Trying to run any kind of business during a pandemic is nothing short of challenging. Blog-based businesses are no exception, whether you write for other blogs for a living, monetise your own or both (hi, I’m the latter).
The truth is, the last six months have been a massive learning curve for us all.
We’ve had to pivot our businesses based on which income streams are paying the bills and which aren’t. We’ve had time to reflect on where we are professionally and where we want to be. And we’ve had to figure out how to work from home all day every day during a lockdown that never seemed to end. Right?
That said, here are some of the key blogging lessons I’ve learned so far, in the hopes that they’ll help your biz to survive and thrive through this difficult time.
1. It’s Impossible to Carry on as Normal
Blogging lessons 101: When the pesky C word first arrived on the scene, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know whether to address it in my content, play it down or simply pretend it wasn’t happening.
However, I quickly realised that it’s impossible to carry on as normal when we’re not living in normal times.
Sure, I realise that a lot of people use blogs and social media as a form of escapism. But it’s important for my content to be as real and authentic as possible so I can make more meaningful connections with my audience. Therefore, although a lot of other bloggers chose otherwise, I decided to address the pandemic (and keep addressing the pandemic) in my content.
2. Blogging is Still in Demand
Even though I was initially concerned, it became apparent quite early on that blogging isn’t over because of the pandemic. All I had to do was check my website traffic to confirm this.
Just like people are still reading blog posts as a way to pass the time during local lockdowns, businesses still need blogging as a way of promoting their products and services.
In fact, more people than ever are choosing to start online businesses due to job uncertainty, nagging bosses and the flexibility it brings in uncertain times. They have websites, blogs and social media platforms that they need to fill with content, which is where freelance writers come in.
3. Focus On the Tasks That Bring the Best ROI
Full disclosure: my business monetisation strategy has had to completely change in the last six months.
Before the pandemic struck, I had affiliate and sponsorship opportunities soaring into my inbox daily. Thanks to the ‘rona, they soon became non-existent.
I’ve had no choice but to prioritise my most profitable income streams, such as freelance writing and digital products, and put others on the back-burner indefinitely. This has taught me just how important diversification is for any kind of blogging business.
4. Flexibility is Key
Speaking of change, the online business world looks dramatically different now compared to how it looked at the beginning of 2020.
And newsflash: it’s going to look like this for a while.
Even though I initially didn’t want to accept this, I had to. After all, if a business fails to adapt and move with the times, it’ll probably perish.
As a blogger, I’ve realised that my audience is the most important thing and as long as I’m pleasing them, my business will be just fine.
5. Finding Motivation is Hard in Such Uncertain Times
Because I’ve had to learn to be flexible and roll with the punches, it’s been a significant period of change for my business.
As a result, it’s been so difficult to find the motivation to keep going when there seems to be one hurdle after another.
There’s no end in sight to this pandemic. There are so many distractions thanks to the fact that we’re living in the digital age. And it often feels like there’s nothing to look forward to. Right?
However, I’ve realised that the trick is to focus on the good things that are going on in your business.
Write down everything that you’re grateful for. Set goals. And celebrate small wins, even if one of these is just making it to the end of your working day without crying. (Congrats, BTW. Now, go get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit!)
6. Blog Topics Require More Thought
As well as this blog, I have a fashion and travel blog called Trendy Tourist.
And let me tell you, it’s been hard coming up with relevant and sensitive content when international travel has been strongly advised against since March. (Face-palm.)
That said, I want to help people get through this tough situation as much as possible. That’s why I’ve ended up producing blog posts about pandemic-related topics that I wouldn’t usually focus on. I’m talking about:
- Mental health
…To name a few!
And do you know what? Not only have these topics been well-received by my audience, but I’ve actually really enjoyed writing in different niches for a change!
7. It’s Best to Keep All Content Positive
Let’s be honest, there’s so much doom and gloom in the media right now.
It got to the point recently where I had to stop watching the news because it was causing me so much stress and anxiety on a daily basis. (Anyone else?)
As content creators, we don’t want to add to people’s worries. Therefore, I try to make sure my blog and social media posts are realistic but also lighthearted.
Above all, consistency is key. It’s important for your audience to know that they can rely on you to be there for them even during the most troubling times.
8. Prioritise Quality Over Quantity
As well as adapting the tone of my content over the last six months, I’ve quickly had to learn to adapt my frequency.
