My first forays into the world of blogging were short lived. Being unsure of how to generate traffic, attract readers and create suitable posts means that I have been searching for the right formula – in terms of style and subject matter – for years.
With Love the Limelight I decided to utilise the obsession with celebrity to my advantage by creating an accessible celebrity blog. I knew the celebrity content would be easily available, but I wanted to offer something different to the sites already in the blogosphere.
My blog is different…
Many of the amateur celebrity blogs are wordy and lacking in pictures, whereas the professional ones pride themselves on being overtly critical about the celebrities they feature. I wanted to strike a balance between the two, and produce something punchy, informative and entertaining but not judgemental. I also got around the picture issue by using photos from the site picapp.com which offers photos for people to use legally on their blogs.
I’d initially planned to use videos to complement my content, but after blogging for a few weeks, I decided against this. I felt that keeping my identity private heightened the tone of my blog. The idea to link readers to Youtube videos, however, worked well and I did this in the post about Nadine Coyle’s poor single sales as well as well as in two posts about Cheryl Cole.
I also decided to use polls on both Love the Limelight as well as Girl Meets Blog as I felt this was a good way to engage with readers. Asking them to vote for their favourite X Factor judge was not only a way to get them involved, but it also allowed me to gauge the most popular celebrities.
A change in style…
Whilst I hadn’t considered writing style and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in my strategy, it’s proved to be the biggest change since the blog began. My early posts used puns in the headlines, like ‘Over before it’s even begun,’ with pictures slotted between the various paragraphs. However, I quickly realised that this was an ineffective way to present my material.
The first change in style was on 28th October where I used the SEO friendly headline ‘Mariah Carey announces pregnancy.’ I also changed the layout of my posts by using a headline, a photograph of the celebrity, a list of bullet points and then the story itself. I have continued this format in the posts since. This provides consistency and improves SEO.
The hit factor
Most of my entries have received a steady number of hits, but there were two which stood out. The first was a post about Cheryl Cole on 8th November which received 70 hits. This was at the time of the X Factor furore around Cheryl’s selection of contestants. I think this, combined with the general interest in Cheryl Cole, was the reason for the story warranting so many hits.
It was the guest post by Sweet Monday blogger, Kim Parslow, however, which received 100 hits in one day. I decided to feature Kim because she has a mass following and blogs about fashion. Because many of my readers are female, I thought combining fashion and celebrity would make for an interesting post.
I generated interest in this post a few days before by tweeting about the feature. On the day it went live, I tweeted and Facebooked my followers, and Kim did the same so collectively we generated a huge volume of traffic.
This proved that engaging with other bloggers really does drive readers to your site, and since publishing this post, my hit rate has remained high. Having a guest blogger, or featuring on someone else’s blog is something I’m keen to continue.
My social media strategy has changed quite considerably. My initial plans to create a Twitter account for the blog didn’t seem to work. However, once I began tweeting from my personal Twitter account the hit rates increased. I created a Facebook page for friends and followers to ‘Like,’ but Twitter generated interest and helped me engage with readers more effectively.
Engaging with readers is something I plan to improve as I continue the blog, by increasing the amount of time invested in Facebook. I don’t think I posted links to stories or asked for reader feedback enough on Facebook. Whilst it isn’t as instantaneous as Twitter, Facebook is currently still more popular so investing more time in it can only be positive.
I’d also integrate more guest posts and engage with other blogs. I had planned to comment on other celebrity blogs in the hope of exchanging readership and creating more interest in Love the Limelight. I didn’t manage to do this as much as I had initially hoped. As I continue the blog, I want to interact with other bloggers much more.
I’d also like to make more of longer features. I’d planned to write a weekly round—up called ‘Rant of the Week,’ which I managed to do only twice. Time restraints meant that writing these longer pieces became secondary to posting the shorter stories which kept the hit rate up and provided readers with the latest news.
However, as I continue the blog, I’d like to explore the possibility of turning these posts into editorial franchises. For example, instead of calling the features ‘Rants of the Week,’ the names could be changed to ‘Love of the week’ or ‘In the Limelight’ to not only reinforce the blog’s name, but also to offer more scope for subject matter.
The blog has acted as an outlet for me to write regularly and hone my skills. Celebrity news lends itself well to blogging – it allows the writer to create short, punchy news features, and use photographs and social media tools to enliven the content. With changes to be made and plenty of room for development, I hope that Love the Limelight will continue to grow.
A few links…
1. I used polls like this one on my blog, Girl Meets Blog, to engage readers. It’s a good way of gauging how readers feel about a certain topic.
Something I feel I need to strive to do more of is ask my readers questions – about what they like/how they feel and what they’d like to see on my blog.
I found this website about SEO really useful when honing my style.
3. This guest post received 100 hits in one day. It just goes to show that engaging with other bloggers and collectively linking readers to one another’s sites can drive huge volumes of traffic.
Here are some other ways to drive traffic to your blog.