Blogging

Are You A Blogger? Here Are 5 Props Perfect for Autumn

Are You A Blogger? Here Are 5 Propers Perfect for Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Blogging can be hard business. Taking photos is one of my favorite and least favorite parts of it. Sometimes, I really thrive. (I really hit my strive last December.) And sometimes, I’m like, I forgot how to use my camera. (The last, like, 5 months.) I keep a running Amazon wishlist of props that I like; things I see in photos that I love and want to try, or things that I think would add interest and help my photos be a little more visually appealing.

I thought I’d share a few of these props for Autumn, because we could all use a little inspiration sometimes.

1. These Color-Changing Twinkle Lights

These would be perfect for Autumn (orange! purple!) or for Christmas (multi color!), but they would also be kind of pretty for just putting up in my office. I love using twinkle lights in photos because they can help improve the light situation, plus they just look really pretty. These ones are incredibly affordable and really long.

2. Photo Backdrops

Browsing tableux or flatlay backdrops on Amazon is actually a part-time job, it feels like. There are so many options. I personally love these ones because they come with a storage solution (!!!) and you get a huge variety with your purchase. Back in the day, so many bloggers ordered marble vinyl to put on foam whiteboards or pieces of wood. Now, we can just buy a few sets at once. How times have changed!

3. A Ring Dish

Having little dishes, or bowls, in your photos, especially beauty photos, can take the photo from a basic product photo to a scene. I like buying small, cheap ring dishes to use as props. You can use them for anything (jewelry, rings, candy, make up, whatever) and you can find tons of designs. I like this one with constellations, but there are some with beautiful autumnal patterns.

4. A Scarf or Fabric to Add Visual Interest

Want backdrops but don’t want to spend $35 on backdrops that you’re not sure if you’ll use? Let me let you in on my secret: I often use fabric. I have a ton of plaid scarves that I use as photo backdrops throughout the year. I also usually buy a yard or two of fabric that I like if I see some that I think would work, like plaids or small patterns. This is a great affordable options for backdrops: use something you already own or spend $5 instead of $35.

5. A Small Ring Light

Light in Autumn is always a problem. By the time I’m ready to take photos, the sun is gone, it’s dark outside, or it’s pouring down rain. This mini ring light holds your cell phone, but you can also use it as a lighting source for your photos. Use it to film Instagram stories or IGTV videos, then use as a lighting source when you need it. It’s only $13!

Have props you love? Share your tips & tricks in the comments!

Blogtober 2019: 10 Blog Post Ideas for Blogtober

Blogtober 2019: 10 Blog Post Ideas for Blogtober | Writing Between Pauses

Personally, I love Blogtober.

I know every year, someone publishes a blog post with the title why you shouldn’t do Blogtober!! or start talking about how puffed up traffic from daily content isn’t better traffic (…. which I don’t agree with).

Here’s what I know about Blogtober (and my experience with it): if you approach it in a relaxed way, it can be really fun. If you take it too seriously, it will be a bummer. But it is a pretty great way to boost your traffic, especially if you’re a newer blogger, and in about 8-10 months time, if you pin your Blogtober posts on Pinterest, they can start going viral.

So is there value to Blogtober content? Yes. Absolutely! I think if you plan your Blogtober posts appropriate, you can have some really great, well-performing content that can build traffic both seasonally and over time. It’s just about planning appropriately!

That’s why I’m writing this post. I’ve posted some basic “Blog post ideas for Blogtober” before, but I wanted this to be a little bit more in-depth: where I find my inspiration, how I’ve shifted the focus of my content this year, how I take steps to make daily posting easier on me, and (even better) how I’ve decided to alter my Blogtober schedule this year for my current niche.

You can see a round up of all my Blogtober posts here.

Why I Participate in Blogtober

Because I like it.

There!

Two years ago, I was feeling really down about my blog and my content. Blogtober was the boost I needed, both content and traffic wise. It made me feel really good and helped start me on a path to being more dedicated and focused on my blog’s content.

