Tag Archives: blogging

It’s A Blog Eat Blog World Out There: Best Practices for Blogging Success

its a blog eat blog world out there

Someone tweeted me last week that I should write a post titled “It’s a blog eat blog world out there”. It made me chuckle so that’s exactly what I’ve done. I hope it’s helpful as well as just slightly amusing though!

Here are my thoughts on what makes a successful blog:

Be yourself

The famous Oscar Wilde quote “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” is a cliché but it’s so true. You’ll never make your site a success if you’re following in someone else’s shadow. Don’t try to be the next (insert blogger name here), strive to be the first YOU!

You might think you have nothing new to offer, but that’s total crap! Remember, no one else has lived your life or had your exact experiences. What you might think is the mundane everyday, will be wildly exciting and different to someone living on the other side of the world.

Stop putting yourself down. You are amazing and you have something of value to offer.

Practice your writing

The more you do something, the better you get at it. So, if writing isn’t your strongest skill, practice, practice and practice some more!

Read a lot. Get your writing inspiration from a variety of sources, not just other blogs in your niche. Read books, read magazines, read journals… keep reading, keep writing, keep learning.

If you go back and look at my very first blog post you’ll see just how far I’ve come. Oh cringe!

Present things differently

But blogging doesn’t just have to be about long form writing. Look at places like The Oatmeal, Buzzfeed and all those YouTube beauty bloggers. They use comics, listicles and videos to connect with their audience and get their points across. Mix things up a little!

be yourself everyone else is already taken

Include great images

If you look at your favourite blogs, I’d imagine that most of them also include amazing imagery. Whether you’re taking your own, using stock photos or asking photographers if you can use their work, always accompany your posts with at least one gorgeous shot to draw people in and pretty up the page.

Push yourself

It can be very easy to get stuck in a blogging rut. The old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra. But if you’re bored, or not pushing yourself, your readers will be bored too. Diane Vreeland once said “Give them what they never knew they wanted” and never is this more true than in blogging. Don’t always go with what’s expected.

Push yourself to post something different and a little bit scary once in a while. It will keep you on your toes and keep things interesting for everybody.

Have an opinion

Don’t always take the easy path. If you believe in something, stand up for it. Occasionally say things that you know might ruffle some feathers. While I don’t believe you should be controversial for the sake of it, if there is something you really want to get across, DO IT!

Yes, you might piss some people off, but great blogs are polarising. They attract and repel people in equal measure.

Teach people something

The golden rule of successful blogging is to post things that help other people. While you might look at a lot of fashion or lifestyle bloggers and want to emulate what they do, it’s the hardest niche to really get any traction with.

Bloggers that get famous by simply posting their outfit photos or sharing things about their everyday life are few and far between. They are definitely the exception not the rule.

If you can teach people something and help them in some way, then they are more likely to find you in the first place and keep coming back.

What is it that you know that other people don’t? It doesn’t have to be complicated, and actually it is often the simplest things that prove the most popular. Did you do a great DIY project recently? Discover a new way to style your hair? Learn a new trick with your camera? Share it!

give them what they never knew they wanted

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How Do I Monetise My Non-Consumer Driven Blog?

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

Hi Kat, I’m a blogger and I have a conundrum. I hope you can help. Lately I’ve been finding that when I write about anything life-advice related I get a huge response, and people really enjoy the discussion topics. In comparison if I post about something more trivial, like interiors, fashion or beauty it seems a bit like filler content to me. They get a bit of a response, but nothing compared to the meatier stuff.

What I really want to do is just remove all my categories and keep going with my blog as a place for life advice, women chat, a little light feminism and a place to be inspired.

The big problem is (and this is why I didn’t do it in the first place) is that I’m really struggling to know how to monetise that kind of blog. When you’re writing about STUFF it’s easy, people pay you to promote their STUFF (geddit?) but what if it’s just me writing things I think will help people? How do I then turn a profit? Who are my advertisers? How do I reach them?

These are all things stopping me from following my heart when it comes to my blog but there must be a way around it, I just haven’t thought of it yet.

Is there a way to make money from your passion if it isn’t immediately and obviously a commercial venture? Or should I just accept that writing about make up, clothes and interiors is the way to get people to sponsor?

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

When it comes to blogging, the number one rule is that you really need to write about the things you are truly passionate about. If you don’t it will be completely obvious to your readers, but more importantly, it will be no fun for you! Who wants to spend their days writing reviews of products they don’t really rate or sharing fashion trends they don’t really care about?! 

