“So, what do you do all day?” The first time someone asked me this was in relation to being a stay at home mum. I remember feeling defensive and offended in equal parts. The inference, on this occasion, was that I didn’t do very much at all, which couldn’t have been further from the truth! More recently someone asked me it about my work: “What does a blogger actually do?” The question came from a place of genuine curiosity. I explained how much work and time was involved in blogging and my friend was surprised. It made me realise that few people understand what’s involved in writing a blog. The seed was planted for this blog post.
But before I tell you all about what I do as a blogger, you may be interested to know “why” I blog. Essentially, I blog to capture and convey my experiences of modern day mothering. Every time I write a post I ask myself: Will this be of interest to others? I write to connect with others and to freeze moments in time – much like a time capsule. Finally, blogging is my creative outlet. It’s both a hobby and a job – and I love it!
Now, let’s move on from why to what. You may think that writing a blog is as simple as writing a post and pressing publish. Wrong. It’s so much more than that. So, what does a blogger actually do?
Here are 7 things I do as a blogger:
Content is king, so the saying goes. A blog needs consistently good content to be successful. Before I write anything, I need an idea. Fortunately I find this part the easiest. I keep a spreadsheet of blog ideas and in almost 5 years of blogging I have never run out of ideas. I draw inspiration from what’s going on in my world (current challenges, musings, experiences) and from conversations at the school gate and on social media. My blog posts are usually around 800 words, sometimes longer (like this one) and I post once a week. Writing a post can take 2-4 hours, depending on the number of edits and images required. Writing is one small part of being a blogger.
I enjoy telling stories with images as well as words. I don’t use stock images on my blog. I take all photos myself for two reasons: 1. Because I love photography and this is another creative expression. 2. To personalise my posts. I do, however, ensure the girls’ privacy is protected. You may have noticed that most photos in which my girls appear conceal their identity. I don’t show their full faces, apart from my baby’s face, because, well, it’s too gorgeous not to share!
Taking photos takes time. A lot of it. After I have taken the snaps I then need to download, cull, edit and resize the pics before uploading to my blog. The photos then need to be optimised for SEO (more on that later) and compressed for faster loading time. It’s no quick task.
My least favourite part of blogging is the maintenance that is required. There is ALWAYS something that needs fixing, replacing or updating. There are plugins that need to be installed, broken links that need fixing, and meta descriptions that need writing. Honestly, the technical side is enough to make your head spin. It’s never-ending. And then there’s the professional development. Each week I dedicate a few hours to PD with webinars, online courses, and tons of other material about blogging, business, and marketing in general. In a few weeks I am attending a one-day photography workshop to get off auto and onto manual.
Marketing & Professional Development
There is a saying in the blogging world that you can’t just “publish and pray.” Writing a blog is more than content. There’s no point writing fabulous content if no one sees it. Sure, subscribers will read it and you can promote on your socials, but you want to attract new readers to your site and this is where good SEO comes in. What is SEO you may ask? It’s Search Engine Optimisation and it’s hugely important. Basically it helps drive traffic to your site. So, when someone randomly types something into Google, if you’ve got good SEO there’s a chance it’ll lead them to your site.
I’ll admit, SEO is not my strong point, but I have made an effort to arm myself with the basics. SEO is confusing so knowing what is SEO and where to begin is all about learning the essentials. Luckily there is loads of helpful information on the internet and I have taught myself a thing or too with sites like Talk about Creative. this post is a brilliant guide to all things SEO.
Social media is time intensive. Most days I post three times on Facebook, twice on instagram, a few times on Stories, and occasionally on Snapchat. Once a week I pin my images to Pinterest. Every day I engage with my readers on my social channels. I respond to nearly every comment by readers and then I also spent time genuinely engaging with other accounts I follow. This all goes a long way to ensuring my community is engaged and interactive. Also, if you are not posting regularly on your socials, then your content stops appearing in your followers’ feeds. It’s essential to be active on social media if you want to build an engaged audience. Given I spend a lot of time on social media during the week, the weekends are mostly a social media free zone.
Collaborations & Media
Each week I respond to requests from PR agencies, influencer outreach companies and brands looking to collaborate. I LOVE collaborating with brands and businesses if they are a good fit. Sometimes a brand might ask me if I’d like to do a product review. I need to genuinely like the product and furthermore, I need to be sure it’s something my readers would like to know about too. Often the brand will send me gifted product in exchange for a review, or it might be a Sponsored Post. I have written close to 300 posts on my blog, and of these approximately 20 have been Sponsored.
I also spend time each week pitching ideas to editors, writing articles for other publications and occasionally I do an interview or guest post. I have been interviewed by many leading print newspapers, radio and on TV.
As a WAHM (work-at-home-mum) with four kids, including a 6-mth-old baby, I do most of my networking from home. The online world is brimming with opportunities to connect with like-minded creatives and business owners. If you want to grow your business, build a community of followers and connect with those followers, groups on Facebook are an invaluable support. I belong to many FB groups for writers, bloggers, creative, social media managers, small business owners, and they’re just for my professional life (I belong to breastfeeding support groups, silent reflux, tongue ties and a heap for my baby too!). I use these groups to ask questions, respond to interesting threads, give and impart advice and to promote relevant blog posts.
So there you have it. Or rather, a snapshot of it. This list is by no means exhaustive. If I were to tell you how much time and effort goes into each task, your jaw would drop! But there is a reward and that is a great sense of fulfilment for creating content and sharing it with the world. Thank you for being part of my blog.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and update my plugins, compress images, catch up on an SEO webinar, check my Facebook notifications, respond to comments, track my stats on Google Analytics, create this month’s newsletter, view my latest mailchimp report, create some Canva memes, fix a few widgets, and optimise this post so people see it.
So, now that you know how much time goes into blogging, please do leave a comment….you know I’ll respond 🙂 Hit me with your questions and comments.
*This post was sponsored by Talk about Creative