This year is no different. I’ve been making gradual changes to my content after a brief, semi-hiatus. I’m planning to write more about this later, but I’m planning to use Blogtober as a change to write some more seasonally focused content that fits my niche again. I’m really excited for it.

So, ultimately, if you’re thinking of participating in Blogtober, here’s my advice. When it comes down to it, you should:

  • Want to participate in Blogtober

  • Be excited about the content you plan to write for Blogtober

  • Be organized enough to write the volume of content

That’s it! That’s all! Nothing fancy, nothing special. All that matters is you want to participate and you’re excited about it.

How to Plan Your Content

It’s tempting to fall into stereotypical Fall content. (I used Fall twice in that sentence, but I don’t know how to rewrite it as concisely. C’est la vie!) Especially when you see other people posting things that are getting traction or when you feeling like you’ve run out of ideas. But if you spend time focusing on your audience, and looking at the right sources, you can create content that is fun to write, serves your readers, and fits your niche.

I tend to grab ideas for content from a few sources. Here is a rundown:

  • Pay attention to what my followers like on Instagram stories & Twitter. Do my posts with my Fall coffee mug collection do well? Do hygge-focused posts about books do well? I also run polls on Twitter and Instagram to see what content they want for Autumn—then work on creating that content.

  • Watch trending topics on Pinterest. Autumn quotes, Fall fashion, round ups… these kind of posts do really well on Pinterest. If you’re a lifestyle blog, posting a list of Fall activities might work best. If you’re a travel blog, dream Autumn travel destinations.

  • Write the content that fits your life.

My goal at the beginning of every September is to have my entire content calendar planned for Blogtober—that includes all my ideas, as well as the start of my graphics. If I go about it this way, I don’t make as many mistakes along the way, or get behind, as I am relatively prepared for the month.

10 Blog Post Ideas

Alright, with that being said, I promised some blog post ideas and I’m here to deliver. Here are a few ideas that can be easily adapted for your niche.

  1. 5 Fall Activities (In Your Area/For Kids/For Pregnant Woman/For Single Women/etc)

  2. My Favorite Fall Decor

  3. 10 Instagram Accounts Who Make Autumn Easy (Great for a round up—make sure to contact Instagram accounts before featuring them)

  4. 4 Ways to Edit Your Photos this Autumn

  5. My Favorite [Candles for Autumn/Tea for Autumn/Fall Recipe, etc]

  6. My Dream Autumn Travel Destinations

  7. Preparing for the Holidays (for travel/for work/for family etc)

  8. My Halloween Costume (great for DIYs, kids/families, etc)

  9. 5 Quick Halloween Treats (recipes of your own from the past OR a round up to network with other bloggers)

  10. Preserving Autumn Memories (for families/for future/through writing, etc)

Free Blogtober Planning Guide

This brings me to the most exciting part of this blog post: my free Blogtober planning guide! Want a place to plan your content? To start making notes about what pictures you’ll need to take? Want to map out your content calendar? Plan your promotion schedule during a busy month? I have all of that and more in my Blogtober planning guide. Just click below to download!

If you plan to do Blogtober this year, I want to hear from you! Leave me a comment or send me a note on Instagram or Twitter to tell me your thoughts and what content you’re planning!


How I Grew My Pinterest Engagement by 400% Without Really Trying

How I Grew My Pinterest Engagement 400% Without Really Trying | Writing Between Pauses

I’ve been looking forward to writing this blog post for a while now. Here’s why: I think Pinterest is a bit of a mystery to a lot of people, especially woman-owned businesses. They might use it personally (nearly every woman I know has a Pinterest account), but they might not be using it for their business. And if they are, they might not be using it effectively.

This blog post isn’t just for bloggers looking to increase traffic, by the way. This blog post is for:

  • Business owners

  • Anyone selling a product to women between the ages of 18-45

  • Bloggers

Here’s the rundown of what I’m about to tell you: I increased my engagement on Pinterest by 400% without…

  • paying for Tailwind (too expensive)

  • spending hours on Pinterest

  • more effort than checking in once a day

I noticed this increase most starkly this month, but it’s been steadily building for the past 6 months, ever since I put in renewed efforts to build a strategy. I am cheap, however, and didn’t want to pay for something like Tailwind. This is all just me, Pinterest.com, and the Pinterest app.