Following the masses is not what will make your blog successful. There are a million other bloggers doing beauty product reviews, Pinterest round-ups and sharing their outfits. In order to stand out, you need to make yourself memorable – and different – by being yourself!

I’m so happy for you that you’ve found the path you want your writing to take, that’s more than half the battle. There are too many bloggers out there doing the same old thing and they’re all fighting tooth and nail for the same advertisers.

However, in saying that, I don’t think every single article you publish needs to be the equivalent of the next War and Peace. It’s actually quite nice to mix things up with a few lighter, or as you say filler, posts. Otherwise your blog might end up being all very heavy and intense! Everyone enjoys a little escapism now and again, even if they don’t bother to comment on it telling you so.

After all, if you’re covering a sensitive topic, everyone will have an opinion. There’s also always something someone else can add to the discussion in the comments. Yet when it comes to posts about more trivial matters such as interior design, fashion or beauty reviews, there’s really not much you can say in response, other than something like “This is cool, I want to try it too”. Most people just won’t bother. I’ve written about why I think blog comments are down before, and if you haven’t, I’d encourage you to have a read.

To have the most success with these ‘filler’ articles you always need to keep who your readers are in mind. Why do they love your blog? What are their interests? What do they like to read other than your website? What do they do in their spare time? Maybe instead of being high street darlings they’re the kind of people who’d prefer eco home ideas, or charity shop shopping. Remember, they all still live in houses and wear clothes, they just might not care about expensive kitchen gadgets or the latest trends.

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

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Raiders of the Lost Ark is a Lot Like Blogging

raider of the lost arc

A little while back I discovered this making of documentary about Raiders of the Lost Ark. I studied film at University and one of all time favourite things is to see behind the scenes of movies that I’m obsessed with (random factoid: I actually wrote an essay about the sound used in this film!)

I devoured the hour long video despite it’s fuzzy visuals, hardly noticing the constant flickering screen and terrible sound quality. The film was clearly recorded on VHS when it was aired in 1981, left in a dusty box for 30 years and recently uploaded to YouTube, but I didn’t care one little bit.

I actually almost didn’t notice how terrible the quality was until Gareth turned around and said to me, “Ugh, how can you even bear to watch that?” because I was so enraptured with the story that it was telling.

Your blog should be the same.

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How to Comment on Blogs to Boost Your Own Business

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Across the board comments on blog posts are down. I’ve written about this before and why I don’t think this is a negative thing, but today I wanted to share a few thoughts on blog commenting etiquette and highlight some ways you can do it to help your own business.

There are still benefits of leaving comments on blogs. I personally believe that social media (especially Facebook) comments are of much more value, but if you are wanting to get on a blogger’s radar then commenting on their actual posts is a great way to do this. If you are posting informed and interesting comments you may also gain new followers for your own site because people can click through to find out more about you.

This must be done with caution though. If you are only leaving comments to try and boost your own traffic or help your website’s SEO, then it is usually pretty obvious and can really hurt your brand and reputation.

Here are a few things you must never do when leaving blog comments:

Spam

It kinda goes without saying right? Never ever ever leave blog comments for the sole purpose of attempting to drive traffic back to your own site. Most bloggers won’t approve them and if they’re stuffed with keywords or links they’ll get caught in their spam filters anyway. Don’t waste your time.

Post links to your own site

Unless a link is relevant to the discussion, don’t post it in the body of the comment! It looks super spammy. Instead put your URL in the field above the comment. Most people know how comments work and that if they want to see more from you they just click your name to go to your site.

It is usually pretty obvious if someone is only leaving a comment to try and get links back to their own site. Even if the comment is relevant to this discussion, it’s really irritating. A lot of bloggers will simply delete these comments (or edit them to take out the links) anyway. A big tell tale sign of someone doing this is when they also post under the name of their business rather than their real name.

Write anonymous hate

Again, this should really go without saying but if you’re posting anonymously (or using a fake name and email address) to write hateful or mean things those comments aren’t going to get approved! Disagreeing with something, in a polite way, is fine but don’t try and get into some kind of flame war for the sake of it. Always be constructive and respectful in your feedback. Remember, all comments can be tracked back to your own unique IP address (even if they are anonymous). Does what you’re saying reflect well on you and your business?

