Is success measured in earnings, popularity, or happiness? I started to blog because I had a lot of thoughts racing around in my head that needed to get out but I hated taking pen to paper and writing it down.
Keeping a diary was so frustrating! Rather than the therapeutic exercise, it was meant to be, it became a source of stress instead. Typing on a screen became my outlet and my thoughts flowed freely from my fingers. I never thought I would be the blogger I am today.
My early blogging years
My early public posts were mostly reviews, which came naturally to me, particularly about books I have read.
Growing up my parents instilled in me and my sisters the joy of reading. Many times you would find the entire family in the living room, each member in their own chair with a book in hand, enjoying each other’s company while lost in our own literary worlds. Every now and then we would look up and share how we felt about parts of the book that we read. This would spark comments and sharings, especially if they have already read the book previously.
Something else I loved to review back in the day were movies and stage plays (particularly musicals). This is what put me on the radar back then. The internet was still fairly new and people didn’t really know much about websites or SEO or any of the fancy terms we take for granted nowadays. Authors and directors or producers would find out about my blog and started inviting me to review their book, their movie, or their play.
Finding a niche
When attempting to identify your niche keep in mind that a niche classifies the kind of content you would be posting on your website. It implies that you are an authority on the subject or, at the very least, more than just a passing acquaintance with it. Take for example beauty blogger, Nikita Charuza, who wrote a piece about influential people and their favorite perfume scents for 2021.
Another example is lifestyle and fashion blogger Alexandra Nicole. As an entrepreneur, stylist, and mother deciding what to write about was a no-brainer. Her lifestyle site, Chic City Living, is geared toward moms and gives advice on fashion, beauty, health, parenting, etc.
In the beginning, I would say my niche was more ENTERTAINMENT, which later evolved into the more eclectic LIFESTYLE. Lately, though, with everyone being stuck at home I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen and my site (while still in the lifestyle niche) is starting to look more like a FOODIE site. Identifying myself as a lifestyle blogger, though, opens up my site to different kinds of content so it is important to know what your niche is.
Working with brands
For many years now I have had the pleasure of working with several brands, big and small. There are those that offer to pay a fixed amount, some ask for my rates, and others offer products or services instead. Ever since bloggers were recognized as a media arm I have had the pleasure of attending many events as part of the media where I received firsthand information which I then disseminated on my site and on social media. It was an opportunity not only to know more about (and enjoy) the product or service but also to hobnob with the company bigwigs and personalities, as well as other bloggers and members of the press.
Oftentimes these brands through their agency partners would send press releases for posting. You do not need to post everything they send you. Consider if it matches your niche or will compromise your own brand.
Write your own material
While I do post materials from brands I work with, I also do my own writing. After all, a blog should be more than a repository of press releases. When you do write, make sure to always, ALWAYS check your grammar and syntax. I can’t describe the level of frustration I feel when I read a social media post or an article with horrible grammar. This is a common problem with people who are not native English speakers but sadly, it isn’t limited to them. Write in the vernacular if you are more fluent in that.
I realize that this limits the audience but there is an easy solution … use grammar tools like Grammarly. I, myself, am not immune to making grammatical errors, especially with homonyms, which is why I use grammar tools myself.
Blog if it makes you happy
It isn’t always about the bottom line. Blog because it makes you happy. Blog because you have something to share. Most importantly, blog because it is something or about something you are passionate about.