Let’s jump in.

(Pst, if you’d like to check out my Pinterest, you can do so here.)

Analytics

Here are my analytics on Pinterest for the month of July:

July 2019 Pinterest Analytics

And here are my analytics on Pinterest for the month of August:

August 2019 Analytics

Between May and June, my impressions varied between 19,000 and 21,000 per month. (For whatever reason, I don’t have full analytics for those months on Pinterest. It may be a switch in their built-in analytics programs.)

That’s a pretty significant jump over 4 months, right? And like I said, I didn’t spend money on it and I didn’t dedicate hours of my day to it.l

So what did I do?! Let me tell you.

Methods

When it comes to me and basic methods for social media, there are no secrets. I realize a lot of people would put this information behind a paywall and it’s one of my biggest annoyances. I’ve signed up for tons of free Pinterest (or Facebook or whatever) webinars and sat through them, only for it to be 10 minutes of basic information (like “make a Pinterest account” DUH!) and 20 minutes of selling me a bigger webinar or e-course.

Sorry, not interested.

Here’s what I did over the last 4 months:

  • For each blog post I posted (which admittedly wasn’t a ton), I created 3-4 additional Pinterest graphics. This was because I was testing what worked best on Pinterest. I don’t have a concrete answer on that, by the way.

  • I then pinned each blog post at least the week it was posted. Usually, I did this all as one on Saturday morning. Then I would schedule the different Pinterest graphics over the next few days. All of these pins initially went to my specific board for my blog posts.

  • From there, I pinned each blog post pin to my group boards.

  • Throughout the week, I would check each day and pin each varied Pin as it posted to my group boards.

That’s literally it! That’s all I did! I just kept up this weekly and daily task list every single week for four months.

It does seem time consuming. But let’s break it down.

  • On average for the past few months, I’ve been posting maybe 2 blog posts a week. In total, each blog post might take me 2 hours.

  • It might take me an additional hour to great 8 different Pinterest graphics.

  • On Saturday, it took me on average about 2 hours to write unique Pins for each blog post and Pin/schedule.

  • Every day, sharing pins to my group boards took maybe 30 minutes.

In total, that’s 7 hours for writing blog posts, creating graphics, and posting on Pinterest. However, 4 of those hours I’m already doing anyway in the form of writing and scheduling blog posts. Then, in total per week, I spent 3 1/2 hours on Pinterest throughout the week. That’s definitely less time than I spend on Twitter and Instagram. (Is that embarrassing?!)

Here’s a few additional things I did throughout these 4 months as well:

  • Checking daily Pinterest trends (if you press the search box to type, you can see trends for you specifically as well as trends throughout Pinterest). If I saw any trends that correlated to blog posts I had, I immediately repinned those blog posts to my group boards.

  • If I had seasonal posts that I thought might be relevant, I would also repin those. In mid-August, I started to notice a steady increase in engagement on my Blogtober pins from 2018 and 2017, so I began sharing those Pins to my group boards as well.

  • I created Pinterest-specific graphics for my affiliate codes, announcements, and sponsored posts. These included information that people needed without having to jump to my blog; it helped increase uses of my affiliate codes as well as my traffic. I was slightly worried that giving away the free bit wouldn’t help my traffic, but I was wrong. It helped a lot!

A Note on Group Boards

As you can see, I rely on group boards a lot on Pinterest. I am hesitant to make suggestions for group boards, as these aren’t ones I own. I don’t necessarily want to be held responsible for the rules or content should anyone disagree! However, if you would like suggestions, please don’t hesitate to send me a note and I’ll send a few links over.

As well, if you would be interested in a group board with me, let me know.

Do I expect to see results forever?

“Forever”—what a funny way to phrase that!

To I expect to see these massive increases in engagement (and subsequently, my blog traffic) forever using these methods? No. I think this was a good way for me to get started and get the ball rolling, so to speak. As I continue to tweak my methods, I expect to have to change things and, eventually, I know It will be beneficial to me to start using different methods, including paying for tools and streamlining my methods.

