It’s been just over two years since I started Willow Lane and I’ve put a lot of work into it over that time. I treat it like a really fun part-time job and I’ve been so happy with how it’s grown and developed from the early days. I keep reading about the saturated blogosphere and the grumblings that blogging just isn’t what it used to be (if you don’t know what I mean by this, read this enlightening and highly entertaining blog post by Forever Amber).
As someone who gets so much from my blog, I can totally understand why more people than ever are starting to blog. It’s a great creative outlet and, if you want it to be, a great way to make new friends; advance your career; and even make you money. Yes it probably is harder to get noticed in the blogosphere and to make it ‘big’ than it was a few years ago because of the sheer volume of great blogs, but it’s also a great time to be a blogger as more people than ever are reading blogs and more businesses/brands want to work with bloggers.
Now I know everyone’s definition of success is different, and people’s reasons for blogging will vary. Some of us want to remain hobby bloggers, others want to make our blog our full time job. But I think most of us would agree that as bloggers we wouldn’t keep blogging if we weren’t getting noticed and receiving some positive reinforcement along the way.
Some of us blog to keep family/friends up-to-date with our lives; some of us want to share our content with like-minded people; and some of us want to be noticed by brands we admire, or by perspective employees. Everyone has a motivating force as to why they blog but I don’t think we would continue to blog and share part of ourselves online if we weren’t getting noticed and feeling like we are engaging people and growing our readership.
My top 5 tips for getting your blog noticed!
1. Don’t sit about waiting for opportunities to come to you, go after them! Once you’ve found your blog voice/style and have generated a good amount of content and built up a decent social media following, then start contacting people you want to collaborate with. Blog collaborations can be so much fun and will help raise your profile. Whether you want to collaborate with a fellow blogger on some unique content, or you want to work with a brand you admire, the important thing to get right is your ‘approach’. There’s no point sitting back and hoping people will contact you about blog collaborations, go out and ask for them! Send a well-worded email about why you want to work with them and then see what comes of it! I’ve made approaches to quite a few businesses/brands/bloggers I’d like to work with and almost all of them come back with really positive responses, resulting in some form of collaboration which mutually benefits both of us.
2. Don’t underestimated the power of social media. Your blog posts are only as good as the promotion you put into them. And you’ll not find a cheaper form of promotion than social media. You don’t need to be on ever social media platform in the world, sometimes it pays to be a little choosier. Find the social media platforms you enjoy and use them well. My favourites are Twitter for regular updates and engagement with other users; instagram for showing off any good photos I’ve taken on my phone and admiring other people’s photos; and Pinterest for sharing my best blog photos and collating other inspiring imagery. It’s worth keeping in mind that it’s not a good idea to just spurt out your own blog updates all of the time and hope that you’ll get noticed. You need to actively engage and interact with your preferred audience. Social media is all about two-way communications, something I forget sometimes when time is tight and all I want to do is talk about how great my latest post is! If you lead a very busy life and you can’t be ‘on call’ every minute of every day, then set aside a designated time each day to tune in and engage. It would do no harm to schedule social media posts via the likes of Hootsuite but if you’re looking to stimulate engagement then it’s not ideal.
3. Good imagery gets people talking. We’re more visually stimulated than ever. The fastest growing social media platforms are Pinterest and Instagram. People love pictures! Most bloggers now include imagery in their posts – mainly their own photographs. More of us than ever are using dslr cameras and learning the art of photography. But even if you’re not ready or willing to invest in a fancy camera, it is good to get to grips with some basic photography rules like always have the light behind you the photographer when taking a photo! You can get some great pro camera apps for your phone to elevate your social and blog pics and there are tons of online tips and tricks for improving your photography. I’m no pro photographer but my skills have come on a lot since I started Willow Lane in 2013. And the more effort I put in to getting a good image, the more enjoyment I get from photography. To begin with I treated my dslr like it was something to be scared off. I rarely played around with the settings but now I have grown in confidence and I’m much more likely to use the various manual settings to try and get the best image I can.
4. Venture into video. Online video just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s a great way to get noticed worldwide and show off your personality. More people than ever kick back and relax by watching their favourite Youtubers rather than television programmes. It’s no surprise that lots of bloggers are now vlogging for additional exposure and kudos. They see the big Youtube personalities like Zoella, Tanya Burr, Tyler Oakley and The Shaytards reaping in the big bucks and are thinking they could give the whole online video a go! And why not? It can be a fun medium to use but it is also a time consuming one – from initial set-up, editing and publishing. I try and do video content once a month and I absolutely love doing travel vlogs. I’ve gained alot of new skills (and got a lot more relaxed in front of the camera) since doing videos which I’m really proud of.
5. Change things up, keep things fresh. Once you’ve found your feet in the blogging world, it’s good to try new things from time to time and see what engages your audience the most. Do you get more comments/shares with certain posts? If so then it might be worthwhile investing more of your time creating specific content that resonate with your audience. Try also promoting your blog posts in new and inventive ways to get people talking (easier said than done, I know). As well as changing up your content and approach, it’s also good to give your blog a bit of a refresh every year – whether that’s a different logo or layout. Willow Lane got a revamp at the start of this year. The blog layout changed quite a bit and it’s definitely enhanced readership and how long readers stick around for. As well as enticing new readers and engaging existing followers more, you’ll also find that making changes (even small ones) can be invigorating for you too.