I’ve been blogging for almost six years now & it’s crazy to look back on the journey this passion project-turned-professional career has taken me on. When I started To Be Bright in January 2013 during my senior year in college, I had NO plan or intention for it to become anything more than a platform to help me land a job once I graduated. And now it’s my full-time job – crazy, right!?
If we rewind back to 2013-2015, choosing to pursue a career as a blogger would be viewed as a risky pursuit. In all fairness, it was a completely undeveloped industry & only began to surface as a qualified, advertising platform for brands when Instagram came about. Of course, there are bloggers out there who made their mark before social media was even a thing which I give a standing ovation for. But today’s world of blogging is so incredibly different from when I first decided to take it seriously. Nowadays, starting a blog or becoming a social influencer is somewhat expected.
The blogging industry is constantly disrupted, adapting to the constant changing of “presumed-yet-undefined rules” of how to make it big as a profitable personal brand/business. Because of this, I’ve had to learn to adapt and change my strategy as an influencer CONSTANTLY to keep up & stay relevant. It’s a 24/7 job, one you constantly have to work on to maintain its stability; it’s not designed for those who aren’t self-driven, not willing to be vulnerable, or afraid of failure. That’s why most blogs out there never make it to the profit podium.
All of this being said, there are definitely things I learned the hard way from while on this journey of mine. Mistakes are inevitable no matter what career you pursue and without them, we wouldn’t be encouraged to improve on our weaknesses. For every mistake I’ve made, it’s led me to where I am today & taking me where I’m destined to go. Nonetheless, there are a few rookie mistakes I made that could’ve saved myself some time & stress if I knew to be aware of them.
If you’re new to blogging & starting to take it seriously, here are a few things to keep in mind & work to improve on sooner rather than later:
GET NICHE-SPECIFIC WITH THE CONTENT YOU’RE OFFERING
There’s a common misconception that the more content you offer, the bigger the reach & opportunities to collaborate with brands. That’s not true. When you try to make all kinds of content (i.e. food recipes, travel, outfits) work at once, you’re actually losing the focus of your audience who’s showing up for what you’ve been most consistent with. Seeing different types of post categories is distracting, as well as gives off the notion that you’re not certain of what your blog is about. So try niching down to one or 3-4 specific things you’d like to focus your blog on, as well as what comes naturally for you to talk about.
In the beginning, I wanted to cover everything from my DIY projects, to what’s in my jewelry box, to my graphic design projects (when still in college) on top of my daily outfits & lifestyle posts. As you can tell, I dropped what wasn’t working for me because it became too much to maintain and create quality content for. I needed to niche down and focus on what I was truly passionate about sharing 5 days a week. What does come easy for me to write about are the outfits I put together, decorating my apartment, my fitness routine, and sharing blogging tips in posts like this. That’s not to say I don’t share a beauty or recipe post once in a while, but it’s not as powerful as the content that my readers are showing up for on a daily basis.
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S WORKING
Just because you posted something new to your blog doesn’t mean it’s a hit. You’d be surprised how often a certain blog post performs in comparison to another. That’s why it’s super important to review your monthly Google Analytics reports to see what posts are performing the best, as well as where your content is being discovered (i.e. Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) Having this kind of data is SO EFFECTIVE & beneficial when it comes to understanding what your audience is appreciating the most from your blog, so be wise to use it to your advantage from the start.
Another important thing to pay attention to is YOUR AUDIENCE. At the end of the day, they’re choosing to follow you because you’ve provided them with some kind of answer or resource to a question or dilemma they were having (i.e. what to wear to a holiday party, etc.) Be sure to check in with your followers on IG and literally ASK them what they would like to see more of – the Questions & Poll features on IG Stories is super helpful when generating a call-to-action so you can get the proper feedback needed. Ultimately, the most important thing is to show up for your audience and allow them to feel like you have their best interest(s) in mind; that’s what will drive more people to your platform & keep them coming back for more.
BE HUNGRY, BUT NOT STARVING
You want to be hungry to do more with the platform you’re creating; whether that means networking with industry colleagues & elites, listening to podcasts on ways to improve, or pitching your little heart out to brands. You should always be busy working to climb the next step up the ladder, but not so desperate that you develop blinders along the way.
I’ll be the first to admit that once I felt like I understood or “mastered” something, that I didn’t need to pay attention to it any longer. I became too focused on the next “meal” on my personal agenda to accomplish, in the hopes it would benefit me quicker with the rewards of compensation or discovery. The thing is: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “MASTERING” ANYTHING. What I should’ve done is work on improving what I’ve already established (i.e. Email Newsletter) and get stronger with its content available for its subscribers, so it can support me in the long run with a larger, loyal audience that brands are looking for when it comes to working with influencers.