Unless you’ve been living in a cave underneath a rock at the end of the Sahara Desert, under water with a blind fold on, you know who Macklemore is. You probably also know that what seems like an overnight success has also been a long hard road, mostly riddled with obscurity.
What this means is that his lyrics are peppered with great lines about his road to success, many of which are relevant to us in our world.
Here are the top 5 things Macklemore can teach us about blogging.
Now, this is my job, I will not quit it
Pulled me out the depths when I thought that I was finished
Yeah I questioned if I could go the distance
That’s just the work, regardless of who’s listening
Once you’ve decided to take on blogging seriously, you have to commit. Consistency is key, even when you feel like no one is reading your posts, no one is commenting, you gotta keep on keepin’ on!
Somewhere between like Rocky and Cosby. Sweater gang, nope, nope y’all can’t copy
Yup. Bad, moon walking, this here, is our party, my posse’s been on Broadway,
And we did it, our way.
Social networking is no joke. The people who read your blog, the friends you have on Twitter, the people that leave comments on Facebook, that’s YOUR posse. Once you find your voice, stick to it. You and your posse will find your way to Broadway!
Make the money, don’t let the money make you
Change the game, don’t let the game change you
It’s like he wrote that for us! This one is pretty simple, stay true to who you are and why you started blogging in the first place.
Try not to do THAT thing we all do when we read someone else’s post, or see someone’s new redesign and suddenly think everything you do is wrong. It’s not.
Also, like most things in life, don’t do it for the money. The money will come if you stick to creating amazing content everyday. We promise! Wink.
And we danced, and we cried
And we laughed and had a really really really good time
If it ain’t fun, don’t do it.
Seriously though, there are plenty of easier ways to make a buck that are less fun. We’ve chosen this path because it’s awesome, and it’s supposed to be a blast! We get to write about what we’re passionate about, connect with amazing people on “the internet” and we can do all of this from where ever we want. No a bad gig if you can get it.
This is my world, this is my arena
The TV told me something different I didn’t believe it
I stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential
And I know that one day I’mma be him
Your blog is your arena. It’s your sanctuary. Leave it all on the page, and people will come flooding back. Some of them will disagree with you, or your opinions, and that’s just fine. There are plenty of blogs in the world, I’m sure they can find something else to read :)
So now that Macklemore has taught us a few things about blogging, I ask you………Is there anything Macklemore can’t do?
San Francisco Bloggers, do we have a treat for you!
Join us for an evening of wine, snacks and amazing conversation. Next Tuesday, May 14th 2013, we will be hosting Victoria Smith (SFGirlbybay), Dan Nguyen - Tan (PUBLIC Bikes) and Nicole Reber (Little Idea Shoppe) for an insightful panel about Blogging and Brands, and how we can all work together.
If you’re looking to start selling ads on your blog, or wanting to learn more about working with brands, this is right up your alley :)
The event will be held at our favorite SF clubhouse, MakeShift Society, starting at 6:30pm.
Tickets are $10 and you can grab the last few here.
Hope to see you there.
So you’ve started a blog and you’re feeling pretty damn good about it.
Everyday, people come to your site to read your posts. People share them with their friends and sometimes they even leave a comment. No better feeling than that…..
One day a friend says, “You know, you should run some ads on your blog. Make some money!”. At first you’re like:
And then you’re like:
So you start doing some research.
It doesn’t take long before this happens:
And it starts to feel a little like this:
But you keep on pushing forward. You mess with widgets and Adsense and Photoshop and eventually…….eventually you have everything in place.
You’re finally in business. Ready to sell ads like a pro!
But then nothing happens. You sit and you wait. Nothing. No money in the mail, no advertisers knocking on your door.
Then it happens. Something happens.
Someone wants to buy an ad. They want to see your media kit, an invoice and reports on how their ads are doing.
You suddenly realize you don’t have any of that stuff.
After a few days of hard work, you finally have it all figured out and you’re ready to rock.
A couple days go by, everything seems fine.
And then you get a very angry email from your advertiser. The ad hasn’t been showing for the last 3 days.
You spend hours trying to figure out what has gone wrong.
Until eventually, the advertiser decides to cancel the ad. You kinda wanna be like:
But you’re more like:
That can’t be it………it can’t be over?
The show must go on! You must…..
And survive you must!
So before you do this:
Come and see us. We can help.
