Why Instagram guides didn’t stick?

Around six months ago I wrote a post called ‘Could Instagram guides replace blogging?‘. It’s become one of my most popular posts.

At the time I expected guides would become a more popular feature. But looking through some of the accounts I follow, people either made 1 when the feature was introduced or didn’t make any at all.

I think the reason for this is that guides doesn’t actually add much that isn’t already there.

Despite a guide sharing similarities with blog posts, I think that perhaps it was too much like a blog for those that prefer putting out images and videos and not enough like a blog for those that still participate in the more traditional style of blogging.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram has already played it’s contribution in the decline of blogs.

I think guides is an example of a feature that just didn’t take off as much as the others did.

And I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes sometimes.

500 and something

It started with 1 then 50, 100, 300 and now 500.

A few weeks ago, I reached 500 followers on this blog.

I consider it an achievement because 500 is quite a lot of people. At the beginning of the year I wrote down that I wanted to grow this site and reach 500 followers, as well as a certain number of monthly views.

Yet, at the same time I’m aware that the numbers are not the most important thing. It matters to me more that you gain something from what I share

That’s something that won’t show up in my WordPress stats but it happens because I know how much of an impact words can have on someone.

I like what I share here, I’m passionate about it and I’ll continue to do it regardless of the numbers.

But at the same time, it’s nice to reach a milestone, so here’s to the next 500!

Writing for the moment

I recently realised that I enjoy writing about current events.

One of my most read posts is about Instagram guides, I think I published it a day after guides became available to everyone, it was a hot topic.

If I’d written the post a few days or even weeks later it would have no longer been relevant. Of course the post can be read at any time but it was written for a particular moment in time.

Yesterday, I published a post about Clubhouse. I first drafted the post over 2 months ago and at the time it was over 1500 words, significantly longer than what I would usually post. For various it took a while to make time to edit the post to something I was happy to share.

But, what I noticed was that each time I went through the post, things had changed. Things like the number of users and the other apps that had added an audio feature. I regret not publishing the post sooner as with any hot topic, sooner is always better than later.

I think it’s fair to say that Clubhouse is still very relevant and will continue to be for the months to come. However, the post I published yesterday is very much of the time. That’s the issue you face when writing about hot topics, they don’t always last.

In contrast, the posts I’ve written that focus more around life lessons, career and self-help are what I would consider evergreen. They will be just as relevant today as they will be 12 months from now.

A 67 second podcast

Thats how long it took me to read through one of last weeks blog posts.

For quite some time now I’ve been thinking of creating audio versions of my blog posts. There are various reasons I have resisted, from not having any equipment to wondering whether I’m taking on too much (I’ve written over 800 blog posts). However, one of the biggest reasons is that I think they would be too short.

We’re in the season of audio content and even though there are people that listen to short podcasts, I can’t help but wonder if under 5 minutes would put people off. Of course, one may argue that my work isn’t for the people that would be put off. However, when you’re just starting out you want to know that there is a market for what you have to offer.

A solution I’d considered was to have a weeks worth of posts per episode almost like a sort of story but I wasn’t sold on the idea enough to proceed with it.

I’m still in limbo with whether or not this podcast idea will come to life and even what the format will be. But I do think that now is the perfect time to be experimenting with audio content, even if it ends up being temporary.

1 simple way to make daily blogging easier

Write more than one post a day. Even if only one of them is worth publishing and the other one, two or 5 are just a few phrases.

Writing and sharing something everyday becomes easier the more you write.

And on the days when coming up with something from scratch doesn’t feel easy you can go back to one of your drafts and flesh out the 2 sentences you wrote last week.

When your readers hate your best ideas

If often goes that the pieces you put the most effort into, spent the most time writing and generally are the ones you put the most heart into are the least popular.

Turns out sometimes your reader won’t be as enamored with the work that you consider to be your best, in fact they may hate it.

And so you may now find yourself with the dilemma of whether you should continue sharing what you consider to be your best work when your readers don’t seem to like it.

For me the answer is yes, your work should be about so much more than simply pleasing the reader.

Just because something isn’t popular, doesn’t mean that it isn’t any good or that it isn’t appreciated.

4 ideas for daily blogging

Prior to starting a daily blog my biggest worry was figuring out what to write about.

Daily blogging might seem daunting but once you figure out the kinds of things you want to share it suddenly becomes much easier. Below are 4 ideas for daily blogging that are wide enough that you won’t get bored and narrow enough that you can explain it in a short sentence.

A photo a day

Each day take a photo and share it, that’s it. You don’t need to explain the context behind it, you don’t even have to edit it. The title of each post could be a name for the image or a title that says something about your day in 10 words or less.

Lesson learnt

Share something that you’ve learnt, each day. It could be a few sentences on how smiling at other people increases your happiness or maybe sumarrise a few key points from an interesting article you read.

Comment on the news

Make each post about something you’ve seen in the news and share your opinion. You don’t need to be an expert in the area you choose to write about but you do need to share something thoughtful that is worth reading.

Ideas

Each day share an idea. It could be related to one specific or just life overall and it doesn’t have to be new. Some examples are ideas on how to better care for the environment, fictional characters or improving your life.

Each of these daily blogging ideas are great starting points. Each one will force you to pay more attention to life as the moment you have to take a photo or comment on something, the more you start paying attention.

When can I call myself a writer?

As someone that has never written for a publication or written a book, I have a hard time calling myself a writer.

I’ve always thought that having my words published in a newspaper, magazine, website or a book etc. would be the validation that I need to claim the label of writer, yet they are not things I actively pursue.

I think this is because when you do something for the love of it, trying to make it anything more is scary. There is also the fear of not being good enough, of my writing not being good enough for someone else to want to share it with a wider audience.

And part of having fear and being scared has resulted in me not putting myself in a position to receive feedback.

So overtime I have come to realise that the issue is not that I can’t call myself a writer, it’s that I didn’t meet the criteria of what I thought a writer should be. But further to that I am not yet the sort of writer that I aspire to be.

Commitment to the writing practise

My favourite thing about this blog is that I’m driven by my commitment to writing more than anything else.

If I write something that gets 1 view, I’m just glad that I committed to writing something another day.

If I write something that gets 102 views, I’m glad that a bigger number of people got to read my words. That is a bonus on top of me committing to sharing something for another day.

When I started this daily writing practice it was not only because I wanted to challenge myself and wholeheartedly commit to something new.

I’m committed to doing the work as a priority, anything that comes along with it is secondary. That mindset makes posting daily 101 times easier because I’m not focused on getting my numbers up or having the most likes, comments or views.

Writing through writers block

When you feel stuck and don’t quite know what to write, instead of shying away from it, follow it.

Start typing and just see what happens.

Don’t focus on how good or bad it is. Don’t focus on whether it’ll be worth sharing online or what people will think. Just write and then write some more.

Keep going until the words start to flow with ease. It might get easier after a few sentences or a few hundred words but keep going and just write.

When you finally decide to stop, you might find that you love what you’ve managed to write but that isn’t the goal or the purpose.

The purpose is to write through the ‘writers block’ because doing so teaches you that maybe it’s not as big of an obstacle that you think it is.