6 months. Half a year. Very established bloggers would be right to say – pfff, only 6 months. Just half a year. A long way to go, dear.
Yet, for me these 6 months were huge. Just one month before establishing this blog I gave birth to a wonderful girl, Helena (and as you probably know I have as much wonderful boy Tadeusz and husband Mateusz, too). I also taught public diplomacy at the Vistula University in Warsaw. Collaborated on blog posts with the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. Worked on a chapter on smart cities that will most probably be published in an international primer soon. Dreamed about recording my podcast – and recently produced two episodes. Even though I was on maternity leave, I tried to stay in touch with my workplace. And started to prepare for a huge project that is going to last for some 4 years and change my family’s life forever.
Quite a hectic time!
This is why I had to stop comparing myself to other bloggers. I had to do this very early. I have never thought of this blog as a business endeavour but today these two spheres seem to be more and more interlinked. Almost every blogger establishes a “Cooperation” section as soon as they publish a few posts. Well, I follow a different path. I treat this blog as a hobby and a way to express myself a little bit. What an old-school attitude 🙂
And because it is a hobby, I do not work on it every single day. In fact, I have just a few hours a week to spend on blogging. “A few hours” is still a lot for a working mother 🙂 At the same time, I cannot compare statistics with creators who build their online enterprises on blogs and treat it as the main activity.
I love being here and thinking on new posts, on new pictures, on new series. I love the freedom of writing anything I want to write about. I do not feel any pressure to produce content that is going to sell.
At the same time, at least to some extent, I want to produce content that can be useful. When I write about the best Polish business and economic podcasts (the most popular post up to date!), I popularise contents that are enriching and educating. When I write about the best European and Polish think-tanks, I help to find partners in expert/international relations/public diplomacy endeavours. When I write or speak in my podcast about women empowerment, I popularise role-models that inspire and explain an important global trend. When I write about knowledge, celebrity, sports, animal diplomacy, I want the world of diplomacy to be closer to people (the Vienna Congress style of diplomacy is sooo last season).
The lack of pressure to sell and, simultaneously, the aim to create useful content, make this blog much more than a simple diary. It just gives me so much fun!
What else? Well, the passion and motivation to improve blogging, writing and podcasting skills.
6 months ago I didn’t know WordPress, Canva, Grammarly, Audacity. I didn’t know what SEO was. Now I know how cruel the world of algorithms is. But also try to learn iTunes so that my podcast reaches broad audiences. Never stop learning!
6 months ago I didn’t realise how much a blog post or a podcast differ from a typical business-style note or a letter. I still struggle to write and speak relaxed. I still learn how to write contents that you want to read. I still learn how to speak to the microphone so that you want to listen. Never stop developing new skills!
6 months ago I also didn’t know the notion of a long tail.
I’m in the long tail. Meaning – my blog is in a niche. And that’s OK. It is read already in some 93 countries, from Argentina to Japan, from Canada to New Zealand. But it doesn’t mean it has millions of viewers. And it probably won’t. The world of diplomacy, international relations and global trends is probably not as close to people as the parenting- or travel- or cooking-focused contents.
Yet, since I blog and podcast in English, I can reach audiences in many corners of the world. I love these new views “Oh wow, Trinidad and Tobago today!”, “OMG, Papua New Guinea!”. Chris Anderson in his book “The Long Tail” made me realise that building my own niche is oh-so OK. Go home, geography, go home, borders!
The last lesson learned from blogging that I want to share with you is… perseverance is key. “Perseverance” is my favourite word and you probably know it very well if you listen to my podcasts 🙂 Building a blog is not a thing you can do in a day. In fact, it is an endless process of failures, tries, experiences, making you come closer to a formula that satisfies you and your audiences. Also, your endeavours cause various reactions. When people praise you, you feel soooo happy. But sometimes their feedback makes you uncomfortable (and often it’s good!). Sometimes you are approached by haters. And sometimes just no one cares about the contents you publish.
Building a blog/podcast adds many different emotions and experiences to your life. It is a big lesson. It was totally worth it to embark on this journey. We’ll see where it is going to take me and you, my dear readers and listeners. Hopefully, we’ll stay together for long.
Thank you very much for being here, for spending time with this blog, for every single word of feedback. I hope this blog to be as useful and helpful to you as possible. I will try to improve with every post and episode.
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