29 Jul 2012

Beauty blogger tips part 3: What should I write about / how often should I blog, and how do you stay organized?


Disclaimer: I don't for one second think I'm an expert, nor do I rate myself as a top beauty blogger / guru.  I just see a lot of new / potential beauty bloggers asking a lot of the same questions and generally worrying about making mistakes / breaking the secret (non-existent!) codes of beauty blogging, so I thought I'd share what I've learned in my three years of blogging. I hope this helps some people who are new to blogging or thinking about starting out.  These are in no way 'the rules'!  I'm just passing on my opinions, opinions I've heard from others, and information I've learned along the way. I'm happy to be corrected on anything anyone thinks I've got wrong (in a polite and positive way please!) and also to be enlightened with any relevant information which I could add to this post - just leave me a comment :) 

This is part three in my series of beauty blogging tips for new bloggers / people thinking about starting up.  Catch up with the earlier posts here - part 1 and part 2.

What to write about / types of posts to do 

First of all, you should write about whatever you want, because it's your blog!  You will find as you go along that some types of posts may be more popular with your readers than others, and you'll work out which posts you most enjoy working on and what suits you.

I think you should try to be original - it's okay to take inspiration from other bloggers, but it's not cool to out-right copy someone else's words or images - unless they're offering the idea as a tag of course (I'll explain that below).

We all have times when we can get a bit of blogger's block and need some new ideas or inspiration, so I've listed below some common types of posts which I see a lot of bloggers doing, and some of them are ones I like to do myself too.

Wordless Wednesday - this is when bloggers post a picture of something fun / interesting / something they like and don't really write much about it.  It's just about sharing something and it's a fairly quick and easy post to do.  I like seeing these, but don't really do them as I like to post images I like to instagram and tumblr.

Monthly favourites - I really like doing a monthly favourites post showing all of the beauty products I've been loving that month.  I don't always manage to get these done all of the time but I do enjoy doing them.  It's also a good way of giving a mention to a product I like, which I may not have gotten around to doing a full blog post about.  Most people do these at the end of the month.

Monthly empties - a lot like monthly favourites, but you show the products you've used up.  I'm not very good at remembering not to throw things away when I've finished them, so I don't often do these posts.  I like reading them though, as if someone's finished a product they've given it a thorough test, so I would really trust their opinion on it.

Wish lists - I tend to do wish lists when I'm trying to save and not buy too much - it's a bit like window shopping where you just show things you would like to buy.  I also do wish lists about what I'm hoping to get for Christmas and Birthdays, or things I'm planning to buy for a holiday etc.

Shopping the stash - I think this type of post started at the sunday girl which is a blog I really love.  In these posts Adrienne picks out forgotten or rarely used products from everything she owns to use that week, and blogs about it.  If you own a lot of makeup it's a really good way of rotating what you use everyday instead of always using what's newest or closest to hand.

Tuesday tips - I first saw this from Gem fatale - it's a frequent feature where she gives a tip about beauty, or it's a DIY or money saving type idea.  I really like these types of post and like picking up other people's tips and tricks.

Nails of the day - this is exactly what it sounds like - showing the nails you're wearing today.  It could be just a coloured polish or some nail art you've done.  I always like seeing other people's nails and tend to do a NOTD any time I buy a new nail polish.  One of my favourite blogs for NOTD and nail art posts is do not refreeze.

Face of the day - in these posts there's usually a close up of a makeup look and the blogger will then list the products that they used.  I really enjoy these posts as I'm nosey and like to see how other people do their makeup.  It also gives me ideas for looks I might want to recreate and products I mike like to buy.  I really like the FOTD posts by glimmer and glow.

Outfit of the day - Just like seeing what makeup people have used, I love snooping what they wear too.  I always want to do OOTD posts myself, but haven't got around to working out the tripod and background situation yet (the boyf does not make for a very patient photographer).  Some of my favourite bloggers who always post their outfits are llymlrs and vipxo and media marmalade.

What's in my basket / hauls - if you watch you tube videos, you'll see a lot of people doing a 'haul' which is basically showing things they have bought or perhaps were given for their birthday / Christmas.  Bloggers do the exact same things by showing photos and writing about what they 'hauled'.  I'll sometimes do a haul showing actual photos of things I've bought, or sometimes if I've just done an online order, I'll share what I bought using images from the sites.  I like watching hauls on you tube, but I don't like that they can get a lot of hateful comments and the youtubers can get accused of showing off.  You tube is a scary place in my opinion - I like watching videos, but I think you have to be pretty brave to make them!  I love seeing what Laura from buy now blog later has bought.