However, I wanted to share this method I’ve used because I see so much advice about Pinterest that literally boils down to “pay for this tool!” I don’t know about you, but I am so hesitant about paying for things that I feel I can do for free, at least for right now. In the future, that may not be the case, but it is for me right now at this moment (given being recently laid off!)

Now, it’s time for you: do you have questions about Pinterest?

What Have We Learned From Pipdig?

What Have We Learned from Pipdig? | Writing Between Pauses

I feel like the blogging community has been in an uproar for the last 10 days. But for those who don’t know what’s going on, on March 29, a dev and blogger named Jem posted this blog post, detailing malicious code she discovered in Pipdig’s plug-in and themes. I won’t detail everything Jem wrote about here, but needless to say, the blogger community was quick to discover her post.

Pipdig has been a popular theme provider for bloggers, specifically in lifestyle niches, for the last few years. I know many who self-host on Wordpress immediately went for Pipdig themes as they were easy-to-use, highly customizable, and came with outstanding customer service.

Throughout the Pipdig ordeal, many bloggers originally called to Pipdig’s outstanding customer service as a sign that perhaps Jem was mistaken about the code. (Long story short, code doesn’t lie and many, many developers backed Jem up. In fact, Wordfence, one of the premier Wordpress security blogs, happened to post about the same Pipdig issue at nearly the same time. They also shared some valuable information afterward that showed that even Blogger themes were effected by the code.)

As with any issue in the blog community, it felt like there was lots of back-and-forth for the first few days. A lot of the bigger, top tier bloggers went silent pretty quickly—they defended Pipdig, then dipped out of the conversation. Tempers were lost and a lot of people doubled down without really knowing what they were talking about.

The complication with all of this is that very, very few bloggers (especially in the niche that Pipdig primarily served) know how to read code. They relied on Pipdig to provide them with good customer service, to help them install their themes, and to do so in a way that was trustworthy. And unfortunately, Pipdig betrayed that trust because they behaved in a way that unethical very secretly, knowing that very few of their blogger customers would be able to catch them at it.

For many bloggers, this left them feeling naive—and as if they had been called stupid by the devs trying to explain it to them. There is absolutely no shame in not understanding code or technical language when it comes to code. However, bloggers can be quick to forming opinions without having a full picture and it is natural to want to trust an “industry giant” like Pipdig.

However, my thought is this: there were just too many experts telling me the exact same thing and I knew that absolutely none of them have a horse in this race, so to speak, in that they aren’t Pipdig competitors. Many of them had never really been involved in the lifestyle blogging community beforehand; they really didn’t even know it existed and if they did, they didn’t realize how robust it was, and they definitely were not prepared for the sheer amount of push back that they got. They were just professionals trying to do their due diligence and help people.

At the end of this post, I’ll have some valuable resources for Pipdig users if they still need to switch themes or uninstall the plug-in. As well, there are so many devs on Twitter offering their assistance to help bloggers remove Pipdig products. Again, if you need help understanding what’s going on, I highly recommend reading the Wordfence and Jem blog posts thoroughly.

For now, let’s talk about what this Pipdig fiasco has taught us.

1. The “Blogging Experts” Have Agendas

This doesn’t discount their expertise necessarily, but clearly some of the top bloggers in the lifestyle niche, and those who peddle classes and ebooks for sale that they know everything about blogging, have agendas that aren’t necessarily always going to fit with what is most helpful for other bloggers. I don’t want to name names here, but a lot of the biggest bloggers in the industry were quick to defend Pipdig, then went absolutely radio silent as more and more evidence came out and more and more developers started saying the same things. Many of them still haven’t said anything—which is fine! If that’s their bag, that’s their bag. But it makes you wonder why, exactly, they aren’t saying anything?

These same bloggers will be the first to throw other companies under the bus and tell their followers, or those who buy their advice, not to use them. They will sell their ebooks and online classes and give very strict advice on what to do for blogging, but when it comes to using a service that is maliciously using bloggers to do their dirty work, they go absolutely silent. That’s a bit odd, isn’t it?

