This month we chat to Robyn Thomas, blogger & founder of wellness blog BeWhole.co.za, and freelance copywriter with a triple major in Media and Writing as well as a certificate in copywriting from UCT. She shares some of her thoughts and tips with us on what it really means to be a full-time blogger/writer, why she carries three notebooks with her at all times, and how she deals with writer’s block.
Describe yourself in 1 sentence
Someone who wants to provide value among the fluff.
I cannot start my day without…
My morning pages.
It’s a little writing ritual where I fill three pages with scribbles of my first thoughts, without letting the pen leave the page. Another Copywriter introduced me to the task, and its creator – Julia Cameron, Author of the Artist’s Way. It really helps to organise my brain and release distracting thoughts in the morning.
What made you decide to start your blog, BeWhole.co.za?
I wanted to share tips and quotes – all kinds of useful information that I’d learnt – with people who might find it helpful. When I started writing about my natural hair, I didn’t expect to receive the response I did. It was quite encouraging and readers wanted to know more. I had researched quite a bit on how to maintain the health of my hair so it was a conversation that I was happy to dig deeper into.
I’ve since delved into many other holistic beauty topics that matter to me and my community.
I love what I do because…
I love sharing. Super cliché. I’m sorry – I’m rolling my eyes as well. But that’s just it.
It’s both a gift and skill to communicate a message to someone in a way that brings meaning and understanding. I enjoy everything about writing. The more I share, the more I learn from people who engage with my work (whether they like it, dislike it, or want to be a part of it).
The biggest challenges about writing a blog are…
1) Turning your hobby into a business
Not so much having others take you seriously but you consciously deciding that this ‘thing’ you enjoy can earn you a living. Our brains don’t naturally match work with fun; we find ourselves thinking that what feels exciting can’t seriously be a real job. Yet, people are doing it every day.
2) Being a solopreneur
Blogging is not Carrie Bradshaw typing away in a shimmering gown after a night out. It’s meetings and emails. It’s hours spent writing copy, doing research, and constantly asking why the WIFI is so slow.
Living the ‘Be Whole’ way means…
Sustaining your own growth.
How do you work with affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing has been a great way for me to continue writing the posts that my community enjoys, while featuring relative brands within articles and social media.
What analytical tools do you use to measure the performance of your site/ads?
Google Page speed – site performance
Google Analytics/ Jetpack – traffic
Sumo – web to social engagement
What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers/writers?
Don’t be robotic
You’re a person. Invite people to learn more about the person behind the post. You don’t have to share personal details – allow your personality to shine through in the language you use, and write about topics that are important to you.
Don’t write for everyone
Match your skills and interests to develop a niche that makes your service unique. Get to know your community to find out what they are interested in learning more of and find creative ways to collaborate with suitable brands.
Value relationship building
Having the right support, providing more value than required, and developing genuine offline relationships will make a big difference in the quantity and quality of opportunities you receive.
The best way to spend a wet, winter’s day in Cape Town?
Hot drinks and home-baked cake at an indoor market. Mojo Market is one of my faves.