Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why Blog? - Sam Osbourne

Sam Osborne is a graphic designer, pattern designer and illustrator who describes herself as a ‘brightly-coloured designer nerd’. In 2011 Sam set up her own design company where, alongside her graphic design work she licenses her unique illustrations and pattern designs as well as running her own label where she sells her colourful designs on products from mugs and tea towels to cards and wall art. Her products sell online all over the world as well as in selected high street shops. I got to know Sam through Twitter and having looked at her blog I asked her whether she would like to be interviewed about her own blogging habits and why she does it.

This is what she had to say......

 

How long have you been blogging?

I started blogging in a small way when I launched the first incarnation of my website about 3 or 4 years ago - it wasn't a major part of my site and I didn't really know what I was doing but starting small gave me time and space to figure out what I wanted to blog about and, most importantly, to find my voice.

Why did you decide to start blogging and what was the main purpose of your blog when you first started?

I started to take my blogging seriously when I revamped my website, the platform made the process much easier and I quickly realised that the blog could have big implications for my business. The ultimate purpose of my blog was, and still is, to drive traffic to my website and my shop but I knew that meant that the content had to be interesting and fit with the design work I was doing.

I started by writing a variety of articles that related to the wider world that my designs and products live in and a few articles about the experience of running my business. In many ways researching and writing those articles actually helped me focus on what my work and my brand was all about.

 

How often do you post?

I try to post at least twice a week but occasionally its more often than that, it just depends on what I have going on really. I have a few series of articles that I try to keep going on a reasonably regular schedule but I'm not too rigid with it.


Who reads your blog and why do they enjoy it?

It's to be mostly fellow creatives that read my blog which, I guess, is because I post a lot about the lives of other designers (particular in my Month In The Life series - http://www.sam-osborne.co.uk/category/month-in-the-life ) and share a lot insights into the industry and my work. I try to do it all in a fun, upbeat, honest way and I hope that resonates with people.

What do you think are the important ingredients of a successful blog?

Clear focus: You can't blog about everything. Being clear about what your blog is about makes it easier to find an audience
Distinct point of view: Your blog is YOUR blog - make it your own, talk in your own voice, express your opinions, be funny
Variety: If every post is the same people will soon stop reading. Change things up - add a photo story, a guest blogger, a quiz etc!

How do you promote your blog?

Mostly through social media, each post gets shared on twitter and facebook when it's published and I schedule follow up posts throughout the next few weeks to continue to promote it. I also join in specific hashtag chats on twitter (#TALKT #OMHG etc) where you can often share links to blogs and get found by more people that way. My site is run through Wordpress and I use and SEO plugin to help me ensure my posts are findable - reminding me to put the article keywords in titles and opening paragraphs etc, it's not foolproof but it's a good reminder to focus on what the article is about!


What kind of opportunities have arisen as a result of your blogging?

Mostly the blog has been great for connecting with people - my Month In The Life series has put me in touch with loads of amazing artists and designers. I've also been asked to write guest posts for bloggers and sites that I love and my feature in Moyo magazine was in part due to a blog article about my #SBS win (http://www.sam-osborne.co.uk/officially-a-winner-an-sbs-winner-that-is )

How do you manage your time with our blog and your other commitments?

My blog isn't the main focus of my business, it is there to support my design work so if I have a lot of work on then the blog will be a bit quieter. Luckily I enjoy writing blog posts so I'm quite happy to do most of it outside my 'normal' working hours!

What are the benefits of blogging?

Learning is the biggest benefit for me, I've learnt so much about me and my business because I sat down and wrote blog posts about it. I've discovered loads of new artists and designers and learned about how they work and their inspirations. For my business the benefit is being able to send people to my site repeatedly and without blogging it would be hard to do this so often and so successfully.

 

What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Just write: Getting started is hard but you have two things going for you in the beginning: 1 - almost no one is reading your blog yet and 2 - It's not set in stone, if in a week, a month etc you don't like it you can change it! Write about things you care about and you think your audience will care about - don't decide to write about your tax return if the subject bores you to tears, write about things you love (or hate) Read other blogs that you love. Really look at them, how are they structured? Do they have regular articles? Do they use lots of pictures? How often to they post? How can you use those lessons on your own blog?

You can find out more about Sam and her beautiful work at the following places....
http://www.sam-osborne.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/samossie
https://www.facebook.com/SamOsborneIllustrations
http://pinterest.com/samossie/

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