Blogging 101 Having a Standout Blog

Hi friends and welcome back to our last day of our Blogging 101 Series! Today’s topic is Blogging 101 Having a Standout Blog.

blogging 101 series

When I sat down to write this, I had a lot of topics I brainstormed that all would be fit to share.  Today, I am only going to focus on 2 main things that I believe set you apart from the crowd.

blogging-101-series-having-a-stand-out-blog

Is the suspense killing you? So, kidding, btw! For real though, these are pretty simple things in theory but when you get to the nitty-gritty a lot goes into cultivating each one. Let’s get started shall we?

STANDOUT

What’s a standout blog? To me, it’s the blog that you can’t wait to read and gets first dibs on your blogroll. They are authentic. That blogger writes in a way that you connect with, they share things that inspire and challenge you, and they wow you with some beautiful photography.

Having a standout blog can open a lot of doors. In the design/DIY side of the blogosphere, brands and magazines will want to work with you. Other bloggers will want to collaborate with you. You get invites to exclusive events. It can become a vehicle for other endeavors if you want it to be.

 With that said, the fact that someone even asked me to talk to you guys about this topic blows my mind. I had to ask myself, do I fit the description of a standout blog?

I had to sit down and reflect on this blog journey so far…

In the 3 years, I’ve been working at this blog, I have seen it start from a day of 50 readers to grow to numbers that even surprise me. The fact that it is still growing blows my mind!!!

With B@H, I’ve worked with some pretty amazing brands on collaborations that I thought I’d never see in the early years of this blog.  A few that pop into mind is our bathroom renovation with Kohler, the Style Challenges with The Home Depot, and my most recent is the Taylor Burke Home Style It Challenge. I am still pinching myself about that one! Being able to work in design and with some amazing brands is definitely worth all the hard work I’ve put into B@H.

bathroom-tray-2

Photography: Kristin Cadwallader B@H | Kohler Bathroom Makeover

 

I’ve been featured in 4 magazines, in 3 newspapers and on television even.

hgtv-kristin-cadwallader

HGTV Magazine Feature | February 2015 Issue

I’ve had my work shared on numerous magazine sites like Elle Decor and House Beautiful and big creative sites like Style Me Pretty Living and Apartment Therapy.

View More: http://taramelissa.pass.us/blissathome2015

Photo credit: Tara Melissa Photographie | Style Me Pretty Living Feature

I’ve been flown all over the country for blogger and brand events and have been invited to BHG the past couple of years.

Kohler Blogger Conference 2014

Kohler Blogger Conference 2014

It’s pretty crazy to think that it all started on a whim one day. But, if I have to be honest with myself, I guess I do fit the description of a standout blog. Although, I just think of myself as a girl who loves to share design in her humble Midwest home in between driving the mommy bus and doing endless amounts of laundry. Somewhere in the midst of it all, I became a biz lady too.

I’m only sharing all that as a point of reference, (ha, probably more for myself because I don’t go around thinking I’m all that!) I still don’t think I’ve “made it” so to speak, heck I don’t even know if I want to make it–whatever that means!  I can share on some things that I think have set me apart and catched some attention.

My view on standing out in this blog world…

BE AUTHENTIC.

If I can’t write how I want to write and share what I want to share, in my mind…what’s the point?

I’ve learnt over the years to embrace who I am and not be apologetic about it. I’m not even close to perfect, I spend most days in my workout clothes. It would be a farce if I went all fashion blogger on you and started hiring photographers to shoot me in cute outfits. It would be fake.  I don’t dress up everyday because most days I am running around in my mommy bus, squeezing a workout in, and then trying to fit blog work in all while trying to keep this household running.  The whole reason why I started B@H was to share our home renovation…not to sell you things or try to create an “image”. If we have to say the word brand…my brand is me, my style, my life.

So, if I share something that is sponsored, it’s because I put my stamp on it and have it, use it, etc. If I collaborate with someone it’s because it fits something I would naturally share anyways. Being authentic is HUGE in this over saturated look-at-me blog world.

As far as the design side of things…I heart it. I’ve always been a creative. It’s my passion and what makes my heart race. So, I share it here rather than boring my friends where I live with talk of fabric patterns and furniture arrangements all day long. If I get to do anything design related I can’t stop smiling. Basically, you guys supporting what I do here by reading and sharing B@H is a gift. A blessing. Without your support I wouldn’t have done any of the things I shared above.

BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER.

camera

You are not going to get anywhere in this blogging world without learning how to shoot a beautiful photograph. Some bloggers are naturally gifted to see through the lens and style a shot. I pride myself on being able to do that. Without the right tools you can’t get very far though.  I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures but my first camera I used on the blog was a point and shoot with just a few manual settings and it limited what I was able to do with images.  Once I was able to afford a good DSLR camera to learn on, I started to teach myself how to shoot in manual.

Good quality photos are the key to sharing on a blog. They tell the story just as much as your writing does. When I had enough blog money saved I started researching cameras. You pretty much can’t go wrong with a DSLR Canon or Nikon. You don’t have to go crazy in the beginning buying the most expensive camera.

I shoot my blog photos with my Canon EOS Rebel T5. It’s smaller and easy to learn on. I studied online about the different settings and actually learned more just playing around. I am a hands on kind of student, so I would practice shooting in my home. I learned how to use the manual settings and now can guess about where I need to be based off a location, the time of day, and lighting. It has to be tweaked but I have a working knowledge of my manual settings and that is what you need to take great shots.

roses

The kit lens that comes with it is just okay. I would recommend purchasing a 50mm lens and a wide-angle lens for tight shots. Shooting interiors can be tight and a wide-angle comes in handy, especially with smaller rooms to get a full room shot. As far as those pretty close-ups, this 50mm Canon lens…also called the “nifty-fifty” is a good place to start. It takes great portrait shots and if you want those pretty focal focus shots or want some bokeh photography you’ll need a lens like this. I shoot a lot of my photographs for the blog with this lens.

peonies

I have been borrowing a wide-angle lens, but I am going to spring for one of my own soon. When it came time to photograph my son’s room and my bathroom, I needed something that could get more of the space in the frame. That is the downside of a 50mm lens…you have to back up way farther than normal to get the shot unless you are doing close-ups.

I shoot most of my interior shots on a tripod with my camera on a timer. This allows the most light into your shot and it eliminates camera shake. This is especially necessary when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed. But, I use the tripod for most shots and I recommend getting one that lets you shoot overhead shots. It really comes in handy with tablescapes and tutorials. I picked mine up at Best Buy and the brand is Manfrotto. I opted to get the tallest one they sold, that offered overhead shots. It is sturdier than the cheaper versions but definitely affordable compared to the really heavy-duty thousand dollar versions.

There are other things I can go into and am thinking about putting together another post at another time, but a DSLR, tripod, and some good lenses really take your photos to the next level. Shooting in manual also allows you to really get the shots you want so I would definitely encourage you to learn it.

Those are 2 main things that I think have set my blog apart and made it standout. Be sure to visit the rest of today’s posts to see what they say makes a standout blog:

The White Buffalo Styling Co.

Emily A. Clark

withHeart

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

Have a great Wednesday and I’ll be back tomorrow with a new something I am so about and Friday with kitchen reno update.

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