Monday, November 2, 2020

Blogging Community Growth Tips


As anyone who has tried blogging or is close to someone who is a blogger, it's truly so much more than posting pretty pictures on Instagram! My time in blogging has brought me many opportunities but also a lot of hard lessons. They've all made me stronger and happier than ever to continue to have a passion for this hobby turned side job. 

As we know, there are so many aspects that go into blogging. The world of blogging can be an intimidating place, and I want this post to help with some of the aspects that go into growing your community. 

Content


Where it all starts! I started creating content because as I mentioned in my last blog post, I felt like I needed a creative outlet. I also created outfits on a daily basis that needed to be seen! When I was growing up, I watched my mom put outfits together for our whole family and her fashion sense really paved the way for my outfit pairings. (In college, I would ask my friends what they were wearing out Friday on Wednesday LOL!) Additionally, I love writing. So I wanted to talk about parts of my life and wanted to incorporate the lifestyle aspect into my brand as well. So for me, a fashion lifestyle blog made sense. It was a niche I felt really showcased my passions and was easy for me to talk about because I had a background in it. 

Before running out to buy a tripod and ring light, sit down with a laptop or a notebook and a pen and make lists about what you like. What excites you? That's what your niche should be. 

Once you have your niche, this is when the fun begins! Recruit loved ones to help you with content. It's definitely an awkward ask when you're just starting but this will help you capture content to share. I had help from my cousins, friends, my mom, and even my brother at times. Getting in front of the camera will help you learn what you like and don't like about lighting, outfits, poses, and backgrounds. So this will come with time - but there's no time like the present to start!

I like to batch my content, so I take 3 to 5 outfits one day out of the week all at once. This helps save time and eliminate any anxiety with capturing content in time to share it. This also helps me organize my content calendar. This doesn't have to be collaborations or partnerships - get creative and create value! For me it might be styling something I share often in a new way, showcasing an outfit idea for an event, or just an outfit I've been picturing in my head. Keep in my 'what is this doing for my audience? What is the value of sharing this?' It doesn't have to be deep, but it should help individuals who may come across your page. Don't overthink it, just get out there and get that content! If you don't have content, then what is a blog?

Engagement


This is such an important part of connecting with your audience and building trust! Make sure that you're creating content with value to start the conversation. I like to respond to every comment on my photos (I am admittedly behind but am catching up!) And make sure to return any engagement from fellow bloggers on their content as well. 

When you're getting your start, engagement groups are a common way to help network with other content creators in your niche. However, I say that these are super time consuming and don't produce real, authentic engagement. Over time, I highly recommend breaking away from engagement groups and focusing more on the content you actually want to experience and engage with. I love cheering on girls I genuinely want to check in with and learn from - it's so much better for your brand and your mindset. 

My biggest piece of advice is to focus on what you have because the grass is greener where you water it. Continue to check-in and connect with people who always engage with your content. You have to appreciate what you have before you can grow. Beyond commenting, I like to provide polls and question boxes so I can gauge what my audience wants to see from me. If I'm showing everyone green things to wear but they want purple - there is no value in what I'm sharing. Additionally, get on your stories and share parts of your day or life that people can relate to you about. Offering a resolution to something can be advice a follower takes away that they didn't realize they needed. They can also help you with a situation and give you a fresh perspective! 

Blogger Networking





Do you remember your first week of college or summer camp when you didn't know anyone? Or maybe you knew one or two people? Blogging is like that when trying to meet new people with who you have things in common. This is another thing that takes time! Just like anything else in life, you're not going to have genuine and real connections overnight. I have been blessed with finding some of my closest friends through blogging across the country! Over time, genuinely engaging with people on a personal level helps build a relationship and trust, just like your relationships you've built off the gram in other parts of your life! 


This isn't the first time I have said this in this article but being genuine and being yourself are two of the most important things you can be throughout any aspect of your life. One thing that really rubs people the wrong way is when you cold DM them and say something along the lines of "hey girl! love your page - would love to support each other!". This comes off as disingenuous and that you're not actually connecting with people but rather that you just want clout and followers. Show people that you want to connect with them by engaging with their content and their page in a genuine way! By being yourself, people take notice and want to connect with you!


Another habit I've noticed on Instagram is content creators tagging other content creators randomly in their content to show up on tagged photo pages in hopes of broadening reach and engagement. This has too stop. Own your brand and what you put out there, don't tag other women who are working just as hard as you to cultivate their own brand! Just as people will notice you're engaging with their content and want to connect, they will also notice you tagging them in content they didn't have any part in. 


Something I apply to my life in general is that no one owes you anything. Your success is your own - you have to show up for yourself! Over the years, people have reached out to me to say in so many words that they need everyone's support - that is true but again showing is telling. Work on your brand and support other content organically and it will come to you! Building a brand doesn't happen overnight. 


At the end of the day, my biggest advice is to be consistent, creative, and enjoy the ride. Authentic following, good brand deals, and success takes time. I know that when someone says that about anything it's annoying but it's true. It takes time just like anything else. Cheating your way by buying followers or engagement is not authentic and people can 100% tell. You have to earn your success. Additionally, if you're blogging for the money, I highly suggest you throw in the towel now. My good friend Alexa Morelli has talked about this a bunch but this shouldn't be something you're doing for the money. Blogging should be something you look forward to and want to do. It's time-consuming and you're opening up your life to strangers, but you need to want to do it for fun. If you're not having fun with it, it's not for you. By building relationships and trust with your audience, that's where the enrichment of blogging lies. When people trust you and open up to you and look to you for opinions and you can help them, that is what you should be doing this for! 

I have some actionable items that you can take away from this article and start on immediately. Take a look at yourself and your goals, begin focusing on genuine engagement and creating value and getting out there and just doing it! You are the only person that is holding you back from your own success. So give it a try and give it time.

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