5 Ways to Start Your Own BlogTuesday, December 13, 2011
I was recently invited by the League of Tourism Students of Miriam College last Dec 8 to do a talk about "Boosting Tourism by Blogging" and thought I should share it with you. I started with the Sole Sisters Story which all of you know by now. (Just because we keep reminding you.) And I talked about starting your own blog, the perks of blogging and how you can help promote your country through your blog. To make it bite-size and easy to digest, I'm going to making this a 3 part series.
When we started Sole Sisters a little over a year ago, we had zero background in writing, creating a blog and social media strategies. But it was only by doing did we learn everything we know now. That's the cool part about being a blogger. You look like an expert. But the reality is you're not. You're just the one who took the plunge and was brave enough to document the experience.
Another cool part is that you get to influence others to take the plunge too. When a good friend of ours Matt, who is a self-proclaimed country slut and fitness expert told us he had just started a blog, we were ecstatic! Wow! We've managed to convince one person to start his blogging journey. Then we asked people through our facebook page. And there were 10 other bloggers who have been inspired to start their blog through Sole Sisters or who have been posting more because of us. We thought that was so awesome we just had to share their blogs here:
Liezl of My Travel Anywhere
Shawi of Cheap Travel for Women
Ephraim of Klement Backpacking and Ministry and The Adventist Adventurer
Nathelle of The Traveling Little Girl
Geneva & Carlo of Travel Budget Couple
Dwan of Wicked Wawan
Paula of My Sister Best Friend Only Travel Buddy
Regin of Regin's Travels
Our Chiang Mai host extraordinaire Grace of This Grasya on the Road
We want more people to document their travels, share their epic trips and help promote Philippine tourism by blogging. So here's 5 Ways to Start Your Own Blog- NOW!
1 Start with the WHY
Why are you starting your blog? Why do you want to broadcast a piece of your life to the whole world? It can be as deep as "I want to spread ideas that change the world" or as shallow as "I want to earn a little extra for beer money." This will be your guiding principle and will help you continue blogging even for the longest time. Truth be told, we started out with the latter reason but it slowly evolved into: "Wow, this blogging thing sure is fun!"
You are your blog. You have to give it a great name, make sure it gets noticed and evolves along with you. There are 3 key elements to branding your blog. Start with a compelling story. Our story was 2 girls who quit their jobs to travel the world. Is that extraordinary? Probably not. But if you put together 2 girls, who worked at the same job for years, quit their jobs at the same time, turned their back on cushy, corporate careers and started backpacking. Now, THAT's a good story! Is your story something that people will talk about?
Make sure you create a compelling story that spreads. Put it where people can see it- right on your ABOUT US page.
Second is build an identity. Out of all the millions of blogs out there, how will yours stand out? Let your personality shine with a great blog design and a unique writing style. It's not an accident that we defined ourselves with our hairstyles through the header. People were able to tell who wrote a post even before they read the signature. It was also great that even though we shared the same passion for travel, we had very different personalities. That meant we cast a wider net for our target audience.
Third is to maintain authenticity. After you've created a brand, make sure you stick to it. Play on your strengths and how people identify with you. Our brand was female travel and we wanted to be consistent with the fresh design and vibrant photos and videos. We weren't out to be wiki bloggers. Our goal was to allow our reader to soak in our entire travel experience with us.
Maintain your authenticity not just on your blog but on all your social networks. Tell people how your typical day is like, what you do for fun, what kind of things make you come alive!
3 Stalk your Favorites
Everyone plays favorites. Even before we started blogging, there were several blogs that we loved and stalked on a daily basis. We followed Nina of Just Wandering for her kickass excel sheets and OC budget tracking. We followed Ron and Monette of Flipntravels for their demmit writing style and carefree attitude for travel. We stalked Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic for her bare-all posts about leaving her boyfriend and comfortable job for a life of endless travel. We stalked Rob of Creative Dork for his minimalist design and awesome artwork. This is just to name a few.
Can you say we copied from them? Maybe we just mastered the art of stealing like an artist. You should too. But just make sure you credit them after you win an award.
4 Awesome Sells
Don't settle for anything less than awesome. When we started our travel blog by posting about our weekend trips, it wasn't noteworthy at all. But when we laid out our plans for our 6 month backpacking trip around India and across Southeast Asia, people started to notice. Combine your words with captivating photos and viral videos to create something magical!
Had we announced that we were going to travel around the Philippines, that wouldn't raise a lot of eyebrows would it? But when we told told the entire blogosphere that we were creating a travel documentary and going around the Philippines in 21 days without taking any flights, now THAT got everyone's attention. Awesome sells. And CRAZY does too.
5 Network like Crazy
When your blog is all about you, it dies with you. But when you interact with others and start a community, that's when your blog reputation spreads. But how do you start? Join forums, facebook groups, get on twitter and create a facebook fanpage. Tall order, isn't it? Most importantly, connect with others in person. Upon our homecoming we thought about how we can connect with former colleagues, friends, our community of Pinoy Travel Bloggers and growing number of readers after being away for 6 months. Solution? Come up with a travel photo exhibit and series of travel talks!
But when you network, try to form real connections. And the only way you can do that is by giving value to others without asking for anything in return.
Have we convinced you to start blogging yet? If not, watch out for the next post in the series: The Perks of Blogging. And as our way of continuing to give value, we want to invite those who need blogging advice to email us or interact on our facebook page. I will allot a few hours each week just to chat with you or meet you in person to get you started on blogging or give you tips on how to improve your blog. You can pay me with cups of coffee! Contact us through solesisters(dot)weare(at)gmail(dot)com. Talk to you soon!
Keep on blogging,
Sole Sister Lois
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