Continuing with my successful blogger interview series, I am honored that I had the chance to interview Ronique Gibson, founder of Stagetecture blog.
Stagetecture combines Ronique’s passion for home staging and love for architecture to find great solutions for her readers and their families. Packed full of organization tips, home décor and furniture reviews, and home staging ideas, Stagetecture always provides interesting reading content.
I met Ronique on LinkedIn in a blog discussion forum, and within the first two emails, we’ve really hit it off. I’ve been impressed with her enthusiasm to see her blog grow and her willingness to reach out to other bloggers.
Many of you know I am an avid proponent of building blogger relations and reaching out to bloggers and helping them in return. Ronique understands and believes this as well, and I have no doubt her blog will continue to gain readership and a following.
Here is my interview with Ronique:
Why did you decide to start Stagetecture?
Stagetecture grew from an idea of combining my passion for home staging and my love of architecture. It started off being strictly a home staging business blog that would help everyday homeowners stage their homes to sell. However, as the housing market grew worse, everyday homeowners were already losing money on their properties, and the thought of adding on home staging was daunting. Instead of giving up, I expanded to my everyday hobby of home organization and helping families come up with solutions to everyday tasks.
When did you start your blog? How has your readership grown since then?
I started my blog June 2009, mostly with a few of my friends and family members as readers. Then, I began connecting on social media sites, and my readership grew. Now, the search engines are starting to find me, which is very exciting! Today, my readers are subscribers, social media fans, search engine finds, and still my loyal friends and family.
How did you promote your blog and attract readers when you were starting out?
When I started my blog, my readership was mostly through word of mouth and my Facebook business page. First, I started only putting my posts on Facebook, but realized readers wanted to read about a wide area of home topics. So, I started branching off into décor, do-it-yourself, green living, and other interesting topics.
You have used LinkedIn to build better blogger relations and increase blog readership. What tips would you give other business bloggers on how to use LinkedIn to advance their blog?
LinkedIn is a great tool. I first got hooked through the LinkedIn groups. The concept of reading discussions, news, and other information was exciting and new. In my everyday life, I didn’t know how to reach a target audience with my blog. Through LinkedIn, I have a community of people with like-minded interests, and we feed off of each other.
Recently through LinkedIn, I’ve had great guest bloggers on my site and have even become a contributor on an Architectural / Engineering industry social media site. The best way to start is to jump into some groups of interest, then post some discussions, and link back to your site. Interact with your peers, and visit others discussions. It’s a great place to meet, greet, network, and learn.
Has the design or format of your blog changed since you started? What prompted these changes?
Yes! Originally, my blog was just a gallery of photos of my home staging. Then, I started visiting other blogs and realized mine was boring. I also noticed that I would stay on blogs longer if they had pretty pictures. I adapted the same logic. I began to bring in photos to explain my posts, and then started linking to resources to help readers find what they needed. I’m getting ready to launch my new website in a few weeks, and it is totally different! It will still have the great photos, but instead of only my blog, it will feature navigation through my site By Room, Inspiration, Services, and eventually, downloadable E-books that readers can take to the store with them!
What two pieces of advice would you give to bloggers?
Passion: Choose your area of blogging that you have a passion for, but that also has depth. One mistake bloggers make in the beginning is choosing a topic that they don’t know a lot about, or a topic that is too narrow in scope, and they get burned out. Spend some time going through your daily life and figuring out which subjects you are insanely passionate about, that have enough growth for you and your readers for years to come.
Also, be your own pep squad: This tip is a fundamental one of life, and it’s essential to be able to motivate yourself. If you enjoy what you blog about, keep it up, and don’t lose the drive because no one is leaving comments on your blog. If you are lucky enough to receive comments, but they aren’t as favorable as you would have liked, keep writing. Blogging can be both exciting and lonely, in the same day. Remember, you are your best and worst reader. Motivate yourself to reach deeper, grow stronger, and most importantly . . . have fun doing it!
Where do you see your blog going?
I eventually hope to have more reader interaction. I would love for readers to send in their photos of their homes and ask questions, and for other viewers to rate them. I’d also like to eventually have podcasts that readers could listen to, and do interviews with select readers in their homes. My blog has been a baby for this last year, and it’s getting ready to become a teenager. I want it to reflect me, but also to help the consumer. At the beginning of each day, I want readers to say, “I can’t wait to see what’s on Stagetecture today!”
Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and LEED Accredited Professional based out of Jacksonville, Florida. She uses her background in architecture, home staging, organization, and her unique style of helping families with everyday issues. Ranging from home staging, décor, and organization to helping mom and dad get out of the house on time in the morning! Ronique loves helping you make your home more livable, functional, and beautiful. Ronique and her husband, Garrick, live with their three children Andre, Demetri, and Avrielle.