Why I Went from Instagram to a Blog:
And Why You Should, Too!
Anytime you move, it can be a scary experience, right? New town, new school, new blog domain with zero audience to speak of – scary. I remember sending out a feeler to see how my husband felt about the idea of me starting a blog, and he was immediately supportive. Believe me, I’m not the type to need “permission.” That’s not what I was looking for. I really just wanted to hear the good and bad – I wanted to hear all of the reasons that I hadn’t thought of for why I shouldn’t get into blogging. Vinnie didn’t offer one. He just said, “You should do it.” Yeah, I should do it. Why not? After all, I’m constantly doing things; I talk with a lot of interesting people; I have the perspectives of a mother, educator, wife, businesswoman. As I continued to talk myself into making the move over cups of coffee, the commute to work, and plastic tea parties with my toddler, I came up with several reasons for why I should just go for it - and many of them involved my Instagram account!
You Can’t Argue with a Micro-Niche
Years ago, I started an Instagram page called Long Island Eats Shortcake. This account is what you’d consider a micro-niche, because it has a primary focus: food on Long Island. I love that account, but the thing with a micro-niche is that it's so specific that it doesn't really leave room for different content. I mean, if you’re looking at a ton of cheese pulls, garlic knots and pasta, and a baby suddenly appears, you can kinda play the one-of-these-things-doesn’t-belong game. Of course, you can slip some various content in here and there, but it should generally still fall into your given category. Plus, when you start to do too many things, your followers don’t know what they’re signing up for. When people decide to follow my food page, they know what they’re getting. Someone following a food page doesn’t want to see what fabulous shoes I just got on sale. The road of a micro-niche is long and straight with hardly a shoulder to pull onto.
Hi, It’s Me
I started to realize that so many of the amazing and fun places I visit were cut out simply because they didn’t fit into my niche. On top of that, so much that I wanted to share with others was cut out, because I was only talking about one part of my interests. Looking at my food page, you probably wouldn’t guess that I’m a teacher, mom, wife, or really anything more than a food vacuum. That’s fine, because that’s what I wanted to create with that page, but then I started to feel that it was time to share more of myself. I want you to not only see the children’s museum that I discovered with my family, but I also want you to get to know my family a little; and read about our experience in the hopes that you may want to try the museum out, too. Then, on my food page, I would to tell you about the place we visited for lunch that day. The whole experience would be right there! Having a blog and a separate Instagram for it allows me to do it all! At the end of the day, being able to share the different parts of my life makes me feel whole, and that gives me a greater drive to create content.
I would say, on average, I am invited to eat out at restaurants once or twice a week thanks to Long Island Eats Shortcake. I remember Vinnie saying, “Now what you have to figure out is how to monetize.” Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely money to be made on Instagram; however, the thought of banking on my food page to create a significant income didn’t really have me sold. After doing my research, I found that monetizing a blog (ex. ads) is by far faster and easier than monetizing an Instagram account. Since getting my blog up and running, I’ve signed on with an ad company and a few cross promotional sites. Once I see how those things work out, I’ll be sure to write up a full report – let’s hope it’s a good one!
Like I mentioned before, we go out to eat a couple times a week. It’s wonderful to try different cuisines, meet new chefs, and, honestly, get to be “married adults” for a night. I look forward to restaurant visits, and still feel the same passion for showing the best that a restaurant has to offer. With that in mind, it excited me to think of all of the other things at my fingertips that I’d yet to tap into. There are so many new things to photograph and experience! Plus, the thought of casting a bigger net (e.g. Instagram, blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook) just seemed like a common sense way to grow my “brand.” By covering different niches, I’m appealing to different audiences, bloggers and companies. With that comes different opportunities to expand. For instance, my blogger Instagram has introduced me to an entire world of bloggers that I never would have met previously; and my blog has made it so that I now qualify to enter various Facebook groups, which also offers a new set of opportunities. The potential to grow is pretty exciting!
You Already Know How to Take Pictures!
So many blogs rely heavily on stock photos, and that’s fine – I’ve used them myself. However, if you’re running an Instagram page, you know that it’s a visual platform. Presumably, creating posts, taking pictures and editing is already in your wheelhouse. You can take those skills and talent, and apply them to creating stand-out blog posts! It was like a light bulb turned on when that really occurred to me. I mean, when I thought about writing a blog, I was thinking more about the writing than the photography. So, when it dawned on me that I already had the other part of the blog post equation solved, it just gave me one more reason to go for it. I didn’t necessarily have to search endlessly for someone else’s photography, I’d already spent years figuring out how to create and showcase my own!
If you already have an Instagram account up and running (e.g. a fan page, foodie page, fitness page, etc.), you undoubtedly have some followers. By creating a blog, you then naturally have a built-in audience with whom you can share your blog posts. Like I said, I started out with an Instagram account on Long Island Eats Shortcake and then I created the account Long Island Shortcake. One focuses on food and one focuses more on my life and blog; however, I use both accounts to promote my blog posts. Whether you have one or several established accounts, all of them can be used to your advantage – even if that means only promoting your new blog posts in your stories. (Remember: you don’t want things that “don’t belong” to your niche in a post on your page.)
By dipping my toe into the blogger pool, I was immediately pulled under by a riptide. I can’t even tell you how many times a day something completely confuses me – actually, I probably can just by going through my Google search history! I spent a full weekend researching SEO and another several days figuring out Tailwind; don’t even get me started on Pinterest and group boards! I’ll save those things for another day, but all I’m saying is that starting a blog has afforded me an entirely new education and a fun new outlet. I’m still learning, and I think I always will be, but I’m just glad I started sooner than later. For all of the reasons that you can come up with not to create blog, there are hundreds more why you should. At the end of the day, if you’re still on the fence after reading this, just listen to Vinnie, and follow the advice that got me to take the plunge: You should do it.