Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve noticed that more and more young people are running their own blogs these days. According to some recent statistics, around 70% of bloggers are under 35, and over 20% are under 20. This is no surprise to me; within a day of moving to the University of Birmingham for my undergraduate degree, I met a great number of student bloggers who told me about one important perk of blogging for hard-up students: the free samples of beauty products and meals given out in return for reviews by bloggers.
It’s not all about the free make-up or dinners though, blogging also allows you to develop your writing skills for free, make friends in the ample blogging community, go to new places and to have your work read by lots of other people. Plus, you can blog about anything, from films, food, music, fashion to tortoise spotting; whatever it is, there will be a readership base for it.
Don’t just take my word for it though, I’ve had a chat to one of the bloggers I’ve met at Birmingham, Emily Muscat, who started her food and cocktails blog, ‘Good Girl Gone Brum’ when she moved to the University of Birmingham for her English with Creative Writing degree in 2013.
Firstly, why did you decide to start your blog at university?
I first started my blog simply because I enjoyed writing and wanted to have a reason to do it regularly (aside from my course). I didn't have any high expectations at first, I just enjoyed the idea of having my own little space on the internet that I created all of the content for.
What would you say are the main perks of blogging?
When people talk about blogger perks they usually mean freebies, and don't get me wrong, the free food is great, but honestly there are so many more benefits! Having a blog looks great to employers as it shows you are committed to something other than your degree and you are a self-motivated kind of person. It's also great socially: I have made some genuine friends through getting to know other food bloggers in Birmingham and it's generally helped me to be a more confident person and push myself to do things outside my comfort zone!
What have been the main challenges of maintaining your blog at university, and how has it changed over time?
One of the main things I found hard was knowing when to rein in the amount of time I was putting into my blog. Running a blog is some people's full time job - and it's certainly easy to see how! As my workload grew over the years I've had to manage how much time I let myself spend on my blog and know when to stop.
Good Girl Gone Brum has changed massively since it started; it began as me just posting about pretty much whatever I wanted to write about. I decided last year to specialise and focus on my favourite topic, food and drink, and since then it has felt a lot more focused. I also rebranded recently, so it feels a lot more grown up now and looks more like a legit website, rather than the ramblings of a teenager!
Finally, what would be your advice to someone thinking of starting a blog at university?
My advice for anyone thinking of starting a blog is to manage your expectations, and enjoy doing it for the right reasons. The blogging world is pretty saturated at the moment and it will feel difficult to be heard over all the noise, so don't go into it thinking that you're going to be the next Zoella because you'll be disappointed very quickly!
Try not to compare yourself to other blogs and just enjoy doing it, you'll find it a lot more rewarding if you're not constantly wishing your blog was bigger. That being said, watching your blog grow over time is very satisfying, so if you're willing to put in the work then you can create something that you're really proud of - so go for it!
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