What does it look like to be a blogger? How much planning and strategy go into a post or a series? This is the creation of a blog post from conception to publishing of a blog post or series. On the surface it looks so easy to be a blogger, just write and slap a few photos in there and ta-da! The internet will find and love everything you do. (Not.)
So what does go into the making of a blog post? Yes, writing and pictures but also research and contemplation, editing, and all those pesky social media posts so that other people will actually see the blog post!
Put all the ideas you have for a specific month or season in writing or on the screen. Decide if you want to write these on your own or work with a brand. I’m careful to always leave room in my schedule for impromptu posts as well. I work with a number of affiliate programs and try to include at least one post a month from each one, as well as promoting my own products as well!
INSPIRATION & ASKS
Sometimes it just comes to you. Kind of like this blog post was nowhere on my radar until someone asked what is it like to be a blogger? If you’ve ever blogged then you know it’s not as easy as it looks. Sometimes inspiration comes to you; other times you’re stuck sitting in front of a blinking cursor with nothing flowing from your brain to your fingertips.
Other times, instead of inspiration for a post, I ask to collaborate with a brand or a brand asks to collaborate with me. This often means I’m providing a blog post and other social media posts, so I include content writing, scheduling, and image creation.
WRITING & RESEARCH
Oof, I always start writing and then I do research which is not the order I’d recommend but I usually need to get my thoughts out of my head first. The research could mean anything from an interview, reading every single page on a brand’s website, talking to people on the phone or in person, and sometimes visiting a location. When I write about mindfulness and faith, I frequently go back and read my old journal entries, read specific verses, and pray (a lot) in addition to Google searches and conversations with friends, family or a mentor. I feel like it is important to note here that none of this is done alone. So many contribute to each post I write. This usually takes 4-6 hours.
If I’m working on a brand collaboration and I have products, I always take my own images or work with a photographer, if possible. Creating and using my own images speaks to my skills and talents as well as provides the brands I am working with unique images should they use them (and of course give me credit payment would be nice but honestly that’s like pulling teeth). I believe that creating my own images contributes to a more authentic following as well. I have a nice camera, editing software, and so on or obviously work with someone who does. If I am writing a post and don’t have my own images to use I will use quality stock photos or images from a brand’s website. This usually takes me about an hour planning the images themselves and then another 2-3 hours, photographing and editing, sometimes longer if I’m changing in and out of outfits and lugging my camera up and down out of our apartment.
At this point I usually rewrite everything, scrapping all the original text for new unless I just wrote something really amazing in that first writing session. I make sure I have all my points outlined and with plenty of detail without boring the reader. This is also where I’ll plan the breaks and where images will be. Now is when I include all if any affiliate links and disclosures as well as formating. This usually takes me 2-3 hours.
This is more than just scheduling the post on my website, it is planning my social media posts and writing the content that will be published on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. This step also involves creating graphics or selecting images for each platform and creating captions. This can take 1-2 hours if I don’t get distracted because at this point in the creation you are starting to get distracted by the brainstorming, inspiration and asking of future posts.
Overall, the creation of a blog post could take a week, or writing a series could take a month depending on the content, brand, and scheduling aspects. Working with a brand makes this take longer. On average, I am planning content a month in advance if not further out due to deadlines. I don’t like to write more than 3 months out because, in fashion and life, everything is always changing. If I do have a great idea for a post that wouldn’t go live for 4-6 months, I jot it down in my notebook for 3 months out from that time and reevaluate it then. It’s not plausible for me to begin writing about fall 2020 when the fashion shows just wrapped a few weeks ago. Just because we saw it on the runway doesn’t mean it will make it mainstream…
Also, there are intense periods of self-doubt strung through the process. “Is this any good? Does this speak to my brand? Was this a bad idea? I have no idea what to say about this… and so on” Also insert crying and questioning your life every time you hit a brick wall or a brand literally ghosts you because you want to get paid for your work.
True Story: I wanted to work with a brand and was literally ghosted by the gal I was talking with when I said I wanted compensation. This is common, brands are hesitant to pay bloggers, they will give us free stuff all the livelong day but actually to actually pay a blogger for creating content you better have 10k followers on all platforms and a personal assistant to get a check in the mail.
And there you have it, folks! The life of a blog, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go cry and drink too much coffee in anticipation for next month’s brainstorming session.