Blogging for me was something I wanted to do for a while, so in 2016 I finally did it! To be very honest, I don’t feel major moves really happened until 2018 after my blogging break. It was a break due to my difficult pregnancy, but it ended up being a must needed break to help me re-strategize my brand.
Once I implemented some major brand changes in 2018, the momentum of my blog changed. I earned a 5-figure income in five months and worked with some major brands. Now Rick and I are preparing for me to go full-time blogging in the near future! Wow!
I get asked a lot about blogging and I alway am happy to answer, because I believe there is enough room for all of us! Anything that helps me, I want to share it with another fellow blogger. I am still learning and figuring this blogging world out, but I think the progress I have made so far has been impactful.
I have been making a list of all the questions I have been getting and going to make this post my guide to blogging. So I thought I would share my tips in Q&A format. You can use this as a guide and come back to reference any of the information here whenever needed.
I use a Canon 6D and most times a 50mm lens. It has helped with the quality of our images and so worth the investment. Before that we used a Canon Rebel SL1
My picture quality is still a work in progress, but I have made huge strides. For me, if the lighting is not right, we simply just don’t take the picture. I have gotten a lot more strict on the images I put out there and in turn I feel it has helped me grow a stronger brand. Before we would shoot when it was dark or in straight sun. Now we time our photos based on the when we will have the best lighting. Then if there is any minor correcting I do that in Lightroom.
I tried to but never found any that really worked for the look I was going. Now I just adjust everything manually in Lightroom.
My husband shoots 95% of my images, and the rest done by other professional photographers. Oh and my mom will shoot some of our family photos.
Youtube is your friend y’all! My husband already knew how to take portrait photos but blogging photos are different. It takes time to learn. Practice, practice, practice. Also, when you are trying to learn how to take photos, give yourself time to take photos. Whenever we rush they typically don’t turn out as good. Let’s all just say goodbye to blurry pictures, myself included! This is something we work on daily. Brands are less inclined to work with you if the pictures are blurry. So we work on improving our image quality all the time.
I feel like it somewhat chose me to be honest. A lot of my content is about family life so I believe it naturally attracts women that have families or that are wanting to start a family. For me, my content was the driving force behind what my demographic was.
I can’t give a specific amount of time because it is hard to say. However, you get what you put into it. I would say that I am working about full-time hours on my blog currently. Between the content creation, planning content, administrative blog business. But I love it! I am my own boss and I love that!
I remember it being on my heart to start, but feeling like I didn’t have enough material. I started talking myself out of it with a ton of excuses. Finally I just made the decision to do it. What did I have to lose? First step is to just START! Next, create the platform you plan to share your content. Then, I would recommend putting together a general content calendar to ensure you stay consistent with content. Oh and don’t forget get some type of camera that will give you quality images. Y’all I hate to say that this is it, but truly it is. The biggest is step is just take that first step. However, I will say that remember that just because you start doesn’t mean it will blow up right away. It will take time, be patient, and if it doesn’t explode day 1 that is OK! It doesn’t mean that it won’t. Be patient and give it time.
I found my niche and capitalized on it. I know that my niche is just showing our daily life. In the process I show a variety of topics, but always try to make each as relatable as possible. Everyone has something unique, find what that is based on your passions.
This may sound cliche, but content is king. It’s so real! When I have a post that performs better, my following grows more. Imagine if the content is always on point. How can you not grow? I can’t stress enough if there is an image that you don’t 100% don’t put it out there. Next, consistency, once I started regularly posting I saw a change. If you are wanted to have a brand you have to regular post content. I am not saying you have to do it twice a day or every day, but stay regular. Use the right hashtags, I’ve found when I look at my posts that I have gained the most followers it was post that I had the most impressions via hashtags. Be effective with how you hashtags.
I think it is great to do sporadic NICHE giveaways with like bloggers. The key is not to overdo it. I see some bloggers where just about every day they are doing and these large international giveaways. Let me simply ask you this before you make that decision to that type of giveaway. Will that market drive engagement? If the answer is no then you don’t want to do it. You don’t want your number count to just go up, you want your engagement to improve. Most importantly, I felt when I stopped just trying to get the most perfect picture, and started being more intentional with just being and transparent that’s when I saw the most traction. It was comforting because I realized you guys just want to see my everyday life and no extras.
Call me crazy but I would rather have 5,000 super engaged followers instead of 70,000 ghost accounts and a non-engaged audience. For me, if I am not connecting with women then I don’t have an influence. I don’t need large numbers. For me, that is not why I was called to have a social platform. I say all that to say when I post content I typically ask a question in my post? Because I love when I hear my communities opinion on various topics. Or to hear that I am not the only one going through whatever I may post about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your audience. However, when you do be prepared to engage back with them, and not just thanks!
I love talking with my audience and hearing their perspective. If you don’t let your audience know you value them enough to respond or engage why would they want to engage on your pictures? Next, Instagram stories are a great way to stay top of mind to your audience. And by IG stories I don’t just mean posting pictures that they cannot relate too. Talk to you audience, do polls, make your stories fun!
