There are about 200 million blogs listed on the Internet and tens of thousands being added everyday. We are told that blogging is essential for business, search engine optimisation (SEO), and producing engaging social media content.
But what makes a great blog? What goes into it? How can you make your blog better? Why should you want to?
I have a blog because I love to write. I am a writer at heart and writing is essential to my personal expression. To be honest, I like when people read my blogs but I am not bothered if they do not. It is the writing that I really enjoy. But is a writer, a writer without an audience? This question is a bit like the question ‘does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if nobody is there to hear it?’ Of course it does but an audience makes every event seem more relevant – at least to the audience!
So how do you create a regular stable audience for your blog? Well, I thought I would ask an expert. Paula Holmes has created a very popular, relevant and interesting London Lifestyle ‘The P-Ho Diaries’ http://thephodiaries.com and I asked Paula if I could interview her about her Popular Blog, writing and the challenges of both.
Wyn: Your lifestyle blog truly captures the wide range of lifestyles found in London from Super Chic to Grunge – how did you develop such eclectic tastes?
Paula: I’m glad you noticed that. I definitely do have an eclectic taste in fashion and also in my lifestyle choices. I could easily be happy at a black tie doo in a beautiful dress or just as easily at a burger bar in casual clothing. It’s just who I am I guess and I want to share all the things I like. It works out quite well too as I think to target all variety of styles is definitely one thing to consider, as your audience is not all going to like the same things.
Wyn: There are millions, probably billions, of blogs and most whither after half a dozen posts. How have you maintained the energy and enthusiasm to keep going consistently?
Paula: By enjoying what I do. That is the most important thing, if you are happy and have a passion for what you do, it will never seem like hard work. I absolutely love writing, so to write about fashion, food and London life on a daily basis comes so naturally. I know a lot of bloggers feel they don’t get the recognition they deserve for their blogs, but I think the best way is just to think why you started the blog, if it was to make money or get free stuff then you are not in it for the right reasons and more than likely your readers know this and you won’t be able to maintain a following. I’m just happy that anyone wants to read what I write!
Wyn: Your blog has many different aspects – design, food, fashion, and activities. Did you start off with a clear vision of your blog or did it evolve over time?
Paula: I stared my blog just over a year ago, I had worked in Social Media & SEO dealing with bloggers for a few years and they inspired me to start my own. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write at first as I do like SO many things. In the end instead of focusing just on fashion or one thing it gradually incorporated a bit of everything, thankfully there is a category for this – Lifestyle!
Wyn: Your blog is clearly successful and you do have advertisers. Do you have a business plan for your blog with specific plans and revenue goals?
Paula: Not at all. As I said before I started my blog really as a love of writing and sharing my passion for fashion and everything in between, so advertising has become a bonus. I’m always happy to hear from big brands and surprised when they want to work with me, it’s fantastic.
Wyn: If someone were to decide to launch a stand-alone blog what three things should they consider?
Paula: I’d say my three tips would be:
1) Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions in what you write.
2) Choose your design wisely; so many times I have instantly left a blog for a bad design or an awful font.
3) Share everything you do on social media, someone somewhere will want to read your posts. Include all social links on your blog and most definitely carry business cards that you can hand out.
Wyn: What have you learned about blogging that surprised you?
Paula: The amount of power a blogger now has. By that I mean the growing amount in magazines and featured in the press, not to mention PR companies throwing merchandise at them in the hope the blogger will feature it or tweet about it. I think this has definitely grown in the last couple of years and with the amount of new blogs popping up every day, I don’t think it will end anytime soon.
Wyn: What would you do differently the second time around?
Paula: I don’t think I would do anything differently. I am really happy with the reception and cross my fingers, it’s going really well.
Wyn: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Paula: Weirdly I don’t. I always have something or someone I want to write about, my brain is constantly reading and picking up information constantly. I could be anywhere and come up with something I want to write about. I always carry a notebook to write down my ideas. I seem to always come up with things before falling asleep, so I try to write them down.
Wyn: You’ve been featured in numerous national and international media. Did you chase that attention or did your work attract it?
Paula: A little bit of both. I’ve been contacted through my blog from said publications wanting to feature me, which is flattering. I also seek out my own publicity too, for example I was featured in Huffington Post U.S Style section. This came about from a tweet I saw from the writer looking for fashion bloggers that fitted the bill. I sent an email and the next thing I knew I was being featured! Email is a powerful tool and I’m not afraid to use it, for who else can give you better promotion than yourself?
Wyn: What do you see in the future for your blog and do you have plans for it to spawn books or perhaps a television program?
Paula: I hope to grow it even more and be more widely known across the world. It has opened up some fantastic opportunities so far, so I’d never say never to a great opportunity. I am currently writing my own novel, unrelated to the blog but it will be a great platform to push it out on. If the chance arose I’d love to try my hand at TV presenting.