It’s Thursday! This means we get to hear from another first year blogger. Mary Anne is the author of Forever 51, a hilarious blog that you should not be missing. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mary Anne in NYC back in the fall…and she is a hoot!
I consider her a friend, a kick-ass blogger, and a woman who knows a lot about networking and blogging for only being one year into it! Connect with her if you haven’t.
What I Learned in My First Year of Blogging…
A Brave New World
I was an early adopter of social media, primarily because I am a real estate agent. We tend to take self promotion to the highest level….and every conference I’ve been to since about 2005 they’ve been talking about how to use it to further our real estate business. I joined a Realtor blogging site called Active Rain at its first inception. There you met and followed other Realtors across the US and blogged about your area in hopes of generating referrals. And that worked pretty well.
But blogging market reports, stats, community information and occasional selling and buying tips got pretty damn boring. Then, everyone else with a heartbeat and a license started blogging about real estate. In my opinion, it is one big snore fest.
And frankly-no one was really listening. It was not a whole lot of fun for a warped person like me. Basically, the general public can get this information everywhere.
So, because of my snarky comments on Facebook and Twitter, a few close friends kept pushing me to write a personal blog. And I pushed back.
Hell to the NO!
I was terrified to put out there my thoughts and stories. I was terrified no one would read my blog, or think I was funny. I was terrified my family would be embarrassed and pissed off. (That happened-but they are over it).
But after spending a day in a blogging class here in Atlanta with the famously hilarious Hollis Gillespie (Bleachy Haired Honky Bitch and Atlanta Magazine writer), I decided to put on my big girl panties and give this thing a try….
And what a ride it has been.
A Brave New World
I learned that you NEED other bloggers. To make you laugh, cry, give you advice, inspiration and constructive criticism
I learned to have NO FEAR. Fear is debilitating. If you are not willing to be passionate or funny or humble or inspiring or educational or relational, then don’t blog.
I learned that if you are not true to YOUR voice and try to write to make money you are going to be very poor with a teensy spot on the Internet no one cares about
I learned to ask for help. I am learning that there are many good people out there willing to help you and give you a good kick in the ass when you need it.
I learned that you need to blog. ALOT. Like 5 times a week or more. Or you will lose your audience AND your mojo. IN my first month of blogging I blogged every day. Yep-30 days. If you cannot do that, then I don’t think this gig is for you. What that did do for me is make me consistent, take notes for posts, learn trial and error, and read read read other blogs to get inspiration and ideas. It worked.
I learned that I cannot be a perfectionist. Not every post is going to be great. But like other fields, you have to keep stretching and pushing and write write write. Even if you think your post sucks. Because some of my least favorite posts have been the most popular.
I Learned that you need a TRIBE. In the blogosphere, this is your group of like-minded peeps with the same topics, goals, humor, hobby, or more. They will keep you focused and on track. And if you contribute to your Tribe you will be amazed who you meet (and end up in the Tweet Seats at AndersonCooperLive, Julie….)!
I learned that you also have to pick your poison. I joined every damn blog hop out there. And that can be a bit of a time suck with not a lot of return. Choose wisely and be consistent. I have yet to get deep into SEO. I know how to do it. Learned it when I was blogging real estate. It is a great way to bring people to informational blogs. Personally I don’t think it’s a great way to bring readers to a personal blog. I don’t think Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess was thinking about SEO when she started writing about her life and her issues with her depression. She ‘opened a vein’ on her blog and that is what brought people to her…
I learned that I had to create a way to market my message. So I have a Facebook page for my blog and if all you use this for is to push links to your posts and you are not engaging with people then you are wasting time again. I use Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Everything I write is represented on these platforms in one way or another. I also pimp out other bloggers’ posts. What goes around comes around.
I’ve also learned patience-it really does take time to find out what you want to write about. I started in one direction and moved into another. Then another. And I am starting to feel like I am in a groove now.