The truth is, affiliate networking among hosting and theme providers has become increasingly common. I was actually just reading a blog post about how it is one of the best methods of affiliate marketing to build income from your blog, so it wouldn’t surprise me if many of the first to defend Pipdig (and then go silent) were affiliates who received income from referring people.

So what do we learn? If someone styles themselves as a blogging expert, and they make income from that styling, they may have an agenda. They may have partners that they don’t disclose. They may not be as authentic as they say. After all, it is still the internet. As much as we think we know all these bloggers, the truth is that we absolutely do not know these people. Just as none of us knew what Pipdig was really doing, none of us know what these experts are up to. Remember to do your own due diligence when it comes to their advice and who they back, because sometimes they don’t have the blogging communities best interests at heart.

2. The Blogging Community Has An Echo Chamber Problem

One big bloggers posts a Tweet about Pipdig and every medium tier blogger RTs it, then every small blogger RTs it, then every new blogger RTs it, and none of them think to actually read the blog post or look at the evidence. Partially because they don’t understand it (again, not their fault), but mostly because they trust those who have been blogging longer, or more successfully, or whatever.

It becomes an echo chamber. The biggies say this, so we believe it, so we all repeat it. And everyone who posted an opinion otherwise—those like me who work with developers, or those who understood code, or simply those who were willing to take an independent third parties word for it because they had nothing to gain or lose from it—was treated really, really terribly.

It goes without saying: Pipdig was a vendor to bloggers. They were not a friend, or an associate, or a best buddy. They were a vendor. They made money off small bloggers, and medium bloggers, and big bloggers. (And some of those bloggers potentially made money from everyone as well!) Pipdig might have had good customer service, but good customer service doesn’t mean anything when it comes to malicious code or unethical business practices. Some of the biggest companies in the have good PR; it doesn’t mean they aren’t shady.

The echo chamber of the blogging world is stunning and shocking even at the best of times. One person posts something and it becomes the opinion everyone must hold, or is afraid to not repeat. We all hate the follow-unfollow game on Instagram; we all blame the algorithm; we all do this, we all do that. It really is exhausting to keep up with the opinion we’re supposed to have. Because we’re bloggers, right? We’re all the same.

That’s right, I didn’t think so. It’s time to stop letting one single, popular blogger speak for all of us and damage the community as a whole, especially when they might have an agenda.

3. Pipdig Became “the Way To Have A Blog”

This is a big controversial, but all the Pipdig themes looked the same. Yes, they were highly customizable for users, but rarely did they ever get customized in a way that separated them from each other. Pipdig sold relatively affordable themes that fit the way bloggers thought their blogs should look.

Just like the blogging community has become an echo chamber when it comes to opinions, many people deferring to other people instead of critically thinking, the blogging community has also fallen victim to thinking they have to do X, Y, and Z before they become “real” bloggers. You need a self-hosted Wordpress website. (You don’t.) You need a Pipdig theme that looks like everyone else’s. (You don’t.) You need to take your photos a specific way. (You don’t.) You need to do this, that, and the other thing just like so-and-so tells you. (You don’t.)

There is no one way to blog. There is no one way your blog should look. It goes without saying, but blogging is highly personal… but we’ve all fallen victim to the pressure to look a certain way, or do certain things, to make ourselves successful.

I would consider myself a slightly successful blogger; I’ve been plugging away at this a very, very long time, so I feel a bit like an elderly person in the game, but I’ve gotten to this point (a small income, some sponsorships) without ever doing anything anyone told me to the letter. I am not self-hosted on Wordpress. I don’t have the same theme as everyone else. I don’t spend hours focusing on Pinterest or any other social media platform. I just let it happen, write posts i believe in, and let Google do the rest.

Getting a Pipdig theme was often treated like a goal post for blogging—and this made them into a giant that people didn’t want to see as an actual business, but rather just a goal. Pipdig was, to repeat myself, a vendor. That’s it. Nothing more. And they used bloggers to behave badly. There is no one way to have a blog so please, let’s not replace Pipdig with some other giant now.

