Over the years, I've met a fair share of people – mostly college students who attend talks I give, but in all both young and old – who want to know the ins and outs of why and how I became a blogger. I wish I had a fancy story to tell them, complete with a linear string of events that led from my own college days throughout my career to my current life. Who really ever does? Fairy tales are fun, but the crazy path that led me to blogging has been a lot more interesting and thus, much harder to boil down succinctly.
My road to bloggerdom story has taken some sort of shape over time, largely in response to a set of questions that's similar no matter who I'm talking to and in what situation. College students (or anyone) who's approached me wanting to pick my brain about starting a blog often want to know the why; while most who are looking to find their niche and audience are asking me how. In either case, this very set of questions is a great place to start if you're thinking of starting a blog, or need a good refresh of what you're doing it for. I like to ask myself these questions whenever I lose sight of my passion for blogging. Snaps me right back into place!
Why do you want to blog?
Remembering why you want to blog is essential to making sure you've got the right intentions in mind. Is it for your love of putting trendy outfits together, or for your undying passion for vintage pieces? I started my own blog when I was the events director at our local chamber of commerce. I researched other events and fun things in the city for my job, and wanted a platform to share all of those interesting happenings with an audience bigger than my Facebook friend count. When I remember that, I am always reminded that Seattle-based businesses, boutiques, and designers are the anchor to my blog. I might talk about other things, but those are still some of the most important posts to both my readership and to me personally. Oh, and if you're looking to start a blog simply to make money off of it – I wouldn't recommend it. Readers can always sense your true intentions!
What are you going to talk about?
This stumps a lot of people I meet who want to start a blog. If answering this question is a stretch for you, maybe it's best to stick to sharing solely on social media. I started Fresh Jess because I knew there were events and bits of information I wanted to share with others. To this day, I do everything I can to make sure the well of ideas which I draw blog post inspiration from is full. I'm a voracious reader of a diversity of blogs and sites, and I'm always listening and tuning into what's going on in my life that others can learn from.
How do you get better at blogging/writing?
The answer to this question is so simple, it's almost always too easy for people to accept. To be a better blogger, BLOG AND KEEP BLOGGING. To be a better writer, WRITE EVERY DAY. Though I don't necessarily post a new blog post every day, I keep my writing style, voice and tone sharp by writing in a journal. I aim for one page, which typically takes no more than 10 minutes. In terms of sharpening blogger skills, it's not just writing – but social media, marketing, networking, photography & photo editing, web development, graphic design, etc. If you can find ten minutes a day for a quick break, you have plenty of time to write, read up on the aforementioned topics, or plan ahead.
How do you build your network as a blogger?
I won't go into too much detail here, but social media can help your networking greatly if you let it. Some people just aren't into social media and I respect that. Twitter and Instagram especially have helped me make connections with brands, other bloggers, potential clients and my readers alike. Twitter gives them real-time insight into my life, and Instagram helps build a fuller story of the person behind Fresh Jess.
How did you decide you wanted to make money blogging?
At first glance, this is a difficult and maybe sensitive question to ask. I never went into blogging thinking I was going to make money from it one day. But just like any professional blogger, I'd reached a point where I felt my network, readership and resources were strong enough for me to branch out on my own. It helped to know there were bloggers out there who successfully left their day jobs to pursue blogging full-time. Shout out to my fellow IFB contributors and Yuli Ziv's Blogging Your Way to the Front Row for providing that inspiration to me.
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