One of the things that has kept me intrested in blogging, is the notion that there is always room for improvement, and there is always new things to learn. If I were to look at my ‘to do' list for my blog, it seems that it's getting bigger and bigger. I'd like to say that there is an easy way to have a successful blog… there probably is an easy way, I just haven't found it, but then again, my idea of success is rather embarrassing.
When I first got into blogging, it was because I was looking for a way to get out of being a graphic designer. Well, it turns out, that I use my graphic design skills every day. I wanted to start a career where I didn't have to do admin work… well, that's blown to pieces, I do way more admin work than I did as a graphic designer.. and the technical stuff!
Needless to say, writing is only a part of blogging. It's not a bad thing… in fact, it's what keeps me coming back, what keeps me challenged, and ultimately it's one of the most rewarding parts about blogging. Here are some of the hats I wear as a blogger:
What's out there? Who's out there? Who's already written about it? What did they say? Everything has been done, so being original is just a quest for the ego. That's not an excuse for taking it easy, and doing sloppy work. Everyone has their own message, thier own perspective, and finding that perspective takes research, and understanding of the subject. It's what stands between outstanding and rehashed, research is the most vital part to publishing anything.
Writer/Copy Editor/Fact Checker
With one hat, I instantly have to wear three. Writing includes, editing, copy editing, fact checking, and of course re-writing. I'd like to say a post only takes an hour to write, but realistically, a good post takes time. Also, I've learned the hard way by some mistakes I've made by skipping aspects of writing… like the time one of my Interviewees sent my post about him to and editor at Vogue only to have ‘Vouge' misspelled in the first sentence. Or the time I wrote about how much I loved ‘Japanese' designer ‘Eley Kishimoto' when actually, the brand is a design duo Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto. Oh dear… they both really happened. I realize that it's hard to edit your own work, but and it's a craft I'm learning, and learning, and learning. As far as getting the facts right… fact checking is also a craft that one can only improve on, but making stupid mistakes that could easily be researched by a quick google search should be avoided at all costs. When in doubt, double check, and check for a secondary source.
Photographer/Photo Editor/Photo Researcher
For every photo posted on my blog, there are 30 that are in my trash. Maybe I'll learn to be more economical with my memory card, but the truth is getting a good shot doesn't happen in one take, and taking good shots doesn't happen without practice. Great imagery is essential, especially for fashion blogs. Some bloggers have photo savvy friends to take pictures for them, but I'm way too much of a control freak to let someone take photos for me, unless they are also a control freak who wont stop until they have that right shot.
You may think that photo researching isn't really a hat… but it's a real job that people make a living with. Finding the right photos to bring your point across, getting permission (always nice) following the proper protocol to crediting… sometimes takes even more time than photographing.
Art Direction/Graphic Design
What is the visual language of your blog? Is it a generic template, or did you design the whole site? Did you hire a designer? Coming from a graphic design background, I tend to get sick of the way my site looks a lot, and I always change things up, mostly because I can, and I have fun doing so. But establishing a brand is part of building a blog, and the more powerful the visual language is, the more authority it has… at first glance.
Anyone who has set up their own blog eventually has to deal with HTML, CSS, XML, PHP… I'm not really sure what they all mean, but I'm familiar with them at some level, mostly via tweaking and searching though forums, and crying. I also have to select hosting services, source new plug-ins, upgrade software, back up information…
No one is going to find my blog unless I put myself out there. Reaching out and building a community is one of the things I love the most about blogging, it's the most human element. Keeping up social networking profiles, reading everyone's blog, commenting it all takes time, and it's essential. I'm sure there are a few people who are able to skip this step, but I don't know many who have successful blogs that don't take this step seriously, or at least have serious fun with this step.
Business Development Manager
This part, I'm only really starting to dip my feet into.. but referring to the first element of blogging, research, its important to know what the standard is, what to expect. What can I charge money for? What SHOULD I charge money for? I've worked in a haphazard way for a long time, but currently I realize I have to develop a strategy and a plan for growth. Something that send shivers down the spine of an art school graduate, but it's not as bad as I thought.
This is for managing data, replying to emails, answering questions, figuring out my schedule, updating the site, ie. blogrolls, membership applications, quality control in the forums. You name it.
What are some of the unexpected hats you wear as a blogger?
Which hats are you suprised you like?