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Pop Culture Blogging
Pop Culture is a massive industry. It’s made up of so many bizarre and interesting forms of Entertainment that intersect each other in so many ways. With the advent of modern day technology, specifically social media and streaming television, Pop Culture is at the forefront of mainstream media and with it everyone has an opinion.
A Pop Culture Blog is the perfect way to get your opinion out there and heard by millions of potential readers. There’s also the potential to turn that Pop Culture passion into paid work with numerous freelance writing opportunities freely available. This step-by-step guide will take you through the ins and outs of setting up a Pop Culture Blog. From setting up your website to finding writing opportunities.
1. What Should I Write About?
African American businesswoman and current Chief Marketing Officer for Netflix, Bozoma Saint John, once said:
“Pop culture and entertainment can be dismissed as surface, but it’s not. It’s the language we all speak, and it’s the connection point between people all over the world.”
What’s your Niche?
With topics ranging from comic books to film, streaming tv to wrestling, and news affairs to music – suffice to say there’s a lot to choose from. What’s your Pop Culture niche? Where do you fit in the conversation? Better yet, what conversation do you want to start?
The answer is simple: write about your passions. Look inwardly and think to yourself : what do I enjoy? Do I enjoy talking about the excessively popular narcissistic traits of the Kardashians or do I want to talk about the highs and lows of Professional Wrestling?
This is a question only you can answer. However, make sure whatever you decide it’s a topic you’re wildly passionate about. Ongoing interest won’t keep you warm at night but it will help feed your inspiration when you hit a wall with writers block.
2. Pick a Blog Name
Besides the writing, there couldn’t be anything more important than choosing the right name for your Pop Culture Blog.
The right name will not only help establish your brand as a blogger, it will give your prospective audience a feel for what you’re about and what sort of blog they’re about to read.
For instance, I called this website Soda and Telepaths because I write about a lot of Science Fiction and Comic Books. But don’t take my word for it. Think about the larger blog sites who have turned their craft into a massive enterprise. A few that comes to mind are: Vice, The Onion, High Times, IGN, CBR, the list goes on.
Above all else, make sure you’re 110% happy with the name. The last thing people want is a blog that keeps changing its name.
After choosing a name, head over to your Bluehost account and purchase the domain name. Most domain names are available for as low as $11.99 a year.
3. Decide on a Blog Platform
When it comes to starting your Pop Culture Blog there are a few platform options out there. However, the two I find the most reliable and with the most support are Squarespace and WordPress.
Thanks to the most aggressive advertising strategy known to man, Squarespace is widely used by thousands of website owners. It’s highly intuitive, highly responsive and easy to use. However, Squarespace falls short in the department of modifying your website for specific website needs. I also find their website themes very limiting. Squarespace are still yet to provide a blogging theme that is as eye catching as its WordPress counterpart.
This is where WordPress comes in. WordPress has thousands of themes that fit any blogging need. They also have the ability to make modifications at the CSS level (if you’re a competent coder). On top of this, WordPress’ plugins and widgets library seems limitless in options.
For instance, the Types of Plugins I use include Short Pixel which gives the ability to shrink images so they don’t take up as much space. Then there’s a Mailchimp plugin so anyone wanting to subscribe to my newsletter can do so with ease.
4. Pick a Website Host
A website host stores all your website files, security protocols and just generally helps keep your website online and running. Think of them as your landlord providing space and you’re the one renting for $12 per month.
There are plenty of different host options out there. Though I would highly recommend Bluehost as they’re very professional, provide outstanding customer service and for only $11.99 per month they can help get your Pop Culture Blog up and running in no time at all.
Once you’ve finished setting up your blog, Bluehost can assist with other functionalities such as:
- Email setup and hosting
- Website Forwarding
- Privacy Settings
- File Management
- Account and Billing
5. Choose your Blogs Theme
Now that you’ve chosen your website name, registered your domain and setup Bluehost to use WordPress you’ll want to find the perfect theme for your Pop Culture Blog.