Content is key! If you have to create content that will make someone compelled to go to your site and read. I want my post to give value or tips to help someone in any capacity. So when I create my blog posts I have that mindset, and always ask myself will someone benefit from reading this. I don’t want my blog to merely just be just nice pictures of myself. I want it to help others. Consistency is also huge. When I was sporadically posting on my blog I feel like people wouldn’t remember to go to my blog. Now that I have regularly posted content, I find people are going to my blog because they know a new post will be up. My mission with my blog is be where daily women go there for advice, tips, and inspo.
Well this is definitely not easy. Especially now that my blog has grown. First, since I still work a full 40 I don’t overextend myself with campaigns. I am strict with my content calendar. You have to keep your planner and content calendar locked solid. And work on your content based on due date.
We also designate shoot days. I do a lot of as we are out photos or mirror pictures, but when I have more formal pictures we try to knock out multiple looks to capitalize on the time. I write my blog posts when the kids go to bed or in the morning on weeks. Assigning tasks for a particular days has been what has helped me keep everything together
Also, in this busy season it takes a village. My husband has helped out a ton with the doing more household duties to make sure I can meet deadline.
Running any type of business requires discipline and time-management. When you are your own boss it can be easy to let the day get away from you. Stay firm on your calendar. Also, when i am working on my content I am not just browsing on social media. Think about when you are at your corporate job, most jobs won’t let you just watch TV and be on social media all day. I creating content the same way.
I know there are many people that go broke trying to become blogger. For me, we didn’t have the luxury of going out and buying up the store to look good on the blog. So I would find how to re-purpose items in my closet. I got real creative. Even before the blog I have always had a spending budget that fit with our overall family budget. When I started blogging I would buy items that I could showcase on the blog.
I like to have a balanced wardrobe, so I typically am always wearing a splurge and then budget friendly items. With that, most of my clothing is under $50 so I can get a good bang for my buck on clothing. Don’t let the clothing budget stop you from blogging. Shop your closet and make what you have look great. If you do have the budget to buy items to showcase on your blog get classic pieces that you can wear many different ways.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to pitch to brands in exchange for product if you haven’t been able to monetize if it means it give you content for your blog.
Let me say first that when I started blogging it was April 2016. I got product only from April through January 2017. I really wasn’t blogging consistently, it was random content, quality was not where it needed to be. In January 2017 I stopped blogging consistently and then once I got pregnant and had a rough pregnancy and definitely wasn’t blogging then. When I stopped blogging I left with about 8,000 followers and hadn’t gotten paid deals. Let me say this that I was not really pitching, and I was not part of any influencer platforms.
I do know bloggers at even $6k that get paid deals. THEY ARE OUT THERE! Just stay motivated and PITCH as much as you can. Reach out to small to mid-size companies if you don’t feel you are getting any responses to large brands. I would carve out a little time each day just to pitch.
This will vary for each blogger, my monetization comes from brand partnerships and the other part through affiliate links. There are many affiliate networks. I applied and started using LiketoKnow.it. Affiliate networks where you make a small commission based on the items you promote and a consumer purchases the item from your link. LiketoKnow.it is not the only network out there! Currently the majority of my income comes from brand partnerships.
I know my worth. Simple as that. If there is a brand that will not compensate me for my rate and I don’t feel it is worth just product I walk away. I am a mom of 3, that works full time still. I value every moment I get with my children, and have to value my time accordingly.
Before I walk away from any deal I do go back to the brand and counter with an offer that I feel best will value the scope of work. If they cannot agree to that amount I will see if the brand would be willing to decrease the deliverable amount to match closer with my rate.
Let me also say there are some brands that I love their products so much that I am willing to do a product only exchange. It’s important to also value you the product you will be getting to see if it is worth it. Sometimes I am happy to accept product only.
Many brands now want influencers with good engagement and an authentic voice. While of course there are some brands that solely look at follower count, many want to see how your followers engage with you and if you had sell conversions. Let me say that I got myself out of the mindset of feeling like I am not worthy to work with specific types of brands. If you come into your pitch basically with a defeated demeanor or expecting to get a no, you will likely get a no. Be your advocate and confidence in what you offer.
Guys my blog was so worn down before I redid it. I had links that did work and the overall look of it just was not what I desired. Outside of your social channels this is the first place brands will look. This almost like your resume. If you have a half working site why would a brand want to work with you? I had to asked myself before I invested in a new site. My site was rundown. It was a major investment I am not going to lie, but I think it pays for itself. I even had multiple brands commend me on the new site. The functionality is so much better, and the aesthetic was exactly what I wanted. My site was completely custom, I got a new logo, and also moved from Blogger to WordPress. The whole process took about 3 months!
I used Blogger from 2016 to end of 2018. Then as mentioned above I switched to WordPress. There are others out there like Squarespace. Blogger was great starting out because it was very user friendly.
If you aren’t quite ready to make that investment don’t feel bad. There are other options. When I started blogging I used a blogging template from Etsy. Basically it gives your site a design that appears custom, at a fraction of the cost. Go to Etsy and type “blogger template” or “wordpress template”. I think I typed in black and gold blogger template, because my brand used to be black and gold. Most Etsy vendors will even install it for you. It is so worth paying them the extra $20 to $30!
