While I enjoy social media, a lot, I am far from savvy. I don’t have any particular training or outside of the home skills in these areas, so please be aware that while these suggestions are probably in the eye rollingly basic box for the more experienced person, to others like me who are learning on the go, I have found that they have really helped my blogging/vlogging journey this past 6 months.
- NameChk is your friendI have reinvented myself more times than I care to count on social media and blogs over the years. Every time I pick it up again, I rush headlong into it on a whim not thinking about whether I can have a particular name across multiple social media platforms. This then leaves me feeling frustrated and discontent and I end up having to change it all again.
Last year I discovered NameChk (and other like-minded web pages) and I wondered where this baby had been all my life.
This past week I have used it again with my daughter who is a Textiles and Design student at Nottingham Trent, to help her choose the name to showcase her creations.
NameChk as the name suggests, checks the availability of your desired name across LOADS of platforms, from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and domain names. But also places like Pinterest, Tumblr, Spotify and DeviantArt
It is such a handy-dandy tool for those of us starting out.
- Choose a blog name with longevityIt is really hard when starting out blogging/vlogging to think about how your now breast/bottle feeding, nappy wearing, toilet training bundle of joy is going to one day be a prepubescent, sweaty, stinky, spotty teen or further again in the future, leaving the nest. But that day will come to you too. And if blogging sticks for you, and you decide to build it into a business, then having a name that is relevant to little babies might be the best fit for you now, one day it might seem irrelevant to the new seasons of life you find yourself in.
Of course names can be changed and it’s not the end of the world, but I wish I had the foresight to choose a name and stick with it, then all those blogs I started in the mid 90’s and beyond would have stayed with me through out my parenting journey.
- The only people who like DM welcomes are those that use them.
I have no issue with Twitter DM’s being used for communication, in fact I use them regularly myself, but a personal bugbear of mine (and it would seem many other Twitter uses) is the ‘Welcome to my world’ direct message. Informing you about a blog you will never read or a channel you will never visit.I don’t think I have ever clicked through to a link that someone has sent me via DM. In fact I am often more likely to unfollow them, in case this is a sign of things to come.
They infuriate me, and are akin to someone coming to my door to sell me something.
For me Joanne Mallon describes ‘welcome to me’ Twitter DM’s best, in her witty and helpful book Social Media for Writers
- Don’t pay for Facebook likes.This was a mistake I made in 2016. Thinking that it would help lift my exposure up and over the people who I know in real life, I paid for a couple of posts to be promoted by Facebook.
While it did do that, I found that the engagement that came from these likes to be not worth the money and it is engagement that brings growth.
- Join groups for blogging, vlogging etc. Community helps.This can be both a blessing and a curse as you start to find out where your best fit is. It can be hard work watching vlogs you really don’t enjoy (because it is a condition of you promoting your own video in that group), but it does pay off.
Not necessarily in the exposure you get for your own page, but in the exposure you get to other people you might not normally take the time to watch or read.
This has led me to think through the kinds of people I might like to build more online community with in 2017.
The tips that I have gleaned from a good blogging group have been invaluable, and more often than not, I have found strangers to be most helpful and kind about sharing their experiences and knowledge with me.
- Seek out the people who are on the same wavelength, a bit of mutual backscratching goes a long way.My brief stint in the YouTube gaming community taught me, that if you can find people you enjoy hanging out with, enjoy watching/reading and trust to have your back like you have theirs, then this is the kind of community that can be very beneficial and rewarding relationally, when building a channel or a blog.
Anything that leaves you feeling inauthentic or ripped off, walk away from. But anything that feels like mutual backscratching with meaning and understanding, cultivate and put time too.
There is nothing worse than you feeling like you are giving more than you are getting in any relationship, whether that be friendship or an online network. My personal rule of thumb both in my real life and my online life, is that I will put energy where others put energy.
I have made some lovely friends through blogging over the years because I have put time and energy into those who put it into me. I no longer chase people.
- Be disciplined and consistent.Perhaps my biggest struggle, but one I am slowly coming to grips with. YouTube taught me that the secret to viewers is to be consistent in the times you post. People who love what you do, like to know what day your next episode/blog is coming out.
But while having this knowledge I also find it very hard to commit to this and need to try harder this year.
I tried to stick to a blogging schedule for the last couple of months of 2016 which fell by the wayside due to Vlogmas. However this year I shall be forearmed and forewarned. Rather than leaving it all until the last-minute, I will approach December in a more realistic way. Scheduling posts throughout the year to be released over the Christmas period will help with that.
- Practice Big Magic- do what you love for the love of it.I approached Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic with a bit of scepticism, knowing that I had on several occasions thrown Eat, Pray, Love across the room as I read it. Admittedly I was probably reading it in the wrong season of life. I had small children, a husband that I couldn’t just pack up and leave to traipse off all over the world to find myself no matter how much I wanted too. I wanted to know how to do that in the midst of all that was going on around me.
But Big Magic I found incredibly helpful and will set time aside this year to journey through it again.
Do what you love for the love of it. Period.
It is great to make money and earn an income from something, but if we are writing or vlogging, or making YouTube videos, painting creating art, because it brings us joy, because we have internal drive to do it, then attaching the added pressure to our creativity of making money from it, can be a soul destroying thing for the creative soul.
This has been a grounding and satisfying piece of advice.
Gilbert says this.
Create for the love of creating, because it brings you joy.
- Write inspired drafts.Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come to me on a Tuesday or Thursday, which are my “blogging” days.
The bare bones of this post for instance hit last week as I was talking to my daughter about some of the things I thought might be helpful to her starting out. Not rocket science stuff for those who’ve been around a long time, but hints and titbits that she didn’t know.
I will either write a draft and save it, or write a whole blog and schedule it in (depending on what time and inspiration allows).
Some drafts I don’t come back to right away, because I have lost the intensity of what I was trying to say. But it might inspire another theme at a later time so I keep it there. Some I just need to nail there and then. Either way the idea, the thought the topic has had time given to it.
“Ideas of every kind are constantly galloping toward us, constantly pass through us, constantly trying to get our attention.” -Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic.
I have started to keep a blogging/vlogging list on my phone of ideas that come to me when I am away from my computer. So if I am looking for a little bit of inspiration, I can take a squiz and see if anything sparks my creative juices.
- Make time to do it.Once upon a time there was a martyr mum. She thought that she had to devote all her time and energy to her family so they would be happy and successful. She thought she had discovered the secret to a happy life for all.
Little did she know, that every time she thought this, she lost a little bit of her soul. Her family became unhappy as her soul started to shrivel, as her creativity evaporated and the spark within her died down.
She decided instead to try something different. To rekindle that spark.
This quote resonates with every bone, every cell and in every fibre of my being. I have seen the truth of it come to pass in my own life.
So these days I do try to carve time out for myself to create, even if that means saying no to something else or someone else.
How about you? Do you ever feel the need to create for creation sake? What kinds of activities fuel your soul?
I would love to hear.