A WordPress Theme can best be described as the look and feel of your blog. Or what is referred to as the Frontend. As I mentioned earlier, there are thousands of WordPress Themes. Each with their own look and feel. Some are free while others are Premium (require a subscription fee).
At the start, I would recommend you go with a free theme. At least until you start to see a ROI in the form of a few hundred readers per month. Try and keep your costs down (at least at the beginning). Use your best judgement.
6. Post your First Pop Culture Article
Going back to what I mentioned earlier it’s highly desirable that you pick a niche in Pop Culture to write about. Unless you have plans of worldwide Pop Culture domination, it makes sense to stick to one specific area of interest in the beginning.
For me it was Comic Books. Then as time went by I started to review TV Shows and Film. However, remember to use your time wisely. Don’t let this new hobby of yours consume your every waking thought.
After a few articles you will find that your Pop Culture Blog may start to become a bit disorganised. This is where Organisation of your articles comes into play. The beauty of WordPress is you can sort and organise your articles and the layout of your Pop Culture Blog according to what best suits you.
Here are just a few items that you can customise:
- Site Menus
- Contact Form
This part of setting up your Pop Culture Blog can feel a little labor intensive (at least at the start). However, over time you’ll find this beneficial as the more customisation settings you change the more you’ll navigate your blog’s settings. In no time at all you’ll become a WordPress whizz.
7. Pop Culture Interviews are Key
As time goes by, you’ll find that what helps reader engagement is the longer they stay on your site. Interviews are great at helping out with this. There’s nothing more interesting then hearing (or reading) the story of a fellow creative from your Pop Culture niche. We, as humans, like stories.
Initially, you can start at the grassroots level by interviewing independent creators. However, as time goes by you may want to sink your teeth into some bigger fish. PR Companies are great for this and if you can demonstrate an average readership then Pop Culture Publicists will want to hear from you.
For example, I use Don’t Hide PR, who specialise in Comic Book Publicity and Exile PR who specialise in Horror Films. Both are fantastic businesses to work with and if Comic Books or Horror are your target niche then I’d highly recommend reaching out to them.
How you conduct your interviews is up to you but Id recommend doing email interviews to start with until you build up your confidence and are comfortable doing a Zoom/Skype session with a well known personality. Email interviews are, simply put, where you email a set of questions to the PR Agent and they will have their Client send the answers back.
Reviews are the foundations of hundreds, if not thousands, of Pop Culture blogs on the internet. Whether you’re looking to start the latest Cinephile blog on Horror Movies or to report on individual Wrestling matches – Reviews are a great way to lay the foundation of your Pop Culture Blog.
A great formula is to establish the point of your Article and then break it down into relevant subheadings. What I do with Soda and Telepaths is break down my Reviews (and the Reviews of my Contributors) into the following subheadings.
For Comic Book Reviews:
- What the Story’s about
- A brief overview of the Writer
- A brief overview of the Art
For Film Reviews:
- What the Film’s about
- The Story
- Problematic Issues
- Final Thoughts
With reviews there’s no hard and fast rule on how you break them down. On top of this, I would always recommend that you read back your Reviews out aloud before posting them. Especially, if you’re a stranger to the editing process. How an article reads can be your achilles’ heel if not edited correctly.
Grammarly – I would always recommend this website. It’s a free tool which uses AI to suggest editing, based on the type of audience you have in mind.
Star Review System – If you decide on WordPress as a platform then this is a great plugin to take advantage of. For only $9.99 per month you can add star ratings to your Reviews. A great tool for reader engagement and bragging rights.
9. Social Media
The importance of Social Media is paramount when running a Pop Culture Blog. Not only will it establish your credibility early on but it also gives you a sounding board to get your Articles in front of more eyes.
On top of this there are many writing communities for each niche. I would recommend joining a Facebook group that’s relevant to what you’re writing about. The twitter hashtag #amwriting is also a great “in” to meet other budding young writers like yourself. However, don’t spam your articles out to every Facebook group/Twitter account. Pretty soon it’ll establish you with a very poor reputation. Be genuine.
What did you think?
Has this article picqued your interest? Hopefully these steps have cleared up a few grey areas on how to go about starting a Pop Culture Blog.