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!




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