So, it’s been two years since www.tukesquest.com was launched and there are many lessons I’ve learnt along the way. Last year I wrote out 24 lessons I learnt in my first year of blogging, today I’m sharing 26 lessons I learned in my 2nd year of Blogging…Enjoy!
Build your email list from day 1
This is sooo crucial, so so crucial. It helps with reader retention and mailchimp has great analytics which gives you consumer insight. It allows you track and measure how readers react to your words. The number of subscribers you have can be added to your media kit to justify your rates. Plus, if you ever have to take a long break from your blog for educational or medical reasons, you’ll have a list to fall back on when you’re ready to resume blogging again.
Collaborate with Brands, with other bloggers, with designers, with make up artists, with photographers. There is no limit to the types of collaborations you can do. Myself and two other bloggers (Cassie Daves & Berry Dakara) organized a Blogger Meet n Greet last year and that was one of the highlights of my Blog year. Collaborations expose you to people’s network and you learn new ways of doing things.
Don’t stop doing what you did to get you where you are
Don’t think you have arrived because you achieved a certain Blog goal. Don’t think you are too big to leave a comment on new and upcoming blogs. Don’t stop sharing your new posts because you think everyone would have seen it. Don’t make assumptions.
Keep on Networking at events
People like to work with people they know and trust. As a blogger you will get mails from brands that are interested in collaborating but having a one on one relationship keeps you top of mind. So when you go to events like Lagos Fashion and Design week, go say hi to that person you follow on social media, exchange cards and keep in touch. Maintain relationships with the brands you have worked with too.
Don’t ignore emails
Reply your mails and try and do so as soon as you possibly can. It’s rude to not reply a mail & you don’t want to be remembered as the blogger that doesn’t reply her mails. I got a mail from a brand last year and it was obvious the person who sent it was based in another country and used a translator to convert from his language to English. There were grammatical errors and I had to read the mail over and over again to understand the message. The brand paid promptly for advertising with no wahala. So if I had ignored the mail because I thought the person didn’t understand English, I would have missed out on a nice collaboration.
Step up to the plate and suggest ideas to brands
The worst you can hear is No. I got a mail from a brand who just wanted to introduce themselves. I suggested we collaborate and they ended up paying for three different forms of collaborations. Don’t be scared of the word No. If you have an idea share it, so you don’t live life thinking about what could have been if you had stepped up to the plate.
Become more professional
Presentation is so important. After one year of blogging consistently you should know if you’re in it for the long haul. If you are, buy your domain, get a logo and ensure your layout has an easy user interface.
Join blogger networks
There’s the International Fashion Bloggers Network, Black Bloggers Association, Bloggers Association of Kenya and many more. Some are more active than others but there is something to learn from each one. They share blogging tips and it’s a great way to meet bloggers in other countries.
Understand digital marketing/analytics as you are seen as a digital influencer
This is pretty self explanatory. You need to have a basic understanding of digital & social media marketing. There are loads of free courses online and this information will be a plus when collaborating with Major Brands. It’ll give you more confidence in certain conversations too.
Learn from the mistakes of others
You are not the first blogger and you will not be the last. Bloggers like to share their experiences and reading their stories will help you avoid certain mistakes.
Have a global vision/outlook
Don’t think local, be aspirational. Like Mo Abudu says, if you can think it then you can do it.
Stop comparing, everyone’s growth level is different
Don’t get depressed because Blogger A has more Instagram followers than you. Maybe she is more consistent or she understands digital/social media marketing so there is a method to her madness. You have a unique selling point and so does she, find it, know it, understand it.
Share your content
Having your blog content shared by a platform in your niche amplifies the reach of your work. Tag relevant parties in your picture so they know the content exists.
Don’t be shy
You can take the first step and approach a brand that you think ties in with your blog ethos. There’s nothing stopping you from writing a proposal, some brands will appreciate you for taking the initiative.
Get a blog planner
It helps you manage time better, plan posts and you’ll be more organised and efficient. Cassie Daves & Dee Mako are two Nigerian Bloggers who have created this revolutionary product. Invest in one; it will change your blogging life.
Shoot looks in batches
The first time I saw this happen was on Fisayo Longe’s snapchat then I saw J’adore Fashion do it too. At first I thought it wasn’t right as I was used to taking outfit pictures on the day I wore it. Then I realised that shooting looks in batches is a way of working smarter. For people who pay their photographers, it is cost effective too.
Consistency is key
Eat Drink Lagos is the perfect example. Being consistent and staying true to their niche has put them on the world map, CNN.
I tried out vlogging last year and created a Vlog Series on Lessons I’ve learnt as a Creative Entrepreneur, I was able to pass my message across but I haven’t got a Mac so video editing isn’t easy and glitches in my camera equipment meant I couldn’t post the way I wanted to. I varied from my core and the experience had it’s pro’s and cons. I learned things I didn’t know about youtube but I also lost slacked on blogging because I was spending a lot of effort and time into something that didn’t yield as great a result. So when you want to deviate from your core, do a cost benefit analysis to ensure It is worthwhile.
Evaluate your growth and learn from your mistakes
Review the progress you have made so far and come up with strategies that can improve your growth.
Invest in Workshops
I went for Stephanie Obi’s Building your Online Empire workshop. She has mini courses too on topics like “How to make money from your blog”. There are online workshops organized by bloggers who may not be in the same country you are based in e.g. Maya & Caitlyn. This is a way of learning from other’s mistakes and it’s time effective too as the person speaking has invested a lot of time, effort and resources into becoming an expert in that field.
Learn to balance your activities so certain aspects of your life don’t suffer
I am a Creative Enterpreneur, a professional Saxophonist, an award winning food photographer, I act and model and love to travel too plus I work a 9-5 as a Brand Executive at an Advertising Agency. With only 24 hours in a day, finding a balance isn’t easy. My Blog suffered last year, numbers dipped and I focused a lot on the Sax as it was bringing in more money and grew in ways I didn’t expect. I was doing a Music exam too and that required a lot of time. I had to make a conscious effort to ensure that I put in the work into all my areas of interest.
Innovate & adapt to changes
Try out the new social media platforms that crop up and know which one works for you. Have a basic understanding of the major platforms too.
Decide what platforms you want to focus on
There are soooo many social media platforms and new ones pop up every other week. You can’t do it all or you would wear yourself thin, decide on 3 -6 that you want to focus on and understand how they work, peak times, hashtags, etc
It’s alright to take a break to re-strategise/rebrand but try stay connected to your community
Sometimes it isn’t possible to possible to stay connected with your community as the troubles of life have overwhelmed you and that’s fine. A social media break/fast can be good for the soul.
You have to put in the hours
The more you do something, the easier it becomes & the more seamless the process. Read about Outliers, the 10,000 hour rule is the truth. Practise makes perfect. You cannot reap where you did not sow.
Know why you blog
What is your blog core? What segments do you focus on? Why do you blog? What do you want to achieve with your blog? My blogplanner has a section for Blog audience, aim/purpose of blog & description of blog. Answering these questions will help you be intentional about the message you push out and will stimulate you to write the sort of posts that will attract certain brands e.g. I want to travel this year, work with tourism boards and airlines so I’m pushing out travel related content along with Food, Music, Natural Hair & Style related content.