Today is a bit of a big deal for me. After graduating two years ago (two whole friggin’ years o m g) I am going back to talk at my old university, London College of Communication, UAL #reprezent.
I remember so clearly when people from the industry would pop to our lectures and take over for an hour. They would chat to us about their experiences, sharing wisdom, tips and advice, leaving me feeling motivated and ready to go get ’em. Today I am going to be one of those speakers, how did that happen?
I’m not gonna sugar coat it, the years following uni are tough. Endless internships, little money, LOTS of tea making, temp jobs (Elf), more bladdy internships and a job in PR for a year. Life also happens. Your mind changes, so does your values and the realisation that what matters is you, not anyone else.
Because, in the midst of the hustle I realised that an office job wasn’t what I wanted. I dreaded the rush hour commute, the desk lunches, the pressure. I just didn’t feel passionate about my job. I didn’t work my bootay off for a promotion, I didn’t have the thirst to climb the ranks because my heart wasn’t in it. And at 22 I wasn’t up for living everyday not the way I wanted, working for something I didnt actually want, letting my dreams and passions slip.
SO here I am today, about to go back and chat about my experiences and hopefully inspire others. One of my lecturers, Nicola sent me a brief to chat with the students about with room for questions at the end. I know, I am not a big blogger by any means, but I just bloody love it. I always like hearing other peoples perspectives on blogging and the industry, so I thought you might wanna hear mine.
Let’s get to it!
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH ORIGINAL CONTENT?
When I first started my blog I mainly wrote about cake. Literally, I think all my posts were some sort of bake / recipe. I had a radio show so a cheeky website was a perf way to keep my recipes incase any listeners asked. My main advice is to keep in mind that everyone is interesting. Everyone has something to share that people would love to read about. The most successful blogs out there have a bit of a niche, a specific interest of particular lifestyle. Also, people are bladdy nosy, they want to know about you, so don’t be afraid to get personal.
TIPS FOR DEVELOPING YOUR OWN STYLE (PHOTOGRAPHY)?
I wrote a whole post about my photography tips here. However I think it is important to have a specific style when it comes to photography. Whether that is a certain way of editing, a particular way you put your pictures together #flatlay hehe, or maybe you add illustration to your images. Something that makes your photos recognisable to others as being yours is what ya want to aim for. I reckon that finding a photography style is best done through Instagram as it is the most visual platform. It can be a great way to establish your style, then carry it over to your blog, too.
For example, my photos are pretty light and bright, I use the same filter on all of em’ and I try to aim for similar subjects (ahem, brunch / foodie flat lays) hehe. I’m at missimmymay if ya wanna find me.
Here are some of my faves…
Can you see their theme?
Instagram is also a great way to get involved with the community and grow your following. I would recommend this coruse from a great lady called Alex Tooby, it is FAB way to establish what your theme is, and how to stick to it.
HOW DO YOU CREATE ‘LIFESTYLE’?
It’s quite funny how much prep that goes into creating a natural lifestyle shot. From rushing around collecting props to create a flatlay, having cupboards full of wrapping paper / tea towels / tile samples and succulent plants all over the shop.
When it comes to cooking shots, ideally it is great to have a helping hand. Persuading my boyfriend to help take a birds eye view shot above to capture the cooking in action is perfect, but sometimes ya gotta play around with what you have. Helloooo self timer / aching arms >:)
When creating your blog post, building context around your subject is a great way to create lifestyle. If you love posting about fashion, alter your post so you aren’t JUST talking about the outfit. Maybe you were in a particular location you love to go, or a coffee spot / cake shop you discovered. This will give more depth and context, thus creating lifestyle! (ahem, when do I ever say ‘thus’ lol).
Ask your pals for help. I am lucky that my bro is a photographer and is kind enough to take some shots for me in exchange for lunch, or my boyfriend or chums. Shooting a bunch of candid shots taken by your pals can do amazing things for your blog/Instagram, rather than posed self timer shots / selfies infront of my white curtain lol, what kinda lifestyle is that?
^ V. candid shot teehee.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GROW AN AUDIENCE?
One of the best bits of blogging is the lovely people who read it. I know everyone says this, but it isn’t an over night ting.
It takes months, years to grow a loyal, organic following. My main tip is to interact with the community. Share the love, comment on pictures, blog posts and add a link so they can find you. Not only have you probably made their day, but you might now have a new reader too.
I make sure I dedicate part of my day to just pure interaction, reading and watching content, reaching out to people, replying to every comment. It can be very time consuming and there isn’t an easy way around that (ahem, DON’T buy followers whatever ya do) but it is SO worth it in the end.
HOW TO EARN DOLLAR AND GROW BRAND RELATIONSHIPS?
This point is bonus. Once you had established what your blog is all about, have a lovely audience and brands begin to contact you it is fab. I am on a database called ‘Gorkana’ which is a great platform for brands to find you. when working in PR, I used to have spreadsheet after spreadsheet of bloggers I would mainly source through Gorkana.
I would also suggest reaching out to brands you love, especially if you have a corker of a blog post idea to pitch to them! Suggest to meet for coffee perhaps or just start the conversation, you never know what opportunities may come from it.
The main way I earn a bit of dollar is via sponsored posts. This is when a brand with pay you to either write a post about a new product, or will commission you to post a series of Instagram pictures. Make sure you are selective with who you work with, with everything – stay true to your own brand and keep your readers at the front of your mind, always!
At the end of the day, blogging is a really fun journey. A lovely way to make new pals all over the world, take opportunities and have all your memories somewhere you can cherish forever.
Any Q’s ya may have just ask, I’m here aaaaaall day.
Thanks for having me back LCC!