We recently joined the crew at Junior in Melbourne to listen to Lucy Feagins dish out 10 tips in 10 minutes. The advice stemmed from her experience both in the film industry as a set dresser and now in her current role as founder and full-time publisher of the popular blog, The Design Files. She drew quite a crowd (the bar actually ran out of food) and let us in on a few behind-the-scenes secrets of her online publishing success.
Thanks to the tweeting prowess of Tim Cruickshank (it was his first try at live tweeting) we have all 10 tips, right here:
Lean into it
Creative ideas often never come to fruition because creatives are notorious perfectionists! Striving for perfection and knowing exactly how to achieve it often means we never even get started. Don’t be so worried about starting with a bang, instead start with a ‘lean’. Lean into a project, even if you don’t quite know what the outcome will be yet… it sure beats never getting started.
Put it the hours
It’s obvious, but if you’re working in the creative industry you need to be prepared to put in the hard work and hours. And if you work for yourself, don’t even entertain the idea of working a 40 hour week!
Be free and generous
It’s all about the readership, especially if you’re running a blog/magazine/newspaper/website like The Design Files. The tone should have a generous spirit, and online content should always be free.
Edited beats exhaustive
Do a few things well. Not many things badly. Especially for The Design Files, choosing one good story a day instead of ten mediocre ones is key.
Be like clockwork. Reliable, regular, daily
In terms of running a blog, regularity is a key force in maintaining readership and loyalty. Try and be disciplined and make regular contact with your readers – whether that be daily or at a minimum, once a week. Find out what works for you.
Ask advice, but trust your intuition first
No one know your project, your client or your readership better than you. Ask advice, but in the end, be confident that you are the best qualified to make the final decision – trust your own intuition.
Don’t be too obsessed by what other people are doing
It’s healthy to know what your competition is doing but don’t make that your only motivator for moving forward with your own work. Sometimes it’s good to instead focus on growing your own business and doing something a little different to what others are doing. It’s really hard to come up with an original idea if your head is full of reference material!
Make it pretty
A key factor is the success of The Design Files is the choice of images and making a pleasant and easy reading experience. Think about the end-user and what would appeal to them. Attention spans online are short – grab your reader with the most beautiful image you can source, and make it an original image that hasn’t been seen before if possible.
Have a nemesis
It’s good to have healthy competition as it will help to push you further. Being aware of your competitor is a perfect motivator. There is not greater motivation than having someone five steps behind you.
Love your readers to death
In the case of The Design Files, the readers are its lifeblood. Respect your readers by having a clear editorial policy, generating consistently great content, responding to reader correspondence where you can, and rewarding readers with giveaways and promotions that are genuinely awesome.