After the overwhelming response to my post My Career as a Professional Blogger, I want to share more tips and advice and will do regularly on my blog right here.
I was originally going to call this post ‘Tips for Blogging Success’ but with a background as an award winning screenwriter and director, I quickly realised so much of this advice can be applied to any creative endeavour from freelance writing, blogging to filmmaking and beyond.
You might be familiar with the points mentioned below but they could help to re-familiarise yourself into action, and hopefully this post will reach people embarking on a creative career or simply wanting to up their game. Go for it!
I hope it inspires!
…Please remember this is my personal perspective on what has helped me reach and continue being successful. There’s no one way to succeed and most importantly, not one distinction of what success is (it’s personal to you)… and that’s what makes creativity well, so creative and fabulous!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments and as always, please ask me any questions I might be able to help you with!
Write a Creative Plan
Right now, write down on paper everything you want to achieve, big and small. Dream big people and reach high. Set those wheels in motion. Asking the universe then of course putting in all the hard work, erm works!
I like to write in black and white not type as the act of writing something in black and white just for you, without distraction is empowering and POWERFUL.
In fact, often if you verbalise your genius idea, script or blog post to others and don’t actually write it down or type it out first, your brain can’t distinguish between you having done the work or not, so don’t talk, just write!
I have already ticked off a lot of ‘to do’s’ since January when I wrote my own Creative Plan and it’s now only July!
Some of my goals felt ludicrous at the time of writing yet here I am taking my blog to new heights daily having become a well paid, full time blogger over the last 2 1/2 years, modelling worldwide for a brand I love: Nova Harley, featuring in Vogue for them too and recently been commissioned to be on camera for a film for bareMinerals as well for Selfridges… and so much more. Not bragging just hoping to inspire and make you realise anything is possible people.
You can HONESTLY achieve whatever you want to and the opportunities open to you via your blog and online are endless! So use it!
Always remember: hard work, talent (which we all have and can honed) plus tenacity=success. Whatever you do in any area of life!
Your niche is your VOICE.
Write, don’t stop, keep refining it, take a creative writing course to build confidence if you need to, read widely to be inspired and informed and if you haven’t read this already, check out my all time favourite writing book penned in the 30’s by Dorethea Brande Becoming A Writer to kick start your creative muscles. Brande believed anyone can be writer-incredible, inspiring stuff.
Please note your voice is what is remarkable and original, it’s what keeps your readers coming back time and time again.
CONTENT is KING (and QUEEN)-it makes you stand out so write what you want to read yourself, PASSION shows and excites others! Just be true to you.
I blog about family life, food, film, fashion and beauty-it’s so much easier when you write about what you know and love! If you want to write about what you don’t know that’s great of course too, just put the research in!
Also look under your nose at what is of interest to you (and your readers) and is easily obtainable to help save time. My family own award winning restaurants so it’s fairly quick and easy for me to share their recipes on my blog, something which gives me and my readers great pleasure.
You are your own brand
I understand not everyone can or wants to include their own picture in PR or on their blogs but a face=more followers. It easily connects your readers to you and makes everything more personal. This does not mean not having your face will prevent success, it’s just a great way to connect.
Furthermore, taking the best pictures you can within your means (I have a pro-photographer for a husband so I’m lucky) is ideal.
Shooting with your phone can have great results too-just ensure the light is on your face, you’re NOT shooting towards the light and add filters if you fancy too. Hello Instagram! Make your blog and social media pages a pretty, happy place to be.
I also believe in consistency-keep images of you the same across all networks so your readers know who you are and where to find you! Don’t make life difficult!
Do your Own PR
I know many of my readers are British but think like the Americans-don’t be shy about promoting yourself/your business/your blog/ indie film whatever. My experience in film means doing my own PR is something I’m used to it, I enjoy and know it works!
Of course content is king as we’ve established but you can have the best, most entertaining, moving, inspiring, funny content in the world but if no one knows where or how to find you, then it’s worth very little (unless you are purely writing for your family-my parents still read what I do but I’m happy to have a large and ever-growing readership).
In the same way, you can promote until the cow’s come home (I’m so Northern) but if you offer no or little value when the readers come, they won’t return.
I also say promote across as much social media as you can, engage and chat on twitter (not just pure promotion but do promote too), add your URL’s to Google + which is crucial for SEO, use tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule posts on twitter to save time too, pin on Pinterest, upload on Instagram-and build your audience.
