Last night was the launch and cocktail party for the Kidspot Top 50 bloggers. I was asked to give a speech as last years winner. I thought about what I might say - and although so many of the blogs represented are from established and wonderful bloggers, this year has a few new up and coming ones too - (which I love because I love reading and discovering new blogs and from last years' top 50 I discovered some I love so dearly today).
So what I thought I'd share is really what 'my secret' to my world of blogging is - not really a secret but when people ask me (readers, PR/Media, brands but mostly bloggers) how I can have such an eclectic mix of topics and still present it in a cohesive way, or how I got a 'scoop' or a 'fantastic giveaway' or 'what/who gave you that idea' most of all I don't know what to say because to me it seems like an odd question.... because I don't really have a formula - I just have a firm idea in my head what my blog represents to me and the readers - and I blog like a racehorse...
Since I started my blogging journey about two-and-a-half years ago I have learned so many things. I’ve learned a lot about myself. Acknowledged and nurtured my love of writing, photography, food and my need to preserve my past and present for me today, and my children tomorrow.
I’ve also learnt a lot about people. I’ve learned about how to engage readers, work with brands, and I’ve learned about how to run my race with blinkers on.
What does this mean? People in general and particularly bloggers are very quick to categorise. Personal blogger, money blogger, blogging blogger, mummy, food or travel blogger. They also size up how successful a blogger is – how many followers, how long have they blogged, how many widgets, hits, sponsored posts and advertisers they have.
Many bloggers find they are doubting themselves: Why don’t I have that many followers? How did they get that advertiser? Who does their design? Why wasn’t I asked to review/interview/write about XYZ?
Pretty soon blogs are imitating each other, editing within an inch of their life trying to attain that ‘magic formula’ which will bring them the followers, readers, hits and advertisers. What these bloggers are forgetting is the essential ingredient. They are forgetting who they are. They are forgetting who they are writing for and who actually reads their blogs (do they even know this?) They are forgetting why they are blogging.
So my advice is:
Run your own race – Categorise yourself, or don’t. Have a direction but don’t base it on someone else’s blog – make it your own. Work out who your readers are, use your statistics, a survey, and comments to work out exactly what your readers respond to – be sure it’s something you can write about freely and know something about – make sure it’s something that is all your own. Remember, if you love blogging, it will show.
Put your blinkers on – You’ll find your confidence; content and readership will grow if you focus solely on what YOU can offer rather than what your perceived competition is offering.
Running your own race may see you at a much unexpected finish line – but one you’ll be happier with, and have much more to show for at the end.
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