Resources

If you have any additional resources for those who have a Pipdig theme, or the Pipdig plugin, or are available to assist bloggers when switching, send me a note!

Free E-Course: Start Your Blog in 2019

Free E-Course: Start Your Blog in 2019 | Writing Between Pauses

When I started blogging in 2009 (!!!), it was an entirely different world. Twitter had just launched; there was no Pinterest or Instagram yet. It has been quite the ride watching the blogging world change from a hobby to an industry, to watch entire platforms pop up—and to watch people take advantage of those platforms in a way that is super beneficial to them and their businesses.

Often when I speak about my blog to other people, they want to know how, exactly, I did it. How do you start? What do you start with? Starting any big project can feel like a huge effort, especially when the steps seem hazy. And with blogging, there are so many: what kind of content should I write? What does “choose a platform” even mean?! How can I promote my blog without annoying everyone I know?

One of my biggest frustrations with blogging has always been how secretive people can be about information. Blogging started as purely a hobby world and has quickly turned into a professional for many people; and for that reason, lots of people have started making their own businesses out of selling the secrets of blogging.

I don’t want to tell anyone how to make their money. And there are definitely people out there who know more about blogging than me and they totally deserve to have people pay for their time.

However, the secret is there is no secret to blogging. Getting started is just about getting started.

I recently relaunched my newsletter, the Pause, as a way to talk about blogging every month with people who wanted to learn more about blogging or just improve their own blogs. I didn’t want their to be any secrets when it came to blogging, at least when it comes to the knowledge I have.

I started thinking of other ways I could help people learn more about blogging and start their own blogs (or jumpstart their pre-existing blog) in 2019. And it came to me: a basic e-course that walks you through the process of starting a blogging, writing your first pieces of content, and promoting it to the world.

My free e-course will start May 6 and cover everything I just listed, as well as SEO basics and developing a voice. Blogging is something I love and am incredibly passionate about—I want others to love it too, as a hobby, as a form of income, and as an industry. But I don’t believe in hiding that behind a paywall, which is why this e-course is 100% free. That means I won’t give half the information and advertise another e-course at the end. I won’t bait-and-switch. Just 5 free emails over the course of a week with all the information I have.

This e-course isn’t just for those who have dreamed of starting blogs, but those who already have a blog and want to kick it up a notch.

Sign up today to make sure you get that first email on Monday, May 6!

Round Up: My Best Blogging Articles

Round Up: My Best Blogging Articles | Writing Between Pauses

If you haven’t heard the news, I’m re-launching my newsletter! It’s called the Pause, a no-nonsense newsletter all about blogging, from the perspective of a busy mom who doesn’t really have time to mess with jargon, paid plans that don’t pan out, and much more. If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a blog, or have a blog but feel lost in the massive landscape of blogging advice, this is the newsletter for you. You can sign up here.

Before that, however, I feel like I should put my money where my mouth is. For my day job, I often write about the data of marketing; I like to have evidence for the things I say and what I decide to do. That’s just how I am (aka I have to have a reason for saying something). Sometimes, this is pure data. And sometimes, this is based on experience.

I’ve been blogging since 2009. That’s right: 10 years this year. It feels like it’s been way longer than 10 years, but also not nearly as long as 10 years! 10 years ago, I was 20 years old, living in a dorm, and idolizing Gala Darling. I remember the days of personal blogs that absolutely exploded (Gala Darling being one), people who monetized their personal lives before "being an influencer” was even a thing. I remember the days of lookbook.nu and those websites, fashion blogging using photos taking on a point-and-shoot in my dorm room (or propped on a retaining wall in my college’s quad, which is very embarrassing to think about now).

There are years I blogged a lot (2012-2013), and years I barely blogged (2014-2015). Years where I thought for sure it was time for me to quit blogging (2015-2016) and years where I couldn’t imagine not having a blog (pretty much the rest of the time). I love blogging. And I realized I loved writing about blogging too.

This isn’t a blog about blogging. I find those a little annoying, especially when run by people who haven’t managed popular niche blogs before. That’s why I wanted to restart my newsletter; I feel like that’s a much more personal, easy format to write about blogging without coming off like a jerk.

