It’s hard to believe that we’re in the midst of the Holiday season and that the new year is oh so close, but I know that many people are gearing up to launch their own blogs, so I wanted to share a few tips for all the newbies out there. While some may think that this industry is over-saturated or dying (AS IF!), it’s still relatively young and keeps evolving monthly, if not daily. While how we blog may change, there are still a few things that new (and old) bloggers can implement in order to keep this industry growing while actually having fun with it.
Have something real to say.
Authenticity is needed in a big way in the blogging community, but only if it’s genuine. Many times, bloggers assume this means being positive 24/7 or constantly posting inspirational quotes as captions on Instagram and I’m here to tell you…that’s not it. When I say have something to say, I mean be yourself. Be interesting. Be REAL. Tell your readers about your day, your family, ANYTHING, just be real. People want to connect with that person, not the one spouting quotes all day. Trust me when I say that that get’s old real fast and that people will start to glaze over your posts.
Blog first, post to social media second.
While Instagram is all the rage right now, remember that you don’t own that platform and that it could disappear any day (hello Myspace). Focus your storytelling on your blog first, and then use your social media channels to get people to come back to your little corner on the internet. If your goal is to build a real community where people will support you across the board, don’t neglect your site. Have fun with insta, but always treat your own blog like your home.
Build trust and loyalty vs. having a “sell, sell, sell” approach to content.
If your goal is to monetize your platform one day, how you choose to approach it is what will determine both your success at it and/or your burnout rate. We all love to shop and share our finds, but if you find yourself constantly shopping for the sake of posting something new to “sell”, you’re doing it wrong. Most of the bloggers that get caught up in the affiliate link/swipe up rat race are NOT keeping those clothes; they’re taking it back after its shot and/or wearing it once and reselling it (please note, this is different from a real partnership with a brand). If this is your jam, then by all means continue, but know that if you go into blogging like this, there is NO guarantee that people are going to buy what you’re linking just because you post it, and you may go broke or burnout if it’s a facade. Some bloggers are able to successfully shop and share frequently because they have built trust with their readers beyond posting an outfit (Emma Hill is a blogger that does this quite well because of HOW she does her product reviews and try-on sessions) but it’s not common. Do you know how many bloggers are out there that have swipe up + LTKI capabilities but can’t actually convert to sales??? There are a lot of smoke and mirrors when it comes to blogging, so don’t get caught up in the foolishness, ya’ll.
Invest in your photography.
Whether you hire a photographer to work with or get a camera yourself, invest in your imagery. Yes, the iphone is great for quick shots on portrait mode and can come through in a crunch when you need it, but if you’re trying to use your blog for something bigger, you’re going to have to bite the bullet for something better. Again, if you’re a blogger that’s only focused on shopping and pushing product via IG then carry on, but every single blogger that I know that has built a legitimate brand from theirs eventually upgraded. There’s only so much a filter/preset can do to your photo. Even though this model is old I still recommend it (with this lens) as a great starter DSLR for bloggers but there are so many options out there. Do what works for your budget.
Connect with your target audience (not just other bloggers)
Unless you’re an infopreneur and the content you’re creating is specifically geared towards your fellow bloggers, they are NOT your target audience. Yes, it’s cool to connect with other blogger babes (and I have a ton that I love), but don’t get so caught up in building a following with other bloggers that you neglect the people outside of that. Why? Because if you ever plan to monetize your content, 9/10 a blogger is NOT going to use your affiliate link. They’re too busy trying to do the exact thing as you! You will have some that will support (I personally do it all the time), but my point is, when brands are looking for bloggers to collaborate with, they don’t really want a blogger that has a million comments from other bloggers (looking at you, comment pods), they want bloggers that have a solid audience of people that are invested in your content so much that they want to support you and will buy what you share. THAT is where real influence comes in, so don’t neglect the real people in your audience.
Consistency will be your best growth hack.
Not photo filters, not constant collaborations, not loop giveaways. Blogging consistently will always be the number one thing to help you grow an authentic following. It is tempting to follow the crowd and do giveaways all the time but the thing to remember is that once you start doing those, you will have to continue doing them in order to maintain. I see it happen every day. Blogger joins in a “harmless” loop giveaway, gains anywhere from 500 to 2,000 followers during it and then immediately starts to lose them once it’s over. They wait a few weeks, feel like they’re growing too slow, and then do another one. And so it goes where it appears they have a large following, but it doesn’t really convert to anything substantial and that number doesn’t really matter. Don’t be that blogger. Be consistent with that you’re creating, pay attention to your analytics to see what your audience is engaging with and don’t be afraid to switch it up if you find your growth being stagnant. There’s nothing wrong with doing a giveaway from time to time, but DON’T let that be what you rely on for growth. You want a real audience that engages with your content across the board, so be consistent and take your time creating content that both you and your readers love.
While this industry has become competitive, please don’t think that you have to compromise who you are or do shady tactics in order to grow or be successful with it. When I look at all of the OG bloggers that I admire who have launched brands and turned their platforms into something even bigger than they ever imagined, they all have the above tips in place-and have been following them since they began. Blogging is fun and is a great way to use your voice and to also connect with people beyond your current circle, so don’t be discouraged by all of the craziness that gets amplified from time to time. As cliched as it sounds, being true to yourself and remembering your why will always be the way to go.
If you’re a blogger, what do you wish you had known when you started? Comment below!