It’s been almost a year now since I started blogging. I’ve dedicated hours to writing posts, social media and tweaking the website’s appearance so it has a sleek but pretty aesthetic.
But blogging isn’t my full time gig, despite the fact that it takes up almost as much of my time.
No, I have a day job too. For over five years now I’ve worked in marketing. I’ve had a few different jobs, which have involved various responsibilities from managing the company social media profiles to PR to copywriting and graphic design. But one of the biggest elements, and one I’ve always enjoyed the most, is looking after websites.
To become successful, most bloggers (and writers) have to be able to promote themselves and their brand. Having a sound knowledge of the marketing world has definitely been an asset when it comes to running this blog. Here are a few key reasons why:
Anyone who works in marketing will understand how crucial a clear and consistent brand is to any business. Your brand should reflect not only your company values, but also your spirit and your professionalism.
For bloggers just starting out, branding often isn’t factored in until much later. But you should consider creating one early on, especially if you want your blog to grow beyond a hobby.
I’ve been managing websites for a few years, using various different CMS (content management systems – or the website’s back end, where the magic happens). Some have worked better than others, which has allowed me to experiment a little and build up some basic coding knowledge to help tweak the way content appears on the page.
If it wasn’t for my day jobs, I would never have had the confidence to set up my own website and run it alone. When I overhauled the design of Ten Penny Dreams by installing a new theme, I did everything. I’ve researched plugins and managed to troubleshoot problems.
With so many amazing tutorials online, it’s really not that hard to manage your own website without being a technical guru. But it helps to have the confidence to try new things, without fear of breaking your website and ruining all your hard work.
At the moment, I don’t make any money from this website. In fact, it costs me money to run it. In the future I plan to start running it as a business, but at the moment I’m content to build an audience while I find my voice and develop my blogging skills.
But from day one I’ve run the blog as though it was a business. This means that when I am ready to take the next step into professional blogging, it will be a lot easier because the foundations are already in place.
Graphic design skills
I’m far from an expert when it comes to design, but I know my way around Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, which allowed me to create my own logo for the blog. Initially, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out so I gave it a go, with the back-up plan of hiring a professional if my efforts didn’t turn out very well.
Photography is another really useful skill for a blogger, so it helps to be able to use Photoshop to maximise the impact of your images.
Working in marketing has allowed me to build up a few useful contacts over the years. In real terms, that has meant invites to events and link ups with photographers. As I write regularly about attractions and events in my region, it’s nice to know a few people who work in those industries should I ever need advice or someone to pester for an interview.
Copywriting and proofreading
I run my company’s business blog, so I spend a lot of time coming up with ideas, researching and writing content for the internet. Thanks to my background, I’ve had a lot of practice at copywriting so my early efforts at blogging weren’t as dire as they might have been.
I spend hours in the office online, reading articles about business, blogging and marketing, so I often come across content that is useful for my personal blogging too. This helps me come up with ideas for content and have plenty of interesting posts to share with my followers, so I don’t bore them rigid constantly tweeting my own links (although I do that too…)
Ultimately I’m lucky that my career has led me in this direction and given me the skills to create and run a blog, which is something I’m so passionate about.
Plus, I’ve been able to help out fellow bloggers on occasion by offering tips or sharing things that have worked for me.