Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blog Inc + Growing My Blogging Presence

When I launched Of North, I had a few very concrete ideas in my head of what I wanted the blog to be, and how I wanted to improve it from what Urban Tease was. I knew that I wanted to grow my presence, I wanted to reach out to new readers and a more diverse audience. I knew that I wanted the same amount of What I Wore posts, but more posts about other areas of my life. Formulating these ideas and executing them are two very different things, however. So, to help me, I purchased the book Blog, Inc written by Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

Even though I've been blogging for....yikes! 5 years now?....there're still a lot of tools and tips that I don't know. I've usually glossed over online articles about blogging, thinking that they didn't apply to me or to Urban Tease. But with the fresh start on a fresh blog, I knew that it was time to learn from some full-time, professional bloggers.

Joy's book is awesome for one big reason: interviews with other bloggers. A lot of the stuff in the book are no-brainer basics, but the insider tips from people whose entire income is based off of blogging is something that makes Blog, Inc unique. It was really interesting to read the words and wisdom of people who started out in the same boat as me and grew their blog into an entire career. I'm not sure if that's what I want to do at all, but I do want to expand my blog, so their creative tips and stories were hugely beneficial and made the book worth reading in itself.

The book emphasized a few things that had gone over my head in the past or which I never really understood the true benefit of. Some of those things have already been noted on the blog, actually. For example, I've made an effort to comment back to readers and create better dialogue. Urban Tease never had a "Reply" button after any of the comments, so it was always more cumbersome and confusing to reply back to your thoughtful comments. Now that I'm replying back, I'm feeling a much stronger connection to my readers than I did before. There have always been those who I chatted with over Facebook or Twitter, but it's exciting to have more in depth and expansive conversations - even if they're about our favourite Gilmore Girls characters or episodes! This has helped make Of North seems more like a community and less like some article online without a real person attached to it.

Blog, Inc also places a lot of emphasis on collaboration. An entire chapter discusses hiring multiple content writers (not going to happen with this blog, don't worry!) but Joy also encourages guest blogging. I was mulling this concept over in my head as guest blogging isn't something that I've ever really done - or understood the point of. So many blogs do it in such a forced way that doesn't seem authentic with the rest of their blog. I've tried it now and then but it always felt rigid and uninspired. But when I was reading Blog, Inc's chapter on guest blogging, a fabulous collaboration idea came to my mind which I'll be launching in April as a guest blogging series. I'm oh-so excited about it! I feel that it's very authentic and true to Of North and I hope that you guys will find that to be so, as well.

On a very minor note that had never really crossed my mind, Blog, Inc also discussed organization. I consider myself a ridiculously organized person - I write a million To-Do lists every week - but I had never been all too organized about blogging. After I put down the book, I opened up a word document and made a calendar and began scheduling posts. It's always been my goal to write 3 - 4 posts a week, and now with this calendar, I have them all decided a week beforehand, giving me a boost to actually get them done. I'm not saying that I'm forcing myself to blog, but more than I'm forcing myself to be organized about how I blog. Organization increases productivity, and I think it's already been proving true since I created the calendar a couple of weeks ago.

I'm so glad that I picked up Blog, Inc. It gave me a lot of inspiration and motivation. Blogging is something that I adore doing, something that I fell in love with when I started blogging at 15, and I'm excited to keep going with it. Being under-employed has been so entirely tedious, and having this blog to come to work on has been very comforting, as have been the many friends I've made through my blog. I'm so excited for what Of North leads me to! Do you guys read blogging books or articles? How do you keep things fresh and true-to-you while still encouraging growth?


  1. This sounds like a really interesting book! I may need to pick it up over the summer. I tend to read blogging articles when I come across them on Pinterest or Twitter, but I've yet to read a full book. I'm really excited about your new guest blogging project! (I'm gradually accumulating photos for my post!) I definitely agree with the commenting creating a greater sense of community. I always feel cut off when I can't keep up with other people's posts. Grad school keeps me so busy but I always catch up at some point!

    1. I feel like a lot of those posts on blogs are not as in-depth, only simply brushing on things. It helped that it was a book, so I was completely immersed in it. Although it's a quick read, it's still longer than a small blog post which doesn't really start you thinking and keep you thinking.

  2. That's so clever! I'm a bit different in that I procrastinate so much that I spend most of my time researching writing or blogging rather than actually doing it - and you must have been doing something right all this time! Teach us some of your organisation skills! xx

    1. Maybe I should do a post about organization! It's something that I taught myself to be a few years ago, definitely not something that comes naturally to me, but it makes me incredibly more productive that I ever was before.


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