Earlier this year, I saw a notice in the Curiosity Quills reviewer newsletter about an offer for a free course. It was to teach basic blogging tips. I thought this sounded interesting so I investigated. It was a photographer who was contracted to do stock photos, cover art, marketing and promo stuff who was teaching it. Intriguing perspective and it was free, so yeah, ‘where do I sign up?’
I wanted to share a summary of what I learned from Katie. Most veteran and experienced bloggers will already know these things, but some was new to me. Katie had a nice way of making each week a different topic and breaking down the material to five days a week so it wasn’t overwhelming or too much time taken up each day.
Here are some of the topics:
- Legal use of photos and graphics. Fair use. She shared a nice free use site Pixabay. I could use the pictures without wondering if it really was ‘free use’.
- Creating a graphic to use with posts using a picture from Pixabay and free photo editing at PicMonkey.
- YouTube lessons in photography. How to get rid of glare. Easy light making/blocking sources from around the house. Interesting arrangements and settings. Creating my own picture file.
- Branding for blog, site, social media pages.
- Unique content for blog and social media.
- Being Creative
- And more
I think the part I found most helpful was something unintended. It was not that the lessons were new ideas for me; they weren’t. Shari has been a good mentor over the years as have many of you. But what I found most helpful was that it forced me to analyze and consider why we do what we do and are we doing it well. Also, I’m not a big picture taker, but I found the photographic assignments easy and relaxing. I now have a file of odd objects from around the house and yard to create my own pictures for posts and I have a better idea of how photography can be used to enhance things at a book blog.
What I discovered as I read the lessons and completed the homework and chatted with Katie and the other students, was YES, we do pretty well. Blogging is a hobby for both of us so for the amount of time we have to put forth (and financial on Shari’s part), we’ve done well with what we have.
Now I’m going to fan girl on Shari. Hope she can take it and not blush too much.
- Legal use of photos and graphics? Shari is careful. What you see on the blog in the form of pictures or graphics other than what is part of a guest post are legally acquired and mostly purchased. I love that peace of mind.
- Branding? Check check. Shari maintains the blog and several social media links. They are all consistent so people will recognize Delighted Reader and know what it is about without too much trouble. The focus is clear and specific. Regular reviews and posts can be recognized even if people saw them out of context because of the consistency and templates used.
- Unique content. As I did my homework assignment and had to list our unique content, it was a solid list. Delighted Reader is a book blog so there are marks that are true of any book review blog, but within that, what you see posted is ours and not a copy of others. Shari made the decision some time ago that even tour participation would be limited to those that allowed for unique content.
- Being Creative? I enjoy when I get the ‘I was thinking….’ emails. Shari likes to change things up with occasional events (The Great Pick Up Line and Stranded With a Book), fun challenges (Series that Never Ends, Bad Boy…), Holiday Recommends, Yakkety Yak. And she lets me go at it, too.
So, it was a productive class for me. I don’t tend to be the creative type. I can piggyback ideas on someone else’s germ of thought, but coming up with my own is not my gift. It was fun to go over each aspect of the blog with new, informed eyes and have the comfort to pick up my camera and use it as another tool for the blog.
Now, that I’m in the mode to learn tricks and ideas with photography on the blog, I’d love to hear how you use your pictures for blogging or for your social media pages. Do tell! J