So May 2019 marked the month I decided to really start blogging. It had always been a hidden passion of mine and something people always told me I should be doing; but May was when I finally decided to take the leap. Being a newbie to social media, and genuinely not really caring to much to be on it, I first started by posting my fashionable outfits on the gram. These were usually my Sunday slay since that was really the only day of the week I was able to get dressed up. My hubby was my first photographer, but he was soon fired for multiple red eye shots and weird angles of me gazing into nowhere with one eye closed. My now 12 year old son was next up to bat, which worked out for a while, but seriously, an eleven year old boy’s patience is not long enough to get all the shots I needed. I then wanted to upgrade my content so I starting working with a professional photographer.
People started to look forward to my Sunday outfits and craved more fashion pics; who was I not to oblige. I was liking my new found role and now when people asked what DO YOU DO; I would answer in a proud tone; I’m a blogger. Then it dawned on me that posting pics on IG didn’t make me a blogger, because I didn’t have an actual blog. So fast forward a few months after diligence and research, I was now an official blogger. Here are a few of my takeaways after taking the leap.
There is never the right or perfect time to start something. You won’t have everything figured out and that’s okay. From someone who is the least tech savvy person, I had no idea how to design a website. But guess what, I did some research; googled, contacted hosts sites, tapped into resources and asked lots of questions. I downloaded a theme I liked from Pipdig (recommended by a fellow blogger) and watched all of their video tutorials. and voila, after one week I had created my own blog. In hindsight, I think this was the better choice than having someone do my website for me. I knew I would have to update my content on a regular basis, so I wanted to learn the ropes. This helped me avoid having to continually depend on and pay someone else.
Invest In your Content:
Its okay to start with what you have but you should always have a plan on how you can consistently be better. Like I mentioned, my son was my first real photographer, but if you want to work with brands and have people take you seriously; you must invest in yourself. I worked with a few photographers until I found one who captured the aesthetic that I wanted and was within my budget. Visuals are EVERYTHING on social media. It’s what grabs people’s attention so make sure that your’s are captivating and professional. However, it can also be expensive so make sure you stay within a budget. Give yourself a time limit for shoots and learn how to do somethings yourself. I taught myself lightroom (google and youtube are your friends) and downloaded on my phone. This allows me to edit my own pics if I’m in a time crunch or need extra images edited.
Don’t Dwell on the Amount of Followers:
Instagram can be a little oversaturated and easy to get caught up in how many followers that you have. This will only have you comparing yourself to others. The number of followers can be important for some, but there’s room for everyone; micro influencers and macro. The numbers that matter are really engagement. You can have 100,000 followers and only 1 percent or less of those people engaging with you. Quality over quantity is definitely the way to go. Focus on engaging and servicing the followers you have now. You want your reach and followers to be organic. As long as you stay true to yourself and stay in your lane, you’ll attract the right audience.
Provide Quality Content:
Yes there are a lot of bloggers out there, but they are not you! Don’t try to keep up with everyone else by posting a bunch of nonsense. You don’t have to post everyday to be relevant and compete with others. Yes, we all have that filler content here and there but don’t make it a habit. People will quickly get bored and are more likely to unfollow when you are posting just to post; and posting too much. Make sure what your posting is relevant and engaging, so that even if you only post once a week people will be on the edge of their seats awaiting your pop up in their timeline.
Plan your Photoshoots:
Planning ahead will save you time and money. Once you’ve done a few photoshoots you can gage how much time it takes per look. For me its about 15-20 minutes per look; averaging about 5-6 looks per shoot. Once I did 11 looks in one shoot (about 3 hours total). I know; ya girl was tiiired but it was worth it! Knocking out as many looks per shoot as you can allows me to only average one shoot per month.
I plan my outfits out ahead of time as well as the location. Lay out, try on and take pics in your outfits. This will help you gather all of the necessary components when packing your outfits. You also will have an idea how it will appear on camera to avoid unflattering outfits. Knowing the location and scouting it before hand allows you to plan which outfit you will shoot where. Of course you can improvise when you get there, but this will save you lots of time (in this case time is definitely money) from figuring out where you want to shoot a certain look.
Like I mentioned above, I also choose how many looks I want to shoot. I may not always get through all of them depending on different circumstances. That being said, I shoot my “must have” outfits first and save those looks I’m on the fence about for last. Doing multiple looks in one shoot also means I only have to worry about hair and makeup for one day (another time and money saver). I usually do a neutral look that will compliment all of my outfits. Honestly, no one has the time or energy to be switching up makeup looks mid-shoot. If i want a bold lip, I save those outfits for last so I only have to change my lipstick once.
Monetize Your Blog:
This is a tip I learned from two of my faves Awed by Monica and Toronto Shay. Yes, you can just love to blog and share information, but your expertise is also a valuable component that you should be able to monetize. Not to mention this is a full time job for some, and a lot of time and effort is put into finding, sharing and organizing such information. Now this is something I am still working on but definitely have a plan for this. There are several ways you can make money from your blog including running advertisements, paid sponsorships and the oh so popular affiliate links.
Affiliate links are probably how a lot of bloggers make money through their actual blog. One of the most popular Rewardstyle or liketoknowit is an affiliate program that allows you to gain a commission when people shop through your links. Now a lot of these programs you do have to be accepted into. When I first started, i had about 150 followers, I applied to Rewardstyle and was rejected. I then found 21buttons which accepts you with no base criteria, however they stopped offering commission to US users. I recently applied to Rewardstyle again; I figured why not give it a shot. I still have not reached even 1000 followers, but I was my producing better quality content and on a more consistent basis than before, and I was accepted. The moral is to never give up and try try again.
Make Friends With Other Bloggers:
With so an oversaturated amount of bloggers out there its easy to look at everyone as competition. But let me tell you that I have learned so much and gained instafriends in other bloggers; some who I’ve never even met in person. There are many out there who will answer your dms and give you advice, not looking for anything in return. They are in the same boat; many who have had the same questions and concerns at some point in their blogger career. Many are more than willing to share their experiences and help lead you in the right direction. Not to mention; it’s cool to be friends with someone and you finally get to actually meet them in person at in event or while traveling to another city. Now you have a familiar blogger friend to greet you and hang out with.
Joining a blogger groups is a great way to do this without feeling awkward. Find a group with similar interests or blog topics and reach out. I am apart of a great group of Philadelphia bloggers. It’s great because not only do we support each others posts and content but we let each other in on events going on that may be of interest. Don’t be afraid to make friends and support others. Theres plenty of room for all of us and you never know what connections you will make.
Now this is only the beginning for me; with just six months in the game, but I plan to be a veteran in this field. I still have lots to learn, but have learned a lot from other bloggers, through trial and error and experience. Stay tuned for my one year; I’m sure I will have lot more tips and tricks to spill.