Happy New Year and welcome to 2015! You are either feeling sprightly or you had way too much to drink last night and nursing a pretty bad hangover. As I look forward to the new year ahead, it fills me with excitement about the blogging world. There are far more companies and brands getting involved with bloggers and although the space is wide and can be daunting at times, there are so many amazing opportunities to be had and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.
In 2014 I learnt alot of things about blogging. I took the delve into not only changing my site layout but also my blog name, which after a long process of migrating a site it finally was done and Danny took a sigh of relief I’m guessing that I wasn’t cursing and swearing around the flat anymore. If you have ever migrated a website I’m sure you will understand my pain. One major highlight this year was being featured in The Metro alongside some other great foodies, I got some really good feedback and was so happy to have been recognised, as well as being Get The Gloss blogger of the week. They have some big bloggers on there so I was flattered to have been asked to do an interview.
Here are five things I learnt about my blog and the blogosphere last year.
Say No But Say Yes Too!
A big thing I learnt last year was the ability to say no. It sounds easy enough, but when I first started blogging I really didn’t think anyone would care. Then one day you get a few emails offering you free clothes, a product, maybe money or something or to a similar nature. At the time it was exciting and I didn’t really think whether or whether it didn’t fit my blog. I would never wear clothes I didn’t like but sometimes I could be persuaded into things by the promise of the brand promoting you on social or giving you a blog link etc, etc. However after one too many times of checking out there social to discover they have less followers than me, or that ever elusive non blog post happening on their blog it really dawned on me to think carefully before working with a company or brand. Now I do my research, I make sure I am getting something out of it too, it is a business after all for me now and also I always make sure it’s a good fit for my site. Of course if Dior start knocking on my door, I really wouldn’t have to think twice!
As well as saying no, I’ve also challenged myself to say yes. An example was when I got an invite from Benefit Cosmetics to head to Silverstone racecourse with a few other beauty & lifestyle bloggers. I’m not really into race car driving but the day sounded fun and the make-up challenge part of the day really appealed. So I pushed myself to go and I absolutely loved it, it was one of the best experiences and I am so glad I went. I really love collaborating with brands and have worked with some great ones this year including ASAp54, Shopstyle, Debenhams, ASOS, Rodial, Fiorelli and DIESEL. Not to mention some amazing restaurants and bars across London, you can view my food reviews here.
You’re Not Alone
The blogosphere is getting bigger day by day. The amount of blogs out there is insane and yet I only know a handle of blogs that I read. Last year I attended some really great events, that were not only fun but I also got the chance to meet with other bloggers. None of my friends blog and so it’s nice to have a new set of friends that share the same interests that you do. Being able to talk about cameras, wordpress, PR companies, not to mention saying ‘Zoella’ and not getting a blank stare or a ‘who?’ asked at you is pretty darn nice. I am looking forward to more blogger events this year and also do share your link with me as I always love to check out new blogs.
It’s only taken me a whole year but I now finally have a DSLR camera, thanks to Danny and Santa. Last year I had been using the Olympus XZ-10 which was a really great camera at the time, but now I really want to take my photography up a gear this year. After attending a mini course with Nikon and Smugmug (a photo sharing & storing site) where we learnt about night-time photography, it really got me inspired and so I am now set with my Nikon D5300 and I also just bought a new lens on the weekend (Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G) for that must-have blurry effect that I pretty much have been trying to achieve for it feels like forever. It’s amazing how in just under a month I have learnt so much about photography, I actually understand Aperture and ISO and maybe in about 6 months time I can share some tips, but I am still very much a beginner.
As well as a new camera I have also invested in a tripod and some lights for filming, which with an apartment that just attracts darkness is a god send. Photography has become such an important part of my blog, alongside the writing that I really want to try to make it to the best of its ability, I for one am definitely a look at the pictures kinda gal.
Try Something New
I mentioned I invested in some lights for my photography but the main reason behind these is for my videos for YouTube. In June this year I ventured into the world of videos and vlogging. I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to continue with, but thought I’d give it a go. For one it’s a massive platform and if I can gain some new readers from it, then surely it can only be a good thing. Stepping into the complete unknown is weird, I am so used to writing a post, producing photos for it, but now, now I had to sit in front of a camera, talk to the unknown, was anyone going to be watching? What was I going to talk about or do? It was a whole new territory. I didn’t practise I just grabbed my camera and my ironing board, yep no tripod back then and started talking about some beauty products. Beauty does really well on YouTube and I really enjoy trying new products so it seemed a good option. I tried out a few fashion videos too and I now have a much better idea of where I want to take my channel next year.
I still can’t believe in the short time one of my videos has over 6000 views, which is amazing! So thankyou to everyone for following me and for your support in my new venture. I have now filmed my first two videos using my new camera, tripod and lights and I am so happy with the quality now and really glad I got them as I definitely want to carry on with YouTube in 2014. I love being in front of the camera (I always wanted to be a TV presenter) so for me it’s fun. It’s also made me work out how to use iMovie, an otherwise dead programme on my Macbook that I wouldn’t use and appreciate just how hard vloggers work. Filming, editing, uploading (those long YouTube upload waits) and finally promoting your video is a tough job! You can subscribe to me on my YouTube channel here if you haven’t already and watch my latest video of my top beauty products of 2014.
Over the past year I tried to become more organised with my blog and it’s something I really want to do this year. Juggling a blog with my freelance writing and well life in general, means that sometimes I cannot post everyday. Therefore I needed a schedule and so I would work out what I would post each week, write ahead when I could and also it was a good way to take in key events and times. e,g Valentine’s, Easter, Father’s Day and of course Christmas. See what was coming up and work content around it. Planning ahead also gives me the ability to work out my blog objectives, contact PR’s if needed and think what I want to achieve. So whether it was my new blog design or name change, I had time to plan it out. Little things can somehow take up the most time, especially when you don’t know how and when this happens Google is my best friend. I know some bloggers have an editorial calendar and I think this year I will really try to do that.
I have only been blogging now for two and half years and time has flown by so quickly. There is still things no doubt I have to learn and I can’t wait. Blogging has provided me with so many opportunities so far I would never have had the chance to do, opened doors into more writing (I am now a regular Groupon blogger) and above all I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I may have to stay up to 2am waiting on a YouTube video to upload or take pictures of every meal I have, but funnily I do have time off and when I do I just can’t wait to blog again!
What have you learnt from blogging in 2014?