After an unsuccessful attempt at starting a blog a year ago due to lack of inclination, PUB 101 has taught me how to develop and grow my blogging presence as well as establish a routine to consistently create content. I started my blog with the purpose of creating it as an extension of my Instagram, which gave me a certain direction to go in but with the unique twist of talking about food-related stories rather than the typical format of food reviews. As an extension of my Instagram, my blog is generally written for people within the Vancouver food community on Instagram or even just individuals interested in stories about food along with nice food photography. With my blog posts, the written portion and the photographic portion depend on each other to create the balance I feel that my audience is expecting.
Since I picked a topic that I’m very passionate about, I found myself having a lot (sometimes too much) to say for each of my blog posts and at the end of thirteen weeks I finally feel that I’ve established my slightly humourous, conversational and relatable tone and voice. As Baym and Boyd mention, I write content with an imagined audience in my mind because “online audiences [like Instagram] are less visible than before;” (2012) I don’t write to specific individuals because that would unintentionally limit my audience. Instead, I find myself imagining that I’m addressing a general group of people, or the people that communicate back to me through content metrics like comments and likes. (Baym and Boyd, 2012).
The good thing about choosing my blog topic to be an extension of my already established Instagram is that I already had a brand and online presence to start with, albeit a small one. In van Dijck’s article, it mentioned how in the perspective of celebrities, “their online personas equal their brands, and the ultimate successful presentation of self is to have millions of followers” (2013). It also suggests from trying to follow celebrities, “young adults and teenagers shape their online identities in order to gain popularity and hopefully reach a comfortable level of recognition and connectedness” (2013). I find this true for anyone who wants to become accepted within a community, myself included. How I present myself online as Guacarons is directly connected to the brand that I’m developing for myself. In regards to my ideal “ultimate successful presentation” of my blog, the “standard” of having millions of followers as the measurement for success is slightly misguided. From Joe Lazauskas’s article, I learned that there are “superficial metrics […] that provide a misleading sense of success” which means that if I want to measure the value of my blog, I should be taking into account my content metrics (2015). Success of blogs and brands are difficult to measure in measurements that aren’t precisely monetary, instead we need to assess our own priorities on what we think matters. For my blog, I consider page views, time on pages as well as engaged comments to be the measurement of how my blog is doing. From these metrics, they give me an idea of what I need to do to bring more awareness to my blog like mentioning certain posts in my Instagram photos.
From the talk of marketing potential, I was enlightened by the fact that there are bloggers that make money (even a living!) from blogging. Of course, it takes a lot of dedication, patience and quality control to get to the stage where that can happen, but it galvanized my motivation to continue on. From my Instagram, I created opportunities for myself where I presented my brand as a service that can help market restaurants. Though I’ve only gained experience and more awareness of my brand, it has helped me discover marketing potentials for my blog. A blog post from Sally McKenney of Sally’s Baking Addiction gives me an idea of what it takes to possibly make money from my food blog, and I will be referring to it in the future after this course ends. One of the points in the post says “you can’t expect to earn a salary from a food blog until you have a decent sized audience. […] Do not focus on the money” (2013). It reassured me of my newly added objective of earning money from food blogging because I had started my Instagram as well as my blog with the sole intention of just posting nice photos of food. With this additional ambition, it can act as a way to sustain my interest in food blogging/posting if it ever dwindles (which seems unlikely).
Looking forward, I still plan to continue and expand this blog. My only hope is that I will still be able to post quality content somewhat consistently with my newly developed motivation. To support this motivation, I’m hoping to gain more readers that engage with my posts by communicating back to me in the form of comments. This is important to me because it creates a light and creative public sphere for sharing on my blog rather than an unauthentic and close-minded space.
Baym, Nancy K. & Boyd, Danah. 2012. “Socially Mediated Publicness” in Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 56.3. Available from:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08838151.2012.705200
van Dijck, José. 2013. ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn .” Media, Culture, & Society 35(2).http://www4.uwm.edu/c21/pdfs/events/vanDijck_oneidentity.pdf
Lazauskas, Joe. 2015. “Why ‘Depth Not Breadth’ Will Be the Rallying Cry of Content Marketing in 2015.” January 2015. Available from:http://contently.com/strategist/2015/01/28/why-depth-not-breadth-will-be-the-rallying-cry-of-content-marketing-in-2015/
McKenney, Sally. 2013. “How I Turned my Food Blog into a Career.” Sally’s Baking Addiction. Available from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/11/12/how-to-make-money-from-a-food-blog/