Details on my hiatus, new found inspiration, and coming back to enjoy my blog & brand.
The feeling you get when you are working towards a goal can be addictive. The excitement that comes with imagining how great your project will be and how it will help others. The enthusiasm for creating your niche with the dream of working for what you love. When I started my blog in 2010, I just wanted to practice my writing and explore potential possibilities. I wanted a place to share my creations and possibly find others who could relate to it.
Last year I found myself disenchanted by Dagny Zenovia. A few times I almost convinced myself to pull the plug on the whole blog and brand. I felt I had outgrown what I had created and could not see what direction to take it. So, I took a hiatus for about a year. I felt my blog was isolated with no community to serve.
Earlier this year I came across a few twitter chats that helped me rediscover the inspiration for my blog. It first started with GG Renee’s 30Layers30Days twitter challenge. The prompts and interactions with other writers made me realize I still had something to offer to my readers. I was then lead to Brown Girl Bloggers. It was so refreshing to virtually meet other bloggers with a variety of expertise and interests with similar challenges and aspirations. Then I connected with MY+CC’s #blkcreatives on twitter and met others who are working to make an impact and recognize the importance of their history and future. Through these chats I felt like my opinion mattered.
Through twitter and pinterest I started following brand and blogging experts. I read through many posts about finding your niche, producing content, and organizing posts and downloaded a few free e-books on branding and blogging. While doing this I envisioned how Dagny Zenovia could not only produce useful content but also start providing a service. I am still working behind the scenes with research, designing, and analytics to improve my brand, but I wanted to share with you the resources that helped me get to this point.
How To Get Your Blog Groove Back
1. Build a Community
When I started blogging I found it difficult to find other blogs that I enjoyed to revisit. Just like any industry, if you want to be a successful blogger, you have to read and engage with many blogs. Not only to find some inspiration but to also start building your community. Twitter has been my main resource to find blogs that I enjoy. I suggest creating “lists” to keep up with what is posted and interact with content that interests you. Join twitter chats to learn from others and share your experiences and opinions. Subscribe to newsletters, comment on posts, share other’s work. I believe supporting and building a community is more valuable then chasing followers and subscribers. Keep this in mind as you reach out to others to follow or possibly collaborate with later.
2. Research and Develop
The spectrum for what you study can vary from general tips to specific niche guidelines. I found the following bloggers/coaches very helpful:
byRegina.com – her free e-book on how to love your brand was so insightful and enjoyable. It makes you think outside of the box to envision your potential.
Maya Elious – her branding tips are always on point. She hosted an e-mail course on branding and blogging that I enjoyed.
The Nectar Collective – from blogging to business to fun tips, this site has a lot of content to learn from.
The Feisty House – her website design should be inducted into a design hall of fame. She also provides great blogging and lifestyle tips plus neat dream job interviews.
The Alisha Nicole – her guidance on branching out into business is motivational and realistic.
3. Design and Produce
Depending on what your blog or project is, this part can vary. I decided to focus more on having a cohesive and polished design to make Dagny Zenovia more of a brand rather than just a pen name. I wanted it minimalistic with pops of color to have a crisp but still funky feel. I like to blog about a lot of things, so I narrowed my content down to three categories – culture, news, and style – that can grow with me. I did some back end work to move my site from self-hosted to wordpress.com because the amount of maintenance required was taking time away from producing content. I also reached out to a photographer to create my personal brand photos. It was my first photo shoot ever and was so much fun!
I organized all of these ideas in two places – one: a style guide I downloaded from byRegina.com and a private pinterest board. From start to finish, this part took about three months to implement. I would suggest to not rush through this part. This is where the blue print for your master piece comes alive and goes through many drafts and versions. Enjoy it.
4. Clarify the Goal
This one is a big factor. You can have the sharpest site with the most brilliant content, but if your mindset is not right, you will not be satisfied. I think this links back full circle to your community. Like many others might ask, “why are you doing this?” This was one of my biggest challenges. Since I initially started blogging to build my portfolio, with the hope that it would lead to something-not-sure-what-but-something, I was really just creating content with no target agenda. It took a while for me to feel comfortable with the idea that the answer to this question can change as I evolve. It does not mean my previous attempt failed, it is just getting upgraded. I also had to redefine what a successful blog and brand means to me. Is it traffic numbers? Is it comments? Is it endorsements and collaborations? Be clear on what you want without comparing yourself to your favorite blogger. Timing is key. Everyone blossoms at their own pace. Just make sure you run your best race.
While working on this relaunch, I felt excited about logging in again. I am still exploring potential possibilities of where this could lead. I still have a few treats up my sleeve, including new content for my YouTube channel and SoundCloud account.
I have also have a few questions for you to help me serve you. I want to know who you are, how we can connect, and what I can help you with. If you have a moment, I would really appreciate it if you could answer my survey.
I hope you found these details helpful. Are you planning a relaunch for your site or business? What did you find helpful? How did you find your blog groove?