Even a few minutes a day can make a lot of difference. I work it systematically ticking all bases once a post is live.
Once you get started it becomes second nature!
Don’t Let the Fear Cripple You
Fear is there for a reason (to try and keep you safe) but often it can cripple you and your creativity. I always try to channel it the best I can-positively. Don’t let it beat you. I’m used to being in front and behind of the camera, yet the other day I was commissioned to work with bareMinerals on camera and found myself seriously nervous as I sat in Starbucks drinking decaff cappuccino before going on set.
Two things happened. First Rescue Remedy (love that stuff), secondly and crazily a women in Starbucks Wardour St, Soho who was staring at me, approached me and said she recognised me from my blog and had seen me in a glossy recently (Vogue)-amazing. It gave me the confidence to get on set and just be me.
Now of course in life those series of events might not happen (although do go buy Rescue Remedy immediately if you haven’t tried it) but even writing down your goals, reminding yourself of the bigger picture, calling a friend or your Mum ( i ring mine constantly) for support to give you a boost or simply taking a short break to get perspective can all help.
Realise fear is there to try and stop you putting yourself in danger and taking RISKS, something artists (US) do every time we create. Don’t let it stop you.
I wrote this post A Creative Life-Pushing Through the Self Doubt that you might find useful with more tips.
Be Confident in You
Try not to compare yourself to others in a negative way. Envy is natural and inevitable but HEALTHY competition is what’s key so channel negative feelings positively. I hand on heart admire those following their dreams and let them inspire me to achieve my own. I celebrate and relish in other’s success.
Jealousy leads to a failure to act and is utterly futile. You are amazing as you- you are the only one with your VOICE, your original point of view, so that makes you unique and valid. Own it. On days you struggle to realise this or envy creeps in, train your brain, the more your fight it and focus on you, the less it will happen. Nothing is stopping you from achieving what you want.
Remember LUCK is only a tiny attribute to success, we make our own luck. Hard graft equals success. Of course use your contacts, network and don’t be shy. If you like a brand and want to build a relationship, send a tweet, make a call. If you’ve read an article and want to be considered to be featured, email the editor.
If you meet a PR, follow up, send an email, post a thank you card when you’re gifted items. Be professional and you will be remembered and re-hired.
I work with a lot of the same PR’s as well as new business leads daily and although many come to me I’m not scared to email those I haven’t for the first and of course those I work with regularly to enquire about new campaigns/work and remind them I’m here and ready to collaborate if they should need me. Be kind not pushy and always open.
These emails generate work and a great living, so do the same.
Remember when it comes to blogging, it takes time to get to this point and most PR’s want to work with bloggers of a PR Google ranking of 2 and 3. The key to getting there is back to great content, lots of it and self promotion. Generating value will equal work.
Learn to Take Criticism/Rejection
Creative life means criticism and rejection and OFTEN. Learn to take it and use it to improve yourself and your work.
The value placed on creative work by others is subjective, be it the reader, commissioner, employer who brings their own baggage to your blog/product/film so realise you’ll not always be liked (as in life), valued or appreciated and that’s OK.
Motivate yourself, remember why you are doing something and that success and results can take time and of course take on board what you think will improve your work keeping your vision intact.
Don’t ask everyone you know to read the first chapters of your book or blog post-simply ask a few you trust, who have experience in that field or you admire then appreciate the feedback even if you don’t always agree with it. Try and put yourself in their place or the readers and work out how to improve your message.
You don’t have to take everything on board but don’t take criticism personally. ‘Kill your darlings’ as we say in screenwriting is sometimes crucial- characters have to go, plots need to change and work needs rewriting. In fact everything I’ve ever done was rewritten many times, including this post!
SERVE THE STORY (blog post etc), not your EGO!
And that’s it (for now)-we’re constantly learning and that’s what makes the creative journey so rewarding, it tests, challenges and feeds us artists and is so flipping fulfilling!
So have you any questions or want to add tips in the comments.
My advice and what I’m doing for myself, is to keep pushing forward.
Keep truckin’, dreaming, working hard and believing success (and whatever that may mean for you) is possible, attainable and at your fingertips (often literally). Failure is not an option people now go be AWESOME.