Ten Essential Secrets for Success as a Creative Blogger
So, in light of the growing popularity of my eBook on Amazon, Top 10 Secrets of Successful Mommy Bloggers, I felt like maybe it was time to clarify a few things for my main audience: creative bloggers. Now, I realize that not all “mommy bloggers” write about food, crafts and other DIY efforts (I don’t), but many of you do. Good for you! There’s definitely a piece of the great “blogging pie” for you. But you have to be smart if you want to be successful.
Today, I want to talk about a few special skills that can benefit bloggers in any niche, but that are particularly important for you creative bloggers out there.
Success Secret 1: Photography/Styling
Think you can get out your smartphone, snap a picture of your dinner and be done? Think again!
The most successful food bloggers (and many of the more successful craft/DIY bloggers as well) spend a LOT more time creating high-quality images than you might at first imagine. You really do have to POSE your subject, even if your subject is an inanimate object! This means learning about proper lighting and in some cases, styling your subject to be photographed. There are plenty of great articles out there to help you get started, and many of the best are listed over at the fabulous Kate Taylor’s blog, here.
Success Secret 2: Photo Editing/Layout/Font Choice
Once you’ve taken a great photo, the work doesn’t end there. Next, you’re going to need to edit the photo to make sure it looks professional. That includes the right balance of colors as well as the font choice and layout of your text.
Overwhelmed about how all of these elements should fit together? Read this post, “Why Won’t the Cool Kids Pin My Stuff on Pinterest?”.
Success Secret 3: Pinterest Marketing
Sure, there’s great success to be had (if you’re talented and lucky, of course) on any social media platform, but in my opinion, Pinterest should be the home base for any creative blogger because your target audience is there and they’re looking for exactly the type of content you’re creating.
If you’re new to Pinterest, now’s the time to learn everything you can about the platform and start growing your following there. In order to do that, there’s no magic formula– just use it! Use it like a normal human being, try to turn your “blogger brain” off and just pin things you genuinely like. Following people in your niche is always a good way to get your name out there too, but the most successful people on Pinterest are pinning lots of high-quality stuff, all the time. You should be one of them!
As far as making sure YOUR images get pinned on Pinterest, again, make sure you read this post.
Success Secret 4: Creative Networking
If you’ve read much on the subject of marketing your blog, you’ve probably already heard about the importance of connecting with other bloggers. This is essential to bloggers at any level of success, because if you can benefit from getting in front of the eyes of another blogger, you stand to reach a whole new audience, not to mention, maybe even THEIR audience’s audience, if your content is good enough to share.
But the more important question is, how do you network as a creative blogger? Blog commenting is a great technique, but some of the biggest creative bloggers get TONS of comments, making it difficult to stand out. Attending link parties can help you, but it can also be a huge drain on your time and give you minimal results.
That’s why in this point I’ll stress the importance of CREATIVE networking for creative bloggers. First, read “How to Network Efficiently With the Right Group of Bloggers“– but take the advice there a step further. Once you’ve identified your target group, take a look at the way others are trying to network with them. Make sure you’re not just one of the other hundreds trying to reach them the same way!
You’re going to need to think out of the box to really make an impact. So how will you do it? That all depends. Maybe you’ll leave the longest, most consistent comments. Maybe you’ll find and share their posts on social media more than others do. Maybe you’ll offer them some kind of service for free. Whatever it takes (within reason, of course) to get noticed. This investment of time, if you do it right, can be the single most effective blog marketing strategy you try– maybe even the only one you’ll ever need!
Besides Pinterest, of course =)
Success Secret 5: Original, Exciting Content
The days are long gone when any old recipe or DIY project could grab the attention of the masses. There’s so much competition out there, you really need your posts to be special if you want to be successful.
However, some bloggers take this to mean that you need to do something TOTALLY different, even gimmicky, to get attention. Be careful with this– it can backfire on you. If your style is too different/confusing to potential readers, you might get passed over for something a little more straightforward.
Now, please know that I’m a HUGE advocate for creating captivating headlines, but your options are little more limited as a creative blogger because sensationalism is not necessarily what people are looking for related to your type of content. For creative bloggers, you might from time to time throw a descriptive word like “Stunning”, “Best-Ever”, “Gooey”, that sort of thing, but if your headline tells your reader what to expect, you’re in great shape as far as I’m concerned. This is especially important because…
Success Secret 6: SEO
Again, since the creative blogging space is SO saturated with content, it’s really important that you do the best you can to optimize your posts and pages for search engines so that people out there who are looking for the things you’ve created will be able to find you.
If you’re new to on-page SEO, check out this post over at my personal blog.
Success Secret 7: Get To The Point!
As a frequent reader of creative blog posts, there’s nothing that bugs me more than having to scroll through a lengthy journal entry before I get to actually read the details of how the cool thing I saw was created. Sure, it’s nice to hear a little personality sprinkled in with your instructions, but the majority of people who click through to your post really just want to hear how they can do it at home. Don’t take it personally. This is not a bad thing, because it allows you to make…
Success Secret 8: Smart Affiliate Sales
You have a bit of an advantage over many of your blogging peers because many of those who visit your site do so with the intention of doing something. They want to make the recipe, do the craft, build the thing, throw the party, you get the idea. So you have a great opportunity there.
Why not link to the products that make up your fabulous creation on Amazon.com or some other online retailer that might give you a small commission? Little by little, these little “monetization seeds” you sow could eventually build up to be a decent little income for you, if you…
Success Secret 9: Rock Your Niche
These days, it’s not enough to find your niche. You have to ROCK your niche! What do I mean by that? Don’t worry. We’ll get there.
Figure out how to make it abundantly clear what a reader will find when they visit your site. Now, while there are many bloggers who have success blogging about a variety of different types of foods or creative projects, it can also really help to zero in on one little corner of that world– say, eating Gluten Free or Woodworking. That way, you might eventually become the go-to site for that audience, which opens up all kinds of money-making opportunities for you.
In order to really own your niche, though, it’s going to take some smart and creative marketing/networking. You have to think hard about where to find your target audience online, then go there and start making an impact! Make friends, answer questions, solve problems and make sure people have the opportunity to associate you and your blog with the subjects you blog about.
Success Secret 10: Site Design Basics
Many of the people who click through to read posts through Pinterest will be one-time visitors. Don’t be sad, that’s just the nature of the creative blogging world. You’ll probably have a harder time than most if you’re trying to gain email subscribers, because it’s rare for people to want to see every last piece of content you come up with.
However, there are some things you can do to maximize the chances that a reader might come back, many of which pertain to the overall design of your website.
Take a look at some of your favorite creative blogs. What colors and fonts do they use? What’s in their sidebar? Another HUGE factor that could be chasing potential readers away can be your load time. Make sure you take care of your website, do whatever you need to do to ensure that your load times aren’t too bad.
If you are hoping to get subscribers, (and why wouldn’t you?) make sure you make it really easy to subscribe. Again, since subscribers to creative blogs aren’t always that easy to come by, you’ll want to make your subscription look really attractive and unique to get any real growth that way. Consider something more than just a subscription, like a free course or eBook, and maybe some other exclusive content that might attract some attention.
Over to You
So, what do you think? Did I miss anything? What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten as a creative blogger? I hope you’ll take a minute to share so we can all learn together. Happy Blogging!
P.S. If you haven’t yet, make sure you also check out my eBook!