I had such a huge reaction to my last blog about how to become a full time, paid Instagrammer, I thought I would follow it up with why it is so important to start a blog in 2021.
Are blogs dead? The short answer NO! The long answer –
I’ve heard “blogging is dead” so many times over the last few years, but I find myself increasingly reading blogs of late and I would find the complete opposite is true!
Instagram is looked upon as a micro-blog, there is a limit as to what you can put in your caption. When I see something posted on the app that has my interest and there is a corresponding blog post which goes into more detail, I will most certainly read it! In fact, most of my DIY skills and interior ideas have come from reading blogs which can be hugely knowledgeable and relatable.
Some of my favourite bloggers and regular reads are:
So why should you start a blog?
If you are serious about quitting your day job and carving out a career for yourself over social media (a bit like I’ve done), then I would say a blog is essential.
I probably don’t need to say anymore. You have found a niche to blog about, come up with a unique name and have your website and hosting up and running. The rest is all down to you. There is no bowing down to the Instagram algorithm, no panicking when a social media site goes down or even worse, disables or deletes your account.
There has been a lot of talk about hackers recently on Instagram and several Instagram accounts have found themselves locked out of their account with the perpetrator asking for a ransom to let them back in. This can easily be prevented by turning on your 2-factor authentication but it does make you realise how vulnerable we all are on social media and how very little control we have over it.
Although Instagram is now my main earner and has literally taken over my life, to begin with it was purely a vessel to point people towards my blog. Social media apps will come and go (remember Bebo anyone?), but your blog will always stick around and be yours.
It is a creative vessel that helps you expand your thoughts and ideas.
Ever felt like you have so much more to say than what you put in your caption on Instagram. That is what your blog is for. You can expand on your DIY project or go into more detail about why you chose a certain colour of paint or how you renovated your kitchen.
I find on Instagram that people have a very short attention span. Think about it; when you are scrolling, you only get to see the first 2 lines of someone’s caption. How often do you actually stop on their post and read what they have to say in full? Not many of you, judging by my engagement rate. Although I have a lot of followers, not many people will stop to say hello or comment on my post. Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform.
Your blog lets you write about whatever you wish, you have creative freedom over your content and no “editor” to curb your enthusiasm.
It helps you improve your writing skills
I wasn’t very good to begin with when I started out with my blog. It would consist of several paragraphs and a few accompanying photos and my page views were rightly woeful. The thing is, I love writing my blog so I persevered. I researched heavily into how I could build up my page views and how I could make my blog better and over 3 years, I am now hitting 50,000 page views a month.
I decided to aim to write a blog post once a week and by doing this, it has had a huge effect on my writing skills. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you get. I am now constantly being asked to contribute my thoughts to magazines, newspapers and interior websites and I hope to get lots more opportunities in 2021.
Which leads me onto… opportunities!
Writing a blog post once a week has definitely seen my knowledge in all things interiors (and social media) increase exponentially. I talk a lot about colour and trends in my blog which in turn has seen my email inbox filling up with people asking for a contribution towards their magazine, or a Q&A on their website. The more your name is seen in print, the more people will come to see you as an expert in your niche which can lead onto many things such as brand partnerships, sponsored posts and if you’re lucky, a book deal!
Generate a good income
Probably the most important reason why people work hard on a blog, it can lead to generating a good income. I make the majority of my income from being a content creator on Instagram but ever since I have taken monetising my blog seriously, I have also starting making a regular income from my blog.
In the last few months, I have made a guaranteed monthly fee of between £450 and £650 a month. I am a member of Mediavine who place relevant ads throughout my blog and depending on how many people visit and click on these ads, depends on how much I get paid. I see this as a huge bonus for doing something I love.
Another way to generate good money from a blog is affiliate links. I use AWIN, rewardStyle, Skimlinks and the Amazon affiliate programme to name but a few which can add up to £200 a month to my salary depending on how many products I mention in my blog that carry affiliate links.
Provide a service
There has been a boom in the social media industry recently of bloggers and influencers offering people coaching and consulting services, social media management and personal training. These types of services can be hugely beneficial for businesses who want to grow their social media presence but can’t afford a dedicated team or just don’t have the time!
