Beth @ Plum and June is doing her yearly New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop again! I participated last year, and it’s where I became friends with some of my favorite quilty bloggers. You can read my introduction post from when I joined in last year.
So I feel a little weird giving advice to new bloggers since I by no means feel like I’ve figured things out here! But I guess I’ve figured out a few things in the last year, so here are my 7 tips:
1. Be Authentic – Yep you’ve probably heard this a billion times at this point, but I think it is the most important part of blogging. With so many blogs and quilters out there, it can be hard to find your way towards standing out and being unique. I know I have a tendency to compare myself to others, but really the person who is best at being you, is you. And that’s the most unique thing you have to offer. If you’re having trouble figuring out what your voice is or how to be authentic, write like you’re chatting with a friend. This is an ongoing thing, I still work on this a lot!
2. Figure Out Your “Thing” – This is related to #1. When you’re starting out it’s okay to not know what that thing is, and it’s also okay for it to change over time. But keep an eye out for a thing that really resonates with you, that you keep going back to. It might be FMQ or paper-piecing or tutorials or cats on quilts or your love of Sherlock. Once you figure out your “thing” make sure you post about it from time to time. Has it been a while since you’ve done a post on paper-piecing and that’s your “thing”? Queue one up! For me, I decided my “thing” was color. I remember how nervous I was when I hit the publish button of my first color tutorial, because I was afraid no one would take me seriously. It has gotten easier over time, and so far, I’ve [mostly] been taken seriously! Find your “thing”, and own it!
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes – This is related to point #1 as well (which is why it was point #1). No one is perfect, and you’re going to make mistakes. In your blogging, in your quilting, in your life. Mistakes are how we learn, and they are what other people will identify with the most. I’m not saying turn your blog into a bunch of posts about how many mistakes you’ve made, but don’t be afraid to post about them from time-to-time and how you fixed it (or how you laughed about it!) We’ve all been there! And people identifying with you makes them more likely hit the follow button. (Did I mention that on my last commission quilt I whacked off the corner of the quilt top by mistake? Yah. We all make mistakes.)
4. Be Consistent – The previous three points were more about content, but it’s really hard to write into a void. Writing a blog is really tough at the beginning because it feels like no one is listening. Growing a community of readers is part of why we do this after all! People often won’t follow a blog with only one or two posts, because there’s not enough to get a feel for what the blog or the person writing it is about. So sometimes it takes weeks or months of writing before you gain traction. Don’t give up, and be consistent in your writing. The followers WILL come. Figure out a schedule, and stick to it. When new people come to your blog, they’ll see the consistent posting schedule and be more likely to follow you. Learn how to schedule your posts, it’s amazing what a huge difference that will make on your time and sanity.
5. Link Up – If people can’t find your blog, they won’t be able to follow you! There are lots of weekly link-ups you can participate in, as well as blog hops, and giveaways. The WIP Wednesday link-up by Lee @ Freshly Pieced and the Finish it Up Friday link-up by Crazy Mom Quilts are two very popular link-ups. The bi-annual Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway is a great way to get people to your blog as well!
6. Reach Out – If you want your blog to be part of the community, you need to be a part of the community. Follow other blogs and comment on them. Join in bees and swaps (although be careful of joining too many. I think a lot of us have done that before!) Join or start a local guild. Take part in charity. Go to quilting events. You don’t need to do all of these things (unless you have that much time, in which case, awesome!) but try at least some of them out. We have an amazing community, and you won’t regret taking a part in it!
7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – I touch on this in #1, but it will kill the joy of blogging faster than pretty much anything else. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of comparing your blog to others. That person has more followers. That person got asked to be on a blog hop. That one got featured on some big site. If you look, you will always find someone who has had more opportunities or has grown faster or bigger or whatever. Your journey is completely unique, and you will have opportunities that those other bloggers didn’t. Try to enjoy those and realize that you will get more opportunities the longer you blog. And a lot of times, opportunities start by you letting people know you’re interested in them. If there’s a blog hop you want to be a part of, let the organizer know you would be interested in joining in on the next one. Want to do samples with new fabric lines? Let the fabric designer know you’re interested. I got to know Heather Ross because I told her I’d be willing to help her with her booth at Quilt Market and she happened to need someone to help. You never know what doors will open by letting people know you’re willing to help.
I hope these tips help, and I’d be happy to answer specific questions anyone might have! And if you’re a new blogger, go join the Blog Hop! It’s a great way to meet other bloggers and gain new readers, and it’s just a lot of fun in general.