SO YOU WANNA BE A BLOGGER



I often get private messages, comments, and feedback from my Instagram stories asking questions regarding blogging. How did you get started? Do you have to have so many followers? How much money do you make? How did you get to work with that brand? 

I've been blogging on & off for a few years, and consistently for the past year. Although my work is somewhat "consistent" sometimes I still feeling like I'm working on my own brand, who do I want to be in the blogger world? What do I want to represent? It's tricky. And figuring that out doesn't happen overnight.

If you're interested in blogging, here is my insight, advice, & random thoughts from one rookie to another :)

For the love of writing + finding your "why"

  • Blogging revolves around writing, you'll do a lot of it. You don't have to be an amazing writer, but you need to be educated on how to write well, or have someone who can proof read for you. I personally enjoy writing, hence, why I started blogging years ago. I also have my Bachelors in Mass Communications with a Journalism concentration. So writing is kinda like, the thing I did in college. When I first started blogging it wasn't about sponsored posts, campaigns, making money, or sharing my blog on other social media sites. I simply started to have a place to share my feelings. I didn't care if anyone read them or not. With that being said, you don't have to have a ton of followers or a big social media following. But ask yourself, what is your reason behind your desire to blog?
      • Share feelings, knowledge, life happenings, document milestones, etc
      • Work with brands & companies to share products/supplement your income

The importance of good content, being engaged, & knowing your viewers

  • You see it all the time on your Facebook newsfeed, someone's shared a blog post and all of a sudden you're in tears because you connect with it on so many levels. That's good content! Something you write truly from your heart, a message you really want to share with others, a life lesson, a trouble or experience you recently went through. Maybe you want to bring comfort to others, maybe you have no idea there's someone out there you can touch. I love reading these types of feel good posts. When I wrote about Rowen's hemangioma, I had over 4,500 views in one day! I couldn't believe how many people my post reached and more importantly, how my words might have helped them and how their comments helped me. My goal for the new year was to write more real - life posts, and unfortunately, I haven't. Life is busy and blogging takes time. I do a lot of campaigns and sponsored stuff because, well - it's an income! But daily I find something new I want to write about, I just need to do better at sitting down and doing it! Blogging might look easy and fun, and it can be, but there's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on. 
  • Being engaged on your social media pages and replying back to blog comments is so important. If a reader is taking the time to reach out to you, whether with a comment or question, take the time to respond! Build relationships, and friendships. I've met (virtually) some pretty amazing women through blogging. Also, know your viewers! I love connecting with my viewers and followers. Anytime someone sends me a message or leaves a comment, I immediately follow them. So if you're following me, introduce yourself! I want to know you too!

Monetizing your blog

  • Here's the real question... how do I make money from blogging? This is probably the question I get asked the most. And rightfully so.. a lot of my viewers are SAHMs, so why wouldn't they be curious about the blogging world and what it can entail in terms of cash money. I didn't always make money from blogging, and I don't always make money from it. When I first started years ago (like I said above) it wasn't to make an income at all. I didn't even know I could make money from writing and sharing my content. There are several ways to monetize your blog: advertising on your page, affiliate links, influencer networks, coaching, events, and more. A year ago is when I got back into blogging, I didn't expect to have the opportunity to work with brands so quickly, but I decided to reach out, what did I have to loose? When I first started I did a lot of sponsored posts in exchange for free product. I did these types of posts because I wanted to start experiencing what it was like to work with brands and also because.. I wanted to try the product! I quickly learned my worth, that my time and writing was valuable. I checked my stats on Social Blue Book and found out what I could be charging on average for social shares based on things like number of followers, pageviews, etc. Now the majority of my sponsored posts are for compensation, it's very rare that I do something for "free" because time is valuable. Just a couple days ago a company reached out to me to work together but they didn't have a budget for the collaboration, I still haven't decided if it's something I want to do or not! It's not always about the money, it's also about the experience I'm gaining. But having a paycheck is great too :)

