91 Magazine is an independent interiors and lifestyle magazine filled with beautiful inspiration to fill space around you with things you love. Launched in 2011 by founder Caroline Rowland, the magazine grew from Caroline’s feeling that mainstream magazines weren’t capturing her interest anymore. The IBA Blog talks to Caroline about their big Best Interior Magazine win at the IBAs last year and what’s next for their blog…
What inspired you to start your blog?
When I relaunched 91 Magazine in 2016, I decided it was time to add an accompanying blog to the 91 portfolio. I’d written my own blog Patchwork Harmony since 2008, but hadn’t had the time to start one for 91 as well. With the magazine relaunch I had put together an editorial team so it made it easier to spread the work around. Basically we wanted to fill the gap between the two issues of the magazine that we publish each year, so that our readers would still have regular content to enjoy. There is only so much we can fit onto the pages of the magazine and there is so much lovely stuff out there that we want to share, so the blog is a great place for it!
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
When people ask me this, my first piece of advice is always: just start! So often, I see people who want to start blogging but procrastinate for ages and also feel like it has to perfect straight away. With blogging I found that you learn best on the job. I’ve learnt a lot about blogging over the years and some of my other tips are, try to have a bit of a schedule – when I do this I am more inclined to meet those deadlines and get content up there; if I don’t it often becomes bottom of the list and doesn’t get done. The other thing is, do it not because you think you can make money from it, but because you love writing about your chosen subject. If you do this, you will create good content and eventually you will start picking up paid work, if you start with money in mind your content will suffer as you will be trying to please others rather than writing passionately about what you love.
Where do you think your blog will take you now?
I’m not sure the blog will take me anywhere specifically! We have occasional sponsored posts but generally we are just trying to create content that will inspire our readers and keep them in touch with us while we are busy creating the next issue of the magazine. We also recently launched a free e-zine which goes only to our mailing list subscribers – this is like a mini version of the magazine which again is to fill the gap between issues of the print magazine, and is a little free gift to our loyal following.
Is the blog a vital part of 91 Magazine? How does it enhance the magazine?
Yes definitely. As I’ve said, it is where our readers can come while they await the new issue, and of course having a strong online presence helps to promote the magazine and hopefully broaden our reach over time. Our Instagram account is really important for us too, so having fresh content on the blog means we in turn have fresh content for Instagram, drawing in our readers to come and visit the website, read the blog and potentially buy the magazine too.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far through blogging?
You gotta keep on slogging when you are blogging! ;) I’ll have been blogging for 10 years this year (2018) and it is hard work! it is easy to get disheartened if your numbers don’t seem high enough, or you are not getting enough work coming in or whatever, but you just gotta keep going with it. You have to love it though and you have to keep moving with the times too. When I started, social media didn’t even exist! You have to continue to learn and adapt and immerse yourself in the community otherwise you will get left behind!