Being a blogger is a lonely road. Or it can be. You are responsible only to yourself, which is a gift and a curse. You have the freedom to do what takes your fancy, but if it doesn’t work out, it’s all on you!
At the moment, I’m struggling with finding my approach. Should I stick to what I’m doing and remain consistent or do I need to change things up?
I’m always confused by these two conflicting pieces of advice:
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.
Step 1: Blog
Step 3 Profit
When I quit my job as a corporate filmmaker and photographer at the end of 2016, my main focus was to be a full-time parent. That was my area of responsibility and I was happy with that (and I still am).
I knew that I would still need to keep creating. There was just no question about it. I need to be making something at all times. Which, when you have kids is pretty easy. All the games you need to invent and activities you need to engage with will keep you creatively sharp.
But on the side, I wanted to build a blog and … don’t cringe, I’m gonna say it … my personal brand. There, don’t judge me too harshly, I referred to myself as a brand. It’s really another word for reputation. I wanted to grow my reputation in the area of photography and outdoor adventure/landscapes.
So I created this blog.
The Blogging Journey
I have dabbled in blogging before. With a couple of previous business startups. Everyone used to say that, “you need a blog on your business website!” So I had one but rarely updated it. When building a business, it takes up a lot of your time and so does building a blog. I could either build the business or write the blog. So, the blogging got pushed to one side.
However, this blog is different. This blog IS the business!
After blogging for about 16-months, I know A LOT more than when I started. There is a lot that goes into this blogger life. Having a constant stream of content to publish, ensuring that it is searchable, relevant and popular. Making images and formatting posts so that they are entertaining and easy to read. Publishing and syndicating your work on social media. Cultivating audiences on social media that care.
Being a blogger isn’t a 9-to-5. It’s a 24/7/365 lifestyle choice.
Every morning (and I mean 99% of my mornings) I get up at 4:30 AM, head into the home office/YouTube studio, fire up this machine, open my to-do list, put the headphones on with Spotify and get stuck into creating something.
With a young family, this is the only time that I get that is uninterrupted.
I have done this for 16-months. If there is one thing that I can tell you from this VAST experience, it’s How To Write A Killer Lead Paragraph!
I’m Having Bad Thoughts!
To be a blogger, or at least to turn Pro as a blogger, I believe you need discipline, commitment and confidence. It will take a lot of time and trial and error to find your way. Believe me, I’m still finding mine and it’s been over a year!
People believe “it’s not a real job” which is difficult to take. It’s also difficult to defend, especially when you don’t seem to be making any progress. This is where discipline, commitment and confidence come in.
When things aren’t going the way you want them to go, you look around for a solution. You think there is something wrong with what you are doing or the way you are doing it. The answer must be to make a change or try something different, right?
There is something to be said for relentless consistency. Showing up, putting the hours in, grinding it out and repeating. This is something I’m struggling with.
I’m getting a little traffic, but nothing amazing yet. However, I’m always looking to improve and this is why I get tied up in knots.
As a blogger, you only have yourself to blame. If it’s not working, it’s on you. No one is telling you what you should be doing. It’s on you.
My thoughts are flitting between, “should I focus on building the blog first?” or, “should I build my audience on social media and THEN direct them to the blog?”
“Is the focus of my blog photography or the photography lifestyle? Should I concentrate on gear more? Am I in the Mirrorless Camera niche?”
The problem is, that whenever I read a piece of blogger advice, it sends me on another tangent. Every time, I think I’ve discovered “the thing I wasn’t doing right”. And the result is an inconsistent approach.
Where is this going?
So how do I resolve this crisis? Well, I think I know what I’m going to do (as always, until I read something else :D).
When I started this blog, my vision was to become a blogger. That was it! I wanted to create on a daily basis. My blog would focus on the life of being a content creator. Someone who can’t be just defined as a photographer or a blogger or a YouTuber … they do it all. They understand all the content types and how to create for all of them.
This was where I was going to pitch my blog, hence the name.
As of today, this has changed slightly. I still want to focus on the Lifestyle aspects of what we do, because I find that more interesting than the technical, camera aspects. But my shift is more towards photography and Instagram.
I find the idea of building a business around Instagram exciting and fascinating. It brings everything together. Writing, photography, video, live video and audience building. So this is where I am going to shift my focus.
The plan is to, as always, create great content first! And take better photos. Then focus on building an audience on Instagram. I can always branch out from there rather than spreading myself too thin across multiple platforms in the beginning.
If you’re interested in my Growth Hacking approach, I spell out every detail of it here. How to Grow Your Instagram.
I want to write about my experiences in building this up as well as some things I ‘ve learned along the way. This will include photography and filmmaking tips and tricks, but there will be more lifestyle and experience based content.
My eventual aim is to make some money at some point, but I’ll save those ideas for another post. It’s a little too early in my blogger development to make any significant cash. I need a motivated and engaged audience before I can do anything else.
I hope this makes some kind of sense. This is one of my first, “Dear Diary” type posts. My intention is to give you a look into my thoughts and feelings as I try to build my personal brand (reputation).
I’m certain that more people will care about the lifestyle instead of my opinions on the latest camera to be released. If you have any suggestions as to where I should take this, please let me know in the comments below, or drop me a message on Instagram (it really helps with my engagement over there :D).
You can also find me on Twitter is that is more your style.
What would you like to see on our blog? Do you have a better suggestion for an Instagram theme? I’d love you to have your say.
Thanks for reading this far, I hope it’s not too random.
Have a great day, watch less, create more,