Because people are currently drowning in (mostly negative) information, I didn’t want to bombard my followers with anything that wasn’t helpful or valuable in some way.
More so than ever before, I’ve come to realise that high-quality posts are a priority over high-quantity.
9. Writing is a Muscle
Even though I haven’t always had paid work since March, I’ve forced myself to keep creating content whenever possible.
This has taught me one of the most valuable blogging lessons of all: writing is like a muscle, i.e. the more I work it, the easier it becomes.
And all of this practise in my free time hasn’t gone to waste. It’s ultimately helped me to develop my “voice” and technical writing skills.
10. Engagement Has Never Been More Important
Friendly reminder: we’re all in this pandemic together. We all need to lean on each other to get through this. We’ll be forever changed once this is over.
In other words, the community aspect of running a business has never been more important.
Because my life has recently become simpler and I’m unable to do certain things that I could pre-pandemic, I’ve had more time on my hands to engage with my audience in the following ways:
- Replying to all blog comments
- Replying to all social media comments
- Commenting on other blogs
- Liking and commenting on others’ social media posts
- Following people back on social media
- Following people on social media
And by doing these things, I’ve managed to expand my network and better understand my audience’s needs so I can help them even more.
11. Instagram and Email Lists Help to Build Relationships
Confession: I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I love the features of the platform and how easy it is to converse with my existing audience. But the constant algorithm changes make it so hard to grow this audience.
Having said that, during the last few months, I’ve fallen back in love with Instagram. I’m also enjoying building my email lists.
How come? Well, both of these marketing techniques enable you to have a deeper, more meaningful conversations with your audience.
Personally, I’ve been getting a ton of engagement compared to usual and it’s been so nice to get to know the people who are following my content. (You’re all incredible!)
12. Don’t Underestimate the Power of SEO
Another of the top blogging lessons I’ve learned during this pandemic is not to neglect my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
After all, there’s been a rise in the number of people currently searching on Google while they’re self-isolating because they’re craving information.
As a result, the traffic across both of my blogs has sky-rocketed. I want to continue to focus on my blog post SEO so that it brings a constant stream of traffic, which can then lead to an increased number of clicks, subscribers and sales.
13. Pinterest is Also Riding the Coronacoaster
Recently, my Pinterest stats have been up and down more often than I go to the toilet. Honestly.
If you’re starting to get frustrated with it, I just want to let you know that you’re not the only one.
In short, Pinterest keeps changing their algorithm making it more difficult for creators to reach their target audience (much like Instagram).
The trick is to persevere with it because, judging by my experience, it can still improve your blog traffic significantly.
14. There’s an Increased Likelihood of Burning Out
Like the rest of the country, I’ve been working from home much more than ever. This has meant that I’ve had to kiss goodbye to my weekly coffee shop trips and travelling digital nomad-style. (Sob.)
As a result, I’ve had to try extra hard to find a balance between my personal and professional life.
(Even though my personal life has been pretty much non-existent because of local lockdown restrictions.)
I mean, working all day every day Monday to Friday only to have to sit inside on a weekend and do nothing but stare at my desk in my bedroom/office has not been easy.
That’s why regular breaks and time off has been needed — and will continue to be needed until all of this is over.
15. I’m More Thankful Than Ever For My Business
Lastly, perhaps the most important of the blogging lessons I’ve learned recently is perspective.
It’s easy to lose sight of all the benefits of being self-employed when you’re busy and living in a pandemic-free world.
However, one good thing to come from Coronavirus is that I’m more grateful than ever for my blogs, clients and audience. I’m grateful I can still make a living when so many people are losing their jobs right now. And I’m grateful to you for being here and reading this post when there are probably so many other things on your to-do list.
Seriously, thank you, guys. From the bottom of my heart.
My business wouldn’t be able to pull through such a challenging time if it wasn’t for you.
Blogging Lessons to Remember
Hopefully my blogging lessons have given you confidence that you are able to grow and glow your business in the middle of a pandemic.
If you’re struggling to remain hopeful, here are my top three tips to keep in mind:
- Diversify your income so that you’re not just relying on one method of making money
- Let your audience’s wants and needs dictate the direction of your content
- Be intentional with your time and spend the most time on the tasks that bring you higher ROI
Keep going, continue to adapt and remember that this too shall pass.
I’m here for you if you need me!
What are some of the blogging lessons that you’ve learned recently? Leave me a comment below!