Welcome to an advice column built on the idea that the best way to do things is YOUR WAY; where exploring what works for you as an individual is strongly encouraged over settling for the most popular and widely adapted solution. This new YOUR WAY series was created for advice and answers to frequently asked questions about creative careers. You can submit questions by filling out the form at the end of this post. Note: YOUR WAY provides unconventional advice and individual insight to pursuing creative careers. Consider these ways at your own risk, because YOUR WAY will almost always require you to take risks!
THE CHALLENGE OF MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY WITH BLOGGING
One of the most frequently given pieces of advice in the blogging world is that you must be a consistent blogger in order to make an impact in such a crowded industry. The need for consistency can potentially discourage you, especially if you are working and/or going to school full-time. When trying to develop consistency with your blog or website in the midst of your other obligations, it helps to realize how consistency doesn’t always mean constantly. You don’t necessarily need a constant flow of content daily, but it can be more beneficial to you and your readers if you develop some type of editorial schedule rather than publishing content randomly.
- Choose which type of editorial schedule works best for you. It’s YOUR blog so you can do this exactly how you want to — don’t worry about competing with someone else’s content flow. When I launched DARLAMagazine.com I chose Sunday to be our publishing day. Sunday is my favorite day of the week and publishing on that day allows me to create a schedule that fits my current lifestyle. I was even able to connect this editorial schedule to the mission of the DARLA brand because I know that a large portion of our audience lives busy, unpredictable lifestyles. Sundays can be a time to self-reflect, plan for the upcoming week, and indulge in our favorite things like music, books, and conversations with our friends. Other options aside from weekly posts you can consider are bi-weekly publishing, monthly publishing (like the first of the month, last of the month, 4th of the month, etc.), or anything in between. Use YOUR personal lifestyle as the foundation in developing a schedule that works for YOU.
- To ensure that you will have time to get work done, I suggest making it a priority in your schedule just like you do for everything else. Dedicate a certain time of the week, every week, for brainstorming and actually creating content. A great aspect of being a blogger or lifestyle writer is that a busy schedule can inspire you to produce better content… The more you do, the more you experience, the more things you have to write about. Your busy life and the experiences you gain are worthless to your blogging career, though, if you never translate them into your work.
- Be honest with yourself about whether or not the concept and topic of your future/current blog is right for you. If you are struggling finding time to work on it, it may be due to a lack of passion and purpose (I will expand on this next).
CREATIVELY TRANSLATING YOUR PURPOSE INTO A CONCEPT
Whenever someone asks me for tips on creating a new website, blog, or brand, one of the first things I tell them is to identify the purpose. Why do you want to start this new project? What are you trying to achieve with it? Being able to answer those questions for yourself is the first step in branding your idea. If your ultimate goal is to just make money, you are most likely going to be tempted to copy someone else’s concept and way of doing things… But if you’re in pursuit of creating something that will make a change and a positive impact on the lives of your audience/customers, you’re going to want to create something that’s fresh and personal; something that’s an extension of you. From what I’ve learned myself and from conversations I’ve had with people who have built their own brands, I feel that having an authentic purpose behind your concept is the best way to achieve longevity. (Real = Longevity, Fake = Temporary — I keep this in mind when it comes to everything from food, to business, to love!)
- Take your personal interests, talents, passions, experiences, goals, etc., and put them together to start building a new concept. Formulate a plan that is so YOU that no one else would be able to duplicate it, even if they saw the blueprint! It’s 2017 so it’s safe to say that just about everything has been done before — originality is in the eye of the beholder at this point… But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful at creating something special. It may sound cheesy, but you simply need to do some soul searching to find out how.
- Do a lot of research; find already existing brands that have concepts similar to the one you would like to create and then DO NOT TRY TO COMPETE WITH THEM. Rather than trying to 1-UP someone else’s work or take what they’ve done and tweak it, do the opposite. Learn about them so that you DON’T create a knock-off brand. Identify what’s missing in your field and come up with ways to fill the voids with your creative concept.
- Pursue what you genuinely have an interest in; let your real passions be what drive you in achieving your goals and you’ll have the opportunity to create whatever your heart desires. With that kind of ambition + good intentions, you’ll never get bored!
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ABLE TO DELIVER A WELL-WRITTEN EMAIL
If you send shitty e-mails to people, do not expect them to take you seriously. No matter who you are, what you are pursuing, where you went to school or didn’t go to school, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good e-mail. I consider myself to be a real chill person, even when it comes to my work, but unprofessional e-mails are a major pet peeve of mine (so imagine how someone not-so-chill feels about them!). If you’re inquiring to collaborate with someone or to have your work featured on their site/social media platforms, you should be able to deliver a good e-mail, even if it’s basic. I know that not everyone is a writer so you may not know where to begin, but there are various ways to make it happen… You just need to decide what works best for you and your situation.
- Start with a Google search; review samples of the specific type of e-mail you are trying to send. Who are you trying to contact? Why are you contacting them? I don’t suggest literally copying and pasting these sample e-mails and using them as your own, but they can guide you in the right direction.
- If you’re not good at writing or effectively communicating your thoughts via e-mail, or if you simply don’t have the time to write them, find someone who can do it for you. Hire an assistant, publicist, manager, friend, someone who you can trust with whatever information you are trying to deliver.
- Come up with creative ways to make your e-mails stand out, especially if it’s a pitch. Find a balance of being professional, informative, and creative by showing your person of interest what you are capable of without overdoing it. (Try to eliminate the rambling and get straight to the point.)
Have questions of your own? Send them in below! Your name, e-mail address, and personal information won’t be shared.
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