My biggest takeaway from BlogHer Food was that I should use Pinterest as a traffic-driver to this blog. I was mortified that I never thought of this before. I’ve always approached Pinterest as a consumer– lazily browsing through Nordstrom or Anthropologie or what have you and pinning all the adorable clothes I wanted to buy. It appears I was serving those vendors’ ends, but failed to grasp how Pinterest could work for me. Now I get it. Duh.
I spent the last few evenings combing through back posts and pinning interesting visuals to Pinterest, which provided a thought-provoking opportunity to review how this blog has evolved over the last two years. I’ve been blogging for over nine years, but only for two of them on this site. I always assumed that I had continuity in style, and it was fascinating to see that was not the case.
My approach has changed from one of storytelling to one more similar of traditional reviews. I truly like the storytelling approach better, and believe it is much more engaging. This change is a function of time. As life has become more rushed, I have fallen into a trap of formulaic writing. That’s not to say readers hate the review approach– probably as a function of Pittsburgh pride, I get a ton of feedback and engagement from my usual “here’s what I ate in Pittsburgh today!” posts. I do not at all intend to abandon my posts about restaurants, but I’d like to work back in the direction of incorporating some sort of story into my review, if only for the purpose of improving the quality of the content.
There was also a marked change, around the time of BlogHer last year, when I made a point to use (to the extent feasible) all original photos. My photography skills need a little work, but I feel a lot more confident using my own photos as pins, and even more happy when someone else enjoys them by liking or repinning them. It’s always nice to get a nod in social media, but it is even more satisfying when it is in response to something you entirely created.
I was also pleased to see that there was some high-quality writing buried in this blog’s early posts. Looking back at those posts, I remembered how proud I was of particular pieces, and sad that they didn’t get as many views as I would like, because the site was still seeking its footing.
Right now I’m buzzing with energy from the BlogHer conference and from my reflections on combing through my blog history. I’ve got big upcoming plans, including (1) Retro posts, i.e. re-posting some of those old, high quality posts, (2) Engagement with other bloggers, I’ve been meaning to set up an interview feature for ages, but haven’t gotten to it, and (3) reading that iPhoneography book so I can step up my photo skills.
Have you ever done a retrospective of your blog? What did you find that pleased or surprised you?