Saturday, 8 December 2012

SuperbBloggers

A note from Joelle...

♫ ♪ Shine On - The Kooks ♫ ♪
As more people are creating fashion and beauty blogs, there is a certain invisible pressure that I am sure we have all faced at least once. As blogging is now in the limelight, the hobby is getting more and more cut-throat, with many egos and emotions getting in the way of blogging success. But why?
I, like most UK bloggers grabbed a copy of this month's Company Magazine to see what all the controversy was about. Part of me was happy that bloggers were getting positive exposure on such a large scale. However, the alleged light-hearted nature of the articles were not fully expressed, causing lots of confusion and misunderstanding. 
Many other bloggers were upset that the magazine just showcased the same 'big bloggers' and did not promote the up-and-coming ones.
I am in no way slating Susie Bubble or Bip Ling. In fact I admire them for sticking at blogging for all these years and turning theirs into a success story. There is no need to hate on them for following their passion - we all want to get somewhere, right?
This got me thinking about the pressures some new and 'smaller' bloggers face in order to keep up and get their site noticed. This could involve the camera you use to take photos, even down to buying more expensive clothes/make-up.
The truth is... There are no blogging rules! And that is usually why people create blogs in the first place - it's the freedom to own a little space on the web where you can write about anything.
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It's Only The Beginning Source
Starting out
If you have just started out and have only been blogging for a couple of months - you've already made it as a blogger!
Regardless of page views and followers stats, you have created a site that's all yours and have stuck to it for months. That is something to be very proud of.
Even the bloggers that seem massive these days had to start somewhere, so you are on the right track - keep going!
In my case, it took me just over a year to get 50 followers on my blog - but I just upped my game a bit more and started posting about things that really interested me, and what I thought my readers would like to know! Patience is key.
This is my alternative A-Z for bloggers - it's long, but I am sure some of it will help you.
AH-MAZING - That's what you are! You took the leap to start a blog, which is an incredible achievement!
BANK ACCOUNT - It is better to have food on the table and a roof over your head rather than to live off beans, but still read Vogue religiously. Do what you can afford, please.
COMMUNITY - There are lots of great blogging forums and online communities out there (eg FBL, #bbloggers #lbloggers and #fbloggers on twitter). All you need to do it find one/some that fit with you and your blog. To find some, simply look at the badges and widgets on others blogs. As you can see on my blog, I am part of quite a few amazing communities. Having like-minded people surrounding you (virtually) is a great feeling.
DRIVE - What drives you to blog? Is is a hobby to showcase your passions? Do you have a specific career in mind? Keep on doing the thing that motivates you, as it will help you reach your goals sooner.
EVERYDAY - Hell to the noooo! You don't have to do this at all. Your readers will not go crazy if you decide to post only once/ twice a week. Having your own pace will improve the quality and natural writing  rhythm (if that makes any sense!).
FRIENDS - I just recently set up a Facebook page for my blog and invited a few of my personal friends to 'like' the page. I only expected around 5-10 of my close circle to like it, but I had over 40 in under three days! This boosted my confidence and made me less embarrassed about talking about my blog to people I know. Support is out there, but you have to reach out first!
GOALS - I am setting myself 10 blogging goals to achieve by this time next year. I am so pumped for this because I hardly ever give up on things and want to succeed. Whether it's gaining more followers, learning HTML coding or meeting up with bloggers, setting realistic goals is a pretty nifty  idea.
HONESTY - Whether it's review-writing or revealing blog stats, it's best to tell the truth. Chances are, you will get caught out and lose out on a great opportunity if you are not honest.
INTERACT - We are so fortunate to be bloggers in an age where we can stay connected with thousands of people on different networks. It could be Twitter, Facebook, Bebo (lol), WordPress, Tumblr, MySpace, Pinterest, Instagram, Ask.fm, Bloglovin', Glipho, Keek, Google + and loads more!
JOB - Most of us have work outside of blogging, which we cannot afford neglect. I almost failed (kind of) my first year of A Levels because of my blogging/social media obsession and almost ruined my chance of getting into uni to do what I have always dreamt of. Especially in these harsh economic times, your education and work must come first!
KNOWLEDGE - It's a good idea to know what you are writing about and checking your facts. This doesn't mean you have to buy every fashion mag just to know what the latest trends are though!
LIFE - Yes! There is a life outside blogging and it's all yours for the taking. Make sure not to neglect the loved-ones!
MEET-UPS - I have only been to a handful of blogger PR and non-PR meetups and they are really beneficial. Of course if it is your first time or you are going alone, it will feel scary, but almost everyone is in the same boat and are looking to connect with like-minded people like yourself. If you have a  blogging goal this year, make it to try new things, like meet-ups. And hey, you might meet your new bestie!
NICHE - I don't think I have found this yet. But if you think you have a little idea that will make your blog stand out, go for it!
ORIGINALITY - It's difficult these days. I honestly struggle to come up with new things to excite my readers. But then things usually come to you over time! I now add music links to my posts and am starting a new lifestyle section. Don't be afraid to think outside the box!
PERSONALITY - Letting your personality shine through really helps you to interact with your readers. The great thing is, it doesn't matter how goofy (just look though my blog photos) or how nerdy you think you are. People are accepting!
QUESTIONS - Need help? Jump on Twitter or Facebook and ask other bloggers. The community is so welcoming and happy to help most of the time.
READ - Reading other blogs is a great way to find inspiration. If you don't have a lot of time on your hands, bookmarking blogs to read when you are less busy is a cool idea.
SUPPORT - Isn't it a great feeling when you see those orange words appear on your dashboard screen? Leaving comments on others blogs are not a necessity but are really appreciated  Engaging and showing that you like someone else's work is a fabulous and humbling thing to do. When someone leaves a wee comment on my blog, I can't help but smile and check out their site.
TECHNOLOGY - What is great about blogging is that not only are you a writer, you are a photographer, stylist, social-media-savvy, beauty mannequin  coding/HTML whizkid, reviewer and editor. Having the latest Apple product probably won't change how great you are!  Like I said earlier... be proud of your £70 camera, ten-year-old battery-powered cam or your iPhone camera. It's what you have, so use it!
UNDERSTAND - That there will always be someone richer, taller, smaller, skinnier, bigger, etc than you. But what you have to understand is that you put things on your blog that you want other people to see. So it might not be a true reflection of their everyday lives.
VARIETY - We all love a good OOTD post, or beauty review, or Instagram collage, don't we? But it's great to mix it up a bit with other posts also. Perhaps a favourite recipe? Or a nail art post?
WARDROBE - If you can afford it and like to follow trends, then go for it. If you are a penniless student like me, then it is better (and wiser) to not splash out on the latest things and buy what is really needed! Saving for those designer investment pieces is more beneficial anyway. Please do not feel that you have to splurge on expensive clothes just to keep up in the blogging world.
X FACTOR - No, not the TV show. This refers to finding your passion and going with the flow. If you discover that your food post has loads of views/comments then consider doing more. If fashion is your thing, consider doing more posts on that!
YOU - It's your blog and you have the right to write about what ever is on your mind (within reason, no dodgy stuff!) It is great to keep in mind your audience though, but at the end of the day, your blog needs your seal of approval.
ZONE - Sometimes you need to feel in a certain zone to sit down, plan, draft and then publish a post. It's okay to take blogging breaks and do other things for a while - your readers will not leave you!

I really hope this helped you with whatever blogging stage you are at. As always, I write from the heart and would love to know your thoughts on this topic. :)
Stay awesome!
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