If you have already shown success in managing your social media accounts and blog, you could provide consulting via your blog to businesses and blogs in the form of tutorials, 1-2-1 and writing freelance articles. I have just created a new website – www.besocialwithmedia.com and hope to have it up and running soon!
I have been working on my Be Social With Media brand for a while now and was hoping to launch it this January. It has been set back for a few months because, you know, homeschooling!
OK, not in the cushions or prints sort of way, that is a whole different business model. A bit like above, you could create digital products to sell to people such as eBooks, courses and apps.
These have been few and far between for me. Most brands approach me to feature their products on my Instagram account which I feel is extremely short sighted. Unlike in an Instagram post, you can go into detail about the product, give it a review, have direct links back to the company’s website, include it on all your social media accounts and most importantly, the content is evergreen! I wrote a blog post about Cuprinol Garden Paint back in the summer of 2019 and readers are still commenting and contacting me about it now. That NEVER happens on Instagram.
Continuing from the sponsored post, probably one of the most important reasons why you should have a blog is that it is evergreen content. They say the average Instagram post has about 48 hours, the first few hours are crucial to your post being seen and after that, the engagement dwindles. Your blog posts, however, are always there for everyone to see. You can direct people to it regardless of whether you’ve just written it or wrote it 2 years ago. It doesn’t matter. If it is still relevant, point people in the direction of your blog.
I can guarantee that a lot of people probably spend most of their time online on social media, but where do they go if they are looking for advice? Google! January is always a good time of year when people are looking to reinvent themselves. Fed up with their job or working 9 – 5, they’ll be scouring the internet and Pinterest for inspiration so I always repin my social media advice blog posts over January and February regardless of whether I have just written them, or they have been knocking about for years.
It makes you more credible
Amongst the tens of thousands of Instagram interior accounts, how many of them actually have a successful blog? A blog is a great way to show your knowledge and expertise on a subject and put you in front of an audience that you won’t find on Instagram or other social media apps.
You don’t have to be an expert to start a blog either. I love interiors but, in all honesty, I didn’t know much about the trends or how to wallpaper. Over the years as my blog has grown and I have looked at ways to expand, I have taught myself how to DIY, how to look out for trends and how to become a better blogger. This in turn has helped me to teach others how to do it.
It teaches you to be self-motivated and become your own boss
I have never worked as hard as I have since becoming a blogger! I take great pride in my blog and can spend anything from 6 to 15 hours writing, editing and publishing a blog. When everyone is talking about the latest box set on Netflix and what they are watching in the evening, I spend it writing and researching. It’s a good job I love it! There is a direct link from how much effort I put into my blog to how much I get paid so that certainly is a good motivator. And there’s nothing like being your own boss to keep that motivation up!
It helps build your online brand and business
Building a brand online needs one important thing, an audience. This applies to bloggers, influencers and all businesses. If you want to be noticed in your industry, having a recognisable brand will put you streets ahead of your competitors. Having a blog is perfect for advertising your products or services and helps your audience get a feel for what you are really about.
I pin all my blog content to Pinterest and this drives a huge amount of traffic to my blog. If people like what they see, they will start following me on Instagram, it is all interlinked! In fact, I think a huge amount of my followers found me via Pinterest. I wrote about how to become a brand on social media and why it’s important here.
A few things to consider when creating a blog…
- It can be really hard work. Depending on what you are blogging about, it can take a huge amount of time and effort to produce one post. I’d say on average it takes me about 8 hours to write, edit and publish a post. Sometimes it can take me up to 16 hours. You need time to blog!
- It’s taken me 3 years of blogging and the last year of blogging every week for me to start making an income out of it. It is not a quick way to make cash!
- You spend a lot of time on your own. To some people, that might be a job made in heaven! But I am a hugely social person and I actually miss the banter of being in an office. The only people that tend to keep me company during the day are Jeremy Vine and Steve Wright!
- A bit like Instagram, things can be constantly changing in the blogging world. I am forever updating my knowledge on SEO, checking my links and updating my website. It’s a full-time job on its own!
So, stop procrastinating! If you’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while, now is the time to do it! With a bit of hard work and dedication, you will be rewarded and start to see opportunities coming your way. Any questions, let me know in the comments.