I get asked ALL the time, at least once a day by someone, how to start a successful blog or grow a blog, and it’s often a question that I can’t give any clear cut answers for. I remember being really frustrated when people used to reply to me with their crappy cliché answers of “work really hard, promote yourself and stay true to yourself”… yeah, cheers for the help, I read that super useful quote on a bumper sticker myself yesterday but I’m so pleased you took the time to type it out for me.
The truth is a bit of a cliché though. No one does you quite as well as, well, you. So sticking true to being yourself, even if you are a giant dick, really is the way to go – people call your bullshit out after a while if you don’t so it’s a pointless exercise to try and be something you’re not. Self-promotion is also true, be that through various tactics to grow your following on social media, linkies, whatever or paying for social media adverts and SEO – I know of them all, and it’s true, you don’t get anywhere in our flooded market without some kind of tactic, sorry not sorry. Lastly, hard work really is the only way, yeah I realise people often think you’re casually nestled behind the scenes in your chunky knit #gifted blanket and no pants, typing away at a laptop that you were also #gifted and planning your oh-so-cliché Instagram image in a rapeseed field because, summer yo. If that was the life, we would all be successful and we would all be living it up, but it’s not the reality and you often find that it is the behind the scenes, the forking out cold hard cash to get to networking events, to get to press events and to create content, the endless hours instagramming, interacting and getting your face known, the SEO, the coding, the photography skills, the confusion and the learning, usually alongside babies, jobs, studies… yeah, it ain’t easy but it’s worth the hard work in the end.
Apart from the clichéd advice that I can offer, I often get asked about my tech – what camera do I use? What do I film with? What computer do I have? Do I use an iPhone?
So I figured I would pop a little post together to answer those questions of “What do I need to start blogging?”
Well duh, mine is a HP Pavillion and I also have a MacBook and Surface Pro all of which I bought at Currys, and there are some cracking offers for Groupon at the moment with Currys. The MacBook is what I started out with and then once I could afford to I bought myself a desktop and created a proper office… in my living room… sigh. I have a Surface Pro because travelling around Laaandaann with an old MacBook that weighs more than my size born was beginning to take it’s toll, and the surface pro is lighter. I would have chosen an Apple desktop as a fan of Apple but the truth is that at the time I wasn’t doing much filming and/or design… if you want to go down that route, you might want to consider it.
I have a G7X Mark ii because I am a sheeple and it is the vlogger/blogger camera of choice and I also have a GoPro Hero 5 which I was hashtag gifted. I guess when it comes to cameras I’ve never been a big fan and I really did have a panic when I bought the g7x and paid £600 for what felt like a vague upgrade to my phone and a totally confusing thing. I do love it though and I can’t beat it for filming especially. Truth be told I have an iPhone 8 Plus and I prefer that camera to my g7x, often taking that out and forgetting my camera altogether because with 3 kids and Adam to run around after, fuck knows how I even manage to make it out of the house. I will say that my GoPro is something I would totally recommend, I LOVE that beauty, it lives in one of my bags (did I mention that I’m also careless and that is another nail in my tech-buying coffin?) and it is an absolute MUST for holidays, travel and shots that you want to be a bit different. I don’t own a fancy profesh camera the DLSR (DSLR?) ones because I’m not a photographer and it’s all I can do to make the g7x work most days.
3. Filming equipment
No, I don’t have a ring light, back lights or strip lights. I am thinking about it but I’m not great with the consistency of filming yet and I seem to stand and film less than I do make vlogs, so no point. I do have something which I recommend you don’t bother with because it does my NUT in: A DJI Spark. Yup, I coveted those amazing shots of cities at night and aerial shots of beaches, beautiful video over forests… can I do them with my beautiful fancy and EXPENSIVE DJI? Can I bollocks. If you have a knack for tech then you should grab one and make yourself aware of the obscene legalities around them because they are virtually unflyable in a tonne of places and a lot of the footage you see isn’t *actually* legal. Also, I have a major error with mine and I don’t know why, it loses signal every damn time – it lost signal in Center Parcs and I was told off by the general manager for using it, it got STUCK on top of a very VERY ancient landmark that I genuinely thought I had permission to film on and it has reached the point where the kids look totally fed up when they see me get it out because they know my stress levels are about to go through the roof. For filming, you need a camera like an iPhone, G7X, GoPro and a tripod and I can recommend this one from Amazon. It is also worth thinking about a pack from ebay for your GoPro, there are much better and more comprehensive guides but this is the one I have.
4. Battery pack
Yep, get yourself a battery pack because events will always run your battery down and it’s the same for going out and taking pics or just filming in general. Do it. Get a pack.
5. Apps and Editing
I want to learn to use Photoshop and I will this year, but for now I use a really fab editing app called Snapseed. I love snapseed, it has everything I need and it can help make even the shoddiest photos fab. I also use PicMonkey to create thumbnails for YouTube and to help me create overlays – trust me, it would be easier (and probably the same cost) to use photoshop. LunaPic is another good site for isolating something and turning it into a transparent background so that you can create a funky picture. I use Wondershare Filmora for my video editing, which I do enjoy using and would recommend – I’d 100% buy the full pack and not just use the free version if you are going to take the editing seriously.
Always have been and always will be a fan of the iPhone. I can’t beat this camera and ease of use. I would also like to point out that it’s not uncommon for apps to refuse to work on android!
So that’s it! Those are my recommendations for those of you asking – I wanted to say as well that there may be some affiliate/sponsored links in the post, so be aware before you click I may earn some (literally) pennies.