Adding a more personal flair to book blogging has been the latest trend that most of us seem to be aiming for. I know I’ve made some changes over the past couple of years to do this! I write a lot more life-oriented posts on Bookmark Lit and many of them don’t even involve books at all. Because we’ve all noticed a decline in people reading or reacting to book reviews, we’re expanding a little bit by making mini review wrap-ups to get the point across, or doing whatever we can to boost other posts that people may enjoy more. I know I’m making a lot of generalizations here, but I’ve noticed these trends or comments on SO many blogs lately.
Today I wanted to talk about how to incorporate your personal life more into your blog, either as a way of mixing up content OR slowly seguing into a blog that features more personal than bookish. I’d say my blog is probably 60-70% bookish and 40-30% personal at this point, depending on the week. I sloooowly moved into adding more personal posts over the past few years to get here. Here are some tips for how to do it and what to talk about:
Develop a Weekly or Monthly “Schedule”
Pick a certain day of the week to post your personal stuff. Alternatively, think about how many times per month in general you hope to discuss something other than books. Make a tentative schedule for each month based on that.
I don’t like to be too bogged down in scheduling posts based on certain days of the week, but I do have a blogging schedule overall. I try to mix in a good amount of personal posts and bookish posts each week, and that overflows into the monthly planning, obviously. Coming up with a tentative schedule for each blogging week or month (depending on how much you like to post) can be key in determining how many personal posts you’re hoping to incorporate. I post on the blog about 15-25 days per month. How many of those days have personal posts vs. bookish posts (or some kind of combination?). I’m going to look at October 2017 as an arbitrary month that didn’t involve holiday posts or yearly wrap-ups.
Light blue = bookish posts
Green = personal posts
I posted 26 times in the time frame shown above, from September 25th through October 31st. 19 posts are mostly about books (light blue color on the calendar). 7 posts are personal and not at all about books. That means about 73% of my posts were about books. That’s a big majority, but I still posted quite a bit about personal stuff. I’m sure people appreciate the mix (hopefully!) by throwing in some other topics. I discussed TV shows (2), the fall season (2), five things, podcast recommendations, and my monthly personal wrap-up. You can decide that every Monday is going to be a personal post or that you want to include 3 personal posts each month, and just go from there.
Plan Topics and Relate Them to Books
Brainstorm a list of your hobbies and interests, then see how they can correlate to books. Some will be more obvious than others, but the easiest ideas are making recommendations for recipes/ shows/ movies/ etc. based on books.
One of the easiest ways to make the transition away from 24/7 book blogging is to actually think of your hobbies or certain topics that DO relate to books still. You bring some of your personal life into the blog by connecting them to certain books or book-related topics. If you love cooking, music, clothes, photography, etc., there are plenty of ways to connect those topics to specific books. Some post ideas:
- Favorite places to read, including personal pictures of those spots
- Matching books with foods they remind you of or recipes characters would like (etc.)
- Matching books with music they remind you of or make a playlist for the main character of your fave songs
- Take pictures of yourself wearing your favorite outfits and holding matching books
- List some of your personality traits and match them with similar book characters
- Make book recommendations for your family members
Plan Topics and Don’t Relate Them to Books
Share your interests in a way that you’d enjoy reading about. This could be as easy as sharing life updates or monthly favorites, or pulling together general recommendation lists from other types of media without connecting them to books. Are you good at organizing or exercising? Write a how-to post. You get it.
The next step is to think about the things you love to do and decide how to write posts about them without connecting them to books. Seems pretty self-explanatory, but it’ll be easier to add in these posts if you set the stage with some of the posts mentioned above. If you shared a recipe based on your favorite book, it’ll be a natural progression to then share a post with favorite recipes in general. Some post ideas:
- Favorite recipes you’ve made recently (or all-time favorites)
- Monthly music round-ups and playlists
- Pictures you’ve taken recently and the stories they tell about your life/hobbies/etc.
- Talk about some of the shows and movies you’ve loved lately
- Share your planners and organizational tips
- Favorite monthly purchases or things in general
- If We Were Having Coffee or Currently post
- Recommendations for specific movie genres, podcasts you like, etc. – other media recs
Get Inspired by Others
Check out other memes and link-ups that occur within the lifestyle/non-book blog arena. What types of content do they post that you like reading about? What posts do you wish your fellow book bloggers wrote about when you’re feeling nosy about their personal lives?
One of the best ways to expand your blogging horizons is to read non-book blogs. I started following more lifestyle blogs and have drawn so much inspiration from them in my posts. There are plenty of them out there with different flavors of what they post. I always credit the original inspiration source and usually do my own spin on the topic anyways, but I have to say – I love when people are inspired by my blog and write their own posts! Here are some examples of posts I’ve written based on things I’ve seen on lifestyle blogs (linking only to the original blogs – you can find my versions using the search bar):
- If We Were Having Coffee, from The Perpetual Page-Turner (who saw it on a lifestyle blog)
- Currently, from The Daily Tay, Gimme Some Oven, and Living In Yellow
- Five Things and Three Things (different types of posts), both from See You in a Porridge
- Stories Behind my Instagram Top 9, from A Nesting Nomad
- Things I Can’t Live Without and Morning Routines, from Not Entirely Perfect
To-Do List and Quick Rules of Thumb:
- Set your goal ahead of time so you can plan juuuust how personal/life-oriented you want to be. Set a specific day of the week or month, if that helps you. Look at how often you post and decide what percentage you want to target – whichever method makes the most sense based on how intense you are about blogging!
- Brainstorm a list of your favorite hobbies and interests outside of books. This could be anything! For a quick list: music, cooking/baking, travel, exercise/fitness, podcasts, TV shows, movies, graphic design, fashion, organization, technology, sports, planners/bullet journal, anime… the list goes on.
- Connect some of the items on your list to books you’ve read or hope to read. Brainstorm post ideas that marry the two together, either in a list form or some kind of photo feature.
- Imagine that you AREN’T a book blogger. What would you write about? Refer to your list of hobbies again to help. Come up with some post topics or titles and go from there. Just write them!
- Expand your horizons by checking out non-book blogs, or draw some inspiration from lifestyle bloggers (or food, fashion, etc.) and make your own somewhat related posts.
- If you already talk about your personal life in your wrap-up posts but always feel like you could add more details, go for it. Make a separate post with your monthly non-bookish favorites, what you did, what you’re planning in your life for next month, etc.