Something is in the air, y’all.
I swear, I’ve gotten more questions than ever regarding starting a blog. I’ve gotten them before when I first started, but now that I’m a good year into it, I’m getting even more & more.
I totally get it.
Blogging is such a new world, where honestly, the best people to learn from ARE other bloggers who have really pioneered the way and paved the road. I have been fortunate to follow some for years, so in a way, it was a live course on how to blog and evolve.
Now, that said, I’m the queen of unsolicited advice. It drives everyone nuts… but I guess at the end of the day, it’s why I started a blog. And FWIW, I still stand behind the best way to start a blog is to just do it. So many people just don’t, so by pulling the trigger, you are already so far ahead.
Though I’m almost only a year old, blogging has been an incredible journey for me. I’ve learned so much & realized what’s important and what’s not.
That said, I want to share with you THE most important question to ask yourself before starting a blog or making a blog post.
And to be fair, it’s the question my father asked me when I told him about essellesse.
It’s a simple question and a one word question, but man oh man is it a loaded one.
Seriously, though. Think long and hard on your answer.
Why are you starting a blog?
I wanted to create brand equity online.
What I mean by this, is that I want to introduce the person behind the screen as life gets more digitalized these days. It is in my cards to have my own business, and I am working on it – but it was very important to me to have the online world to get to know me before a product.
Also, this may sound cocky, but you have to have said confidence with blogging – I felt like I have good advice to share! Throughout the years, I would constantly – & still do! – get asked food & beverage questions (I am a Certified Somm, and was in that industry for a good while), lifestyle questions (especially as I have gotten more holistic and natural), and honestly… just life and business questions.
If I am getting questions, that means the answers are valuable to whoever asked or might ask in the future. & to be fair, I do some “interesting” things like collagen in my coffee, pumpkin face masks, and magnesium + aloe before bed, so it can introduce new things that has brought positive results to MY life. Also, some cooking tips, like gremolata, has completely elevated my recipes and can do the same with yours.
So that is why I started my blog.
Now what say you? Why did you start your blog?
The reason why this question is so important is because it helps define what value you choose to bring your readers, but it also helps you create your own pitch.
And by knowing the answer to this question, you now have a lot of power.
You have the power of control.
You can control your niche, you can control your aesthetic (THIS IS IMPORTANT), you can control your audience. What I mean by that, is that by knowing what you bring to the table, you can network with likeminded bloggers and cultivate an audience and readership of similar interests.
Now, let’s get a little bit deeper.
Let’s say you have a blog, so now you are making posts after posts after posts. The biggest question you have to ask yourself before you press publish is WHY?
Really, WHY, are you posting said post? What value are you bringing your readers?
If you do not have an answer, don’t publish it. Simple.
Let’s dig deep on my recent posts.
⚜ Friday: my weekly music posts.
Why do I do this & why is this weekly? Because I am passionate about music, find songs that I think my readers would enjoy, have gotten positive feedback via social media (in my snaps, it’s what I get the most screenshots on & questions on song ID in the background). These are valuable to my readers because they can find some hot new music. Simple, to the point, and something many people are constantly looking for – myself included! By doing it weekly, I can make Champagne at Shannon’s a consistent place for you to find music.
⚜ Wednesday: I did a recipe.
What was the value of this? Not only is it damn good, but it’s EASY, effortless, healthy, and inexpensive. I really focus on making my recipes time efficient, but delicious. It provides value because not only is it so easy my cat can do it, but you can have a home-cooked meal, know exactly what’s in it, and not have it get in the way of life. This recipe in particular – as it’s simmering, you can work, yes, or you can spend time with loved ones. That extra 20-60 minutes of cooking time is great to focus on things that matter, such as a phone call to your grandparents, or playing cards with your significant other, or imessaging your long-distance best friend.
⚜ Tuesday: I spotlighted a recent purchase.
