| Written by Ronnie |
I've decided to turn 'Behind the scenes' into a regular column where I share more about the actual ins and outs of running a small business and a blog. I know that many of you are yourselves bloggers and/or small business owners, so hopefully this series might be of some interest to you.
I thought I'd kick things off today by chatting briefly about how and why I use a mood board for our LIFE:CAPTURED Inc blog. (I also use one for The Shoemaker's Daughter.)
Most of you will be familiar with the concept of a mood board since most bloggers will, at one time or another, use a mood board to showcase a lineup of their favourite products. Plus, I know there are many Pinners out there reading this, and Pinterest is kind of like a gigantic mood board when you think about it.
As for me, my blogging style has never been to use mood boards in my actual blog posts. If you're wondering why this is the case, my answer would simply be: It's just not me. And one thing I know for certain about blogging is that if it doesn't feel right, you don't do it.
However, even though I don't blog with mood boards, I've been using them behind the scenes to help me with me my blogging. Before I launch into the details of how I actually do this, here's a screenshot of the most recent portion of my mood board for this blog.
As you may have noticed, these are all the images that I've begun my blog posts with in the past two weeks. I don't use any fancy design software for this. I simply have an album set up in Aperture where I pull in images that I think would be good to lead my posts with, and then every week I spend quite a bit of time arranging and re-arranging the images until I'm happy with the mood board. I do this whilst referring to my draft editorial calendar and more often than not, I end up switching things up in the calendar to match the mood board layout that I'm happy with. In other words, this mood board actually ends up becoming a visual reference for my blogging schedule. If you have Lightroom instead of Aperture, you could easily do something similar by creating a collection.
But what's the point of all this?
1) The mood board above is essentially what people see when they click on our blog in Bloglovin. (Except in reverse order.) Have a look at the link and you'll see what I mean. Bloglovin pulls the first image from each blog post to generate the feed for each blog. And even more specifically, there are always three blog posts (and therefore three images) to each row. Now, you may wonder what the big deal is with Bloglovin. Whilst I don't have any hard stats on hand, my gut instinct is that an increasing number of people are following blogs using Bloglovin. In fact, when Google Reader closed down, my number of Pink Ronnie followers on Bloglovin jumped from 25 to over 1,000 in under a year. Out of all the social media channels and mediums out there, I personally think Bloglovin is the most effective one that drives traffic to your actual blog on a repeated basis. Hence I'm all for making our blog look good on Bloglovin to make people more inclined to subscribe to our feed.
2) As a graphic designer, it goes without saying that I'm a very visual person. As a blogger, this means that I'm more efficient at the writing part of blogging when I actually plan out in advance what images I'm going to use. When I can see the image(s), the words flow more easily.
3) The mood board allows me to see, at a glance, whether there is a cohesive look and feel to all the imagery on the blog. It's no secret that people respond well to a blog when there is a consistent brand, voice, and vision. With Pink Ronnie, because I'd been blogging there for twelve years, I always knew instinctively what I wanted my photos and images to look like - it was second nature to me. However, when you're starting a new blog (like this one), it can take a while to find your footing. Even if you're an old-time blogger, building a blog from scratch is a process that requires time, hard work, and a heap of creative planning and plotting behind the scenes. This is simply part of that process. The mood board helps me to build and maintain a clear visual voice for our blog.
Does anyone else out there do something similar for their blogs?