We’re not at Alt Summit this year, but we’re keeping a close eye on the #altsummit Twitter feed, taking notes from key players in the design and lifestyle blogging space. A special thanks goes to Lisa Butler from Elembee, who was kind enough to share these tweets on her feed. You rock, Lisa!
Systemize everything and make it scalable, then teach it to someone. @freshlypicked
Plan your content and amplification at the same time. How will you promote you post? @helenjane
If you don’t have an editorial calendar, you’re heavily influenced by what you just read. @helenjane
Do more of the things you like and less of the things you don’t. @sagmeisterwalsh
The only risk is not taking any risks. @sagmeisterwalsh
Instagram is totally voyeuristic, people want to see behind the curtain an know you’re a real person. #altsummit
There is value in being an early adopter of a new social media platform, but it has to be a good fit for you. @missbeaux
Don’t Instagram screenshots of your site. @designcrush
Connect your social media across all your platforms. You want people to get lost in YOU. @megbiram
Leave thoughtful comments on other Instagrams to grow your own following. @megbiram
Live your life so you have something interesting to say or show. You don’t have to Instagram everything. @megbiram
Match your Instagram and Twitter usernames for best results. @megbiram
Make sure your pin links to the actual site and is properly credited, especially if it’s work someone else created. @designcrush
Think strategically about your usernames. Do you want to be known by your name or blog? @designcrush
Don’t follow people who don’t add value to your twitter feed, you won’t get as much out of the community. @engagedinspired
If you aren’t at Alt this year, we feel your pain! Follow the #altsummit hashtag on Twitter to learn, engage, and find inspiration to fuel your upcoming projects.
All of these fancy pants blogs can seem a little intimidating. And by intimidating, we mean expensive. However, your desire to have an awesome site shouldn’t be hindered by the upfront costs as Allie Lehman points out in her post, Blogging on a Budget.
Allie did the dirty work for us (thanks Allie!) and compiled a list of blogging resources that are wallet-friendly. She even broke them down by category so you know exactly where to go for free themes, software, fonts, and tutorials.
The post even points you to this article about why you should never search for free WordPress themes on Google or anywhere else. Talk about informative!
image via Be Up & Doing
Twitter chats are where it’s at, especially if you want to make 2013 your best blogging year ever. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet people in your space, voice your opinion, or ask questions about a particular topic. However, they can be a little overwhelming, especially if the conversation’s moving quickly or if you’ve arrived fashionably late. Here’s what you can do to stand out at your next Twitter party:
Image via Mashable
1. Plan ahead. Treat a Twitter chat like any other appointment. Mark it on the calendar, set a reminder in your phone, and arrive 15 minutes beforehand.
2. Do research. A Twitter chat organizer will often post a list of the chat questions prior to the event. Gather your thoughts and make a draft of your responses ahead of time so you can fire them off as they’re asked.
3. Focus on one tweet at a time. Responding to every single tweet is impossible. Respond to the ones that you can add value to, even if that only means a few. Quality responses are key, just like when it comes to commenting on other blogs.
4. Ask questions. Although there might be a set list of questions, don’t limit yourself by only responding. Be a leader and ask some questions that others might be curious about too.
5. Use appropriate hashtag. If you don’t tag your tweets with the designated chat hashtag, no one will see what you’re saying, and that means missed opportunities.
6. Follow up. Once the chat is over, go back and read through some of the tweets you may have missed. Favorite the ones you like, and follow the people you connected with.
What are some of your tips for standing out a Twitter chat?
1. Participate in Twitter chats. If you’re not sure who you should be tweeting or what you should be tweeting about, a Twitter chat is a great place to start. It’s a place for you to voice your opinions, ask questions, or get feedback if you’re unsure about something in your space. We’re fans of #mediachat, which is held every Thursday at 6 p.m. PST/ 9 p.m. EST and #blogchat, which is held every Sunday at 6 p.m. PST / 9 p.m. EST.
2. Create a backlog of posts. While you may have great intentions to blog daily, life doesn’t always go the way we plan. If you have a family, young children, demanding job, or a busy social life, write a couple extra posts each month and store them for when life gets in between you and your blog schedule. If you can write (and save) one extra post every Sunday for the times when you really can’t blog, you’ll be thanking yourself all year long.
3. Schedule a meetup with other bloggers in your city. Connecting with other bloggers online is huge, but meeting them in person will really strengthen your bond. If there’s a group of bloggers you’ve been dying to meet, coordinate a brunch or extend an invite for appetizers at your place. Props if you attend a meetup; double props if you’re the one that initiates it.
