I have actually wanted to do this post for so long but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. I really enjoy watching people talk through their setup etc in vlogs, where they say how they set up their lights and where they edit etc. There probably has been but I have actually never seen a blog version, and I thought that it would be really useful for people who maybe are readers of blogs and are thinking of setting one up, but need a little bit of guidance. I don’t really have a professional set up and this isn’t my full time job, so don’t trust everything I say, but I thought it would be fun to talk through how I create a blog post, edit and upload… and also managing brands and events! In case you didn’t know, I posted everyday on my blog in December, so whilst I was doing that I decided to take photos and document the behind the scenes.
Just for a little bit of insight, I am also an A level student and manage my blog alongside. I don’t earn megabucks from my blog, however I do earn some money now and again through sponsorships and commission, and I do try to put in as much effort to my social media as I would a job. In my opinion, hard work is the direct route to success so I do put a hell of a lot of effort into this corner of the internet and I would like to hope that one day I am earning enough from this so I can see it as my job. That’s a long way off yet though!
Warning: this is going to be an incredibly long post, so get comfy!
I love organisation, so the first thing I do at the end of every month is plan my photos for the next month. I aim to do 10 blog posts a month, so I write down all of my ideas and start to plan what I am going to write and take photos of for each post. Sometimes I need a little bit of help for a post (taking outfit photos etc) so I organise all of this before, so it’s not a last minute rush. I usually set up an excel spreadsheet, with all of blog posts down the side and various pointers along the top to keep me organised. At the moment I have
This helps me to stay on top of what is happening. Keeping organised is they key to having a regular schedule and since planning my posts I have been able to increase the frequency of what I post by a lot.
Now onto the key bit and the section that takes the longest, the actual writing. I try to not set a specific time for writing and instead just do some when I have motivation, as that is when I am most productive. Right now I am actually sat in Costa waiting for my friend, and I felt like I had a lot to write about, so here I am. I find writing about something that I enjoy really therapeutic, so I often do it as a break from studying too.
Now onto the photos. I love taking photos and that is one of the main reasons why I started my blog, so I could share more photos than I could on social media. I take all of my photos with my Olympus pen EPL7 or sometimes my IPhone. It is the complete ‘typical blogger’ camera but I have had it nearly three years now and it hasn’t failed me once. I adore how it takes photos, and I would also recommend investing in the 45mm lense. It changes the way you take photos and it ups the quality massively when you use a camera.
It’s winter in the UK at the moment, so it gets dark at about 4pm. This is not good news for people like me, who have photos that they need to take in natural lighting but also finish college after the sunset. It’s so hard to get good photos without really heavy editing or they are just too dark. I have found that the best way to do it is to have a designated photo morning every few weeks, and bulk produce photos for each post. This is another reason why you should plan your posts, as you know exactly what photos you need to get and everything is just more efficient.
The majority of my photos are lifestyle based, however I do love taking flatlays too. I think the key for flatlays is to have a lot going on, a lot for the eye to see and little things too to fill in the space. In some of my Christmas posts I even had some little pinecones and ribbon which I thought looked really good. I take all of my flatlays on A1 sheets of cards, I have many different colours and I think they make photos look a lot more professional and crisp.
I don’t edit my photos too heavily, often just using IPhoto to change a couple of little points. If I do have to do a lot of editing (such as the fairy light photos from last month), I very gratefully accept the help of my boyfriend who is incredibly talented when it comes to photoshop. He helps me a lot and I’m so thankful as technology like that is by no means my strong point!
Once I have the text and all of the photos, I am ready to schedule it into my blog (from WordPress). I try to have 3 posts scheduled at all times, in case there is an emergency where I can’t post so there is still content uploaded even if I personally can’t do it. If I am working with a brand on a post, you are expected to send it off to them to check over before it is scheduled, so as soon as it is complete I send it off to be approved.
Which leads me onto working with brands. Over the past year I have been lucky enough to work with a fair number of brands on either sponsored posts or by attending events for bloggers. I am very happy to work with brands (I actually really enjoy working alongside someone else on a post!), but they have to meet a criteria before I agree to their idea. I think everyone’s personal criteria is different but I have to be genuinely interested in the brand, allowed to give my own opinion and it fits with the interest of my readers/general blog. Integrity is the most important thing for me, and bloggers shouldn’t be afraid to turn down an offer if it doesn’t feel right for their personal blog brand.
If I do work with a brand or go to an event, I try to have the post written within a week in order to stay professional and to show that I am generally interested in the brand. If they see how punctual you are and they don’t have to chase you then they will be a lot more likely to work with your blog again! I find for the business side of my blog, having a separate email to my personal one is crucial in order to manage emails effectively and quickly. I respond to every single email I receive, even if it is turning down an offer. I think it makes you look a lot more professional, even if that does take an awful lot of time to do sometimes!
Once the post is live, attention turns to social media. I once heard a quote saying that when blogging, 20% of your effort should be on the post and 80% of your effort should be on promoting it. It’s honestly crucial and I definitely see an improvement in stats if I put effort into promoting my posts. Instagram is my main social media platform, and I try to post every single day, along with a story or two. I try to make my Instagram feed look as professional and as high quality as possible, as it is often the first thing that a follower will see of me before they decide to follow or not. Twitter is something that I have only just started getting into recently, but I love it and I really like how much of a community it is in the blogging world. I love the interaction that you get by tweeting and it is helpful for engagement too.
I really hope that this has helped you if you are someone that is considering starting a blog in 2018, to have a little bit of insight into behind the scenes and some ideas for photography etc.