Since I have started blogging, I have gone through quite a few stages. There was the experimental, ‘not telling anyone yet’ stage. Next came the learning phase where I got some foundation laid out and furthered my skills. Afterwards, things started to just naturally progress. I met more people, added more social sites, and learned a few tricks along the way. One thing really does lead to the next.
What I love about it is that it never gets boring. I learn something new every day, either with collaborating with other brands or bloggers, discovering more on the backend of things, or learning about different ways to monetize. There is so much I have learned in the last year and a half and so much more I have yet to dive into and discover. It is absolutely an adventure and has happily surprised me in many ways.
The blog doesn’t ever feel like work simply because I enjoy it. It is the creative outlet I desperately seek daily and it gives me a project, job, and goal that I am in complete control over which is nice at this phase of life where we are not usually the boss yet.
One of the best surprises was my growth on Instagram as I have found that to be one source that brings a lot of eyes to my content and attracts followers to my actual writing- which is the main love behind the whole endeavor. It grew fairly quickly and honestly there is no secret other than a solid hustle. The tricky part is that this is different for everyone. Certain relationships with brands and bloggers, tags, and my freelane editing role at POPSUGAR gave me a boost and I am very lucky as it doesn’t always work out that way. It is important to remember that there is no recipe other than hard work, making an effort to find your niche, and being persistent.
However, there are things that I have come to discover have given me an extra edge in my blogging game. Read on to learn this blogger tips…
Make sure you love it
It simply won’t succeed out unless you do. It is, of course, work. Time management skills are also absolutely essential, especially if you have a day job as most do, but you need to thoroughly enjoy the process. The smallest of victories should feel great because it’s yours but if you don’t appreciate those or love it enough or if you expect it to happen over night, it simply won’t hold your attention for the long haul. Also, make sure you like the content you are writing about! Maybe you think you’re a travel blogger but then dabble into some things and find out you are destined to be a food blogger. Write about what you like, are good at, and feel like you could have the most content for.
Reach out and network
Don’t like to? Well sorry sista, you are going to have to get over that! And fast. Blogging is all about scratching each other’s backs and helping one another out. Don’t be embarrassed. Every early blogger started by asking for help and asking questions and you know what the best part is? I have made SO many WONDERFUL new friends out of the deal. So forget about that moment of feeling stupid for reaching out, just do it and odds are, you will gain something fantastic out of it!
Go to events
Once you start making friends in your blogging community, you will find that there are lots of events for different brands, bars, companies, restaurants, etc. out there. You will start to see the same faces and that is another way to naturally network. This is also a great way to get inspired for content!
Recruit friends and family for help
We don’t have photographers following us in our lives so we have to ask for help from the people that spend life with us. Don’t be bashful now! This is just another thing you have to move on from if you want to succeed and honestly, after a while, you won’t even feel embarrassed. I for sure worried about this and realized my reward was so worth blushing a bit over. Everyone of my family members has taken pictures for me, my boyfriend is used to the casual phone/camera handover, and my closest friends usually get more into than I do. At my friend’s bachelorette party recently I enjoyed watching them play Creative Director to help me get some good shots in. It is fun to involve everyone and makes it feel like a team effort.
Join networks. affiliations, and influencer marketing platforms/companies
Networks like Blog Her and Her Campus help you put your content out there. Affiliations through Linkshare or Rakatuken help you make commission. Shopstyle and rewardStyle do the same and can be very lucrative when executed correctly. Linqia, Collectively, and Federate Media can essentially act like agents between you and brands, helping you gain some exposure, have fun experiences, and grow your following. Some of these programs you need to be accepted as you need to qualify via numbers but it absolutely happens over time if you stay consistent. Just constantly reach out and make connections and apply.
Upgrade your site
Make sure you have a hosting site that gives you full range of all the widgets and space necessary to pimp it out! I use WordPress.org myself and am extremely happy with it. Also, make sure that you have a layout that is easy to read. It takes some time to develop this and upgrade appropriately as it is a learning experience. Getting a design can also be expensive too so be sure of what you want and budget appropriately. For JRCG, I still plan to upate my layout and design by the end of the year again as I am starting to visualize my voice and branding more as I go. (More on that below).
Schedule posts ahead of time
It is important to post at least 2-3 times a week. If you want readers to return, you have to give them incentive to do so! If this seems stressful, make sure you are always couple weeks ahead and that you have a go-to list or series that you can refer to when you are in a time crunch kinda week!
Post on social media daily
This one is hard just because we all have that “um, am I being annoying?” in the back of our minds. I have a personal Instagram and a professional one aka my blog’s. I look at it like just that. I post everyday because I view my blog as a business and I need to keep it relevant. It is how I gain momentum. However, I am completely at ease with the idea that some people can unfollow me if they so please. It is their prerogative and that’s totally okay! The reasons for posting on the blog are different than the reasons for posting personally. Adopting this mentality may help.
Find your “filter”
Pictures are important for your feed. What you post to Instagram or Facebook or Twitter usually comes straight from your blog and there needs to be an essence of your style in there. A sense of cohesiveness tends to attract followers, and loyal ones at that, particularly if your style rings true for them. So, pick a filter and a general style of how you edit and present your photos and stay persistent with it.
Have a raw outline for your brand/voice
This one takes time and evolves and grows as you do. I’m sure my voice and interests will change as I marry and have children just as I know my voice and narrative already has if I would have started this at 22. Go with flow and know your audience will likely grow with you but develop a certain voice that they can depend on and keep that as solid as possible throughout. There’s a balance there to master.