Do you dream of starting a blog but assume you're way too late to the party and could never catch up with some of the major player bloggers? Read on and find out the experts opinion on that popular question "Is it too late to start a blog?"
Blogging can be an incredibly powerful way to get your work, brand, business and thoughts out there. It’s a great platform to create awareness of you and/or your business and is also a very effective way of building your tribe.
There’s one question we get asked a lot here at The Career Stylist, and that’s whether it’s too late to start a blog. Some think they’re way too late to the party and could never catch up with some of the major player bloggers who have been blogging for maybe over 5 years! How do you compete?!
The short answer to this question is no, it’s definitely not too late to start a blog! However, there are some things you need to consider before you start blogging, particularly if it’s more for business purposes than simply the pleasure of writing. As long as you have a plan in place and are very clear on the purpose of your blog, there’s no reason why it can’t be a key way to build your brand, business or profile.
So, along with some insights from experts in the blogging world, here are some of our top key points to think about if you are considering starting a blog -:
Know your Niche
With so many bloggers out there, the best way to build a blog as a newbie is to have a niche or a unique take on the subject you want to blog about. For example, there are hundreds of food blogs so if you are thinking of starting a foodie blog, what specific food angle could you approach it from? A good tip is to niche down and then niche down again to make it really specific. A great example of a blog that has done this really well is Tales of a Pale Face. Tales of a Pale Face is a beauty blog, but specifically aimed at women who have pale skin. Although blogger Kat Clark only started her blog in 2012, she has already built a strong following and is generating income from her blog as she is so clear who she’s creating her blog for; content is targeted and relevant to her pale faced community. Having this clear focus will ensure you build a targeted following that are genuinely interested in your blog and more likely to become loyal subscribers and fans.
Another way to make sure you stand out from the crowd is by bringing your unique twist/ outlook that will grab people’s attention. What insights do you have that could set you apart from the other bloggers out there? How could you shake things up? And of course, your niche should also be the thing that you are most passionate and/or knowledgeable on so that you won’t be short of content ideas and inspiration!
Create Valuable Content
To build loyal followers (and potential customers or clients!) who keep coming back to your blog, you need to be posting content that offers them real value. Ali Luke from Zen Optimise has shared some excellent tips on this. “However great your marketing, your blog won’t succeed without valuable content that people want to read. That normally means educating, entertaining or enlightening the reader (or even managing two or three of those at once). Your post doesn’t need to be wildly original, but it should be of the quality that you’d expect from a magazine you’d paid for.”
Know and Find your Audience
Like finding your niche, you’ll want to get very clear on who you want to be reading your blog- who will it resonate with or interest most? Are you a wedding photographer for example? Your audience will not only be engaged couples but also other types of suppliers within the wedding industry who might be good to connect with – so wedding planners, caterers, wedding venues, dressmakers and make-up artists and so on. Look at the types of places they hang out online such as relevant Facebook groups that you can join and get involved with. You can also create awareness to your own blog by commenting on other people’s blogs within your industry. Interaction is incredibly valuable and a very effective way of building online connections.
A common misconception is that to build a successful blog, you have to be posting every day. This isn’t true (unless you want to of course!) and it’s far better to post better quality content less frequently than sub-standard content every day. However you do need to be consistent so that your readers know when to look out for your posts. On this subject, Katie Dalebout from The Wellness Wonderland points out “Consistency is huge for new bloggers, if for no other reason than proving to yourself that you’re serious about what you’re doing. If you write a post every once in a while you’re not a blogger, rather you’re just someone who writes sometimes. However, if you make a commitment to yourself to constantly put out content on a regular basis you are making a commitment to yourself as well as your audience. You may be thinking, ‘what audience? No one reads my blog except my mom!’ but even it that’s true the content you create today will be seen by the audience of your future because the content you commit to regularly creating becomes your archive in the future, which is the first place new readers who dig your newest content will go to look for more of you when they can’t get enough. Bottom-line: write consistently and write like you have thousands of readers because someday you will! “
Harness the Power of Social Media
There are a few key social media platforms out there and like being consistent with your blogging, it’s better to commit to using one or two of these platforms effectively rather than dipping in and out of all of them inconsistently. Twitter is a great way to connect with other people, share links of interest and have quick conversations and a Facebook page is an ideal extension of your blog where you can post mini blogs, pictures, quotes, videos and really mix up your content. Pinterest and Instagram are also useful if your blog is more focused on visuals – so fashion, photography and art for example. The main thing to remember is to not use social media solely as a way to promote your blog posts. Use them as individual platforms to enhance your online presence by expressing your personality, interacting with others and slowly building a reputation as a trusted expert in your field.
Think about Other Ways to Drive Awareness to your Blog
You have to be very aware that even with a good plan and strategy in place it will still take time for your blog to build organically. However, there are things you can do to proactively get your blog on people’s radar and heighten engagement. Guest posting, for example, is an excellent way to drive more traffic to your blog in a short space of time. Not only that, if you can post guest blogs on trusted websites or blogs with bigger audiences, you’ll become more quickly known as an expert in your niche. On the topic of guest posting Ali Luke says “One of the very best ways I’ve found to get new readers is to be a guest on larger blogs. The key to making this work is to choose blogs that are closely related to your topic and that have 10x or more readers than your own blog (check any stats in their sidebar, or look at their Twitter or Facebook following compared to yours). Make your guest post your very best work, follow any guidelines the host blog has for guest writers, and get a blogger friend to help you edit and proofread the post before you send it.”
Also, don’t underestimate the power of networking outside of the digital realm. As Annabel Beeforth, owner of the hugely popular wedding blog Love My Dress puts it “I recommend stepping outside the digital world if you want to raise the profile of your blog – make an effort to meet up with other bloggers or attend blogging related events or events you can blog about. I consider networking in the physical world one of the key reasons my blog has been so successful.”
Plus, getting out there in the big wide world mixes things up a bit, rather than just remained chained to a lap top. This is when you’ll be inspired and come up with new juicy content ideas to fuel your blog.
You can find out more about how Annabel went from office administrator to multi-award winning professional blogger in her inspiring The Career Stylist interview here
Lead with your Passion
One of the main things that will make all of the above an easier and more enjoyable process is to be passionate about what you are blogging about – or at the very least interested in it! A blog is not only a fantastic way to build your brand and business, it’s a wonderful creative outlet where you get to show your personality. You don’t need to get caught up with being ‘perfect’ either. Regardless of what you are blogging about, passion and genuine interest will always impact your readers far more (and keep them coming back!) than word perfect content that lacks enthusiasm. Don’t get too caught up with stats, followers and page views to start with either. Focus purely on putting out high quality content that excites you, interacting with others, always responding to comments that people post on your blog and really building that trust within your online community.
We’d love to hear from you. Do you have a blog, or is it something you’ve been dreaming of for a long time? What do you think is important when it comes to creating a successful blog?
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