Making a Comeback: The Return to Blogging
This post is by Steph. Working full time in marketing, I blog part-time in the evenings and weekends. I started blogging back in 2012 but took a break and returned to it this year and so pleased that I made the jump back. Originally from Scotland and now living in the North of England my blog has a nod to my roots as well as my passions. The ethos of Thistles and Hearts, a lifestyle blog, is based on everything I love: Explore, Enjoy, Eat!
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Maybe you’ve been out of the game for a while. Maybe you don’t think you can write content that has a place on the internet anymore. Maybe you’re feeling a bit insecure. How do you overcome all of this and make a return to the blogging world?
These were the doubts going around in my head, but I took the plunge anyway!
I first started blogging in 2012 but because of work and life commitments I was no longer able to give it the time it needed, and it started to feel like a chore. Then in 2017 I was really getting the urge to write again, I guess it’s something that never leaves you huh? However, the blogging landscape had changed in the space of a few years. Would I still be able to write content? Would I be able to post regularly? Could I make the move from a food blog (my previous genre) to a more open lifestyle blog? Well, I assumed the answer was yes and plunged in head first…as I do most things in life! For anyone considering getting back into blogging after some time out, for whatever reason, these are my top 3 tips to starting up again:
1. Set aside time
I’ve found that because I also work full time, I have to consciously set some time aside to write bits and pieces for my blog as well as to engage with other bloggers, reading their content and engaging with followers. There’s some seriously amazing content being written by bloggers covering all topics and I’m here for all of it!
I spend a few hours in the evenings through the week and another few hours at the weekend. I’m a complete night owl so evenings tend to be when I’m more creative. Do whatever works for you, there’s no hard and fast rule as long as you give yourself the time you need and don’t compare yourself to other bloggers; your blog is unique to you.
2. Content plans are your friend
While there are times when an idea comes into my head and I want to write it as quickly as shoppers march through the door of the Next Boxing Day sale, most of the time I try to work to a content planner. Again, this comes down to the fact that blogging is a part-time hobby for me, so I have to fit it in around other commitments.
Think about the topics you want to write about and how you might be able to plan to make the process a little more structured. At the minute I’m going with one post a week. I enjoy the writing process and once a week I can shut off the world around me and immerse myself in my blog. For those few hours, nothing else exists and it’s wonderful! Your content and the amount you publish is completely subjective; entirely your choice. Some bloggers post daily, a few times a week, a few times a month. It really doesn’t matter. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the quantity of posts, quality is the winning formula. There’s no set structure or length, just your own voice.
That’s the beauty of blogging.
3. Say hello to the communities and the opportunities
I feel like in the short time I took a hiatus from blogging the community has increased tenfold, or maybe I wasn’t engaging enough the first time around? Either way, there is a huge blogging community ready with open arms to say hello and help you get started. I’ve already made some super supportive blog pals on Twitter and Instagram. Not only do fellow bloggers comment on posts but share them with their own followers too. In fact, some of my longest social media friendships have been with people I ‘met’ while writing my first blog. Being in the beginning stages again I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this little act of kindness from fellow bloggers.
The community spirit is truly alive and well in blogging!
Engage with other bloggers, both in and outside of your interest area. Not only will you get to read some incredible posts about topics you might not necessarily have gone looking for, but you’ll also reach new audiences too. Look at different blogger groups and blogger ‘trains’ on Twitter - this is a great way to ‘meet’ people and share ideas.
All my content to date is unpaid or unsponsored but if I have written about or mentioned a product I love or a service or cause I’m passionate about I have engaged the brand in the post too. There are a lot of questions around paid, gifted and sponsored posts these days and this is certainly an area of blogging and influencing that has seen some change since my first blogging journey. I personally like to see bloggers state clearly when an item has been sent to them or is a collaboration. I love to see bloggers get paid or rewarded for doing what they do and the fact that a post is sponsored doesn’t make me any less likely to read or engage. So, if the opportunity to collaborate with a brand comes your way being transparent is key to maintaining a good engagement with your readers.
Honesty really is the best policy.
Hopefully, you enjoy your return into the blogging world, and even though things might have changed and moved on in terms of social media or brand associations, one thing remains the same: people want and respond to authentic and personal content. They want you to be yourself and enjoy what you’re writing. If you enjoy writing it, your audience will enjoy reading it. Corny, yes, but true!
Good luck :-)