4. Purchase a Wacom and learn how to use it. A Wacom Bamboo Connect is a digital tablet and pen that lets you add your own handwriting to your posts or pictures. It’s a very unique way of presenting your content since no one else has handwriting identical to yours. You’ll definitely have readers guessing which handwriting font you’re using.
Image via A Beautiful Mess
5. Read more. Sounds silly since you’re a blogger, but it’s so easy to get stuck reading and editing your own stuff. Set aside time for reading books and new blogs. Reading will help you become a better writer, and it may inspire something for a future post.
6. Plan out your posts ahead of time. A new year; a new editorial calendar. While we love spontaneous posts, planning ahead of time will allow you to be more efficient.
7. Stick to a posting schedule. Same time, same place. When you publish content at the same time every day, your readers become accustom to it. It gives subscribers something to look forward to, and shows the commitment you’ve made to your blog. As they say, consistency is key.
8. Examine your analytics. You probably check your analytics daily, however, it’s smart to really study them and see how you’re doing compared to previous months. You’ll be able to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, and then tailor your blog strategy from there.
9. Make the good posts more accessible to readers. You write a good post, and then it gets lost behind all of your other content. It’s not a good feeling, especially if it’s something you’re proud of. Create a space on your blog that lists your favorite posts or feature your favorite articles in one larger post every couple months. These are especially great for DIY projects or recipes.
10. Be a guest blogger on someone else’s site. Guest blogging is a great way to expand your name to an audience that you may not have been able to reach by yourself. This is why it’s a great idea to do #3 on this list. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you’ll have.
What are your 2013 blogging resolutions?!
The trickiest part of starting any direct ad program is naming your price. You’ll want to consider things like your monthly unique visitors, monthly page views, and your social media influence. You might also want to research what other blogs in your niche and level of readership are charging and take that into consideration as well.
While there’s no perfect formula for coming up with a price, we have some recommendations so you don’t have to resort to the guess and check method.
To determine your base ad rate for a small ad size of 125 x 125, take your number of monthly page views and divide that by 1,000. For example, if you receive 500,000 page views per month and divide that by 1,000, your ad rate would be $500.
Advertisers like to shop around for deals. If a blog similar to yours charges less than you do for the same amount of return (readers), then they might not choose yours. That’s why it’s a good idea to do your own research and know your space. A lot of blogs list their ad prices right on their website.
If by chance you’re not getting any bites at the price you set, don’t get discouraged. You might need to charge less if you don’t post consistently. On the flip side, you might need to charge more if you’ve grown quickly.
It’s no surprise that blogs with a larger readership produce more revenue - the more eyeballs the better! We recommend you come up with fresh content at least three or more times a week so readers have a reason to return to your blog regularly.
Original image via Glitter Guide
If you take a look at some of the most successful blogs, you’ll find one major thing in common - great photos. While your content may rock, adding photos to your posts will give readers a visual to get excited about. They also come in handy if someone’s skimming your post and not reading every word.
The cool part is that any camera can take a great picture. So if you’re not ready to invest in a fancy pants camera - don’t. Start with your iPhone, use this guide, and test out popular photography apps like Instagram and Camera+ as an alternative to Photoshop.
Tips for Perfect Outfit Photos
This tutorial teaches you how to add props to your look, find the perfect backdrop, and style one look multiple ways. You’ll also find great tips on stepping out of your comfort zone so your readers don’t get bored with the same ol’ pose.
Tips for Better Pet Photos
It’s all about perspective. These tips will help you convey your furry friends’ size, personality, and mood.
Food & Light: Photography Tips from Diane Cu
This post is packed with styling tips and prop ideas for the budding food photog. A fun tip that caught our eye? Purchase wooden cheese boards ($3 each) from a cheese store, and then paint them.
Tips for Great Outdoor Photos
Learn how to make backlighting work, deal with harsh light, and use your environment as a natural reflector. And are you familiar with the term, “Magic Hour”? This tutorial covers it.
Tips for Great Indoor Photos
If indoor photos intimidate you or if you’ve ever struggled with blurry, yellow, or too-dark photos, this one’s for you. You’ll find tips for setting up your scene, working with your light source, and choosing the best flash for the environment.
Night Photography: A Guide on How to Shoot Long Exposures
Lisa does an awesome job of teaching you how to shoot long exposures complete with a list of gear necessary to make it happen. You’ll pick up some tips on other useful accessories too.
What other resources have helped you improve your photography game?