It's a new year — time for a fresh start. Welcome to our 15-day series on how to fall (back) in love with your blog. The series is all about stepping back, re-evaluating things and making sure you're still connecting with your blog. Here's what you won't find in this series: articles on analytics, plug-ins, sponsored content, ad networks and the like. What you will find is tips and strategies to stay inspired, motivated and pushing your own boundaries, all while loving what you do.

Day 15 - Step Outside Your Realm | Food Bloggers of Canada

For the previous 14 days we've been giving you tips and ideas to help you fall back in love with your food blog — or any type of blog for that matter. We've asked you to think about what you love and don't love about blogging, to stop comparing what you do to others, and how to deal with fear, disappointment, criticism and blog stress points.

We've also asked you to embrace change and growth, to create time for yourself and to find inspiration through new surroundings and to fill your creative well. We've showed you ways to explore and use your new-found creativity and some new ideas to try. And we've encouraged you to talk with your audience and tell them your story or the stories of others.

But today, on our final day of this 15 day series, we're going to encourage you to do something completely different. Literally.

One Big Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes we see bloggers making is that they become all-consumed by the blogging genre they've chosen to the point where they have tunnel vision. They only look at what, in the case of most of you reading, other food bloggers are doing.

This can be dangerous. Without realizing it, you stop exploring new avenues. You're more likely to, unintentionally, imitate the other bloggers in your genre. And you're more likely to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to everyone around you — namely other food bloggers!

And worst of all, you're more likely to burn out.

Stay Current — But Don't Follow the Herd

If you're a food blogger, especially one who earns their income from food blogging, then yes, it's important that you're up to date on your industry and what others around you are doing — what works and what doesn't.

But, there are literally thousands and thousands of food blogs in the world. There are at least 2000 in Canada and tens of thousands in the US. Your goal is to be unique and find a way to stand out.

It might sound impossible when you see the numbers but it's not. As we've already discussed, nobody can be as unique as you are. That's a fact. But if you're doing what everyone else is, you're just going to blend in. You need to find a way to be different.

Here's a classic example we've seen repeated over and over again: blog themes.

When we first started out with FBC nearly five years ago it felt like everyone was using the Thesis theme.  You could spot it instantly when you landed on about 75 percent of food blogs. Then Thesis fell out of favour and everyone migrated to Genesis. And then ... the Foodie Pro theme arrived! And overnight everyone moved to that. And all that happens is that everyone looks the same.

It's a giant blending of the food blogs. And it's not how you stand out.

RELATED:  The 31 Day Blog Challenge Day 16: Find 5 New Sources of Inspiration

Take a Giant Step Outside Your Realm

The blog theme is just one very obvious example of how it can be easy to develop tunnel vision in your genre. There are so many more.

If you want to stand out, if you want to be different, you have to start putting the emphasis on you and what you bring to the table.  And … you need to start exploring what the rest of the world has to offer outside of food blogging.

Start reading blogs that have nothing to do with food. Dissect them: How are they laid out? What style of photography do they use? How do they interact with their audiences? How do they encourage community? How can you adapt that to food?

Look at magazine layouts. Print may be old school but it's still one of the most outstanding examples of layout design and content production. What can you take inspiration from?

Broaden your circle of online and off-line friends. People who are not in the food or nutrition or beverage line of work. Talk to designers and fashion bloggers, photographers, filmmakers, scientists, librarians, doctors, school teachers, florists ...  Ask questions about what they do. Suck everything in like a sponge and let it simmer in your brain. Think about how you can use that to make what you do more interesting and unique.

Look at the work other photographers, stylists and artists do that's not about food. Be open to it and how you can be inspired by it.

Oh and speaking of libraries ... they're not the old school dusty, dry places you might associate with the word library. They're becoming masters of managing digital content. Check out the Inspiration Lab that the Vancouver Public Library offers, where you can book time with the latest technology and software to create your own digital content and stories as well as get access to experts. Check to see if your local library system offers something similar.

The possibilities are endless, but you just need to open up your world and make it bigger, not narrower. It will help you develop both as a creative and a person, and help you find a way to shine!

We hope you've enjoyed this 15 day series to fall (back) in love with blogging. We hope the next time you hit a rut or feel discouraged you'll come back and reread some of the posts. Share with us some of the things that have helped you love blogging again!

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15 days to fall (back) in love with your blog!

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