My First Year of Blogging: A Reflection
The day is finally here! Beyond the Footlights turns 1! *insert confetti cannons*
On May 18th, 2020, I took a leap of faith and published Beyond the Footlights for all to see! I can’t believe I’ve been working on this little slice of internet heaven for just over a year already! I’ve learned so much, about myself and the world of blogging, in the last year, and I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to a little reflection on the last 12 months at Beyond the Footlights!
My email subscribers (shameless plug to tell you to SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG on the homepage!) received a little love letter in their inboxes from me today highlighting my journey a bit, but I’d like to dive a little deeper into all my first year of blogging has given me and the growth I’ve experienced. So, in typical Sound of Music fashion, let’s start at the very beginning!
How It Started
If you were in my values seminar class first semester senior year of college, you heard the idea for this blog first. Shout out to all of you! Our professor asked us one day “what is something you’d do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I had toyed around with the idea of starting a blog before; I had a list of potential topics/ideas in one of my theatre notebooks. We went around the room to share, and when it got to me, I said I’d start a blog.
I said I wasn’t sure about starting a blog because I didn’t have any time as a theatre student. At the time, I was going to have work throughout the summer months as well, so the idea of having free time for other creative endeavors was nonexistent. I don’t know why I decided to be a little vulnerable in class that day in front of a group of students I wasn’t particularly close to, but I also shared that I feared that whatever I chose to do would have “already been done” and that no one would really care about what I had to write about.
Past Angela, that’s just not true. But we’ll get there.
And we know the age-old tale by now: the pandemic hit giving me too much time and not enough creative outlets. So, I took my lemons and made them into lemonade and decided to go all in creating the blog that had always been a fleeting thought. I learned a few things pretty quickly when I started creating the blog:
The internet is a savior
I knew absolutely nothing about how to start a blog and where to even start (look for a blog post all about starting a blog from scratch soon, wink wink). It took a LOT of researching and planning before I was even able to get to the fun stuff like writing and branding. I had built my actor website a few months prior on another platform, but using WordPress was foreign territory. Little did I know, a lot of the skills I learned while starting my blog would prove to be useful to me in the year to come.
Blogging can mean more than just your blog
At the same time I was launching the blog, I decided to also try to build up my social media presence as a tool to help the blog grow. I started small, trying to rebrand my Instagram in a way and by starting a Facebook page for the blog. I needed to try and streamline my social media/the blog’s for added success. Branding & Influencing on my social media is something that I’ve continued to learn more about now that my stand-alone blog is on its feet.
Investing in your blog will help in the long run
With my blog plan, I wanted to start small and simple in case I discovered after a year that this path wasn’t for me. While I was able to do quite a lot with the little resources I had, I quickly discovered that investing in the proper tools would help me much more in the long run. Investing in things like workshops and creator tools allowed me to keep learning and experimenting with growing my brand.
The reception I got when I officially launched the blog was incredible. I was very fortunate to have a best friend (Kailey Edwards Photography) who was simultaneously building and launching her photography business, and she provided me with creative and gorgeous photos for my site (she still takes the majority of my fabulous photos for blog/influencer purposes).
Each month, two posts have always been the same: my Passion Piece Features and Monthly Minutes. I’ve featured 9 amazing actors and creators in my Passion Piece Features, shout out to those amazing human beings for giving up a slice of their time and energy to help this little ‘ol blog. My Monthly Minute Posts, monthly recaps of my monthly goals & favorites, have now evolved into strictly monthly favorites posts.
Starting this blog and teaching myself the new skills that come with the territory has also opened doors for me that I never would’ve anticipated a year ago. I’ve gotten work doing some freelance writing, landed partnerships with some incredible brands, and have found work as a marketing assistant with my new toolbelt of skills! I’ve clearly found some new passions and some new things I’m good at and it’s exciting to think about how these opportunities will help carry me forward.
As I’ve been recapping the last year on the blog, I think the most amazing thing to note is the growth of the “brand.” It’s been really cool to look at all my blog covers, the graphics I started out with, and my social media posts because there’s a clear shift in the branding of it all. It represents me getting a better handle on this new world I found and finding myself in this new form of artistic expression.
I’ve certainly learned that plans don’t always work out. There have been plenty of weeks throughout the year where pumping out a blog post was just not possible due to conflicts, writers block, or mental exhaustion. In my first year, I felt like it was more important to just get the content on, both here and on my social media. But I’m a believer in quality over quantity. In my second year, I’m hoping to produce content that is helpful, fun, and inspiring and don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my writing to meet a deadline I made for myself.
I’ve learned to take breaks. From working, from creating content, and from scrolling the internet trying to build my brand. It’s all important work but it can be extremely time consuming and mentally exhausting. I’ve learned that I’m not for everyone, and that’s ok. Looking at some of the stats can definitely hurt sometimes. It stinks to see I’ve lost email subscribers or Instagram followers. But, at the end of the day, I don’t need the people who aren’t interested in supporting this journey hanging onto my coat tails.
I’ve learned that I DO have a wonderful little community of people who love and support me, and I’m very lucky for that. Most importantly, I’ve learned that what I have to say DOES matter. I’ve found a part of my voice that was missing and continue to fill my cup every day by working on my own little slice of internet heaven.
My tagline is “All Passions. All People.”
Thank you for supporting me and my newfound passion, you beautiful and amazing people!
I’m forever grateful! Here’s to another incredible year!
Lots of love!!!