11 October 2018

Behind The Blogging Scenes

When it comes to blogging most people see a blog post or a blog itself once it's all finished and polished, written up nice and accompanied with pretty pictures. So for this post I thought it would be fun to share with you what goes on behind the blogging scenes.

For my blog there is a lot that goes into a post and a lot of pre-planning to make sure they are put together well and got up as scheduled with as little complications as possible. Everyone's blogging process is different, so these are just the steps that I follow.

Step 1. Planning & Scheduling

The first step for me is always planning and scheduling stage, where I need to brainstorm a bunch of ideas for possible posts and figure out when best suits for them to go live. Then comes an hour of filtering through the ideas to see what will actually work, what I can get photos for, what will be interesting to read. This is a fun stage for me becasue I get to let my creativity flow, and come up with ideas for content that excites me and that I'm eager to make and share. After the initial planning, once I have 3-4 ideas that I like, I need to schedule them, get out my calendar and figure out when these posts can go up.

Then it's time to work backwards, and figure our if a post is going up on a Thursday, when can I get the photos for the post? Is there any specific props I need? Then when do I have the time to sit down and write that post? For me, planning is one of the most important stages of creating hiyaitsashley's content, and it is one of the ones that takes up the most time. But it's worth it, becasue all of this pre-planning lets me keep on top of what needs to be done and when, and it keeps my blog efficient. It also gives me a bit of time between figuring out the post's theme and its' publishing date to sit down and jot down some notes that I want to cover, and plan out the bones of the post. Back in February I wrote a post all about keeping organised with your blog which you can find here if you are interested in reading a bit more about keeping organised when it comes to blogging.

2. Photography

After I have a list of ideas for my next few posts, I look at photography. I don't have a full lighting set up or a studio to shoot my photos in, my photos are just me, my little photography and relying on natural lighting for the best photos. That being the case, I know that there are only certain times when I can get my photography done, ie, I know for me it has to be in the daytime, usually between 10am and 2-3pm as I rely on natural light. But I also know that setting up my photography area takes a decent amount of time, as does fiddling around with the correct props that I need for that post. I also have to factor in the fact that I am at university full time, so I'm in 4 days a week from early in the day until late into the afternoon or early evening, which means I know that those 4 days a week are no good for photos, so I have to make the time at the weekend around anything else that I am doing.

With that in mind, I was able to allocate a specific time each week to get the photos I need, and to prepare the props I need to get in advance so that I can batch take my photos for multiple upcoming posts at one time. This way I know I am going to get really good quality photos and I'm going to have them taken and ready to edit and resize when I need them later that week or the following week.

3. Writing The Content

Getting around to actually writing a blog post is step 3 for me, which I think will be surprising for some people who don't write a blog, and just read them. I prefer to have a schedule and the required pictures before I sit down to write content. I do it in this order because it makes things a bit more easy to manage. The actual written content of a blog post is one of the most important parts of the post, it is a blog post after all. But having the photos taken, the idea in place and in some case even pre-written notes alrady there for me makes the writing come easily, and it lets me just focus on the content I'm writing, and making sure I'm covering all of the points I want to.

Crating a post in this order also lets me slot in the photos and links when I need to as I'm writing the posts. It lets me preview the post and see how the layout looks to a reader, how it flows with the photos. Do they break up the text nicely so it reads well, and looks aesthetic? It also means that once I'm done with writing a post, I am able to make the final little tweaks that are needed, slot in any photos and links and publish.

4. Social Media & Engagement

The last step in my blogging process is to promote my content on social media and to keep up engagement with my followers and readers. I use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for my blog promotion in different forms. For Twitter I have a set format I use for promotional tweets with a direct link to my post, and the appropriate #s for the content. For Facebook I have a set format too, and I share the content on my own blog Facebook's page, as well as in specific blogging groups. Facebook promotions are a little longer and more detailed, because on Facebook there us no character limit. These two are fairly simple to come up with, and for Twitter I usually pre-write the tweets and save them as a draft ready for when the post goes live. On Facebook the draft option isn't very useful for posting in the groups so I do that manually, though I have the post crafted and saved so I can just copy and paste the post when it's time.

Instagram promotion is a little more time consuming so this is usually created in advance and saved for when its time to post. I use Instagram stories to promote my posts, as well as a dedicated post on my feed. The Instagram stories are designed around a template I have edited on another app, because Instagram is one of my main engagement platforms so I want these promotions to look polished and cohesive, so I don't mind the little extra work that goes into them. These stories are then also archived under a 'New Posts' highlight on my page so that people can go back and find them if they want to. Along with my own promotion then comes engaging with other bloggers, taking the time to like and comment on posts, reply to Instagram stories and tweets. Engaging with your followers and readers, and bloggers who you like is one of the most important parts of blogging I think. I have a post here that I wrote earlier this year on the importance of blogger engagement, if you're interested in reading more about that.

This post was partially inspired by this post I wrote back in 2016, talking about blogging and the amount of work that we bloggers put into out content, our sites, our 'brand' in a way, and partially by a thought I had recently about how different blogging must seem to someone who only reads them, or knows very little about them. Some people may think that blogging is as simple as turning on a computer and writing a few hundred words, hitting post and you're done, when in reality it's so much more. We spend hours, days, weeks sometimes planning the content we produce. We work hard to earn and procure collaborations with brands. We spend a good deal of money maintaining a website, from domain fees, business cards, theme and aesthetic costs, prop and photography fees to name but a few. It's a lot of hard work and dedication to make it work, and to keep it successful.

Content creators put a lot of work into the content that the create so I just wanted to share this little look into what it's like behind the blogging scenes here at hiyaitsashley so that people can get a glimpse into how hard we bloggers work to create content that we love to make.

Have you got a set blogging process or do you go with the flow? How long does it take you to get a blog post from just an idea to a published post?

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