We have asked our blogger community to answer a few blogging questions about themselves, with the aim of getting to know them and their blogs a little better. These will be published as a series of blog posts, which we hope will make interesting reading. Carry on reading if you’d like to find out more about the bloggers who are active on Bloggers Required. You can view other blogger Q&As here, and you can complete your own here.
Please tell us a bit about your blog?
Polaroids and Polar Bears is a what’s on guide for Birmingham and the Black Country. It covers the latest in theatre, dance, visual arts, music and much more through listings, reviews and interviews.
Q1. How and why did you get into blogging?
I’ve always loved going to the theatre and writing. At first I started doing freelance for a number of publications in the West Midlands but then I realised that actually I could do this for myself. I started with a basic wordpress.com site with limited functionality but as the site grew in popularity I started to investigate building my own website using wordpress.com. I spent days looking into hosting, domain names, wordpress templates and meta-tags and pretty much taught myself before taking the plunge. YouTube is a wonderful tutor!
Q2. Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
I think much of my inspiration has come from the magazines that I have written for; 69 Degrees, Dluxe, Native Monster. Having read some of these magazines for years I decided that these are the ones I wanted to write for and as such they influenced my blogs. It’s always good to keep an eye on what other people are saying however your blog needs to be unique and be your opinion. What’s the point of doing it if you are just using someone else’s thoughts without adding your own?
Q3. If you could offer some words of encouragement to a newbie or frustrated blogger, what would they be?
Stick with it!!! It can be a bit deflating seeing a blog that you’ve spent a long time working on not get the clicks/reads you thought it would. Blogging is a long journey; your site won’t receive stardom over night. It needs to build up momentum over time. Also keep it regular. People loose interest if content is not updated on a regular basis.
Q4. What has changed most about blogging culture/the blogging industry since you started?
Blogging is becoming easier and easier which means more blogs crop up every day, however this doesn’t always mean they are of a good quality. Many of these fall at the wayside as people realise that blogging (done properly) takes time.
The introduction of platforms such as Instagram, Vine are a great way of enhancing your blogs with new and more engaging content.
Q5. What daily tools and platforms do you use in your blogging routine, for research, promotion, sharing and other?
Well my first task when setting up my blog was to make sure people knew I existed. I emailed a number of the arts/culture venues in Birmingham introducing myself and asking to be put onto their press lists. I now have information sent to me which is a big part of the battle. I still do a lot of research though! I regularly check other what’s on websites as well as other venues. I also have Google alerts set up for a number of key words.
Q6. Do you understand your blog analytics, and how important do you think they are? Please share some best practice.
Analytics are very important. I’m using a mixture at the moment including Google Analytics and a new beta platform called Yogi which looks at the reach of Twitter. Analytics are not only important to see if people are interested in your contact but also when is the best time to actually push out your blogs via social media. Once you nail this down, you’ll be singing! I check Google Analytics on a daily basis, setting goals and monitoring which posts do best and at which time.
Q7. Where do you hope blogging will take you in the future?
At the moment blogging is a hobby. However I’m starting to get interest from advertisers who are looking to place adverts on my site. Polaroids and Polar Bears wasn’t set up as a way of making money however it may evolve into this. This won’t detract from the content though.
More blogger Q&As
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