My Blogging Journey; Why I changed my attitude to blogging & how it’s positively impacted my blog success
When I started blogging back in 2011, I never dreamt that my blog would be more than an online diary and a place for me to share my daily work outfits. But fast forward 5 years and what was a blog that I started on a whim one day, has turned into a little business and a platform that I updated everyday for the best part of that 5 years. Whilst it started as a hobby, as the blogging industry grew, blogging became more popular, and the commercial side of blogging expanded, it’s fair to say I started to strive for success in this space. I obsessed about blogging daily (and for 4.5 years I did), I monitored my traffic every hour, and I observed other bloggers and beat myself up when I didn’t get work, invites or the opportunities that they did.
I’m a smart girl with a successful career, but when it came to my blog i was blind sided by my emotional relationship with it. To stop blogging daily would feel like a failure, to not have a strong traffic day would be a disaster, and constantly missing out on work left me in a depressive spiral, never feeling good enough about my blog or my blog successes. That was until about 9 months ago when I decided enough was enough.
I consult global brands on their business and communications strategy day in and day out, and it was about time I started treating my blog with the same strategic thinking too. After all, I was measuring my blog success like any business would (campaigns, traffic, revenue etc), yet I wasn’t treating it like a business in the day to day running. So after some serious therapy sessions (it felt like that) I decided to truly start thinking a little more like a business, let go of my emotional obsessions with blogging daily, and start to think a little more pragmatically about how I run things around here. And truth be told, they were the best changes I could have made. My blog is more successful (based on my personal measures) than ever before, i feel happier and personally I feel my content is better too (I hope you guys would agree?). So 9 months on I thought i’d share some of those learnings with you …
THE CHANGES I’VE MADE THAT HAVE POSITIVELY IMPACTED MY BLOG SUCCESS (& HAPPINESS)
I Embraced 80:20 Blogging
I wrote about the 80:20 concept a few months back, a rule that suggests that only 20% of your time should be spent on content production and the remaining 80% of your time and effort should be spent on distributing that content and getting it seen. Prior to discovering this theory, I spent every living second of my life outside of work, producing content for my blog and absolutely no time sharing it or trying to get it seen. I just hoped that if I made my content the best it could be, that people would discover it. I spent 4.5 years blogging daily until one day I realised this really wasn’t the way the industry was going anymore. People weren’t reading daily like they used to, short form content on instagram was taking over long form blog content, and I was missing out because I was so focussed on blogging daily, I’d simply ignored the important factor of getting all that content I’d worked so hard on SEEN.
So whilst now i’m definitely not 80:20, i’m certainly getting towards a 40:60 balance between content production and distribution, and I’ve found the change utterly liberating. Not only has it enabled me to produce better content, it’s also meant that every post I write feels more celebrated and appreciated, i’ve been able to spend more time on the commercial side of my blog and my traffic has seen a positive shift because I’ve been able to spend more time networking and getting my content seen.
I Stopped Obsessing Over Traffic
Okay, truth be told, I obsessed (and i mean really obsessed) about my traffic. Page views were the keeper to my happiness or sadness. A good blog day meant a great day, full of motivation to do more, but a bad blog day meant utter depression, self depreciation and demotivation. I would be so hard on myself that in hindsight, I totally took the enjoyment out of what was a passion of mine. But it was a perpetuating cycle, i’d compare my performance to blogs I aspired towards and constantly felt not good enough. Now don’t get me wrong, I know full well how important it is to stop comparing your blog success to others, but I really struggled to take my own advice.
I can’t say I actively decided to stop obsessing over traffic, but the other benefit of stopping daily posting and focussing more on engaging with the industry again, was that I wasn’t sat on google analytics all day long watching my daily traffic grow. I was spending more time focussing on the things that would actually impact my traffic. And now, I can safely say I’ve become far less obsessed. There are some bloggers out there who use a digital agency like cefar to create their websites for them and have their analytics managed externally or by someone else. Although I have always preferred to do all of this myself, now I do weekly and monthly checks (and of course every now and then I check throughout the day), but my time is being spent doing far more valuable things than comparing my monthly users to that of an international mega blogger. And the reality is, today micro bloggers have just as much opportunity as the super bloggers out there.
I Stopped Waiting For Things To Happen
My biggest regret with blogging is that for over 4 years I just waited for opportunities to come to me. When I started my blog, pitching for work or reaching out to brands was slightly unheard of and if anything a little embarrassing, but the reality of todays industry is that proactive networking and pitching is exactly what successful bloggers are doing (if not themselves, then their management agencies are). My own ignorance had impacted my commercial growth, whilst I was sat waiting for success to be handed to me on a plate, I totally missed the entrepreneur memo. Nowadays having a great media kit, pitching for work and growing your network is absolutely essential for business success, I just wish I accepted this reality sooner because the last 6 months have been my best yet, simply by being a little more proactive.
I Accepted Invites & Focussed On My Network
And finally, and one of my biggest tips to any of you who are looking to grow your blog and your blog success is to realise the importance of your network. You’ll have heard me talk about the ‘self perpetuating blogging cycle’ (the fact that unless someone ‘lets you in’ or gives you a chance, success, opportunities and events seem to just stay within the lucky few), and the reality is networking, making friends, meeting brands, clients and other bloggers is the only real way those doors will get opened. Being authentic and yourself is key, but simply saying yes to events, meeting with blogging pals and making an effort to engage in the industry can hugely impact your blog journey. For years work meant I turned down every invite I got, but these days I make a much bigger effort to attend events, accept trips and make time for those coffee meetings and the impact has been huge.
The reality is these changes aren’t ground breaking, in fact some of you may already embrace these outlooks already, but for me, they made a hugely positive impact on not only my blog success but most importantly my enjoyment and happiness of blogging too. Sadly I got stuck in a rut of being hard on myself, comparing my success to others and generally not focussing on the right things. But just making these small changes to my attitude and the way I run my blog have made a huge impact on me.
Have you ever found yourself suffering with self depreciation and being hard on yourself and your blog? I’d love to know how you’ve changed your attitude and outlook to help you feel more positive or whether these tips have inspired you to be a little more pragmatic & positive?