How did Grit & Banter begin?
For a long time I was very social-media resistant. I didn’t get a Facebook until college, and I only just caved to all the other main platforms a few years ago. But once I started working in the nonprofit sector (my first post-grad job), I realized that social media was a critical tool for connecting with supporters and sharing our mission, so I caught myself up to speed, fast.
It quickly became a great way for me to also stay in touch with my family and friends; former colleagues, volunteers, and teachers; and people I’ve met while traveling. But there was an unintended side effect: I would do something like post photos from a trip to London, and then somehow find myself typing up an entire suggested itinerary, dining recommendations, and other tips for my former co-worker’s cousin’s roommate. (The Internet is weird, OK?).
Finally, in 2017, I thought that maybe it would be worth writing a blog. I was spending more and more time writing trip recaps (among other things) for friends, and even more significantly, I was starting to use Facebook as a platform to share my thoughts on certain topics and passions – and it was resonating with total strangers.
I was still somewhat hesitant because I wasn’t certain how many people would be interested in reading what I wrote, but I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.
It’s been such a fun experiment and a great way for me to flex those old English major muscles and build some new tech skills!
How did you set up your blog?
G&B is a WordPress blog, and the platform is relatively simple to use. You just need some basic computer savvy and patience.
All my “tech” skills are self-taught, and I’ve learned a lot through trial-and-error, and through Googling and watching YouTube tutorials whenever I get really stuck. I’ve even taken continuing education classes in marketing at my local community college and have LOVED being back in the classroom. I am a big believer in lifelong learning (this is what happens when your after-school job was at a public library!) and think that you can figure out almost anything with a proper Internet connection.
In early 2018 I re-branded the entire Grit & Banter site, and it was much easier to set up the second time around, now that I know what I’m doing!
Are all the photos on G&B your own? What photography equipment do you use?
A lot of my photos are my own, and (shhh, dirty little blogger secret!), I don’t actually have any camera equipment. I take all my photos on my iPhone X, and use a lot of apps to help make them web-ready. Sometimes, though, I don’t have the appropriate images for a post. Most of those photos come from Pexels, a free stock photo site.
What’s something you wish you knew before you started blogging?
I wish I had been less afraid of starting a blog. I held off for so long for a number of reasons, but eventually I realized that I missed writing, and that even if no one read Grit & Banter, I would still enjoy having a creative outlet. It’s been a very freeing feeling, and the blogging community is so supportive and encouraging!
It’s also led to some very cool freelance gigs, and so far everyone I’ve worked with has been incredibly welcoming. I’ve learned A TON through these freelance opportunities and am forever grateful for them.
What’s the hardest part about blogging?
Sticking to a regular blogging schedule! I hardcore sucked at this my first year, but I’ve resolved to be more consistent about writing. It’s challenging to juggle a full-time career, a social life, a gym routine, a passion for volunteering, and to still find time to do your laundry, run to the store, read a good book, AND blog.
Do you get paid for your content? Do you ever collaborate with brands or write sponsored posts?
I do a lot of freelancing (writing, marketing, content creation, and social media strategy), and very much enjoy it. I would love to work with you! Simply visit my Contact page or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and references.
I am very picky about sponsored posts, because I want them to be a proper fit. (I’m never going to be a rugged outdoors adventurer, LOL). G&B is mostly just a fun hobby, and so I’m fortunate that I can say no to things that I don’t think align with G&B’s goals.
I’m certainly open to collaborations should you think your product, company, cause, etc., fits with G&B’s style.
P.S. Bloggers are legally required to disclose sponsored content, so I promise you’ll know if this is the case!
Has your work ever appeared anywhere else?
You travel a lot. How do you afford to do so?
I actually wrote an entire blog post about this! Travel can be very affordable if you take the time to plan, and skip out on the luxury accommodations. 😜