Why? This one is a simple answer. The pants were $20 and sick af. I think One Teaspoon’s $20 Buck Sale is one of the best deals out there, so I wanted to share that with my readers. Yes, I do use affiliate links but on that one, I didn’t use much. Why? Because there weren’t any on what I wanted to talk about and I’d rather provide legit information than get greedy. I just wanted to share a good deal, and it is one I personally shopped. The value it brought my readers was a hell of a savings, awareness on a rad brand, and you can get a look at my style. Those with similar style can start to trust me with recent finds.
⚜ Monday: I posted a catch-up where I just honestly… talked.
Why? Because I felt like I’ve disconnected myself personally as life got crazy, so I love doing posts like that since it’s kind of like having an online conversation. What value did this bring? Honestly, it shows that I’m just a human being. I also was able to let people know what’s going on in my life and upcoming travels. It keeps a conversation going. These posts are more valuable than you know because this is what helps you connect with others on a deeper level.
With blogging, your readers are so, so, so important, that you always want to keep the conversation going. I’ve met so many rad bloggers from my comments alone. I may not know much, but I strongly believe two things. One: your blog is not about you, it’s about your readers, and two: if you are a blogger and not answering every single comment, then you are doing it wrong.
Not only do comments let you introduce yourself to new blogs, they usually are expressing what value they got out of the post. That is so incredibly important and you must acknowledge it!
Knowing that a recipe of mine saved someone not only time, but made cooking accessible & brought back valuable time to me is a win.
Knowing that someone purchased a find of mine because they wouldn’t have found it elsewhere to me is a win.
Knowing that someone downloaded a song I posted because they were digging it is a win of mine.
Knowing that some of my more personal posts helped someone out is the biggest win of all.
At the end of the day, I blog to create a person behind the screen (& those who know me personally know damn well that what you see here is what you get with me, I’m very transparent), but I also get to highlight things that saved ME time / money or inspired me and that is the value I hope to share with my readers.
When you come to Champagne at Shannon’s – which, yes, is a play on Breakfast at Tiffany’s – I want it to be like you are at my online party. Here, you can find recipes, drinks, music, fashion, lifestyle, and the comments are a great way for us to get social. It opens up a conversation, for example, when I talked about this eyeliner. (in fact, I LOVE Disqus for that reason & that reason alone – it creates a community and I have found SO MANY blogs through it).
So, let’s hear it from you – I’m dying to know…
If you blog, WHY? What was your catalyst? Who inspired you? What value does your blog bring? Let me know, because I want to check it out. Leave the link, please!
If you don’t blog, what are things that bring YOU value? What do you look for in blogs??
And trust me, it will change the way you post things. Ask yourself “Why am I blogging about this?” or “What value am I bringing my readers?” and it will keep you constantly inspired.
Sometimes, when I’m at a roadblock for content, I re-evaluate what I am googling. More times than not, it’s cooking tips, fashion inquiries, or just questions I have… and I’m not alone. That right there immediately has value. Share it. This is one of my biggest content tips ever, btw.
Hope everyone had a great weekend! I am off to New York on Wednesday, so any reccs, let me know. So far, all we have locked down is Sleep No More & Peter Luger’s (YESSSSSSSSS!) – & I am very said to announce that Campbell Apartment has closed. I mentioned it in my previous post but shortly after got wind that it’s last day of service was last Thursday. Major bummer. Such a classic place and their Prohibition Punch was the BEST.
Anyways, sorry for the long post – this has been on my mind for a while and so it took me a while to get my thoughts into actions…. not to mention typing this out from being hungover from Giorgio + Tuxedo last night, is a wonderful hangy cure. PS – how is it August yet? Is this year going entirely too fast for anyone else?
On that note, about bring my entire carafe of Detox Water to bed and binge on some Gossip Girl c/o Netflix… speaking of Campbell Apartment.
You know you love me.
+++ for more on how to start a blog, check out this post