Deep breath Mee. You can do this, you can write this post. Here I am, writing about a block I have been having and how I think I can get over this one. “Help Please!” this should be tagged with.
Instead of just thinking this in my head, or writing it out in my paper journal, I decided to use blogging for one way I think it still should be remembered for. Current, real, “Ahh Ha” moments. Not all blog posts need to be written from an expert status, but a living in the trenches, showing how real you actually are; this is one way you build authenticity with your brand and connection with your readers.
I have wanted to blog for such a long time now. I was a very successful blogger, and have been since 1999. I know that I know that I know that I want to do this. In fact, I teach other businesses and people how and why to blog. So why can’t I live my words too? Why the hard time now? This week it hit Mee in the face why I have been having such a hard time.
◭My focus and messaged has changed, grown and evolved.
I have been blogging as a photographer, showcasing my work. Mostly my Wedding, some Family Sessions, and also the Beautiful Women Glamour Photography I was so enthralled with. But my work focus has changed. And my brain thinking, planning and blogging didn’t change with it.
They say to only post what you want to attract more of. So if I am posting family photography sessions, guess what I am going to get inquiries about? Yes you got it, more mom’s facebook messaging Mee, saying “I saw your recent posts, I really loved that, I wish we could have those images of our family too…” and then the booking and the Mee feeling bad because that isn’t the work focus I want to do right now. (BTW if you are looking for Family Photos in Peace River, I would recommend Photography by Stacey, but don’t wait, because she fills up really fast.)
What I want to be doing, is posting work that is moving forward with Mee and where I am going, while giving myself a chance to reflect, look back and tell the reader what I have learned or gained from that experience.
The point is, if my work focus has changed, then my blogging and my branding should reflect that change; I should be posting what I want to attract more of. Everyone, and every brand should change, grow and evolve, over time, but then your creations and also your message should reflect the new found clarity, in a simplistic way, in a way that is easy to move, flow and grow with you for your readers.
Creating Content and Multi Media is really important for Mee, I teach on this subject, and this is where my love for↟Creativity,↟Photo Styling and↟My Love of Photography comes in. I don’t want to kill these passions with my new found paths, in fact, growing and evolving has helped Mee to focus MORE on what I love, by getting specific, deeper, shifting out the stuff that doesn’t belong, and really getting what I love to do, clearer. Like mining for gold, you don’t want or need all the dirt, but you do sift through alot to get to the treasure you’ve been looking for. This leads Mee to my next point, I have passions I want to keep around Mee, now that they are more like treasures I want to use them instead of sit them on a dusty shelf somewhere.
◭I need photos still, photos are a must for blog posts, at least for Mee it is.
My issue really came to surface here. How am I going to write blog posts if I need photos, what I used to blog about was full of weddings, and portraits and personal projects? How do I grow a blog, focusing on this new path, that doesn’t really focus on weddings or family pictures at all? Insert whatever you are going through yourself. Did you used to have a mommy blog, or run an ebay store, or sell lots of designs on etsy? Those would be similar to my “weddings and portrait images” I am focusing away from. It is what you were doing, not what you want to focus on now.
This block was a huge one for Mee. It was so big, like a mountain that I actually didn’t examine it, didn’t look around it, didn’t allow myself to have fresh eyes, and look at the problem with the glasses on that look for the solution-instead of just staring at the problem. “Obstacles be gone!” I kept stoping at this one thought, “But what am I going to blog about.”
It actually went like this in my train of thought:
“What am I going to blog about?”
“No really, what should I say?”
There is nothing you can say right now-(that negative voice)
“Well let’s go back to what blogging is then, because I still want to blog, even though I feel stuck at this.”
Well, you are not going to be able to blog. You are stuck.
“To Mee this is what a blog post is…”
Ohhh here we go now, are you really an expert on this? You didn’t invent it did you? You don’t know something, unless you invented it. -My “BRule” I realized I believed about myself and teaching or blogging on subjects.
“A Blog Post is:
A) A photo, then more photos later.
You want several similar, but different images for social media. One for Pinterest, another one if you can for Facebook and for your email newsletter reference. A photo is worth a thousand words.
B) Words. Think Wordsmithing + combined with Taglines + Headlines; words are the languages we communicate. You can have all the Videos, plus Photos you want, but if they are not combined with words it might not work. One reason is for google, because search results pull up what people type out... and also because in today’s world, people consume content, each differently. Some might like video, where others cannot stand video for sake of time, and will read the words that are associated next to the video. Don’t limit yourself here by slapping up some images and calling it a day, do the thoughtful work and think about what you can actually type out that is related and explains what you want to say.
C) Links to what I am giving examples of, Pingbacks (a way to send people to other pages on your site, like reading another post I created on Are you Your Own Decision Maker? OR by sending readers to other blogger’s pages, Like my Farmer Blogger Friend Sherrie Graham sends you to another person’s site. You will get notified if you blog through WordPress if this happens and you can see who is talking about you.) Links are important in the worlds of Google, and in creating community.
D) Call to Actions, what do I want my readers to take away from, how can they grow and learn with Mee? It might be a button, or an email sign up list, it is whatever call to action goes along with what I was writing about. Kind of like homework that matters for blog posts.