Week in pictures / instagram posts - I've seen some people saying these are now 'over done' but I like them and have been doing them for several months.  I love instagram and check it several times a day (perhaps that's a little obsessed?) and I follow loads of bloggers on there.  Doing a week in pictures post is a great way of adding a little about your personal life to your blog, which I think a lot of readers like so that they can get to know you better.  It's not for everyone though - I know some people are more private than this, and that's fine - each to their own.  These are the little updates posts I do every couple of weeks.

Tags - there are lot of different types of tags around, and I did a few when I was a new blogger.  Tags are usually a list of questions you answer about yourself or your favourite things, and then you tag others to take part.  Here's an example from Becca's fashion and life.  Also a new tag I've seen recently from one of my favourite bloggers is 7 things for 7 days from Sprinkle of Glitter which lots of people are getting involved with.  There are also tags which come up again and again because they're popular, and you don't really need anyone to tag you to do them - I'm thinking of ones like 'what's in my handbag?', 'what's in my makeup bag?' and things like 'how much does my face cost?' where you would add up the cost of all of the products you would use on a daily basis - it might shock you!  There are also challenges like '£20 drugstore makeup challenge' where you would do a makeup looking using products which in total cost no more than £20.

So those are some of the types of post I really like reading, and then of course there are product review and swatches posts, which are probably the most common beauty blogger posts.  I also really like 'collection' posts too, such as when someone shows all of their Mac lipsticks, or all of their Models Own nail varnishes.  I like seeing colours compared to each other - it helps me decide which ones I like.  I keep meaning to get around to doing a Mac lipstick collection post myself - here's one from Secrets behind the closet door.

There are loads more types of posts out there, and you'll come up with your own ideas too.  I also like posting about days out I've had, or recipes for baking cakes, showing new shoes etc.  The important thing to remember is that it's your blog and there are no rules, so write posts you enjoy putting together.

If you're looking to grow your blog in terms of traffic and followers, it can be a good idea to monitor which of your posts are the most read to give you an idea of what has been popular.  You can do this through looking at your stats, and an easy way to keep an eye on this is to have a 'popular posts' widget on your blog which will display your most read posts.  I have one in my right sidebar.

Frequency of posts

You should post as often as you feel able to.  For the majority of us, blogging is a hobby and you shouldn't feel under pressure to post.  I think I put together the best posts when I'm blogging just because I enjoy it, rather than forcing myself to come up with something.

Having said that, if you leave huge gaps between posts, you may lose your connection with your audience, and some readers may stop following all together.  A lot of people who read your blog will come to look at a new post when they are informed that one's there (ie through the way that they subscribe to you).  If you've not written any new posts lately, your blog won't come up in their feeds and they might forget about you, so I think blogging once a week is probably the minimum if you're interested in building traffic and followers - more about that in the next installment.

For me, the amount I blog has changed over time.  The more I've enjoyed blogging and gotten into my stride, the more frequently I've blogged.  I now aim to blog every day, but I don't beat myself up if life takes over and I miss a day sometimes.

When to post 

Did you know that the time of day you publish a post can effect how many of your subscribers see it and read it?  I've noticed that there are times of day which seems to be more popular for readers to be around for looking at posts.  I haven't worked this out completely, but I've noticed that if I post on a Friday night, not many people seem to read the post, as they're out doing other things.  Posting on a Sunday morning however, tends to get a much better response.

Play around with different times and see what works for you.  If you've not done it before, have a go at scheduling your posts so that they don't publish right away when you've finished writing them - you can choose the time and date when they will go live.  To do this, click on 'post options' which you will see at the bottom above 'publish post' when you're editing a post.

How to stay organized while blogging 

Blogging takes up a huge amount of my free time, but it's my hobby and I enjoy it, so I don't mind.  I mainly blog in the evenings and at weekends as I have a full-time job.  I usually take all of my photos at the weekend when there's lots of daylight and then write my posts in the evenings.

I always schedule my posts, usually to go live the next day in the afternoon.  If I know I'm going to be away or busy, I'll try to schedule a few posts at once so that I don't have to worry about it for a few days and can concentrate on whatever else it is I'm doing.

If I'm going away for longer, I like to invite other bloggers to guest post on my blog.  It's a good way of keeping my blog fresh while I don't have the time, and it's a nice way to share the blogs I like with my readers and hopefully sends some new followers to the other bloggers.  I'm going to be doing this for when I'm on holiday in September - see the bottom of this posts for details if you're interested in being a guest poster.

