Dear Inky: How Do I Start Blogging?

Dear Inky - Starting a Blog - Inky Collective Blog

 

Dear Inky…

I’m just a girl who’s looking to do what you do – write, share art, and just express!

I was just wondering whether or not you had any tips for getting started on a blog. Possibly a website reference, or just some simple tips would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your time!

Justine

 


 

Dear Justine…

I’m really flattered you asked as I’m just starting out myself! But I can certainly share a few tips I’ve learned that will hopefully help.

 

Choose a subject and direction

It can be a broad subject, but having an aim and parameters from the offset will help both you and your audience know where the blog is going. You say you want to share art, but you could cover everything from paintings, to ceramics, to street art, to textiles. It could easily stretch to cover dance and other forms of artistic expression too.

Ask yourself, do you just want to introduce people to art you’ve discovered? Or do you want to write your own opinion on popular/current artists?

Dear Inky - Starting a Blog - Inky Collective Blog

Read, read, read

Read blogs on similar subjects and pay attention to which articles are being shared around and getting a lot of comments, BUT most importantly, pay attention to which ones you enjoy and would subscribe to.

You need to be your own biggest critic and biggest fan at once! If you wouldn’t read it, you shouldn’t write it.

Read books and magazines too, of course. As Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”.

Dear Inky - Starting a Blog - Inky Collective Blog

 

Be consistent

Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, posting on a regular basis means your audience know what to expect and when, and so are more likely to pop back and see what’s new.

Keep the tone consistent. If your Instagram is usually beautiful regrams of artists, interrupted by an occasional “love my hair today” selfie, it’s likely to lose people’s attention.

Regular posting was one of my weakest points up until quite recently! I now post three times a week, on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but what with the day job and letterpress printing, sometimes the blog can fall behind (like last week when I was also struck by a lurgy!).

I used to get quite stressed about it, and this brings me neatly on to my next tip!

 

Start a blog calendar

Lining up content, even if it’s just a list of ideas, really helps you to not only plan your posts but also plan your own time.

There are a host of tools, print outs and planners that you can use and, as much as I love buying beautiful organisers, I’ve found a simple Google calendar works best for me.

I pop ideas into the cal months in advance, and try (emphasis on the “try”) to actually create the content at least a week or so ahead of the scheduled date. I send out interviews knowing it may be weeks – sometimes months – before people have time to respond, and I give myself at least a week between a workshop or event and the date of its review.

Blogtacular just published a blog post on Starting an Editorial Calendar and that is full of great advice.

 

Dear Inky - Starting a Blog - Inky Collective Blog

Promote yourself

Building up a following across social media can take time but it’s one of the best ways of driving traffic to your blog. I won’t get too into it here, but key tips are push your blog posts to your social media accounts, keep your tone and visuals consistent across channels, and reply to people who tweet you or comment on pictures. It’s only polite.

On Twitter and Instagram, I highly recommend joining in relevant hashtag conversations. It’s the best way of being active in the social media community, and building up a supportive network. #Blogtacular is a great place to start!

You can find a host of other Twitter chats and tips in Networking for Bloggers and Creatives from The Private Life of a Girl.

Dear Inky - Starting a Blog - Inky Collective Blog

 

Be yourself

In order to write naturally and comfortably, you need to be yourself, but do stay professional. If you’re going to write a sweary blog on art then fair enough (I’d read that), but writing politely for months and then dropping an angry, blue-aired rant into a post is probably not going to go down well.

Don’t try and replicate something just because it’s popular, as your own voice and taste will be hankering to get out. And either it will and you’ll create confusion on the overall tone on your blog, or you’ll get frustrated and just stop writing altogether.

 

Further reading

Some articles I recommend when starting out:

Blogtacular – How To Start a Blog in 5 Minutes

The Collative – Creating a Style Guide for Your Blog

The Private Life of a Girl – 9 Mistakes Every Blogger Should Avoid

Market Your Creativity – How I Tripled My Blog Traffic in 3 Months

The Design Trust – Book Review: Blogging for Creatives 

 

I hope that helps for now. If you have any other questions, you know where I am!

Jen


 

Do you have any advice you’d like to add? Please do pop it in the comments if so!

If you have a question you’d like to ask, you can do so on Twitter or drop us an email at hello@inkycollective.com.

 

Jen Wright

Jen Wright

Letterpress printer, maker and freelance writer. I blog about the people and things that inspire me, in the hope that I will inspire you.
Jen Wright

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2 Comments

  1. Great advice, but I will always be a fan of the “just do it” movement, purely because you learn so much along the way, I know that since 2011 my whole blog has changed dramatically and I’m glad it has because it reflects the change in myself too.

    • Thank you for reading! Yes, I agree that at some point you just have to go for it and learn by doing. I sometimes cringe a bit looking over my early posts but I wouldn’t remove or change them. As you say, it shows how far you’ve come :)

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