23 May 2018

Things I've Learned As A Blogger

2018 marks for years of hiyaitsashley. 4 years of me logging onto here and filling these posts with things that I am interested in and 4 years of me growing and learning more and more abour blogging and what it means to be a blogger.

When I started blogging the concept was relatively new to me, I knew it was a thing and I knew that it was popular but everything I know about blogging today has come from learning first hand the ins and outs of the blogosphere.

The first thing that I learned about blogging was how time consuming it can be. I love blogging so I don't mind that it takes up a large chunk of my time, actually I enjoy it, because it is something I love to do. But it was something that has taken a lot of practice to balance, and even to this day when I get unexpectedly busy, it still throws of my schedule. I've learned that having a schedule for everything blog related helps make things run so much more smoothly. Having an organised time for writing posts, taking and editing photographs and posting the post, as well as making time to promote it on social media and engage with other bloggers has been key in keeping on top of my blog over the years.

Learning to focus more on the content and a bit less on the statistics was something that helped me a lot to develop my blog. About 2 years ago, when I started to focus on only posting content I was passionate about that I was excited about I founnd that gradually my statistics started to increase, my as did my engagement and my contact from brands.

That point led me on to realise a few things. One being that there was no point in being shy about my blog, my content or being a blogger, what was the point? I used to be wary that some of my posts would be a bit random or boring, and that people wouldn't read them, but it's my blog so if I like the content then I'm going to post it. I didn't want to share my posts on social media in case I was annoying people, but if you're proud of a piece of work, why not share it? The same goes for when I've been kindly gifted something by a brand, I used to be a little shy of sharing it online for worry that people would see me as bragging, but I quickly came to learn that 95% of fellow bloggers are doing the same, because we understand the hard work that goes into blogging to lead to these collaborations happening.

Another thing I've learned is to be proud of being a blogger. If I love my work, I post about it. If I get a fun collaboration or event invite, I talk about it. If I'm at an event or out and about (or even online) and someone asks me about being a blogger, then I talk about it. I used to be so shy about blogging, what if someone laughed at me? What if they think I'm being stupid? What if they think I'm just doing this to get free stuff? Well, no more. I'm a blogger, and I'm proud to be. 

The biggest one for me was when I was out somewhere for an event or a review it, there would be whispers or looks when I mentioned I was a blogger, or if I went to a restaurant to review it and people would give me looks when they saw it was complimentary. I used to get embarrassed by that, but now I've learned not to - because why should I? I work hard on my blog which is how I've been lucky enough to get the opportunities I have, so I shouldn't be embarrassed by that. The opportunities I am lucky enough to get to work with brands for my blog and the invites I get to events and place are things I have earned through hard work, that's something to be proud of.

I've also learned that on top of making time for your blog, you have to have passion for whatever you are blogging about. When you have passion and love content you are creating, it really shows in your work. Some of my most popular and engaged with posts on my blog, such as 'An Open Letter To Fellow Bloggers' and 'An Open Letter About Blogging And Bloggers' are the ones that I had the most passion and drive for creating. When you genuinely love what you are talking about, people can see that, and that is what draws people to your content.

Being genuine is something that I have realised the importance of in blogging. Even though from my very first post I have always been 100% authentic, I have seen from being a part of the blogosphere and talking to brands and PRs that reliability and authenticity in your work are two things that are vital to being a good blogger. The people who read your work are reading it because they enjoy seeing what you have to say, so for them more than anything, we owe it to them to be genuine and authentic with our content.

The blogging community is a great thing to be a part of, that is something that I have learned over the years. More recently, as it has grown hugely in size, there are dramas and shady times just like there is with anything in life, but 95% of the time it is a wonderful place to be. Fellow bloggers are some of the most supportive people I've met on my blogging journey, and it is amazing to know that there is such a strong blogging community out there, filled with like-minded people who are there to support you and your content.

What have you learned about blogging over your time as a blogger? Do you have any blogging advice to share?

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