Post one or two word responses

If you haven’t got anything worthwhile to add then you probably shouldn’t bother! Yes, writing “good job!” or “cool!” might show the blogger that you enjoyed the article, but if that’s all you ever write it can start to be quite counter-productive. If you want to show your appreciation for a post but haven’t really got anything to add, why not tweet a link to the article instead (and @ the blogger in it so they can see)?

Reply to all your comments

Yes, this is in the ‘don’t’ pile! If you’re the post author you should definitely make the effort to reply to your comments, especially if someone asks you a question, but don’t feel like you have to reply to every single one. If you do it can look a little desperate and, honestly, not every single statement needs it’s own “Thanks so much!” response.

patina rentals-blogcademy (1011 of 333)

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How to Create Blog Content That Goes Viral

betsey johnson wedding

The holy grail for most bloggers is writing content that gets shared organically to the point of going viral. While many people before me have shared tips and tricks about making this happen such as stuffing an article with keywords, submitting it to various social platforms and content aggregators, and posting about it on forums, there really is just one thing you need to do – write content that resonates with people.

Easier said than done you might think, and you’d be right, but here are a few crucial questions you can ask yourself before you publish anything. Doing so will help you create something that your readers will want to share with others.

1. Who do you want to read it?

You need to know exactly who you’re writing your post for so you can use language and cover topics that will appeal to them. Your ideal reader is not everybody. If you’re in the wedding industry your ideal reader is not even ‘people getting married’. It is much more specific than that.

My ideal reader for Rock n Roll Bride is female and between the ages of 24 and 30. She’s planning an alternative, budget friendly wedding in the next 12 months. When it comes to formulating my content, I think about what this very specific person might like to read. There are always people on the fringes, of course, but by targeting this person precisely I am able to write in a much more cohesive way and easily second-guess what their reaction to it might be.

2. How can you help them?

Often it is the things that you think are really obvious that turn out to be the most popular. My Want Great Wedding Photographs? blog post is a great example of this.

Another of my posts that was widely shared was 50 Pieces of Advice for a Happy Marriage. I know my ideal reader is a girl planning a wedding, and so the likelihood is she’ll also be thinking about marriage too. What bride-to-be wouldn’t want to read 50 simple tips that she can easily implement to make sure her marriage is a happy one? This article was doubly successful because it also was an attractive read to those on the fringes that are already married.

3. What personal stories or insights can you share?

Putting your personal spin onto a story will create a much stronger message that one that’s just completely factual. If people enjoy reading your blog the likelihood is that they do so because they like your voice and want to hear your opinion.

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How Often Should I Be Blogging?

rocknrollbride whistable eliza claire4

Dear Kat
I’m in a quandary… I’m expecting my first baby in three weeks time and am obviously not going to have time to post on my blog as regularly in the coming months. My blog is a wedding blog and is fairly new (only launched five months ago) but it’s going really well and I want to keep the momentum going in the best way possible.

I have two questions. Firstly, if it’s not going to be updated for a while do I need to have a post explaining why, or can I just leave it standalone with the content as is? Obviously viewing figures are going to go down whilst I’m not updating regularly – there’s nothing I can do about that – but do I need to tell the world that I’m on a little maternity leave?

Secondly how often, as a minimum, do you think I should be aiming to post? Do readers genuinely expect updates or can they be happy with the content as is? I look forward to hearing any thoughts.

Well firstly, congratulations. It’s going to be a super exciting time for you. If you want to keep blogging you’re going to need to have a plan because I imagine you’re going to have your hands full!

A blog is like a baby in itself. It needs to be nurtured, to be given regular love and attention or it won’t continue to grow. So, yes, if you want to keep the blog going in some capacity, you need to be posting regularly. How often you post isn’t actually the most important thing, as long as you make the commitment to update at regular intervals. Most of all you need to find a schedule that works for you.

Remember, if you don’t blog, no-one is going to tell you off. You need to be accountable for whatever you decide to do otherwise it can be all too easy for it to fall to the wayside. You’ll wake up one day and think “Oh I’m too tired/ busy today, no-one will mind if I don’t blog” and you’re right, they won’t, but without the commitment to do it, one day will quickly turn into two… to a week… to a month… and soon enough you won’t have blogged for a year. You’ll have no readers left and you’ll basically have to start again from scratch.

rocknrollbride whistable eliza claire1

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