A FEW days ago I delivered my first ever workshop!
A 2.5hr blogging workshop bonanza in my home town of Barnsley to an eager, enthusiastic and absolutely lovely group.
During it I chatted about my personal experience as a blogger, how I’ve made it to the level of ‘professional blogger’ (by that I mean, I do it professionally as a living) and talked about the importance of creating great content, getting involved with the blogging community and other such things.
I’m still very much getting used to public speaking (this was my fourth go!) and so prior to the workshop I was a little nervous.
However, once in full swing, I absolutely loved it!
It helped that I had a smashing crowd. And a few days on, after receiving a number of kind tweets and emails, I kinda feel like I could conquer the world.
(This is what happens when you push yourself out of your comfort zone, isn’t it?!)
But, last night, as I was sat eating my tea, I suddenly thought of all the things that I should never have done as a blogger.
All the mistakes I’ve made. The stuff I’ve learnt the hard way.
Because although I’m doing well with this blogging malarkey and as much as there’s stuff I do know that works, I’ve also made some real whoppers of mistakes!
Today, I’m sharing some of them, in the hope, that they may stop you making them yourself.
And it’s proof that all of us, regardless of what blogging level we are at, are learning as we go and doing the best we can.
I THOUGHT I COULD GO IT ALONE
I mentioned this in my workshop, how I thought when I first started, that I could just do my blogging thang, pop on social media a bit and all the goodies of the blogging universe would come to me.
But the truth is, when it comes to blogging, you can’t just go it alone. You need friends, support, advice and encouragement.
You need to work with other bloggers, collaborate, help them out and bounce ideas of each other.
You need to live and breathe the blogging world, as much as you can. For your own sanity, to keep up to date with developments and just because, it’s a brilliant thing to be part of.
Successful bloggers do NOT go it alone. (And neither should you.)
I DIDN’T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
I got the ‘blogging bug’ very quickly and I loved it! The thrill of people enjoying your work, the feeling of putting something out there into the world and contributing.
As a writer, there’s just no comparison really. The joy that having a blog can bring is wonderful.
But I didn’t take it seriously.
I didn’t work hard enough. I didn’t go in there all guns blazing, ready to set the blogging world alight.
For two years or so, I dabbled. I bitted and batted. I would blog for days at a time and then disappear for a few months.
Big mistake. Huge.
Want your blog to reach the lofty heights? Then take it seriously. Because if you don’t, you can bet your bottom dollar, no one else will.
I POSTED ‘CRAP’ STUFF (SOMETIMES!)
We’ve all done it. I know I’m not alone in this, but blimey, sometimes when I look back at some of my old posts, I could hang my head in shame.
The crap posts. The stuff that doesn’t deliver. The pieces I wrote that didn’t offer or provide anything of value.
It’s tough to churn out regular content of a consistently high standard. Some posts will naturally be better than others. And it takes time to find your blogging feet.
But the key, where possible, is to opt for value. For quality over quantity. For the profound over the shallow.
Give something to people of value and you’ll get the return.
I FELL FOR FLATTERY
Yep, that ol’ chestnut.
The blogging community, in the main, is a great place to hangout. A fantastic place to meet new people and make new chums.
But there’s also a level of fakery that exists. Of false compliments, of ‘pretend-ship’, of insincerity.
And I fell for this. I fell for the insincere words of a few people, who weren’t looking for genuine friendship, but endorsement and unflinching support.
I gave too much time away. I believed lies and I allowed myself to be swept along by insincerity, even when I knew it was there. I spent more time focusing on helping people with their blogs than I did working on my own stuff.
And I could kick myself now. But it’s been a powerful lesson to learn.
Seek genuine people, nurture real friendships slowly and respectfully and don’t ‘play the game’.
SOMETIMES, I’VE PLAYED IT TOO SAFE
Not often, but there have been times when I’ve hung back with a post because I’ve been scared of the reaction or fearful of being judged.
And it never ever pays.
As a writer, as a communicator, as a blogger, it’s our duty to share and talk about stuff that other people won’t or can’t.
That’s what I believe. That’s why blogs are becoming so successful and much loved. And in my experience, it’s always the posts that I’m nervous about, which do really well.
On the world wide web, in which there are millions of blogs, playing it safe will not make you successful or memorable.
But being brave? Being different? Trying something new?
These can lead you to greatness.
I DIDN’T THINK I NEEDED TO LEARN MUCH
Oh, how wrong I was!
Because if there’s anything that tests your mettle, it is blogging.
There’s a reason so many blogs disappear after being around less than a year and it’s because of two things:
- Blogs require LOTS of hard work
- The work NEVER ends
When I first started, I thought writing posts and sharing on social media was enough. But it isn’t.
There’s always so much to learn. Photography, coding and PR. Marketing, newsletters and working with brands. Finding your voice and creating your own identity.
The work goes on and on.
Successful bloggers know this and make sure they find the time to learn stuff and implement their new skills and knowledge.
FINALLY, I HAD NO EXPECTATIONS FROM IT
When I wrote my first piece in 2012, I had no expectations what would come from my blog.
A few hopes yes, but no expectations.
But when it comes to blogging, really, you should expect things to happen. You should expect for doors to start opening and magic to begin.
You should expect that it will change your life or your business. Otherwise, why on earth would you start? Why should you bother?
Blogging demands the very best from you, continually, so surely it’s only right – and necessary – that we all demand the same from IT too?
Many thanks to all the people who came to my workshop this week and made me feel fantastic. What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made as a blogger?!