How to start a blog in a crowded niche (and still kick ass!)
Rani from You Totally Got This decided to start a blog less than 2 years ago within the healthy food space which is easily one of the most saturated markets on the internet.
What is Rani’s point of difference? She focuses on easy, mid-week meals.
That’s it. Genius.
Sometimes simplicity is the answer as Rani has well and truly proven in her first years of blogging - and she's sharing all her best tips in the latest issue of SBB Magazine!
You’ve been blogging for a relatively short amount of time- can you tell us why you decided to start blogging and what made you choose to start a food blog?
I wanted to write. It was something that I had always loved doing, but stopped when I started my first full time job as a tax lawyer. At first I decided I wanted to write a novel, but when I realised I was never going to be able to do that holding down a day job with a serious reality TV addiction, I opted for a blog. At first I wrote about anything and everything from diet pills to the health benefits of activated charcoal (yep it’s really a thing), but the posts my readers loved most were recipes, so food became my focus.
What three advantages do you think you have over bloggers who decided to start a blog ten years ago?
Bloggers starting out now are really lucky.
There is such a huge community of experienced bloggers who generously share their knowledge and experience with us newbies. This has helped me avoid mistakes and spend my time focussing on the things that work.
Social media has also been a huge game changer in the last ten years. It means you can reach thousands of potential readers everyday, without having to rely on search engines or word of mouth recommendations, it’s completely awesome.
Plus, blogging is so much simpler these days. We have access to amazing tech tools that mean you can build and manage a website without knowing any code. Chances are if I started my blog 10 years ago my brain would have exploded, and I would still be rocking in a corner somewhere.Finding a specific focus changed everything. It became so much easier to create unique content, engage with my readers and start building an awesome community.Click To Tweet
What one advantage do you wish you had that older bloggers have?
Deciding to start a blog when there weren’t, a gazillion other super amazing blogs vying for the same traffic and audience.
How do you decide what to publish on your blog/social media platforms? Do you pre-plan or just write whatever pops into your head?
I love the idea of being an organisational ninja with a fabulous content calendar, but invariably my yearly planner is still sitting on my desk unopened on 31st December. Keeping a list of random blog post and recipe ideas on my phone is something I've been doing for a while, but mainly when I sit down to write I just wing it.
I am a bit more organised with social media - I have recently started using CoSchedule (which I love) to promote my blog posts, and share stuff to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But I never schedule Instagram. I have developed such a close connection with my followers, that I want to share my day with them as it happens.
What’s been the most effective methods you've used to grow your audience for a new blog?
I am so fortunate to be an ambassador for the I Quit Sugar 8 Week program (yep, I quit sugar, but I’m still fun…promise!). I had the opportunity to take over the I Quit Sugar Instagram account with some of the other ambassadors, and recently had a recipe featured on the I Quit Sugar website and social media channels. These features drove a tonne of traffic to my website and have helped me grow my subscribers and social media followers.
Don’t let the fear of making mistakes, or being embarrassed hold you back from doing something that you will truly love.
The other thing which has really helped is getting to know other food bloggers. I didn’t really set out to do this (cos shy) but over time I have developed some wonderful relationships with bloggers and influencers by engaging with them on Instagram. This has lead to opportunities like guest posts, and recipe features, but also access to resources for food bloggers I never knew existed like, private Facebook Groups, conferences, and recipe sharing websites.
What big changes do you see in the blogging world for 2017? What should we be keeping our eyes on?
I think the way blogging success is measured will continue to evolve. The focus seems to be shifting from the number of page views and unique visitors, to the strength of your community and engagement rates – yay for that!
I also think we’ll see people putting more of themselves into their blogs. With things like, Instagram Stories, Snapchat and Facebook Live, it’s becoming easier to connect with readers on a more personal level.
I think they are going to be huge this year!