreneurs and business owners need to be doing, and I tend to agree!
But blogging is kind of hard!
I began blogging back in 2013 when I had a lifestyle blog. That's how Kiley in Kentucky first began...a lifestyle blog...can you believe it? I started Kiley in Kentucky mostly because I like to write, take photos, and well...I had this sneaking suspicion there was something to this whole 'online business' thing I'd heard so much about on Pinterest, and blogging was going to be the first step. I thought decent writing and some good images are all you really need for a successful blog with thousands of viewers a day.
And that's just one of the things I was wrong about when I began blogging in 2013. Four years later, I can say I've consistently blogged ever since, but my blog transitioned from lifestyle and travel to brush lettering and business (duh!), and I've learned so much along the way. I want to share with you the three major things I've realized in this time--things I WISH I had known back in 2013, because I know so many of you have the same sneaking suspicion I did that blogging could be just the thing you need to get your dream career off the ground.
1. "Blog about it and they will come."
Like I just said...wow, was I ever wrong. I honestly believed I could write one blog post a week, and I would magically have all the readers and all the sponsors knocking down my door. Well, while this theory may make sense if you have bomb-diggity SEO (I didn't even know what SEO was back then...heck, I barely do now, let's be real), if you aren't marketing your blog, promoting your content, and getting engagement from your audience (if you're so lucky to have an audience), your beautiful blog posts and all the time you spent on them will be all for naught!
The only way I ever garnered any readers was by linking my latest posts on my personal Facebook. When I wised up and got a Facebook page, I wasn't yet seasoned enough to realize how I should be utilizing Facebook---or any social media for that matter. So basically, I was marketing my lifestyle blog to a bunch of people I'd known since kindergarten who didn't really care about places to visit in my hometown because...they grew up there. Wrong market. Wrong niche. Wrong place. Wrong everything.
The key take-away here is: there is SO much more that goes into a successful blog besides a steady flow of content ideas and a regular posting schedule. A LOT more. If you're not seeing readers on your blog, maybe you should think about how you're putting your content out into the world? And if you're thinking of blogging, you should definitely begin the thought process of planning to market your content once you begin.
2. I need to be everything to everyone...I'll blog about a little of this, a little of that, and it'll make total sense! #bloggingiseasy
#IWASSOWRONG This is another blogging lesson that took me too long to learn. A lifestyle blog is pretty forgiving of this mistake, but I'm trying to make it in the small business world now, and niching down is everything.
I'll admit that I'm still finding my niche. I know brush-lettering is a huge piece of that, but my desire to share more behind-the-scenes business information is slowly leaking into this blog, and I'm going with it---but with a niche in mind: the total beginner; who I was back in late mid 2015 when I decided to transition my blog into a tool for my business.
The key take away is this: I'm sticking to two main categories!
1. Brush-Lettering Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials
2. Behind-the-scenes info on my business as a brush-lettering artist
You won't find recipes, outfit ideas, decorating tips, or any of the like because that doesn't make sense for my blog. Maybe one day I will split up the two sides of information I want to give, but for now, this is what I'm doing! Take it or leave it!
3. Every blog post has to be the most unique idea ever, or no one will read it.
This is just funny to me now, because I have found the opposite to be true. In my four years of blogging, I have seen that pretty much NO ONE wants to read my off-the-wall, unique blog post in comparison to how interested they are in my personal perspective on a popular topic. This goes for lifestyle blogging AND the blogging I do now.
These days, I've found success by loosely sticking with current trends I see in my 'field,' and giving my unique take on those trends, as opposed to coming up with completely unheard of topics to discuss. This brings me more engaged readers that are likely to return, and also makes my life a whole heck of a lot easier when I'm not scrambling to generate blog content each week.
So, don't be intimidated by the idea of generating content for your blog. No matter the subject, you can look at what other bloggers are talking about, and evaluate if you have a new point of view to offer. There are also a lot of 'generic' ideas out there that make wonderful blog content, even if they have been done before, because...again, everyone has a unique POV! (I mean, read the title of this blog post!)
Feel better yet?
If you're thinking of starting a blog, please don't let that feeling of overwhelm keep you from starting. And if you've just started a blog, congratulate yourself for even trying!
Which of these 3 things applies to you in your blog journey, no matter where you are? Tell me in the comments! I can't wait to hear from you!