Erin Loechner’s design blog Design For Mankind is honored as one of the top 50 design blogs in the world. Take a look at what Erin has to say about her blog, how she got started, and tips for successful blogging.
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Tell us a little about yourself.
Let’s see. I’m originally from a small town in Indiana, then moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduating university. Six years later and I’m back in Indiana, living close to my family. I’m a family girl all the way!
Other than that, I love pickles, cheese and coffee (not necessarily together) and read anything I can get my hands on. Total bookworm.
How did you become interested in design/decorating?
I’ve always been verrrry into decorating, but never really surrounded myself with the right community to foster that sort of love. This sounds crazy, but I always considered home design to be more vanity than anything else — why does it matter how your home looks? But the more I study it, the more I realize that it makes a tremendous impact on your life –when your space is clean, organized and surrounded by items you love, you’re happier.
So, to answer your question, I’m sort of a self-taught design junkie. I know what I love (which is a LOT of different styles!), and simply like to share those things. I consider my love for design as less of a curator/writer and more of a design ambassador — shouting to the rooftops about good design, with plenty of enthusiasm!
Why did you start blogging?
I think the same reason most people started blogging — I needed the creative stimulation, a way to categorize my finds and an outlet in which to explore my community.
Where does your inspiration come from when writing articles?
Oh gracious, everywhere. I wrote an article last week about chalkboard paint b/c I ran into an old elementary school teacher of mine. I think as a writer, it’s key to keep your brain open and present at all times. You really never know what you’re going to fall into.
Who taught you or how did you learn the technical (design, setup, etc) side to blogging?
Oh, I’m fairly blogging illiterate. I taught myself Blogger in like 2003 or something (I’ve always kept a personal blog for as long as I can remember) and then sort of learned as I went. When it came time to change servers due to traffic issues, I switched to WordPress w/ the help of a fantastic programmer (Hi, Rob!).
How did you build a community around your blog ?
I really threw myself into my blog at the beginning — commenting, making friends, building content. I released a monthly magazine that turned out to be pretty successful, and I think a lot of my readers stuck around because of my dedication to sharing design.
I think it always helps to infuse personality into your blog. To this date, the posts that gain the most traffic are ones where I’m a bit more vulnerable and/or personal than the others. Sure, it’s a design blog, but essentially, readers are there to sneak a peek at someone else’s perspective. Never be afraid of your perspective.
Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
I think blogging is such a saturated market these days that you really have to stand out to make it work. Spend some time thinking about what you’re bringing to the table, what you’ll do differently and perhaps even establish an editorial calendar that works for you. Of course, you can’t take blogging too seriously, but it does help to approach your work with some level of commitment.
Name three websites you couldn’t live without.
Oooh, I’ll always be a die-hard fan of flickr.com, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say gmail was my saving grace. Beyond that, I love my friend Jeff’s website, Booooooom.com (he’s got an eye for all things awesome) and I can’t live without KIOSK, my favorite New York shop’s site.
What are your three favorite Etsy shops and why?
Hmm, I don’t shop Etsy a lot (I’m not much of a spender!) but I do love visiting and seeing new work from my e-friends: The Small Object, Thief and Bandit and NinaInvorm.
Where do yo use your blog in ten years?
Oh, dear — I have no idea. Will blogging even be around in ten years? I hope so. Regardless, I always like to think of my blog as a catalyst for other opportunities. I’d love to finally publish my book, or perhaps re-release Mankind Mag in some form. I have a lot of various dreams, but the best part of them is that they sort of revolve around my blog in some fashion. I have so, so much to thank for Design For Mankind and the readers that support the site.