However, I have written a few posts about blogging—and I wanted to put these all in one place for anyone who is curious about my perspective about blogging. I’m definitely a hobbyist; I think longterm careers in blogging are difficult to come by. However, blogging can be a great resume builder and it can be something you are really passionate about, alongside your current career or life goals.

Without further ado, here’s everything I’ve ever written about blogging.

How to Plan Social Media for Your Blog

3 Ways to Achieve Your Blog Goals

How to Write Better Instagram Captions

3 Ways to Improve Your Flat Lay Photos

5 Tips for Starting a Newsletter

30 Ideas for Your Blog

4 Tips for New Bloggers

7 Tips for Starting a New Blog

5 Must-Have Blogging Resources

Should You Use An Editorial Calendar?

Improving Your Blog in 4 Steps

Here Are 5 Steps You Need to Know to Write Killer Blog Posts

4 Tips for Taking Better iPhone Photos

Even better, I have an entire board dedicated to blogging resources on Pinterest. You can check it out here.

If you haven’t signed up for the Pause, of course, you can do that here. The first issue comes out March 2 and it will be the first Saturday of every month after that (unless, of course, you ask for more!)

Feeling Stuck? Here Are 10 Blogtober Ideas

Feeling Stuck? Here Are 10 Blogtober Ideas | Writing Between Pauses

Are you a blogger? Are you taking on Blogtober this month?

Thinking up 31 topics for blog posts throughout the month can be a huge challenge. My advice is always to plan your content in advance, work ahead as much as you can, and take shortcuts whenever possible (like using stock photos when you schedule your posts, but add in your own photos later if you want to).

I wanted to share a few topic ideas for when you’re feeling really stuck for content this month--whether you’re doing Blogtober or not! Many people modify Blogtober: instead of posting every day, they post every other day, or just more regularly than usual. It’s up to you, and I hope you find these ideas helpful!

For Lifestyle Bloggers

1. Daily Diaries

These used to be such popular blog posts--back when people used blogs essentially as journals! It is so fun to do day-in-the-life posts occasionally and an autumn version would be really fun.

2. Things I Love

Things I love (or TiLT) posts used to be very popular--I’m doing them myself this Blogtober, just like last year! They are fun, short posts that can highlight some of your favorite bloggers, tv shows, podcasts, and more!

3. Inspiration

Every Sunday during Blogtober, I do Inspiration Sunday--it’s a series I started back in 2010! Seriously! I share photos, stories, and more that have been inspiring me to write, to create, or just to think. If you’re like me and addicted to saving pretty pictures every month, inspiration posts are a great way to show them off.

For Beauty Bloggers

4. Favorite Autumn products

What products are you favoring this month? You could even divide this into pieces: lipsticks, blushes, powder, foundations. The change in season often means a change in makeup trends. What’s on the radar? Share what you’re loving! I’ve got a bunch of these posts coming up this month.

5. Skin products

Change in season, change in weather, change in skin! How do you handle the changing season? Depending on your climate, some people become drier in the fall and winter or more oily due to humidity! What products help you keep your skin looking snatched?

6. Nail polish roundup

Nail polish trends change rapidly. Remember when everyone was obsessed with mint candy apple from Essie? Same. What nail trends are we seeing this year? Or, what nail tutorials have you excited to paint your nails? Show off some fellow bloggers, post your own nails, and more. There are so many ways to take this!

For Mental Health Bloggers

7. SAD Awareness

For many, the change in season--slightly drearier weather, less sunlight hours, more time indoors--can be really difficult! For mental health bloggers, discussing SAD can help break the stigma. Even though I love Autumn, I struggle with SAD, especially once winter starts. Sharing tips for aleviating SAD can be really helpful!

For Everyone

8. Favorite post roundups

Seen some amazing posts from your favorite bloggers? Write a roundup (sometimes called a carousel). These are so fun to do because you can really highlight some voices that need boosted.

9. Autumn memories

What’s your favorite memory from Autumn? The first Halloween that you remember? What are your Autumn traditions? Share it all in a blog post!