I really recommend getting an email address just for blog related things, to keep everything separate from your personal email.  I then have little folders in the mailbox of my blogging email account to keep things organized so that I know what I'm working on, what's finished and what I need to reply to.

I saw a really fab post about a blogging planner the other day and I think I might get one.  It was on city scape bliss and she showed the planner she had customised online with her own choice of sections and layout etc as well as having her blog name and logo on the front.


That's all for part 3 of Beauty Blogger Tips - if you have any comments about anything I've said in the post I'd love to hear them - also happy for you to point out if I have missed something out or got something wrong.  Here's a list of the previous posts in the series, and the upcoming ones which you can look forward to - 
Part 4 - How do I get more blog followers / traffic and comments on my posts?
Part 5 - How do you get PR companies and brands to send you samples for your beauty blog?

Make sure you don't miss out on the rest of the series by following my blog in any of these ways -  Google Friend Connect, twitterfacebookbloglovin'hello cotton, or rss feeds

The next post will be about gaining traffic, followers and comments on your blog, so if there's anything particular you would like to see covered, let me know through the comments, tweet me, or send an email to fluttersparkle@gmail.com  

28 comments:

  1. This is brilliant and informative. I sometimes lose my way and get overwhelmed by blogging. This will help me (and lots of others) a lot! Thanks so much for this xxxx

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    1. I'm delighted you found something that helped you here, seeing as you're far from being a newbie blogger! =)

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  2. Yay! Thank you for mentioning me:) This is a lovely series!! xx

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  3. This is another fab post in this series. I think it will be really helpful to people just starting out :D xx

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  4. This is such a helpful post. I've recently had a bit of a writers block, and not felt like posting, but now I feel motivated to get organised and back in the blogging saddle! Thanks for the tips :) x

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  5. Love your tips they are wonderful! Definitely a great help! I am looking forward for the next tip :)

    Please visit my blog too! Thanks! - Mimika's Little Wonderland

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  6. I really love this series you are doing Gem and think it can help a lot of people, not only new bloggers but also older bloggers who lose their way or think that theres not much to post about. Also thank you very much for the little mention to my MAC Lipstick collection :) xxx

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    1. I hope so - don't want anyone to find it patronising or think I'm being a know it all! Thanks hun xx

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  7. I've just started my first blog, mainly down to the inspiration of these tutorial posts you've done, thanks :)

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  8. That was super helpful and so appropriately detailed! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful ideas! :)

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  9. Love love love the blogger planner.. Maybe I will treat myself when I get a certain number of views/followers ;-) This post really gave me food for thought. Interesting to know you can schedule posts too- will have to look into that! Thanks again for sharing, Nicole xx Beauty and the Girl Blog

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  10. This has helped me so much, I've just started my own blog and I needed something like this to guide me thank you.

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  11. This post gave me so many inspirations for posts. Especially 'monthly empties' I haven't seen that anywhere on blogs before. I'm gonna do it. Thanks and much love! <3

    jaybeejournal.blogspot.com

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  12. This was really helpful. First time I heard of 'monthly empties'. I'm totally gonna try that out. Thanks and much love! <3

    jaybeejournal.blogspot.com

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  13. Thanks Gemma, now I have fresh ideas for my blog :)
    http://www.vinslookbook.com

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  14. I love these posts! I'm just starting out beauty blogging because my cousins and friends told me that I should start doing tutorials on how I do my hair and makeup because I do their hair and makeup all the time and they can't recreate it. I not only want to have them view it, but I want to share this with other people as well and hopefully inspire them to start creating their own beauty blogs with their own beauty tips and your blog is helping me do just that! Stay fabulous <3
    < a href="beautygirlsdream.blogspot.com">beautygirlsdream.com

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  15. Commending you on being able to post everyday despite a full time job! I struggle to post even once a week but not going to beat myself to it. I have to remind myself that its just a hobby and I'm not here in a race or to prove myself to anyone. Its easier to lose that perspective though. Gotta be in the right mind frame to write about stuff. isn't it?

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  16. Stumbled upon this and it is very helpful Gemma.. I'm new to blogging so this gave me lots of tips :) Thanks a lot :)

    Visit mine:
    www.bloominzahra.blogspot.com
    and
    www.bloominzahra.wordpress.com

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Let me know what you think, and feel free to leave your blog link! I really appreciate every comment and always reply to questions x