To optimise or strategise? Making the most of your blog content.
When I was invited to join icelolly.com at their #BlogAtTheBeach event, I jumped. I was half way through coding a newsletter and took two hasty minutes to reply. Keen? Hell yes! Arranging the trip was nerve-wracking. It was coming up to Christmas/I was between jobs when the event was scheduled. What was I doing!?
Wake up not go to sleep at 3am!? Buy a new camera when I didn't have a solid pay cheque coming in!? Who even am I!?
But it was the moment we broke through the clouds in the sunrise, that I got it. And I found my flow again. This was it.
Everything fell into place and I was at peace. Up in the air, on a plane, travelling. My passion. My camera clicked.
We touched down in Leeds.
As the rest of the day unfolded, a couple of things became clear. Checking into my AirBnB, attending and engaging with #BlogAtTheBeach, finding a cute little pasta place across the street for dinner.
Blogging and social media are like energies. They ebb and they flow.
Bare with me for a second!
Working in the field I do, I already had a hint. I spent a lot of my time reading social media hacks and best practices. I am constantly asked about the best strategies, and loads of people have told me how they think it works best.
But quite honestly, it's a very straightforward process.
Plan the content you want to produce, but filter it so that it reflects your most joyful experiences. Be consistent in your posting once a day/once a week at the same time etc, but only do it if it truly makes you happy. The best content comes from those who know what they want to post, but it comes from a loving and giving space.
#BlogAtTheBeach was an overall fantastic event in that it was special to have it organised by a "non-blogging focussed" company such as icelolly.com. What was special was in their introduction they went on to mention that bringing bloggers and influencers into their brand was part of their marketing strategy and I found myself just that much more drawn into the company. Influencers - in particular micro-influencers - are predicted to become a vital part of successful marketing in 2018, so it is really wonderful to hear that a company is willing to take note and take this on.
I'm aware that this could become an essay of a blog post, and that's not really the style hear. So to give you a summary of the event itself and the impact: the three talks given by influencers generally covered best practices in optimising your blog content and SEO. From photography to pitching and SEO to mindset. It was thorough and gave the audience a lot to think over - even if you have been in the game a while, there was still a handful of things to takeaway.
Before, afterwards and in between the speakers and icelolly.com staff were available to answer questions and provide more insight about the brand and the types of ideas they would be looking for when being approached by bloggers. An effort that made it much more special for us as the creators and audience as you felt valued. A couple of representatives even brought their children, so on a level it felt like being invited into somebody's actual family.
Summary aside, when sat on my plane home I was thinking overall about what really stood out for me along with the nitty gritty to work on.
As I am sure you are aware, there is a lot of negativity floating around about social media algorithms and influencer attitude. So much so, I myself have actively started either unfollowing social media ranters and opting for 'I don't like this Tweet' for the pity party throwers. Something I have never previously done.
Don't get me wrong, I myself have complained about the algorithms on occasion in the past. But it seems to have got to a point where creators are giving up, when actually, this is the time to keep going. To plant both feet strongly on the ground.
What I have learned over the last couple of months is that by going with your gut, by being consistent, patient and following your joy, you see the desired results from your content.
When you optimise your content - asking your audience what they want to see (and content you are truly happy to post), creating a schedule that works for you, posting exactly what you want to - your content produces results. Just like any project or business, you have to open to vulnerability and the unknown of putting your best work out there.
Strategise - straight up copying other people's content, using the same hashtags, producing the same content that worked six months/a year/two years ago - and you end up going round in circles and, to be honest, loosing followers and less engagement.
Optimise your content by playing to your personal strengths. Optimise your content by bringing the authentic and beautiful you out in your posts.
Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, but no one wants to engage with a Moaning Minnie when they're having a good day or casually browsing through their newsfeeds. Find someone you can call or message or speak to to vent. My poor housemate hears mine!
Think like a brand, be like a friend.
One thing that did bother me about the event was that a handful of comments were made - by speakers too - about how they believed they could never become the next big blogging name. And it saddened me. Well, if you believe that then of course you won't be!
Stop strategising and looking to 'bigger names' for the content you believe you should be producing. Look to the wonderful you and optimise what you - your wonderful self - has to offer. The value you most definitely have in you to contribute.
This really came to fruition for me as I optimised my own skills at the event. By creating an actual conversation online about the tips given by the speakers, we were able to begin an engaging conversation. And I saw my followers go up. By taking photographs with artsy angles, I won an event prize. I also hit 1,000 followers on Instagram and Instax (I nearly cried) followed me on Twitter.
By optimising the skills and ideas that I am able to offer. By following my passion for travel and adventure. I produced results where no one believes they can.
I would also love to give a shout out to Dom (my AirBnB host) for providing me with the most amazing accommodation in a beautiful central Leeds flat. Dom was an incredibly hospitable host and I will definitely be knocking on his door for my next trip 'up Norf'. AirBnb users should definitely check him out!
What are the skills you could play on to optimise your content?