Maintaining a successful DIY craft blog can be quite rewarding. However, without proper planning, a little
discipline and focus, it can become time consuming and overwhelming. How often should I blog? Where do I find the seemingly endless supply of content? How do I bring traffic to my blog? When do I make time to actually craft?
How often I have heard these questions from professional craft designers like myself, I can no longer say. I can say that the solution is not cookie-cutter! What works for me in my business will be different from what works in yours. So, what each of your plans look like will vary from business to business. For the sake of argument, I am approaching this blog from the perspective of a professional craft designer.
Before we get into identifying some solutions, I would like to ask you a question. What is your business? Yes, yes…I know I already said that I am going to tackle this from the perspective of a professional craft designer. The reason for this question will shortly become clear. I'd like you to keep it in the back of your mind. Professional craft designers wear many hats. We create physical art for craft manufacturers and publications, we write books, we teach nationally and internationally, we test product not yet on the market, we design packaging, we design booths for industry trade shows, we license art…just to name a few. As business owners, we are responsible for our own marketing, accounting, social media strategy, PR, etc. etc. etc. It's a BIG job. Then…we throw blogging into this mix! Why? Some of us do it because we really enjoy doing blogging….some of us because we feel pressured into blogging. It is that latter group that struggles. It is to this group that blogging becomes an uninspired chore. So, I remind you…what is your business?????
Just to give some perspective, let me answer this question by telling you that I am in the business of crafts and creative business growth. I am NOT in the business of blogging, though I use blogging as a tool to reach craft consumers and businesses. Last week, I wrote a post about Being YOU in Business. I feel it is important to
bring up now because it really lends itself to some of the issues that come along with blogging. There is A LOT of comparing going on out there with craft professionals…comparing themselves to the craft "super bloggers". Are you looking to be a professional blogger? No? Then stop comparing yourself to them and stop trying to emulate what they do. For them, blogging is a full time job! You have a job. Give yourself permission to be who you are and … GO AND CREATE!
This brings me to my first point…finding time to create. I put to you a different perspective…let's find time to promote! A DIY craft blog is a tool for promotion. Once you start viewing it that way, it might take off some of the unnecessary pressure you have been putting on yourself. If you aren't creating, there is nothing to promote. So create first…schedule into your day and week time to promote.
So how often should you blog? There are so many opinions on this subject that it is dizzying! One thing holds true though….how consistently you blog is way more important than how often you blog. Is it important to post 5 days a week? In my honest opinion, it really isn't. I think there is a misconception that you must have daily fresh content, otherwise readers will not return. This simply isn't the case. It is more important to attract new, unique users than having the same visitor base coming back over and over again. Now, I am not saying that we don't want to have return visitors! I am just saying that we cannot focus on that alone. You always want to grow your audience. I personally blog twice a week. I shoot for Mondays and Thursdays…and I don't beat myself up if I am a day late or if (as was pointed out earlier) I am on a deadline for a manufacturer and it prevents me from getting in both of my posts up. This has not effected my traffic adversely at all. My blog traffic continues to grow!
Speaking of blog traffic…let's not confuse "traffic" with "subscribers". This is another misconception. How many people subscribe to your blog is, again, not as important as the number of visitors to your blog. Not everyone that subscribes to your blog will come back and not everyone that visits your blog will subscribe. If you a manufacturer asks for your blog stats, they are not interested in your subscriber base. You month visitor and unique visitor numbers will be of more interest for them. In other words, what would be more impressive to you as a manufacturer: The fact that you have 10,000 subscribers to your blog OR that you have over a million unique visitors to your site every month? They are looking to discover your true reach.
Here are some ways that you can help increase your unique monthly blog traffic:
- each time you post, announce your post on your social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Google+
- make sure you fill out the bio sections on all social media sites..include your link and a description of your blog
- pin your blog pictures onto Pinterest from your site so that your URL is automatically attached to your pic
- have a newsletter that people can opt-into, then send your blog posts to your subscribers
- bookmark your favorite blogs and leave thoughtful comments on their posts
- join sites like CreatingtheHive.com where you can import your blog posts or link to your blog
How you choose to manage your craft blog is key. Whether you blog once a week or seven, having a fresh supply of DIY craft content can become tricky. Designing the project, keeping proper track of the supplies you used, taking pictures of each step, staging beauty shots of the finished project, loading the pictures onto your computer, editing the pictures and the writing stepped-out, detailed directions takes a lot of time and effort! Let's face it, if you want to do it right, it can take hours just to write one post. If you don't want your blog to be all about tutorials, finding the right content can be problematic also.
I use two essential tools so that I don't run out of ideas…a notepad and a camera. I don't only write craft tutorials for my blog. I write about a variety of topics that are all from the perspective of craft business. I use a notebook to record all my thoughts and ideas. I could be in the middle of folding laundry when an idea pops into my head…I write it down! Sometimes I blog about that idea right away, especially if it ties in with what I have been blogging about most recently. Other times, those ideas sit in my notebook for a while. It becomes my resource for content when I am having writer's or crafter's block.
I do something similar with my camera. I have a small little Sony camera that fits into my bag. When I see something that I find inspiring or funny or interesting, I snap a few pictures. I keep these photos in a folder on my computer to blog about if I need quick content.
Now, as I said, I blog about a variety of topics…from craft tutorials to posts like this. What ties them together for me is that I am always coming from the perspective of the crafting industry. What then might work for a professional craft designer that only wishes to share craft content? Here are some ideas for posts other than craft tutorials:
- Share who you are. How did you become a professional craft designer?
- Take a photo of a piece of art of which you are most proud. What do you love about your creation?
- What do you enjoy about being a professional designer? Is it getting to work with manufacturers? Is it that you are constantly working on a variety of projects?
- Share the types of crafts you enjoy doing most. Are you a fabric artist? A jewelry artist? Why is it your favorite?
- Take a picture of something that you found beautiful, sad, inspiring, happy, etc. and describe why you felt that way.
- Create a folder of creative common licensed images that you find visually appealing. Share your thoughts about the images. What was interesting about it? What it the colors? Was it the composition?
- How do you get out of a creative rut? Share your techniques.
- Before and after: This is a great technique, especially if you do any type of recycled crafting. For example, if you make things out of soda cans, take a cool photo of a group of soda cans…then a photo of something you have made from soda cans. Ask your readers what ideas they might have.
- Tips: Everyone loves tips. For example: 5 Tips for Storing Craft Supplies in a Small Space
- Ideas: We can all get in a creative rut. For example: 10 Craft Ideas to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day
- Techniques: Offer your readers some ideas about cool techniques.
My wish for you: I hope that you have been able to take away something of value from this post. If you take no other advice…let it be not to stress so much about your DIY craft blogging. Don't forget to be you…you're wonderful!