The blogging and vlogging worlds are incredibly exciting places to be – having been a part of them since I was 17 (I’m nearly 25 now) I feel that I’ve gathered together some pretty useful tips on how to handle the ups, downs and issues you can come across when working on your blogs and channels. If you’re just starting out on a fabulous new blogging or vlogging journey, I have some essential advice that might just help you along the way!
1. Think Carefully About Your Blog or YouTube Name
I think this is a bit more of a given in 2015, but when I created my YouTube channel I just used my old hotmail name ‘PunkChyaz‘ – I actually created the channel back in 2006 before it was really a ‘thing’, and never really planned on it taking off! Now there’s no reason why you can’t put thought into your blog or channel name. I would think carefully about how much you want to focus on one aspect within the channel name, i.e. including the words ‘beauty’ or ‘fashion’ in there unless the vast majority of your content is about one of those topics. That’s what I did with my new channel WhatTheHealth, as I knew the direction of the project would be clearly health-focussed, but with a main channel you might find yourself wanting to branch out more into lifestyle-related content. If you have an unusual name or nickname, make the most of it – keep your blog or vlog name snappy, memorable and something you’re proud to say out loud.
2. Events & Freebies Shouldn’t Be The Goal
Getting invited to events and having brands send you goodies is, of course, a huge perk of having a blog. But if your key goal is to be seen at launches and collect freebies, I’d reconsider why you want to start blogging. Equally, you may find yourself disappointed at first (and at various times throughout your blogging journey, no matter how big your following gets) – it’s very easy to look at Twitter or Instagram, see people at a particular event and get paranoid about why you weren’t invited. 99.9% of the time it’s because there are SO many bloggers that it’s impossible for everyone to get invited, or perhaps the organiser or brand just isn’t one you’re in touch with. This will only drive you crazy, I promise. Instead, when you get an invite or get sent a product, enjoy yourself and have fun. If your invitation was overlooked, use the time to work on your latest post or video instead – be productive and see where it gets you a few months from now. It’s the best way to turn negative energy into positive!
3. Have A Schedule
This is something I didn’t do for a good while, and I’ve changed it up a bit recently too (though I’m currently having some MAJOR video editing issues, not a big technology fan right now!). If you decide on a schedule and let your followers know about it, everyone will know where they stand in terms of new content – it gives you deadlines for posts and your readers/viewers know when to come back for more. Think of it like episodes of your favourite show on TV! If Corrie isn’t on one night in favour of the football, it’s a big deal because people are used to checking back for the new episode. Try thinking of your blog or YouTube channel in that way too – however, if this just isn’t your style and you prefer to wing it, be upfront about that so your followers don’t feel you’re ignoring them.
4. Cheating Doesn’t Get You Anywhere
I could write an entire essay about the issues of buying followers, video views and whatever else seems to be on offer to aspiring bloggers and vloggers these days. I think all I really need to say on the topic is: don’t do it. It gets you nowhere, you WILL get found out (when one video has 26 views and the next has 10,000 it looks very suspicious. Unless, of course, it went viral, but that’s usually pretty clear too) and jumping up by thousands of followers in a couple of days looks strange unless you’re a huge online personality, or have been featured somewhere prominent online. It annoys people, it looks desperate and it’s unethical. Don’t do it.
5. Remember That ‘Juicy Peach’ Quote
What was it that Dita Von Teese said? “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Remember that when you start blogging, you are opening yourself up to the online world, and though we all wish it wasn’t the case you may well encounter some negative comments. This quote is something I always keep in mind when I read anything unkind written about me, and I have also come to realise that the vast majority of negative comments are from people who’ll likely write the same thing on 10 other blogs or Youtube channels. A blanket insult that they’ve crafted to try and bring someone’s day down to make themselves feel better (twisted, right?). Let it wash over you and don’t take any of it personally – after all, the person doesn’t know you. Constructive criticism is always good to read to help you improve, but the line between that and nastiness is usually very obvious.
6. Make Only Genuine Friendships With Fellow Bloggers
As with absolutely every single community, whether online or offline, there are good and bad eggs. I have been lucky enough to make some fabulous, genuine friends whilst on my blogging and vlogging journey (that’s myself and Gemma from HelloGemma at my engagement party last year – she’s one of the best of the good eggs). I could go on listing my some of the awesome people I’ve met along the way (Zoe London, ReallyRee, FleurDeForce) all day. But it’s also inevitable that you’ll meet those who aren’t so awesome. Don’t be blinded by someone’s following or online persona – if they’re a good person who you’d be friends with outside of the blogging world it will be obvious. I’ve had my share of burns from those I thought were friends but ended up treating me pretty poorly, but that’s just life. Make genuine friendships based on that blogger’s real personality and it’s compatibility with yours, just as you would in every day life.
7. Ask For Help
No one is born knowing how to blog or vlog – it takes practise, time and a lot of effort to get it spot on. Luckily there are lots of ways you can ask for or seek help, from taking part in Twitter chats (like the #bbloggers one) or just browsing your favourite blogs and YouTube channels for tips – if you’re reading this post, you’re on the right track! There’s also an abundance of technical help out there on the internet, but don’t forget your real life connections too. Chances are some old school friends (or in my case, my fiancé!) will be working in the design/development industries (or at least studying them) – chat to them, see how you can collaborate or work together and don’t be afraid to invest a little in what you’re planning for your blog or channel. I’m definitely not saying blow £££ on a slick website straight away, but see what you can achieve with a little help or assistance. Better still, learn some coding or design skills yourself and have a go at crafting your platforms to your specific taste!
8. Create Mutual Respect With Brands
As your online channels grow, brands will likely approach you (or vice versa) about working together. There’s a fine line between knowing your worth and appearing rude, so treat every email conversation in a polite manner and foster mutual respect within the discussion. If products are being offered, set expectations on if and when you’re likely to feature them. If money is being discussed for a sponsored post or video, talk to fellow bloggers (or read some informative posts) about the kind of figures you should be looking at. The blogging world doesn’t work unless brands and content creators respect each other, so try to promote this within your chats with PRs and companies. It really helps in the long run!
I really hope these tips have been helpful – if you have any questions, or any more pieces of advice as a blogger yourself, please do leave them in the comments!