Blog photography

  • Just like your writing, you want the photos on your blog to be high quality. Most times, before someone starts reading a blog, they scan the photos within the post. Sometimes the photos are enough, or not enough, for someone to want to start reading or move on. You don't have to hire a photographer (although a lot of bloggers do this), but you do want to know the art behind a good photo and editing. I use both my DSLR camera and my iPhone to take photos. My secret to success? Good lighting & good editing apps. For my DSLR photos I edit on my laptop with Lightroom, and for my iPhone photos, I primarily edit with the Lightroom app on my phone and Snapseed (every once in a while). If you are just starting, I do recommend having some professional photos to use, whether it's a headshot or family photo, it will help the professionalism of your blog. Here is a before and after of a photo taken on the iPhone 7 Plus and edited on the two apps I mentioned previously. 

 

Now, everyone has their own editing techniques and styles. Maybe you don't fancy my "after" photo, and that's okay! What I'm trying to show you is that you don't have to have a DSLR camera or expensive software to achieve the look you want. It is possible to do it all from your phone like I did above. I lightened the photo, played with the tones, removed some random sticks, and sharpened the image. Once you find what you love, you can just copy and paste one photo's edits to another with some minor tweaking. That way your blog and feeds show consistency.


How do I get started?

  1. When you first get started, you need to pick a platform. Wordpress, Blogger, etc. Somewhere to host your words. I currently do not pay for my host, but I do pay a small annual fee to own my own domain (www.maloryanne.com).  
  2. Figure out your name & brand. This is huge and so crucial! Take time brainstorming on this, find something that you love. You can always change it down the road as your life changes and you feel you're changing as a blogger, people rebrand all the time. Use your blog name to also create other social media accounts or update your current ones! I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to share my blog posts.
  3. Design your website. I definitely recommend buying a template from Etsy or hiring someone to do this. Etsy has tons of awesome designers who have created beautiful templates ranging from $5 - hundreds of dollars.
  4. Make a list of blog topic ideas. So many times in a week I get an idea for a topic or a title for a future blog post, something that I would genuinely love to write about and share with others. Having that list on hand will be so helpful when you start publishing your work. 
  5. Introduce yourself, write some good content, and go! Remember, the more content and blog posts you have up, the more companies and brands will have to look at (if you're interested in that aspect of writing). Once you feel like you have enough to share, don't hesitate to reach out to brands! You have to start somewhere :)

If you have decided to take a swing into the blogging-sphere, shoot me a message! I would love to connect with you, answer any questions, or add you to some Facebook engagement groups!




Love and Learning with Lamaze Toys





We have a love for Lamaze Toys in our home. The toys feature fun patterns, a variety of textures, bright colors, sounds, and are engaging for both babies and children. The toys are baby loved, and science proven & they make the most out of playtime! When we opened a box from Lamaze Toys the girls both wanted in on the fun!

Lamaze toys are designed with every stage and age in mind, keeping a baby's development in mind. Find the latest Lamaze Toys on Amazon, only for a limited time!

CLICK HERE for a 20% off coupon for our favorite Octotunes! Offer expires August 26th!

Octotunes
We love the bright colors on Octotunes and the big friendly face, Rowen loves to point to the big eyes. All eight tentacles have different patterns and textures, and when squeezed a different music notes plays. This makes for fun music playtime, strengthening of muscles, and promotes healthy eye development!




Waddling Wade
This fun toy engages all senses, the bright patterns attract little fingers and eyes! The toy also features a clip, making it a great on-the-go toy. Whether it's a carseat, diaper bag, or stroller, it's the perfect toy to take along for fun! Pulling on the feet will help teach cause and effect, the duck's feet vibrate and waddle and his tail can be squeezed to hear him quack!



Cosimo Concerto
This soft zebra features colorful keys that play music notes, Hadley loves to press different colors and make music and Rowen loves the colors and textures. The box also features the color pattern to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, one of Hadley's favorite songs! This is the perfect toy to grow with every age and stage of your child!




