One of my goals for 2020 is to be more consistent on here and write content for you guys! This post has been in my queue for a while but finally ready to share! I received a lot of interest on Instagram around blogging and how to get started. I pulled some of your questions and tried to address them. I hope these questions help you start a blog and inform you about the industry.
For background, I started this blog back in July of 2017 and focused on travel and fashion. After having Noah, I have started focusing some of my content on family and being a mom and still talking about affordable fashion finds. This blog is currently my hobby and passion project, as I also have a full time job.
Let’s get to the questions.
How do you start?
A lot of people commented and said they wanted to start a blog but didn’t know where to start. Before I started my blog, I had a loose plan and wrote down some thoughts on paper on what I wanted this to be. It’s super important to ask yourself WHY you want to do this and write some goals you want to reach your first year of blogging. You’ll always go back to these if you’re ever questioning yourself, so it’s important to have them!
Once you know what you want to focus on or talk about, write down blog topic ideas. If you can list more than 5-10, you’re on a roll! Seems like it’ll be some rich territory for you and you have a passion for it! The next step is to create your site (mine is on WordPress) and start writing! Before I made my blog public, I made sure I wrote 5 blog posts so people could get a taste of what to expect and get to know me and my writing. So I recommend having some fun content on there.
If you’re planning on having other social channels for your blog, make sure you create accounts on whatever channel you want to post (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). Be sure it’s all consistent when it comes to account names, whether that’s you’re blog name or just your name! And of course make sure it hasn’t been taken! Be sure you set up business accounts for these platforms if you want to be able to access analytics to see post performance, which I highly recommend.
How do you grow/gain followers?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a simple equation for this? It seems like everyone is all about getting followers and sometimes lets that define them or their success. Don’t let it get to you and get discouraged! Everyone has to start from somewhere. Most of the really successful bloggers have been doing it for YEARS so don’t compare yourself. Instagram should only be a fraction of your overall blog/business, unless that’s all you really want to focus on.
I always tell people, invest in your blog! It’s the only thing you own and have control of. So work on getting those monthly views up and driving traffic to your blog. Instagram can come and go and it’s constantly changing. So don’t make that your only focus.
Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now that I got that off my chest. So in terms of followers, that’s not going to happen overnight. I’ve been doing this for 2.5 years and have a little over 21k followers on Instagram. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but every year I continue to grow, which I’m proud of. I know people that have been doing it as long as I have and are over 200k and that’s ok! You have to be patient and dedicated. Growing your Instagram following means constantly being on your phone. It’s exhausting!
Instagram Quick Tips:
Use hashtags– hashtags help your post get discovered therefore can get you more exposure and a potential new follow
Engage with others– engage with people that comment on your post, comment on their post, find others that are similar and engage with their content! Make sure this is authentic though, don’t do it for the follows. I have made so many friendships over this and genuinely engaging with other people and their content. They’ll happily support you back.
Utilize your analytics– Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s performing well and figure out what you need to continue or stop doing. Figure out what time of the day it’s better to post and learn more about your audience. Who are they? Male/female, etc.
Network– Attend events, hand out business cards, reach out to people on instagram, make connections with local businesses- the sky is the limit! You need to put yourself out there and make friends that are in the industry.
How do you make income?
I started my blog because it was my passion. I love finding good deals and sharing them! Then I started finding out that I could also get money while doing it, which was exciting. I have a full time job, so this has become my hobby and I enjoy doing it. It’s not my source of income so it’s nice not having that pressure of keeping money coming in consistently.
There are two main ways a blogger can make money: affiliate links (commission) and brand partnerships. Affiliate links allow brands to track purchases people make through a blogger’s links. I am a member of Rewardstyle and that’s how I earn my commission. It depends per brand/store on what that commission is. It can be anywhere from 5-10%. It’s a small amount but can add up if you have a loyal following and people are utilizing your links to purchase. It’s free for the consumer, so why not support someone by just using their links! The second method I mentioned was brand partnerships, which is where you get the most money. That’s when you create content for a brand (posts) and when you start seeing those #ad on posts. Basically you work together with a brand to promote their product, whether it’s on your blog or social channels. There’s a contract involved outlining what they want from you and what the compensation is along with brand guidelines on what you can and cannot do.
Just as a side note, I barely made any money my first year of blogging. It was mostly commission. And when you do make that money, don’t forget to file taxes!! It’s nice getting that money but you gotta report that to the government. This will be my first year filing taxes, so I’ll write a blog post about my experience later on!
How to pitch to companies?
Just like any other job, you can’t stand around and wait for it to come to your doorstep. You gotta pursue, apply, etc. Most of the times when I work with a brand it’s because I reached out to them. I get some partnerships that they find my account and want to work with me but I do a lot of reaching out (or pitching).
When you reach out, keep it short and sweet. Tell them who you are, link to your blog and write a blurb about it (what you write about, etc.). Tell them why you’re reaching out and why you like their brand and how it resonates with your audience. Include a media kit if you have one! And if you’re wondering what a media kit is, it’s a PDF that talks about your blog, your audience across channels, stats, and pricing on posts.
How do you come up with content?
In an ideal world of someone who is super organized, you have a calendar and plan out your content weeks in advance. I USED to do this but haven’t gotten back to it. I need to be better about it. Now that I have partnerships with brands, I add those to a calendar so I at least know when those posts need to go live to meet my deadlines. I also like to space out my sponsored content so it’s not back to back ads.
I try to post at least 4 times a week and since I work full time, I can only shoot my content on the weekends because of the lighting. Sometimes I’m able to shoot content inside my house which is nice, but most of the time I prefer doing my outfit photos outside. Recently, I’ve just been going with the flow and shooting as I go versus having a bank of photos. As a fashion blogger, you want to post new clothes right away because otherwise they sell out and people are annoyed they can’t buy the exact item. So everything has to be pretty quick in terms of turnaround.
My advice is, don’t be like me and plan out a content calendar 🙂 Especially when you’re just starting out. It’s important to be consistent.
Is the market too saturated to start?
This is the last question I’ll answer, I thought it was interesting. Blogging is definitely not what it was 10 years ago and it seems like EVERYONE is doing it, myself included 🙂 I do think it’s saturated but NOT too saturated to START! I wouldn’t let that stop. Yes, it might be your dream to be like that perfect girl on instagram that is a stay at home mom with hundreds of thousands of followers, is always traveling and making money by “posting photos” but it all takes time and we can’t all be like that! Like I said, it comes down to your goals and WHY you want to do this. If it’s something you’re passionate about who cares if you have 500 followers. I see a lot of people with an inauthentic following and I know it’ll catch up to them. Just don’t believe everything you see and focus on YOU! I say GO FOR IT!
Okay sorry that was a lot. I tried to pick out the most common questions and definitely did not get to all of them. So if you have any, I can do a follow up post. DM me or comment below! Always happy to chat one on one if you have any specific questions or need some coaching. If interested, reach out and I can provide a quote for one on one time.
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