Five Valuable Lessons I Learned as a Blogger
By Stacey Ross
You can put five bloggers in a room and hear a myriad of reasons as to how and why they began blogging, ranging from wanting to connect more with the outside world, to expanding their brands for business purposes. Regardless, bloggers form a community not quite like any other I have experienced – one that blends deep insight and personal perspective with a genuine desire to connect and grow with similar like-minded colleagues.
Many avid bloggers consider their blogs as extensions of themselves. Bloggers endure growth spurts along with growing pains, and in some cases a proverbial mid-life crisis or two, but determined minds carry on and learn as they evolve, both professionally and personally.
The following lessons have resurfaced at various times in my blogging "career" and are good discussion points for existing bloggers, as well as for those who are considering blogging in the future:
1. Rome was not built in a day
Duh, but we need reminding sometimes, right? This leads to the enviable quest motivating many of us: monetization! Some bloggers do not overtly promote their business via their blog, but rather use it to serve as a tool to network more efficiently and expose their more personal side and interests. For example, by being in a blogging community, marketers, journalists, freelancers, etc. can benefit from connecting on a personal level with the niche they already serve.
For others, the attraction to blogging is that it can be a means to generate money-making opportunities via freelancing, affiliate marketing, online sales, consulting, brand ambassadorship and ad campaigns.
Lastly, for a good many people, blogging is primarily an outlet – a somewhat cathartic hybrid of journaling and scrapbooking. You might hear the term "citizen journalist" thrown around, as well as the household term "mommy blogger," but chances are you are safe to just specify "lifestyle blogger, travel blogger, tech blogger, parenting blogger, bargain blogger" etc. and the conversation can go from there!
2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket
You could spend 80 hours a week blogging and building a social media platform and have all the new bells and whistles in place, yet still not achieve what you set out to do.
Need a tip? Set clear goals for what you wish to obtain from your time spent blogging. Diversify your efforts by building and contributing to your other social media platforms, adding a unique appeal that helps your blog captivate and continue to grow an audience. Build strategic partnerships and network with online friends via social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
3. Time is of the essence
Two distinct areas stand out when it comes to using your time effectively. First, is that the Internet can be seductive, turning a few minutes to hours, so sticking to a daily schedule and mapping things out is crucial not only for online longevity, but for one's sanity. Second, your time is well spent if it revolves around a particular niche that you are passionate about, so your words resonate well online.
4. Choose your friends wisely!
Share, network and learn from one another, but know what your "secret sauce" is and hold it sacred. I have met so many amazing people online whose friendships or connections have been life-changing for me, yet I have also met people that I wouldn't even trust with a pack of gum!
Most important, as far as online relationships are concerned, is that it is smart to establish from the get-go the context of the relationship, because the social culture of befriending new colleagues online can blur the lines between business and friendship, especially when contracts and money are involved.
5. Some rules were meant to be broken
Many people are curious as to why bloggers blog, wondering just how one's "return on investment" plays in the mix and why blogging is such a popular pastime in the first place. Some take it to the next level and impose their "musts" for bloggers, to which I say, “Blaaaaah!!” Deflect the haters!
Beat to your own drum, and so long as you come from and maintain a voice that is credible and authentic, stay focused, and follow basic protocol, you will likely get out of blogging all and more that you put into it!
Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.