I am in a state of wavering disbelief right now. I am having a hard time believing I have actually blogged for five whole years! Every week, every Wednesday, I have shared my thoughts, feelings and opinion on wide-ranging subjects—when I was excited—and when the last thing I wanted to do was write. I have battled the imposter syndrome; written essays that barely got a hundred views and been misunderstood for my blogging intentions. But I have also enjoyed unbelievable goodwill from strangers: people who overestimated my talent and called me a genius. Bottom line, blogging has been an immense blessing to me. I have honed my writing skills (the reason I started), discovered so much more about myself, expanded my network, and found myself seated in places I would only have otherwise imagined.
However, the question I have been asked more than a few times is what informed my decision to start blogging and how I have managed to be consistent over the years. While I try to answer as best as I can, I have figured that the occasion of Lolo’s Thoughts’ 5th Anniversary presents the perfect opportunity for me to expound on this and other lessons I have learnt along this exciting journey. Let’s dive right in:
Know Your “Why”: I find that many people think blogging is glamorous. The poster figure for blogging in Nigeria is a billionaire and this reality has attracted a lot of people to the vocation. So we have people who are excited about blogging because of the perceived money and fame. I am sorry to disappoint you, but it doesn’t exactly work that way. Blogging will only translate to monetary gains when you put in the work just like what obtains in any other line of work. There’s no crime in wanting money and fame, but you must pay your dues. Even gossip bloggers who amassed a large following within a short period had to be consistent in building their brand over the years before the money or fame came. Ask yourself why you want to be a blogger. Are you doing it to be popular or to add value in a particular niche? Your reason will determine your level of commitment, and more importantly, your longevity.
Pursue Consistency: This is perhaps the most daunting challenge in the journey of any blogger. How do you keep the passion burning day-after-day or week-after-week? How do you ensure you do not run out of steam over time? Well, this is where the work is. My advice: find a routine that works for you. If you intend to do this full-time, then you can blog daily or even several times a day; but, if like me, you have a day job or are involved in other businesses, then you most likely will be unable to blog daily. I chose the weekly option because I needed a routine that was challenging enough to keep me committed to improving my craft, yet gave me enough time to do all the other things that are just as important. In this business, It is more important to be consistent than excellent.
Be Original: The first thing that comes to the average person’s mind when one says they blog is gossip. Because news and gossip are the most popular forms of blogging in these parts, there’s always the propensity to assume every blogger is of the “copy and paste” clan. It’s why you must be different. When I started out, I told myself this was my personal journey. It was about honing my craft and becoming a professional writer and not about fame, money or clout. The only way to stand out is to be authentic. For the love of all things bright and beautiful, strive to be different—don’t be a copycat.
Brace up for the downtimes: Blogging is quite tasking. You have to deal with technical issues from outside sources that may affect your own work. Sometimes, what you think will be a hit with your target audience may be met with indifference. At other times, your post may offend. You will be criticised unfairly and tagged an imposter. All these come with the territory. It is unrealistic and delusional to presume everyone will fall in love with everything you put out or that you will always hit the “right notes” with your opinions. There will be days when you’ll even wonder if you are good enough or whether you shouldn’t just call it quits. Don’t. You’ll pull through it in the end.
Never take your audience for granted: So you end up “blowing” or even simply enjoy a small but loyal following. People who are attuned with to work, people who cheer you on and never fail to encourage you. Always remember that they are under no obligation to do so. If good content is what attracted and kept them glued to your page, do not for once believe they will continue to stick with you when you begin to water it down. Respond to comments, enquiries and queries; ignore rude remarks. If there’s going to be a revamp or massive change in the direction of the blog, let your audience in on it. Respect your audience, I can’t reiterate this enough.
Thinking of starting a blog and have further questions? Feel free to shoot me an email via the contact page. I’ll be glad to help.
P.S: Thank you all ever so much for the immeasurable love, support and constructive criticism you have sent my way over the past five years. To my day one supporters, you guys are the very best! Please subscribe to the blog if you have not already done so, it costs zero naira and takes less than a minute. It’s all the encouragement I need going forward…and of course, l am available for hire; check out the services page to find out how we can do business together.