Etsy is the bomb.com for all your small business and budget needs when you are on a budget. I have gotten the following:
Don’t feel discouraged if the budget is not there yet to get custom items, Etsy is very helpful. Remember starting a blog can be super affordable, so even if you desire at one point to have a custom made site. Take the first step to start on a budget friendly site, and if you desire to make an upgrade do it as budget and time allows.
It was still a work in progress last year, and this year I am working on getting it even more solid. I want to have the balance of candid and as life happens photos. However, I still also have to prioritize my partnerships. I am old school I feel more organized once I write everything down. So for my blog content calendar I start with a printable monthly blank calendar. I start by entering on my calendar all my brand partnerships that have a due date. I space it out so my sponsored content isn’t back to back. Then I fill in an equal balance of home, life, motherhood, and style. As you can imagine things I may make a few changes, I use an erasable pen to help. Once I get everything finalized I transfer it over to Co-schedule. You can omit the paper step and go right to Co-schedule.
Honestly, I assess my life and think of my daily activities and see if something I do on my daily life someone could benefit from. Example. I love doing organization projects so it’s fun sharing with how I accomplish a project. If you love working out figure out some fitness related posts that can allow you to share with your audience a topic that you are passionate about. You want to make sure that any work you do it is authentic to your voice. I have become very picky lately on the content I create because I want to ensure that I am it is real with my life.
I absolutely believe I did. Back in May of 2018 I hadn’t really started making money on the blog. I wasn’t getting a ton of deals, and I felt like at almost 10k followers I should have some paid deals. I took up my own advice and assess what things I could do to improve this, and I heard about this online course. The goal of the course is to give you tips that will help you then be successful with pitching and negotiating brand deals. It was an investment, but I have since gotten my money back from it and then some. You can read more about the course here. Once I took the course coupled with some other brand changes I have consistently monetized my blog.
I stand firm with only working with brands that are authentic to my voice and products I actually stand by. You never want to do a partnership solely for money. Your audience can sense this. While I love getting an extra coin, I will always pass on sponsored content that I cannot relate with. Know when to walk away.
Guys once I started posting content that was natural it truly just jumped off! What’s even better is that brands starting knocking at my door. Brands I would never in a million years would work with an influencer of my size. That is when I really realized how niche my brand was and that I had a lot to offer brands. Brands work with me in a few different ways:
Y’all I become like a private eye investigator. I simply just go to the brand I want to work with and go to their press page and see if there is a press email. Some brands will have it under their contact tab, it varies. Typically from my search engine I would type in for example Pottery Barn press contact. Sometimes you get lucky and it will be easy to get access too. If you are on Linkedin I’ve heard from some blogger you can access the media contact there as well.
First, when I first started blogging my pitch was all wrong. I was making my pitches all about the items I wanted from them. I learned from the Pitch it Perfect course that you have to make your pitch about how you can best support the brand. It was somewhat foolish of me to think that a brand would want to work with me when I am not sharing how I will help the brand. When a brand gives you their dollars they are doing it because they believe you will help the brand. So I change my email to be based on how partnering with me will best support the brand. Of course I do share information about myself and what I can offer, but I make it priority to best serve the brand.
I also, used to make copy and paste my pitch template and just change the brand name. That was a mistake as well. While do I have a general points that I discuss I make my pitch to be custom to the brand that I working with. Each brand is different, and I never want a brand to feel that I have sent them a cookie cutter email. Take the extra couple minutes and create a email that really is specific to the brand. When I did this I saw a difference in the amount of brands actually responding.
Guys…I pitch to brands and do not get responses. That is ok! Don’t let it discourage you. If you don’t ever get any bites then reassess your pitch. When I wasn’t getting any bites on pitching that’s when I decided to take the Pitch it Perfect to help me refine my pitch. I would highly recommend this if you are struggling with landing deals or if you don’t even know how to pitch at all. I typically lead with sharing a bit about myself, then go into why I love the brand, after that go into why I would like to support them, and then close the email.
This is hard to narrow it down to just one thing. If I were to say one thing I would say be tunnel vision on your own journey. Everyone and their mom says they are a blogger now. And It can get easy to compare yourself and to have the desire to try to do what others “successful” bloggers are doing. Don’t try to emulate what another blogger is doing. Find your voice and be your own unique. Also, don’t measure your success based on others successes. Guys I feel like comparing yourself to other is the quickest way to get your discouraged and quitting. Be you, and trust that if you are perfecting your craft good things will come from it.
It can be difficult in this industry comparing yourself to others. I can’t stress enough to trust your own process. Your growth will look different than others and it may be slower than others. I know some people that got going around the same time as me and are at 100k already. (Killin it!) and I know others that started with me and aren’t quite at 10k yet. All of that is ok!
Continue to be consistent, and most importantly have fun during this journey! I know I may not have the largest following of them all but I enjoy connecting with women and hopefully something I share will help even one person make a change for the better! I would love to hear one thing this post has been helpful with, so leave your thoughts in a comment below!
YOU GOT THIS!