CHEERS to YEAR TWO! How insane is that? Really proud of what I achieved this year, particularly some of the household name brands that I was able to align with Style Smorgasbord. I think I expressed a similar sentiment last year but telling others about your goals is incredibly important. It holds you accountable and you are less likely to fail to reach them or worse yet, fail to even try. Last year, I lazily rattled off a few goals in short bullet points but this year I thought I would elaborate more on what I have achieved and what I would like to achieve in the next year.
YEAR TWO GOALS: I’m really happy to say, to some extent, I achieved all the goals I set out for Style Smorgasbord last year (read YEARBOOK ONE here). Let’s recap!
Invest in a new camera: At the end of 2015, I upgraded to the Canon EOS 750D. Its been a great all rounder, entry level DSLR camera that I am very happy with and would 100% recommend to anyone who wants to up their blogging game. At the moment, I have no plans to upgrade the body, I think its perfect for what I need it to do and not extremely bulky or heavy to travel with.
Move to WP.org and become self hosted: This is something I have always wanted to do for my brand because it means I can open my site to monetisation and affiliate linking, which is something I still need to work on!
Change my blog’s design: I bought my basic template off Etsy and then I did a little coding to change things to my liking. Again, still a work in progress, there are a lot of things I need to tweak which I haven’t had the time to do. This brings me to my decision to take the entire month of November off because I have final exams and also because I want to spend the last two weeks working on behind the scenes stuff before we kick off my favourite season with a bang!!! I have been planning some really exciting holiday-orientated content so I can’t wait to start that up in a couple of weeks time 🙂
Increase consistency and frequency: I actually wrote more blog posts this year than last year which I am pleasantly surprised about because I was definitely a lot busier with a lot of other things in my life. I had an editorial calendar for maybe the first quarter of Year TWO but then that kind of fell off the track so rebooting that is vital.
Develop a more recognisable brand: This will be a never-ending process but looking at the collage this year compared to last year’s does show massive differences in the quality of content. Again, this will be something to really think about come November and I really need to ask myself with everything I put out there – is this on brand?
YEAR THREE GOALS: I definitely placed a lot of emphasis of pumping out as much content as possible this year that I left everything else on the back burner. So the overarching theme is to get back on top of every other component that is necessary in running a brand.
Invest in a new lens: Right now, I have two lenses in my kit (50mm and 85mm, both 1.8). They are both fixed lenses which is perfect for portraiture and since that is 90% of what I put up, very appropriate but I’ve found that it can be limiting (both good and bad) if I want to do travel photos or interior shots where there isn’t a lot of space for me to step back.
Learn more about Light Room: I purchased the creative suite adobe subscription package mid 2016 and it has been a game changer at $12/month. This is a bit silly to say but when I edit my photos in Light Room, I feel a lot more professional; the process is quicker, smarter and the copy and paste feature has amazingly cut down my editing time. I know Adobe programs are basically infinitely limitless in what you can do, so I want to learn some more jazzy tricks to cut down on post-production time!
Work on my email list: Something went funky when I moved from WP.com to WP.org and I haven’t had time to look into it but every blogger is always stressing the importance of an email list so I am definitely making this a priority to work on.
Prioritise back-end work: My favourite part of Style Smorgasbord is the creative process of styling, shooting, editing and writing. When it comes to social media sharing, keeping in touch with PR, even approving comments, I just do not want to do it but unfortunately, the blog needs maintenance and without keeping on top of admin, things will slightly fall apart which is kind of what is happening now!
Reengage with the community: I plateaued earlier this year and now engagement is falling. Its a little bit to do with the new Instagram algorithm but I’ve found that the more you engage in the community, the more the new algorithm will help you out. At first, I was sceptical but I think if you’re a real genuine brand and you put in the time and effort, you will reap the rewards and the algorithm will be on your side. I think its become a good process to weed out the Insta-stars from the actual, genuine creatives.
Shoot all photographs in RAW: I took the first batch of photos with my 750D in RAW and then the process of converting them felt like such a nightmare that I never did it again. However, that was when I didn’t have Light Room so now that I have access to it, I want to go back to RAW all the time.
Put more thought into each editorial: Outfit photography can get super boring. I see a lot of the bigger bloggers fall into this trap at some point because once you’re publishing posts 5 days a week, every week of the year, it becomes routine and once you start doing the same thing, the next big thing will come along and blindside you. So quality over quantity is what we’re going for in Year Three.
Develop more original Instagram content: After I started working, I think 95% of my Instagram feed became pictures taken directly from my site. Whilst that made the fluidity of my pictures flow a lot nicer, it was also a bit pointless to just post these pictures as filler material.
Oooooft that was a whopper of a post. I didn’t intend for it to be so long but writing down my goals always motivates me and I can get a little bit carried away! I hope you’re excited for Style Smorgasbord Year Three and I can’t wait to see what I can create for this brand.