When you reach success in your chosen field, everyone wants to know how you’ve done it. I always get asked why / how / when / who questions when Sex & London City is brought up. The mystery of creating your own blog that has global followers is too much – people want to know how you did it! I’m the same watching Dynamo. Seriously mate…how do you get the phone into the bottle? HOW.
So instead of answering individual interviews and questions, I have put together this checklist on achieving success as a blogger. These are not set in stone, these are not the global rules and these are not verified by some ‘blogging powers that be’ from up above. They are, however, based on my extensive experience and knowledge within the industry and hopefully if you take them on board, you’ll do pretty well for yourself too.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Blogging
1. Do find a gap in the market and fill it.
There are hoards of famous fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle bloggers out there. If you want to compete with the best of the best, take a look at what is missing and make it your aim to provide something nobody else does. This doesn’t mean avoid the same subjects – just find your own unique angle.
2. Don’t see other bloggers as competitors – see them as inspiration
Sure, there are many many many established bloggers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also try it? Can you imagine if Adele chose not to sing because Mariah Carey already existed? Taylor Swift or Katy Perry…who’s side are you on? Why do we have to choose! I love both. You get where I am going with this?
3. Do trust your own creativity
When I started out I had no idea WTF I was doing or what HTML even was – I just knew I could write. I wrote because I love to write and I trusted that my articles were funny, honest and worth a read. These days I have features in major publications under my belt, including Cosmo, GLAMOUR, Metro, Daily Mail. Why? Because I dared to be different and wrote about all the things people usually avoid discussing. The rest, as they say, is history.
4. Do ask for help.
Logo design? No idea. Templates? Can’t design them for shit. So, I get help. My template was provided by a third party and my kick-ass logo was designed by an Art Director who happens to also be one of my good friends. Don’t assume you have to do everything on your own – it’s pretty overwhelming otherwise.
5. Blog about what you’re passionate about.
I don’t care if you’re passionate about mugs, ants, chokers, the lunar movements – as long as you blog about what your passionate about, you’ll see results. Readers can tell instantly if the writer actually cares about the words they’re putting together.
6. If you can’t write, make it a hell of a picture instead.
As a qualified writer, my articles are lengthy and mini stories. Not all bloggers can write – but this is okay! Being inspirational with imagery is also an art. Look at all these insta-famous people, they’re followed and loved purely for their imagery.
7. Do get social media savvi.
Social media is your blogging tool – you need every platform under your belt, all linking to each other, all communicating your ultimate brand message daily. Sure, it is laborious but it needs to be done. Set up an account for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
8. Do network your cute butt off.
Dear Lord the amount of press events I’ve attended in the last 5 years – we’re looking at 500 easily. You have to get out there, chat to people, make new friends, make new acquaintances, stay out after work etc. I always get moaned at by my family for being out too much and cramming my schedule until I’m ill. Maybe don’t do it as much as I do!! But network as much as you comfortably can.
9. Don’t expect overnight success.
So many people say to me “I want free stuff, I should start a blog” and whilst I get it, I also have to point out I didn’t decide one day to create a blog then suddenly the next week I’m at LFW. It takes time, energy, and lots of hard work with no results for a while.
10. Do make blogger friends.
Some bloggers are very competitive, exclusive and act like they’re the shit and won’t talk to other bloggers they deem ‘below’ them. They can go swivel. My blogger friends have become my best friends and we get how hard it all is, so we can vent at each other.
11. Do treat your blog like a brand.
If you want to be a blogging superstar, you need to treat your blog like a proper brand. Think about design, layout, ensure the design is across all social platforms, create business cards, follow the right people on social media, tweet relevant messages, make blogging friends…vision your brand as a whole and then work towards that goal.
12. Do work for free (at the beginning).
It’s crap but it’s life – work for free at the beginning because payment only comes when you’re an established name. If you want to get your blog out there, you need to accept unpaid work to help you along the way. I spent a year at a magazine with zero payment when I was 21, so I totally get it!
13. Do understand that content is your Queen.
Content will be the one that drives hits / traffic / increases Google ranking / spreads your brand name. Sure, social media and networking and connections all help, but content is what is needed. If your content is shit, then don’t bother. Take time to create content that people will want to engage in and the rest will follow! Want to get paid to write for national publications? Content content content!!!
14. Don’t feed off negative comments on the internet.
I get negative comments allllllllllllllllll the time. I chuckle, and I move on. Actual. If you’ve not got thick skin, get it, asap.
15. Do research and accept will always have new stuff to learn.
Don’t know what camera to buy? Google. Don’t know what hashtags to use? Google. Need SEO help? Attend a course. Want video editing tips? Watch an online tutorial. Everything is out there available for you, you just need to take time to research, to learn and to master what you need to help push your blog.
16. Do have ‘me time’ that has nothing to do with your blog.
When I’m not blogging or need time out, I paint canvas. I don’t even paint canvas for the end result – I do it for the process. I can spend 3 days locked in my apartment painting and not even notice. It helps keep me balanced from all the social media and emails and PR requests and event requests.
17. Do be prepared to work until you’re half-dead.
I worked myself into exhaustion in 2014. It ain’t all fun and press events and champagne let me tell you. You have to work so goddamn hard. When everyone is out drinking mid week or at the beach for a weekend, you’ll need to schedule time to dedicate to your blog and everything that goes with it. It is HARD WORK. Cannot repeat that enough. Every blogger that makes it look like a dream is just really really good at what they do. I salute all my fellow bloggers!
18. Do accept people won’t like you.
We literally cannot please everyone. Crowd pleasers are not true to who they are. Take my blog for example – there are plenty of people who think it’s too colourful, too honest, too vulgar…take your pick. Do I care? Not one fuck is given.
19. Do be prepared to change sails and swerve down a new course.
Guess what? My blog wasn’t originally called S&LC. She was called ‘The Modern Day Marie A.’ Weird right, I know! I didn’t do any dating, sex or love features – just fashion and beauty. Suddenly, I decided to rant about a recent shit date, and noticed how this particular feature got almost double the hits. I worked out this was where I could go and re-branded my entire blog as S&LC. Best thing I’ve ever done!
20. Do… HAVE FUN!
Come on now, you gotta love what you do and do what you love!