It’s a landmark day here at The Kittchen. This is my 1000th blog post. I have done a lot of writing in the past 3+ years. To celebrate this occasion, I though that I would indulge with some funfetti cupcake pancakes, and share some blogging advice I have picked up over the years.
1. Consistency is key. Post at least 3 times a week. If people visiting your site are not being given new content, they will stop visiting. Let people know when to expect new content too. If you are going to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday let your readers know that.
2. Quality over quantity. While consistent posting is important, the quality of your work is even more important. Your posts need to be good enough for readers to come back for more. Determine how many hours you want to devote to blogging each week. Then figure out how many hours it takes to create a blog post you a proud of. Use that information to set how many times you will post per week.
3. Natural light is always best. Food photos just look better in natural light. Catching that natural light is a challenge during daylight savings time, but I haven’t found any trick or technological solution that can replace the look of sunlight. I know that there are some fancy flashes out there – but they are a bit pricy. Until you are ready to make the investment, try to schedule time to shoot food during daylight hours.
4. Taylor Swift is right. Haters gonna hate hate hate. But you need to shake it off. It is so hard to shake it off, but blocking people on social media makes ignoring the hate much easier. Focus on the positive instead.
5. We are stronger as a team. The internet is filled with bloggers, befriend some! Fact: 99% of the bloggers I have met are welcoming and friendly. Think of other bloggers are your colleagues. I created the Windy City Blogger Collective (with some several lovely friends) to build a supportive community for bloggers. Find a group to join – there are lots of regional clubs and Facebook groups.
6. It is ok to say no. I hate to say no, but focusing on the opportunities that are best for you, and making the most out of them instead of saying yes to everything and getting burned out will make you a better blogger, and it will give you back some precious time.
7. Plan ahead. You need to have an editorial calendar. Start roughly planning things out one month in advance. When you do this the quality and relevance of your content will increase. I start planning 6 weeks out, first I focus on upcoming events and holidays, and schedule content specific to those events and holidays 2-3 weeks in advance. Then I fill in regular posts like The Rundown, add in posts to cover restaurant visits and travel, and then the rest is recipes. Planning 6 weeks of content might sound daunting, but it is a rough plan. I like to have a very solid 2 week plan, and a rough estimate of the next 4 weeks after that. You have to be flexible though, and leave room for the last minute gigs that come up. I also try to be 5-10 blog posts ahead at all times.
8. Collaboration kills writers block. Last year I had the pleasure of working with some amazing friends, including my photographer friend Regan Baroni. When you have someone to bounce ideas off of, the ideas just keep coming. Collaboration is a great way to learn too. I find that when I work with Regan I learn so much, and the work is much more enjoyable when you are working with a friend.
9. Learn to love social media. If you want to blog professionally, social media is a huge tool that you need to be using. Pinterest is the #1 source of referral traffic for most bloggers. Brands I have worked with have discovered me through Twitter and Instagram. Sign up for a Facebook Page, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, and have a contact email clearly listed in your profile for each.
10. Remember your priorities. I love cooking and writing so much that I can spend 8-12 hours a day creating content for this site on weekends. But, that means I am ignoring Charles. That isn’t ok. While he is amazingly supportive of all my work, he still deserves one on one time with me. Recently, on weekends, I have been making a point to stop work by 5 on Saturday so that we can have a leisurely date night. Then on Sunday we have brunch together, do our own things during the day, and eat dinner together at 7:30 and then watch Downton Abbey and other shows together. It’s a nice little routine that stops me from neglecting my husband.
Speaking of Charles, he thought that it would be funny to show a behind the scenes photo. I honestly trashed my house making and photographing those funfetti pancakes. Furniture was moved. Messes were made. I think it was worth it. And the recipe for those amazing funfetti cupcake pancakes are coming your way soon.
Tomorrow Charles and I are heading to Puerto Rico! I have some great blog posts lined up for you while I am vacationing, and you can following along with our adventure on instagram.