Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starting a blog by Ali Benyon – Cheeky Pickle

What I love about blogging and why I personally blog ...

What I love the most about blogging is that each blog you read is so totally different. If the blogger has embraced the whole “blog thing” entirely, then their true personality will naturally come out, their character will show through and their reader will slowly get to know and trust the writer. The reader will start to understand the hard work that goes on behind the business and maybe even start to respect the blogger that little bit more. That takes time, effort and lots of hard work, but personally, I think its well worth it.

In the beginning...

I first came across blogging via a lovely friend and I must admit, on first view I thought (and not one to mince my words) “a pile of self indulgent poppy cock”! Well I’ve kind of changed my view on the whole blogging thing since then and can’t imagine running my business without one now.

Social Phobia...

The sole reason I decided to start a blog back in 2011 was to support my business, Cheeky pickle. I could see that to run a business in today’s age, you HAVE to be social. You can only write so much on a Facebook or Twitter post, and I found my business was needing a much bigger platform. However, being a rather private person, the thought of writing about my life seemed horrid and scared me witless. The other aspects of blog writing that scared me were...

1 What on earth was I going to write about?
2 Would anyone at all find it in any way interesting?
3 Where on earth would I find the time?

Well after eighteen months of writing, these are still my main fears and obstacles. Unfortunately, (for me anyway) they don’t go away!

Mistakes I made...

To start off with I knew I had to choose between Blogger and Wordpress. I loved the look of wordpress, it was pretty and professional. However, being the techno phobe that I am, I opted for Blogger as I found theirs the easiest to set up. In fact I was up and running within the hour. Looking back though, I wish I had gone for Wordpress..... but I ‘aint changin’ now after all the hard work I’ve put in, no way!

When I first set up the blog, it looked very basic and I did what I “thought” I was supposed to do. I added wallpaper (which I changed on a daily basis!) and silly buttons/quotes/affirmations here and there. This was SO, SO not me, but still I felt the need to mess, prod and tweak at every given opportunity, treating the blog almost like a piece of artwork, rather than an extension of my business. Consistency was certainly not on my vocabulary list in those days. Saying that, messing around with the “behind the scenes stuff” actually taught me a lot and now I’m a bit of a Blogger whizz.

What should I talk about?...

So the next major issue was what on earth should I talk about? I had decided very early on that I would be keeping my blog strictly professional and stick to the topic of business. However, things don’t always go as you plan, do they?

There are many reasons why people write blogs and it became obvious to me that solely talking about Cheeky Pickle bored me senseless and just didn’t rock my boat. So I tested the waters by stepping outside the rather tight box I had created for myself and wrote a personal blog. I was surprised by the response I received and found for the first time people were commenting on my posts. When you write blogs, people actually commenting feels a bit like winning the Olympics sometimes :) This was a huge turn around for me and very, very slowly I started to let my personality show more and more in my writing.

Gaining confidence...

As I started to gain more confidence in my writing, I dared myself to go further. I soon realised that (and I don’t pat myself on the back very often, honest) I was actually quite a good writer. People wanted to read what I had written and were commenting and e mailing me. Two of my most popular blogs are nothing to do with Cheeky Pickle at all; they are a couple of funny ones. First Market Memories where I talk about how horrid that first ever market I did was and Don’t worry love I’ll look after the kids, where I describe a typical Saturday at my house.

The biggie...

I then decided to put my whole self on the line, warts and all, when I decided to go for it and write Ghosts of Business Past, Present and Future. A very personal blog about the growth of my business. It was a massive step for me. I really wanted to help other small businesses, but at the same time it felt like I was stripping myself bare and showing myself, totally naked to the world. It was a very scary moment when I finally hit that post button.

I was amazed and shocked at the response. It went viral and I was urged and encouraged to continue in this vein. I had finally found my little niche spot in Blogland, something to call my own.  Following on from this blog and with its huge popularity, I decided to launch the Cheeky Chats and Cheeky Blogs (Facebook forums with discussions about handmade and business related topics. I also had and still have guest blogs on my blog by some very inspiring business ladies) I can honestly say that at this point is when my business was truly born.

Eighteen months on...

Looking back, my blog has changed considerably. In the beginning I wanted to write short, weekly, if not daily blogs, with fabulous photography, like others I have admired. But that’s not me.  I know now that I can only write about what I feel passionate about, what inspires me....and my blogs are never, ever short! I still get nervous about writing, I think everyone does. I still constantly ask myself the questions – How will I come across? Is this boring? Am I wasting my time, is anybody actually going to read it? But at the end of the day, if you don’t just write it and press that send button, you will never know, will you?

About the Contributor: 
Owner of Cheeky Pickle, Ali is a Textile Designer, originally from the U.K. She comes with a BA (hons) in Mixed Media Textile Design and has an established background in the Textile industry. She loves mixing simple, bold designs with an eclectic mix of mediums, creating unique and texturally exciting Art pieces. Ali finds her inspiration from simple, natural and organic shapes and textures, that can be seen in nature. To find out more about Ali go to her blog or follow her on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting on the {CHA}