One of the most frequently asked questions I get is about how to start a blog, or any advice I would give to new and upcoming bloggers. I started this blog in December of 2015. I have learned a lot of things the hard way, and have gained a lot of knowledge and advice along the way. So I thought I would share what advice I pass on to others. This post is not just for fashion bloggers. You can apply this to any type of influencing/social media. If you would like me to expand on any of these topics, or have further questions I did not cover, feel free to send me an email!
1. Post Consistently
When you are first starting out blogging sometimes it can be hard to get a lot of content prepared/photographed if you are working full time or have a busy schedule. Even now it is sometimes hard to find the time to photograph outfits. If you are a fashion blogger, or interested in starting a blog, a great tip would to be photograph multiple outfits at a time. So you are prepared for the week and can schedule posts.
It is so important to always be creating new content. I recommend posting at least once a day on Instagram and try to keep up on your stories. The more you post onto your instastories the more you will pop up at the top of your followers feeds.
When it comes to scheduling blog posts, I recommend setting a schedule and sticking to it. Some weeks you might get a little off, but brands as well as followers, like to have consistency and like to anticipate when you are going to have posts up. You don’t have to have a blog post up everyday, but you can do: Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Or Tuesdays and Thursdays. As long as you are trying to stick to that schedule it will pay off in the long run. Brands and followers will notice. If it works better for you, you can draft up all your blog posts over the weekend so they will be scheduled to automatically post during the week. Find what works best for you and your schedule.
2. Stay True To Yourself
I feel like this is one of the top pieces of advice people need to remember when they are creating their brand. There are a million influencers and blogs out there. So ask yourself: how do you stand out? What makes you unique? There are so many answers, and it takes time to find your niche in the blogging/influencing world. But as long as you are being real and staying true to yourself, people will love and admire that.
Start by posting things you use and are passionate about. Remember it is okay to say ‘no’ to brands and opportunities. If you are a fashion blogger and someone asks you to review a product not related to fashion, or something you would never personally use, you can say no. Your readers can tell when you are not being authentic. Try to put as much of you into your posts as possible.
I feel like as a blogger it has taken awhile to kind of really discover my niche. You have to find out what you really want to focus on, and what connects with your readers. I love having a bright feed full of color, as well as wearing red. My readers know that I am notorious for wearing red and that it’s my favorite color to wear. I also have loved incorporating self love into my posts. It has been new, but I have received so many positive responses from my readers. I am still figuring out what works for me and I am sure I will always continue to do so.
No two people are the same, and neither is their style. As long as you are showing the real you, you will find success and people will love that!
3. Take Quality Photos
When it comes to blogging the presentation and quality of your photos is VERY important. People like professional looking photos, so one of the very first things I did when I started my blog was buy a DSLR. My first DSLR was a Canon SL1. I also purchased a 50mm 1.8 lens to help my photos look more professional as well. It is a great starter camera and lens. The 50mm lens is a very common lens for bloggers to upgrade to from the lens the camera comes with. It is fairly inexpensive and provides your photos with that ‘bokeh’ effect.
We have since upgraded our camera as well as lens. I still use my 50 mm, but more for up close product shots. My husband takes most of my photos. We shoot with a Canon 5d Mark III and an 85mm 1.8 lens when we are shooting all my outfit pictures. The 5d Mark III is an expensive camera. We bought it used, and didn’t buy it until I started actually making decent money off of my blog. So I would recommend buying that camera if 1) you are dedicated to your blog/will be taking lots of photos, and 2) when you know how to manually shoot with a DSLR.
It doesn’t matter what camera you start out with, as long as you are taking the time to edit them and make them look uniform. I like to shoot in RAW and edit all my photos through Lightroom. I like all my photos to look the same and “uniform,” so when it comes time to post them onto Instagram they flow flawlessly. I use ‘A Color Story’ Presets. The most common one I use is ‘Everyday’ from the Essentials Pack ($39). It is also available through the ‘Color Story’ app.
4. Don’t Loose Momentum & Stay Passionate
One thing people don’t understand when starting a blog is that it is actually a lot of work. It is a lot of work to get it started and a lot of work to keep up with it. I have seen so many people get so excited about an idea/project, but after about 6 months or so it starts to fizzle out. I know in the beginning it can be really exciting to share this creative side of yourself, but I believe it is so important to understand what it is going to take to keep up this blog, and to set goals for yourself.
Robbie Tripp once mentioned something that has always stuck with me. He said most projects/plans take about 5 years to be where you want to be. If you don’t have 5 years to dedicate to this project, maybe you should rethink it. That advice has always resonated with me, because it is SO TRUE. Once you start a blog, you aren’t going to wake up and instantly have hundreds of thousands of followers and a million emails in your inbox. Growing a following and brand takes time. If you look at all these bloggers that have 800,000 followers or more, they have been blogging for 5 years or more. If you want your blog to be your business, treat it like a business. You are only going to get as much out of it as you put in. So be patient and consistent. Consistency is key!
I would recommend at the beginning stages of blogging to write down a list of goals for yourself and your blog.
– brands you want to work with
– places you want to go
– what you want your image to be
– what you want your ‘brand’ to tell people
– posts you want to make happen
– where you see this going
– where you want to be in 5 years
– follower goals
– marketing goals
And then what you are going to do to achieve those goals.
I love setting goals for myself and then asking myself, “what steps do I need to take to achieve those goals?” Where do I need to go, who do I need to work with, what image do I need to achieve to be where I want?
5. Pitch Brands Your Ideas
Another thing people ask me is, “when can I start pitching brands? Or reaching out to brands I want to work with?” The answer is: IMMEDIATELY. Pitching brands is something I wish someone would have talked to me about when I first started blogging. There is no handbook when it comes to figuring these things out, even though sometimes I wish there was, but you don’t have to have a certain amount of followers or likes to reach out to brands. You can start right away! Granted, some bigger brands might not work with beginning bloggers, but don’t ever let that deter your dreams and goals.
I had so many brands turn me down when I first started. Once I really started gaining followers and getting into blogging I had some of those brands turn around and want to work together. So just because someone says “no” now, doesn’t mean they won’t say “yes” in the future.
I’ll be honest, I never really thought about reaching out to brands until another influencer had talked about it. Once I started dedicating more time to my blog, I was sending out emails left and right, because I figured the worst thing they could say was, “no.” Just because one brand tells me “no” doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t want to work with me. The only person stopping you from pursuing your dreams is you!
I was sending between 25-50 emails a day pitching brands on ideas I have. Of course I didn’t hear back from a lot of those brands, so I sent follow up emails a week after. I still didn’t hear back from a lot of those brands, but a lot of brands said yes! Even if I heard one “yes” out of 50, it would be worth it to me, because I am putting myself out there and doing something about my dreams and goals.
Another big piece of advice I can give you is to put yourself out there! Start pitching brands, because sometimes the brand you think is mostly likely going to say “no” will say “yes.” It will open up so many opportunities and you will grow and learn as a person and brand.
I hope these tips have helped! They are things I try to do everyday. They are things I try to remember when it gets hard to blog and create. The world is always looking for more creators, and you never know which one is going to change the world.
If you have any other questions about these tips that I went over today, or have other questions about blogging/instagram, feel free to send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org