Friday, 26 September 2014

Ask Me Anything - Blog Edition

So I have not done one of these in a while, and admittedly I had meant to write this one months ago. But it got a little lost in the shuffle, so I am just getting caught up. 

I frequently get asked questions about blogging, getting started, and the whole Social Media thing, so I am going to do my best to answer them.

     1. How do you get started?
So I realize this sounds ridiculous, but you kind of just start. It can be easy to get bogged down the details – I need to have the perfect layout, I need to have a big social media following, etc. But you definitely do not have to have it all figured out from Day One. 

I started with a stock template from blogger. I started my twitter account when I published my first blog post. And I just kind of muddled my way along, and may still be muddling if we are perfectly honest. I just started writing, and building a little online community, and slowly by surely the blog grew.

Gradually I tweaked things, customizing my template, adding pages, plugins, buttons, ads, etc. But that all happened in time. And I think the most important part of the blog is just creating content. You have write things so people will visit – the rest will just all come together in time.

2.       How do you get Followers/Grow your Community?
I think this is the hardest part, because it generally takes time. You have to accept that there will probably be a period of time where you are writing to no one. I remember being really excited that 26 people read my first blog post! That was HUGE! Especially because I was fairly convinced that only my Mom and Dad would read it. 

I have been writing for 3 years now, and my readership has grown, but it didn’t happen overnight. And it does take work, and that is probably one of the biggest obstacles. You have to keep working at it - I probably spend approximately 20hrs a week on my blog and social media, so it can become like a part-time gig.

Social Media (twitter, instagram, and facebook) definitely all played a part in reaching out and growing my community.  I try to be honest – I think I share the good, the bad, and the ugly. And for me honesty is BIG part of it. Social Media is really just people watching to the tenth degree. 

3.       How do you get sponsorship and make money off your blog?
I am going to let you in on a little secret; the Canadian Social Media Game versus the American Social Media game is VERY different. So I am not sure I am the one to ask about this stuff. I get paid do some free-lance work every once in a while (most of which is not actually published on my blog), but I am not exactly making crazy bank over here. (Which may be a faux-pas to admit, but it is true)

I do work with some companies, but for the most part these relationships just help make my hobbies more viable. I don’t have to spend as much money on race fees, running shoes, protein shakes, etc. Plus I get the opportunity to do some cool stuff - try a new race, meet some interesting people, go to a fun media event, etc.  I know there are bloggers out there that have made a career off of social media – but I am definitely not one of them.

I guess technically my current full-time job with Polar, all started because of my little blog. It is how I was introduced to the company, and began doing some contract work for them. Eventually my role evolved, and in January I started with them full-time. But my blog itself is really just a hobby. It something I do because I like to, and the rest is kind of just gravy.

Do you guys have any other questions for me? Social Media or Otherwise?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,