Did you know I actually officially started my blog in 2014…with one recipe, which was Tiramisu and then I didn’t blog again until April 2015? When I picked it back up in April 2015, I never stopped and that is the date I celebrate as my anniversary every year, and this year on 2 April 2021 my blog will be 6!
I had initially called my blog Binny’s Kitchen, as the intention at the time was to share my kitchen adventures in an easily shareable format. I had started to become more confident in cooking and found testing and writing up recipes a motivating way to learn how to cook dishes that I grew up with as well as new dishes.
We had also been spending any spare day of our annual leave flying away on holidays as we are both bankers and quite frankly, needed it after intensive working periods, and so I begun to write up about my trips from the itinerary to my recommendations, and so the Travel section was bolted on in November 2015, with a diary style documentation about my birthday trip to Vienna.
I had previously been attempting to share my trip experiences on Facebook but it wasn’t easy to share with people that were not my Facebook friends and the blog just made so much more sense.
It wasn’t until 2016 that I changed the name to Binny’s Food and Travel, to shorten it and make it more general as I had begun to spend less time in my own kitchen and more time being fed by restaurant kitchens! I also wanted it to be simpler for Social Media and easy to remember, and to sound slightly more professional than calling it a ‘diary.’
I was running my blog aside a demanding full time job managing a Sharedealing platform, and then a Funds Platform, with sometimes, such as when Brexit was first announced, my days being a total nightmare.
However, I was determined to be consistent with it, and would wake up at 5am every day to write up a blog or to catch up on my blog emails and admin, and then leave home at 7am to go to Canary Wharf. My days would be long as after work I would often have events to attend and so I wouldn’t get home until 11pm, some days.
Some of the incredible opportunities I have had through my blog which have encouraged me to keep at it were my first paid collaboration in June 2016 with Nescafe and my first press trip, which was a cruise which included having dinner with James Martin.
I also got sent to Mexico City in September 2016 on a second media trip as the only press attending the Latin America 50 Best Restaurant Awards from the UK.
In the past 6 years there have been some other incredible opportunities such as getting to interview the late Antonio Carluccio! I asked him if he likes cats lol!
In September 2017 I left my full time job, armed with a client I had already onboarded, and took the leap to set up my own Social Media Agency, and 3 and half years on, I have absolutely no regrets. Not only is it financially rewarding, I get to schedule my time my way and on my own terms.
My blog was and still is a hobby. Whilst I do make money from it, it’s not my main source of income and I have always been very strict about keeping it very separate and my focus is very much on growing my business and getting diverse income streams from both my business and from investing in property. Whatever I earn from my blog goes into a ‘treat fund’ which is then used for nice experiences or things.
I have also been shortlisted for several awards, which have also been a great source of motivation for me to keep going, as managing a blog full time alongside a career, whether it is a full time job or a business, is extremely hard!
My Top 4 Tips for Blogging
Whether you publish a post once a week or once a month, the key is consistency. It helped me to plan out my posts, have a schedule and a routine.
Promote yourself and your blog
Make sure you have Social Media platforms set up that complement your blog. You never know where you might be discovered from and so work on your personal brand both on your blog itself with an engaging ‘About me’ page and on your Social Media platforms.
Make sure your contact details are visible, everywhere!
List your email address in many parts of your website as possible as well as on the bio of your Social Media Channels. You want it to be as easy as possible for someone to get in touch with you for an opportunity!
Don’t say yes to every opportunity!
Yes you read that right – learn how to turn things down that don’t fit your brand, aren’t worth your time or will potentially put your dream brands or tourist boards from working with you.
As an example, if you constantly post about fast food, a Michelin star restaurant is unlikely to invite you to review, or if you are constantly writing about any and every single product under the sun, it may be confusing to a PR or Brand what you are focussing on.
As I know sit on the influencer outreach side through my business, this is something important I felt I needed to highlight and you will notice that I am very picky about my collaborations. For every yes there are probably 10 brands I have turned down.
Thinking of starting a blog?
If you are thinking of starting a blog, my advice is do it! Don’t worry about your niche or how often you should post, and don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s 12th chapter!