E) Social Links and Comments, because engaging and creating relationships is really important to Mee and is probably why I do this in the first place.
This is what is important to Mee in a blog post”
You don’t have any photos, step one, or A) is cancelled; I told you that you couldn’t do this.
“I know.” ….and that is where I would stop. Even before I would think through what a Blog Post was to Mee, I would just stop and not think about it again, with the condescending negative winning.
But this past week, I went further. I challenged myself and dug deeper, yes it takes guts, fresh perspective and a little bit of muscles to wrestle through this stuff sometimes, but it is SO WORTH IT.
“What are some examples of people I admire that are blogging and I really appreciate what they are doing?” Was the start of the next though. “Hmmm…Sue Bryce, Jasmine Star, Promise Tangeman, Lara Casey, and a whole lot of foodie bloggers that are just genius, like Sarah Britton and Nourished Kitchen and my friend Baked Bree.”
So, I went and looked at what they were doing to get inspiration, not copycatting, but seeing if there was anything as a life line to help pull myself out of being stuck. It’s really important to follow your industry leaders to see and follow changes and the challenges they face, as long as you can continue to be inspired and create on your own niche and part of the world.
This is what I noticed….
They all had something similar going on with their blogs, their voice and their photos. They did it very well, craftfully, as if we were having a great conversation in their kitchen with a bottle of wine, while chopping up veggies for dinner. Our conversation was not about veggies, or what we were currently doing (chopping local seasonal veggies with really awesome knives on a wood cutting block that we paused to take photos with our iPhones of), but about whatever topic was most important, customized to us, our tastes and our likings. Just imaging those veggies and that conversation, makes Mee think about being happy and satisfied with who ever was in that picture with Mee, (as long as we could take photos with our iPhones of what we were doing, oh yes! And laugh a whole bunch while weaving in and between important deep topics-totally iPhone worthy)
I think you could take each blogger and put them in the same dinner prepping template/ style. Let Mee explain. Yes their voices and the way they wrote are unique to them, their subject and their readers. But aside from these, they had similar ways of doing things.
With Sue Bryce, it doesn’t matter what she is writing about, she is probably in most cases, not even mentioning what or who the photo session is of. Important! She is talking about whatever she is deeply thinking, out loud. Her expertise, what she does, is photographing women, so that the types of photos that get inserted, but she talks about many things. Marketing, blogging, connecting with your customer, loosing weight, creating confidence, how to be beautiful, not having such a big ego and letting go of your big head to serve that person in front of you. I have learned some of the greatest life lessons because Sue Bryce ranted and raved and swerved from just talking about the woman in the portrait. If she had always stuck with talking about the woman viewed, I would have left as a reader long ago, because I wouldn’t have seen how it applied to Mee. But she did, she always brought it back to “Mee.”
Jasmine Star puts in wedding photos, but she weaves and she waggles her way through stories and experiences and learnings. Baked Bree has photos of food, but shows where her life is turning, improving and growing. Nourished Kitchen just glows about the importance of lifestyle changes. Lara Casey talks about bettering her marriage and Making Things Happen, not just photos about her wedding magazine. This is life, life blogging.
That is where I had missed the point. The photos fit whatever the weaving and woving of my life’s message is taking shape, not the other way around. These women would write about whatever they wanted to share, that fit in with their life, their why, but the photos are specific to their niche.
My realization: I can post photos of practically anything. Trees, food, pretty faces (because I believe every woman is beauty) set ups, stylized sessions, books, journalling photos, gardens, farms. But what these women did was to use photos of what they wanted to attract more of. The same people who would be interested in the food, the foodies, would grow from reading the blog posts. Niche grows like craving minds of niches.
So this is my strategy. I am going to keep growing. Because creating is so important to Mee, and one of my gifts is the very visual side of Mee, I want to keep that concept, by using photos. But instead of purchasing random stock photos that don’t fit Mee, I’ll use ones that do “say Mee!” And write about the growing, the weaving the “Ahh ha” + learning moments.
So the next step in my searching:
-My Why, diving into my Niche, what makes Mee happy and also focusing more on it.
-Stylizing photo shoots, or taking opportunities to take pictures of specific things that fit into my niche.
-Using those photos in blog posts.
-Engaging with the people that matter to Mee and with those who are apart of my tribe. Seth Godin says those are people who have shared ideas and values.
-Evaluating, seeing what works, keeping those, and moving on from the rest.
-Copy, rinse and repeat (ok I was just looking for a place to say “rinse and repeat”)
No more getting stuck on blocks, especially around blogging, but instead working through it, kind of like the thought process above. My strategy is to take the opportunities to photograph (that makes Mee feel alive, but you could work with someone else who comes alive by working and styling photos, and you would then share in that and the passion would flow into other areas of your work and life) and then expand on what I am thinking, or things I have been asked questions about that I want to answer/ muse over.
What do you think about that strategy?
What kind of strategies do you have for your blog posts? I would love to hear more about how you do it.
Even if you get stuck, there are ways to get out of the mud. Pay attention to what you are paying attention to, tuning into that conversation in your head might actually save you from heart aches, and maybe even years, if you listen in and make a different game plan.