At the end of June and my first month of blogging at Em In Real Life I set myself some targets for my blog and social media for July. They were these:
- Post at least 2 blog posts a week
- Post every day on Instagram
- Complete 3 guest posts
- Update keywords and SEO
- Develop a strategy for my blog
- Increase Twitter following to 600 from 361
- Increase Instagram following from 248 to 500
I was reviewing these today ready to set targets for August and was so pleased that I’ve actually managed to meet most of them and smash a couple of others!
I was successful in writing at least 2 blog posts a week, writing all 3 guest posts I had committed to (here, here & 1 to be published in August!), I just reached 629 followers on Twitter and smashed my Instagram target reaching 832 as of today! I don’t think I quite managed a post a day on Insta and didn’t get round to focussing on my keywords and SEO and writing a strategy as much as I would have liked but these can roll into August.
A couple of things I didn’t expect or plan for was that I would have written the first two posts for my new online column with Celebrate:MK and I’ve been given a review to write for their magazine in September! I also gave my blog a face lift with a new theme that I love and makes the site so much nicer to work with and read. Phew!
It’s been an incredible two months and I’m surprised at how much I’ve achieved in a relatively short space of time. It hasn’t come without hard work and a lot of learning though and between the successes have been hours spent writing, engaging with followers on social media, networking and editing photos. I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of what I’ve learnt during these first couple of months.
The Technical Stuff
I came to Em In Real Life with some blogging experience but was in no way an expert. I wrote a baby blog for a while after I had Alice but I hadn’t got my head around promoting it properly. I had a little idea of the difference between hosted v. self hosted but had to remind myself of a lot of the detail. I decided to go self hosted with WordPress fairly quickly as I wasn’t a total newbie, but if you’re new to the blogging game it’s ok to give yourself some time to find your way with a hosted site before you decide if you’re ready to go self hosted and make a financial investment in your blog. There are plenty of resources online to help you out and answer questions but if you have any questions feel free to pop me a message.
What I’ve learnt- start with a hosted site. Find your way around and learn as you go. It will help you learn what’s what and find your style so that if you decide to go self-hosted you’ll have a clear idea of how you want it to look and function.
As soon as I had my site set up I already had lots of ideas for posts I wanted to write. I just started writing them all and seeing where it took me. I found in the beginning, and still do now, it’s so handy to have an ongoing note in your phone to make note of any of those post ideas that come to you throughout the day. I have a list that has given me some great content and also some non-starters but it’s always good to explore ideas! Planning my blog and social media more than one week ahead is an ongoing project but having a plan in mind will help you to keep motivated, don’t be too strict though as new post ideas will always pop up and you’ll want to be flexible to allow space for them.
What I’ve learnt- keep a note handy of all of your content ideas and get into a good habit of planning at least your next few posts.
Finding a Niche
I heard the word ‘niche’ a lot and had a few moments of worry here and there that I didn’t have a niche and so no one would read my blog. However, I’ve learnt that you don’t need a ‘niche’ to get started. Your niche is you. I’m starting to see a pattern in my content now which I can start describing as my niche so don’t worry if you don’t have a clear topic you want to write about straight away, just be you, enjoy writing and what makes you unique will come through.
What I’ve learnt- don’t let not having a niche straight away stop you. If you’re more varied in your interests then go for it, you’ll find what you like to write about the most and patterns will emerge.
The main thing I’ve learnt from social media is you get back what you put in. With some research in to the platforms you’re focussing on you can really up your game. I’ve been focussing on Instagram in July as I love the photography side of blogging and am really enjoying being creative with it. It’s a brilliant way to reach followers who are interested in the topics I write about but it takes work to get those numbers and engagement up. My main tip is engage, engage, engage. The more you interact with other users the more they’ll interact with you and the more the app will thank you for it. And none of this follow/ unfollow business please!
What I’ve learnt- being consistent and engaging with others is key. If you’re genuine in your approach you will build a loyal and engaged following.
Get out and about
My successes in being invited to local PR events and writing for a local magazine have come from meeting people face to face. Nothing beats a bit of real life networking so find yourself a local bloggers group, a local PR event or blogging event to go to and it will really help you elevate your blogging if that’s what you’re looking to do!
What I’ve learnt- get out from behind your computer/ laptop/ phone! It can be nerve racking I know, I nearly didn’t go to an event I made an amazing contact at but I’m so glad I did! You’ll be surprised at what is going on nearby and it’s the best way to properly connect with people- you never know who you’ll meet.
I have learnt so so much in the last two months I couldn’t begin to squeeze it all into one post but I hope the above is a little helpful if you’re on this blogging journey with me. There is still so much to learn though and I’m a way off where I’d like the blog to be so I’m setting myself these targets for August to help me get that little bit closer
- Learn more about Pinterest for blogging and set up and use my Pinterest account consistently
- Update keywords and SEO
- Develop a strategy for my blog
- Increase Instagram to 1000 followers
- Increase blog subscribers from ?? To ??
- Host a Twitter chat