10. Why I Love Autumn

Autumn fanatics, what’s your favorite thing about Autumn? Writing a blog post that highlights your favorite parts of Fall can be really fun to just get out--you can share tons of photos, link to past and present blog posts, and just spread that Autumn spirit!

Here Are 5 Steps You Need To Know To Write Killer Blog Posts

Here Are 5 Steps You Need To Know To Write Killer Blog Posts | Writing Between Pauses

Back when I started blogging, I really didn't pay attention to, well, anything when it came to my content. I wrote what I wanted. I used photos that didn't really go and weren't consistent sizes. When I was really into fashion blogging, the popular thing was to use song lyrics or quotes as the titles of your blog posts. It was so much fun trying to decide what to title my posts! 

These days, with the blogging world being what it is, it takes a bit more effort than that. Even if you're just blogging for a hobby, you want to do the best you can with what you have--ultimately, if you're blogging, you want readers! And the best way to attract readers is to write great content and then ensure that you hit every point to ensure that readers can find that content.

But how can you do that? If you're like me, you work a full-time job, or you're a mom; you don't have time to learn every SEO tactic or spend hours writing posts. Well, I have 5 steps for you to follow to ensure that you can write killer blog posts with the time you have. No messing around, no fussing, no spending hours deciding what to write. 

1. Take or find the perfect photo. 

Humans are naturally visual people. We like art. We like photos. So your blog post should start with not just a topic, but taking or finding a perfect photo. If I don't feel like taking photos, I use Unsplash to find a stock photo that fits my topic. Then, I use Canva to create blog graphics that are uniform and use the same fonts every time. (This is the simplest part of branding: ensuring that all your images and blog graphics have the same basic look that people can recognize and associate with you. It also makes your blog look cleaner!) 

2. Craft the perfect headline. 

Writing headlines (or titles) for my blog posts is one of my least favorite tasks. Most people struggle with it. In my career in content/digital marketing, almost everyone I know struggles to write headlines. It's a universal issue! There are so many rules about what headlines work and what headlines don't, especially for blog posts. Thankfully, I have some resources. 

Firstly, CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer is a free tool that anyone can use (they do ask you to sign up for their newsletter, but their newsletter is very informative!) It scores your headlines using a simple algorithm for successful headlines. Here are a few I wrote for this post. 

CoSchedule Example 1

I usually like my headlines to score between 65 and 75. However, sometimes, if I am particularly tied to a title, I just ignore the score! However, using this analyzer is a great way to learn how to write headlines--so you can just go for it sometimes instead of hemming and hawing! 

CoSchedule Example 2

Here's what the breakdown looks like. CoSchedule has a great breakdown on blog post types and examples of common, uncommon, emotional, and power words here

I usually write about 15-30 headlines for each blog post until I decide on the one. 

3. Outline your thoughts. 

Diving right into writing can seem like a good idea, but writing down an outline, even if it is just a rough sketch, will ensure that you stay on topic and don't get stuck halfway through writing. Even if you're not writing a blog post that features a list or steps, you can jot down all the points you want to cover. For this blog post, I wrote down the 5 steps I wanted to include, then started backwards from there to pick points for my introduction.  

4. Clean up your copy. 

I am a verbose person, so this is hard one for me: once you're done writing, go through your blog post and clean it up. Remove repetitive phrases. Shorten sentences. Move separate thoughts into separate paragraphs. This improves the readability of your post. (Most blog posts are skimmed anyway, so the faster you can convey your information, the better!) 

5. Check for places to link other blog posts. 

If you can link to other blog posts of yours (or your friends!), do it! It's worth taking a few extra minutes to add links and include a brief sentence as to why they should click over to that blog post. 

BONUS: 6. Share to Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. 

Alright, this isn't a step about writing, but it is about getting those all important readers. None of us like talking to thin air, that's for sure! I share my blog posts automatically via Squarespace with my chosen hashtags. I then make sure to pin daily to Pinterest, as well as to my group boards on Pinterest. If you use Facebook, share your post there too; Facebook is the number one website for referral traffic.