I remember 10 years ago when I started this blog there were no points of reference out there for me. Blogs were just something totally new and we all kind of didn’t know where things would go. I certainly didn’t expect that the blog would one day become the main thing for me taking over my personal and professional life completely. I’m so grateful that I followed my instincts and interests and just went for it. It was a difficult step for me back in 2011 to quit my day job and focus fully on iHeartBerlin, but these six years that came after were more fulfilled and happy than all the time before. I learned so much in these years, it’s a lot of trial and error, testing boundaries, starting over and jumping into the unknown. But the experience and knowledge I gained is something that I never want to miss.
When I became part of Blogfabrik 3 years ago I knew that this would be a place where this knowledge and experience would someday also be transferred to other people starting projects and working in digital media. With the new digital conference Content Creation Week where me and my fellow Blogfabrikanten offer workshops, lectures, keynotes, panel talks, the time has come for me to share with the next generation. From June 18-21 the second edition will take place and I will host a workshop about brand collaborations.
To give you a bit of a taste of my first CCW workshop from 2017 that was about long-lasting and successful content I have gathered my most cherished wisdoms of 10 years of blogging.
1) Have a Passion for your Subject Matter
When I started the blog I was really passionate about discovering new and exciting things in Berlin and sharing them with my friends and visitors of Berlin. This passion really was the fuel to start and keep going with the blog. And thankfully Berlin always keeps changing and offering new things so this passion never dried up. I’ve seen quite a few projects pop up around me and fade away again were the motivators were only ego or profit-driven. I don’t see that work out so much for anyone in the long-run.
2) Evaluate your Success
For quite a long time I just blogged into the blue, without much of an editorial concept or even any kind of evaluation. It’s a nice liberating feeling to not care so much about metrics and success. But it will only bring you so far. Without a plan I felt not inspired and not ambitious. So I changed the game, took a look at what I had created, evaluated its success by metrics that mattered to me and than based my following work on the results of that. It was an important decision and thanks to those measures we managed to quadruple our traffic within one year. We keep evaluating all that we do to readjust our concept. It’s necessary really, because the interests of readers and the mechanism of social media channels keep changing also.
3) Be Consistent and Persistent
Having a passion for something seems like an easy task. But consistently working on it and to continuously deliver is the really hard part. In those 10 years I never really took any breaks. We blog every work day of the week, often also on the weekends and on Facebook and Instagram really every day. I saw many blogs taking longer breaks and I felt they suffered for it. You loose the attention and loyalty of your readers very quickly. Social media channels can be quite cruel, too. So I always recommend everyone to just keep on going and plan ahead for any absence. This way you will never loose your drive.
4) Be Active on Social Media
When I started the blog there was no infrastructure like today on Facebook. I had to work quite hard and long to gain some momentum and use a lot of IRL channels to make the blog known. Today a strong and active social media channel is what’s gonna give you most of your readers. If you don’t like hanging out on any of these channels and connect actively with people around you, you will have a really hard time to get any kind of traction. It’s a constant effort to keep up and every new follower who is somewhat interested in what you have to say is gonna bring you a step further.
5) Support your Scene
Whatever your project’s topic is, there probably is a scene of people around you with similar or at least related stuff going on. You might see them as your competitors and in a way they are. But they are also your alleys. They know best how everything works, so you better have them on your side. They can be your inspiration and idols, they can be partners, they can be friends even. It is totally worth it to connect with them, support their projects, comment on their blogs, invite them to your events. You never know who you might be working together with one day, who might refer you a client, or in return support your project.
6) Cherish your Business Partners
I pride myself a bit sometimes with the fact that the majority of our business comes from returning clients. Over the years I’ve worked on both with agencies as a publisher, but also for agencies with other publishers. I was shocked sometimes by how difficult some of them were: unreliable, unreachable, untruthful, and not appreciative. I certainly didn’t recommend working with them again. This can mean a lot of lost opportunities. The effort of being polite, honest, and responsive will make you stand out in the crowd and gain you good follow-up business.
7) Make the Best of your Content
For the longest time blogposts had a quite short lifespan. You post something, you push it through your channels, maybe a second time a few days later and then after at least a few weeks it will disappear in the depth of your archive. If you’re lucky and you made some efforts to tune your blogpost for search engines it will keep on being seen through those over a longer period. But many blogs don’t pay much attention to SEO. I recommend to look into your archive and see which blogposts have maintained a certain relevance. Just repost them again after a while. Especially the ones that were already successful in its initial run will most likely succeed again and generate significant traffic. Also, it’s worth it to organize your archive of photos and images and keep looking into it to re-use older material for new blogposts – it saves you time and keeps your content alive for longer.
If you want to learn more about content marketing and how brands and independent publishers can make the best of their collaborations you should consider joining my workshop at the Content Creation Week that I will be hosting June 18-21, 2018.