As the Content Lead at IFB, it's one of the best perks of my job is getting to interact with, meet and interview some of my favorite and most admired bloggers. In this community we're all a part of, some of the most successful and influential members have become minor celebrities in the real world, and major celebrities in ours. I'll tel you right now that I was completely star-struck and nervous speaking to Erica Domesek (of P.S. – I Made This…) on the phone.
Since so many of us are either just getting started and trying to get our names out there, or we've been at it forever and still just trying to get some recognition, I think that the Professional Blogger Spotlight is one of the best and more helpful posts we provide each week. It's fun to hear their perspective and learn more about their blog, but it's also incredibly valuable to get their advice on writing, staying motivated, finding your passion and becoming successful.
To continue our momentum with staying motivated and inspired for this first month of 2012, I went back through my favorite Pro Blogger interviews that I've done since I began working at IFB. I rounded up my favorite quotes and advice to remind you (and me) of our potential as bloggers and give you a little inspirational boost for the week:
Don’t get wrapped up in all the perceived perks or glamor. Most of that is BS and in all likelihood will never happen to you simply because you are no longer an earlier adopter. That might sound harsh, but it’s the cold, hard truth. Instead of getting wrapped up in all that nonsense, focus on perfecting your craft and linking up with people who have similar interests, fellow bloggers, peers and professionals. Along the way you may just befriend some influential people who will respect you and take an interest in what you are trying to build. Knowing how to properly use this network is key and if you eventually plan on being successful, this is what will drive your opportunities.
Just write. Seriously. It’s like a muscle — you have to work it out and tone it. Very few people come out of the womb knowing exactly who they are as writers, and what voice they have that makes them unique and stand out from the pack. Ten years ago I didn’t know what mine was, but through writing and writing and writing, I’ve settled into it. Also, write about something you have legitimate interest in. People can tell when you’re just doing the minimum to pay the bills.
It’s because of my blog I currently work where I do! Since I started my blog sophomore year of college, I was exposed to different bloggers early on and networked my way into an internship at a social media marketing agency, which eventually led to getting hired. The amazing thing about bloggers is that they’re SO much more than just people who write about a specific topic all day. These are people who work in various fields with a wealth of knowledge.
A blog shouldn’t be an end-all, be-all. Just like Twitter/Facebook, a blog is a channel. If you want to make money, your blog should lead back to something that has a business model. Are you a stylist? Owner of an online boutique? Designer? Photographer? Journalist? Find out what it is that you can do to not only monetize your blog, but provide you with the building blocks of an actual career.
If you’re blogging for business, have a concept of something you love or something you know a lot about. It’s important to have a strong point of view and be able to educate people.
How are you contributing to your life, to their life? What do you have to say? If you’re looking to figure out a way to monotize, look into ad networks, and educate yourself. Nobody expects you to know this stuff right off the bat, so if you’re serious, take the time to learn about these things first. You’ll pick up stuff as you go, because we’re all still growing with the Internet as it grows.
Create a community and have a strong voice. People will respond to a genuine and unique point of view. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from other people, but make sure you stay true to yourself. Use blogging as a means to communicate with a wide network of people who share your same interests.Most importantly develop and create great content and you will always have an audience.
I would tell bloggers to be patient. It takes time and effort to finally get your blog to the place you want it to be. For me it was countless hours of writing code to tweak my layout, googling photography tips and tricks to perfect my photos and even just taking time to really decide what the ideal aesthetic would be. It won’t all come together overnight, so you have to continue working on it everyday. My blog is a work in progress and I don’t think it will ever be perfect, but I try a little each day to think about how to improve it and help it grow.
Two and a half years ago I would have never guessed my career would be in blogging! I started it purely for fun without even thinking about making money. It’s really made me more entrepreneurial and creative. It would be very hard for me to go back to a normal 9-5 now. Not that there aren’t challenges. It’s very difficult. The difference is I love what I’m doing!
When I started blogging four years ago, it wasn’t as “cool” as it is now (frankly, wasn’t cool at all — I referred to Sugarlaws as a “website I run” rather than a “blog” for at least a year)! But in some ways, that made it easier — I was happy for every tiny victory, from the first comment that wasn’t from my family, to the first write-up by another blogger, to the first media reference, to the first designer I met, to my first fashion show, to the first sponsored campaign! I think people start blogging now with huge expectations, and sometimes get disappointed if they don’t have instant success. It takes a lot of time and patience (and grunt work) to make a great blog!
What was your favorite Professional Blogger Spotlight so far? Any favorite advice or tips you remember reading?