CLICK HERE
 for a 20% off coupon for our favorite Octotunes! Offer expires August 26th!

My Twist on Twinkies : Hostess with the Mostest





In our home, dinner is almost always accompanied with dessert. We like to keep things simple, and when I saw the new twist on Twinkies from Hostess, I had to give them a try. Both the Fudge Covered Twinkies and the Chocolate Cake Twinkies are delicious on their own, but they're also completely customizable when it comes to dessert options! Whether it's a Twinkie Trifle, Twinkie Bites, or a Twinkie Sundae, no #twistontwinkies will disappoint. What would you do with a box of Twinkies?

With summer slowly coming to an end, we're trying to squeeze in last minute celebrations and cookouts. To be a Hostess with the mostest (pun intended), it's always important to offer dessert! We took our box of twinkies and turned them into a yummy summer treat: a melted Molten Twinkie Sundae! This is easy enough that you can use what you probably already have at home, and your friends and guest can customize their own Twinkie Sundae. Simply remove the twinkie from the wrapper, microwave it for 20 seconds, add your choice of ice cream & unlimited toppings!

  • Twinkies 
  • Ice cream
  • Hot fudge or chocolate syrup
  • Sprinkles
  • Nuts
  • Caramel
  • Any additional toppings
Be sure to head over to Hostess Facebook Page for some fun & yummy inspiration! 









Customize your Caffeine Level with MAXWELL BOOST by MAXWELL HOUSE

This post is sponsored by MAX by MAXWELL HOUSE
Some days call for a bigger cup of coffee than others, partially pending on what time my children wake up at and also on what’s on the agenda for that day. When I was first introduced to MAX BOOST by MAXWELL HOUSE, I was thrilled to see different customizable caffeine level options. This is a perfect option for this coffee-loving mama, and my lifestyle. Whether I need a Perk Up or Amp Up, MAX BOOST has me covered!
MAX BOOST K-cup Pods are at available at Walmart in two different caffeine levels:
        1.25X More Caffeine* (*This product contains an average of 142mg caffeine per serving compared to an average of 112mg caffeine of Arabica coffee)
        1.75X More Caffeine* (*This product contains an average of 205mg caffeine per serving compared to an average of 112mg caffeine of Arabica coffee)
I love having the option right at my fingertips to control my caffeine level and customize it for each day, and my life – giving me the best caffeine boost possible! These pods make my morning easy & practical, and the various caffeine levels allow me to do decide how much caffeine I want. Find these K-cup pods at Walmart, where you’ll also find great savings. CLICK HERE for a coupon and don’t forget the savings you’ll be getting by gaining more caffeine in every cup!









So instead of a reaching for a bigger mug, I can control my caffeine just by selecting which MAX BOOST I want for the day! Especially the days when I’m taking big projects…



This was definitely an Amp Up day!


Finding My OREO Creation at Walmart!

This post is sponsored by Oreo, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Oreos are usually on our weekly grocery list.. whether it's my husband or our 2 year old daughter asking for them, there's no shortage of love for Oreos in our home! We have tried so many different flavors, and when we got the opportunity to be part of the My OREO Creation Sweepstakes, well, we couldn't turn it down!

Our local Walmart has so many different OREO flavors to offer & at prices you can't beat! Just when you think there isn't anything else they could think of, something brilliant [and delicious] comes to your mind! CLICK HERE to see the a variety of OREO products offered at Walmart.

We decided to go for an OREO + cheesecake combination in our home. Mixing cheesecake with the vanilla creme filling. We used the OREO Thins to crunch and sprinkle in with the cheesecake and creme filling. Can you say, mouth watering? Pop them in the freezer and serve them chilled!

Visit your local Walmart today for great savings, a variety of flavors, and to get some ideas for your own My OREO Creation Sweepstakes. Head over to the official contest page HERE and submit your own tasty idea!