Pearl Blay is the talented jewelry maker, craftswoman and writer behind the artisan blog, Beading Gem, where she showcases a collective melting pot of designer features, tutorials, how-to's and daily postings. Blay's 8+ years as veteran in the realm of blogging and her insights appeal to a wide variety of creatives searching for inspiration in the categories of design, jewelry and crafts. Blay constantly searches for newly emerging trends and exterior innovation as a way to simplify jewelry making for all readers.
Six Questions with Pearl:
1. As a blogger, what is the biggest challenge you face?
Getting enough time to produce a good publication. Writing is actually a small part of what a blogger does. Finding and researching the kind of content I think my audience wants to see is a huge time commitment. Independent bloggers like me are not just writers, but editors, publishers, publicists all rolled into one. I have to take care of many of the behind-the- scenes things readers don't see, like site maintenance and syndication. Promotion through social media is also an important preoccupation.
2. How do you stay on top of the cutting edge?
By keeping abreast of trends. By being creative and innovative in presenting content. By seizing every opportunity that comes along and turning it into something useful for my readership. But most of all, by being different from everyone else.
3. What is your favorite way to interact with your site viewers?
I communicate with them in a number of ways such social media and e-mail. But my most favorite way is through the blog comments. Sometimes readers share new ideas and thoughts and it is fun to have a discussion when that happens.
4. Are there any adjacent industries outside your own that you actively source for inspiration?
Photography is definitely my most important outside source of inspiration. Taking good jewelry photographs and improving on how-to pictorial presentations are two important things to craft bloggers like myself. Many other design industries like architecture, home decor, graphic design and so on often inspire me -- even through small things like shapes, patterns and color combinations.
5. Where do you see the future of blogs heading?
I see blogging continuing to grow in popularity. When I first started blogging 8 years ago, it was harder to find and curate good quality material for my blog. The situation is different today as blogging has literally exploded! The choices available are so varied and sometimes overwhelming to monitor.
Businesses increasingly find they need all three -- a website, blog and social media -- if they are to have an effective online presence. Websites are like storefronts. Social media help promote, but blogs are where businesses can demonstrate their expertise and experience. A blog is in fact the bridge between website and social media because the engagement with readers or customers can be much more in depth than say, 140 characters ever could be.
6. What makes your blog different? How can viewers leverage the content of your blog?
I think what makes my blog different is the constant sharing of great ideas, innovations and inspirations. I write many original jewelry making tutorials for free and curate the best from the web. These undoubtedly help many readers. The tips and tricks often spur more seasoned artisans to new ways of making jewelry. I also bring to their attention new books, products and materials which may help them in their craft hobby or business. Featuring inspirational designers show how far we can reach and in turn gather new fans of their own.
Many of my readers tell me that they love reading my blog first thing with their morning coffee. They are eager to see what I come up with in the daily post! As mine is a highly visual blog, some readers are not even crafters but those who appreciate creative pursuits and the eye candy they produce.