First, of course, it is important to think about whether you actually enjoy writing and taking photos or if you just want to do it because others are doing this.
In the beginning, I only purchased my custom domain and a cheap template, while running on a free hosting site. I wanted to see whether I would enjoy blogging in the long run and did not want to invest in a year’s worth of hosting immediately. After writing blog posts, I realized that I genuinely enjoy curating these posts. I decided to switch to a business plan on a paid hosting platform after a close friend recommended it. After switching to this platform, the template of my blog looked much more professional. I noticed through my analytics page that I have been receiving more viewers on this new hosting site, compared to the free hosting site. With my domain plan, I was able to get a custom email and left my previous @gmail one behind.
My passion for writing was one reason as to why I wanted to start my blog. Having a blog is one form of expressing my interests and opinions. This allows me to write about absolutely anything that comes to my mind. I decided to focus primarily on fashion and lifestyle-related posts. With this focus, I am able to create lookbooks that have descriptions on the items that I am wearing, write about recent purchases and mention whether I enjoy the product or not, and so on.
My interest in taking photos also led me to start my blog. In the beginning, I just used my iPhone because it was the most convenient method - I just had it in my pocket at all times. Later on, I knew that I had to improve the quality of my photos and I would have to carry around an actual camera. I invested in 50mm lens for my camera and now I am able to achieve better portrait shots! I noticed that this extra step that I took has increased the viewers on each post.
Getting approved on rewardStyle also made it beneficial for me to start a blog. I have received numerous messages asking about where I purchased specific clothes. With rewardStyle, I am able to link the products that I am wearing or using. I have a plugin on my blog where people are able to view the products that I have tagged on Instagram. This also drives commission for me. Here is the link to Shop my Instagram.
I hope this post was helpful to those who are interested in starting their own blog! Please feel free to ask me any questions.
1. People will reach out for tips and advice and I learned that it’s okay to refuse
I typically answer simple questions regarding blogging and micro-influencing but I will not offer my time to grow someone’s account, especially if I get nothing in return. One weakness is being too nice. This is something I used to have an issue with. If you constantly lend a helping hand, their expectation might be: “oh he/she will always be there to help me” or people will just use you as a stepping stone for their own benefit.
A few people who I consider my acquaintances, not close friends, have reached out to me after losing contact for a long period of time. Before even properly greeting me and catching up, the first thing that they requested of me was, “can you help me grow my Instagram?”
They did not ask:
How can I attract more people to my account?
How can I find my niche?
What should I focus my account on?
How can I increase my engagement?
How do I start getting sponsorships?
Or even, what are some apps that you recommend for editing?
They wanted me to help them grow EVERYTHING. It is a big ask considering that we haven’t spoken in months and we are no longer close. This is a request that many people would refuse since it takes a lot of time and dedication to grow and find a theme for your account. It is also a request that many people charge a decent amount of money for. TLDR, I learned to distinguish egocentric people who just want to use me.
2. After blogging and micro-influencing on Instagram, I was no longer afraid to reach out to people or get a “no” as a response
I was not too quiet prior to these experiences but I was a bit hesitant when it came to reaching out to brands and talking to new people who have a large influence. When my following was a bit more “modest” as one brand called it, I tentatively pitched my sponsorship ideas due to my fear of receiving a “no.” Now, I confidently pitch my ideas and negotiate my rate. In short, I am quite shameless now.
3. Developed comfortable and informal relationships with my colleagues
We used to only talk about our coursework and study tips. Now, we talk about similar interests which include blogging, fashion, beauty, traveling, photography, and more. Conversations are definitely less dull now.
4. Developed leadership skills in a group
In the past, I would patiently wait for someone to voice their ideas in a group. Now, I initiate a group conversation by communicating what I would like to do for our group work, while also listening to what others want to do.
5. Stepped out of my comfort zone
I used to be afraid of what others would think. Now I cross promote on my platforms, post photos, and write without worrying about the snickering. I knew if I remained fearful, I would not be able to create and share content that I enjoy, grow as a person, or elevate my social media platforms. If you are constantly wondering about those that dislike you, you won’t be able to fully focus on what you want to achieve and become. Just remember that these people take the time to look at your platform(s) and sometimes even leave negative feedback. There is a difference between constructive criticism and plain negativity/bitterness. There is nothing for you to lose. Meanwhile, they lose their time rigorously cyberstalking you. Not everyone has to like or agree with the content that you create. This is your platform. Therefore, share what you desire without fearing what others think of you!
6. Negotiating and denying proposals
I knew that I would face some lowball proposals from brands. I received some offers along the lines of:
“We absolutely love your content girl! DM our main page @xyz and tell them Becky sent you!! Would love you to be our ambassador xx.” (By the way you have to purchase our items, you will not receive payment, and you have to promote us for free! No benefits for you!) These are definitely mass copy/paste messages that are left on hundreds of other posts.
“Choose as many items as you would like! You have to pay shipping for each individual item that you choose and post individual photos for each item. We might just feature you on our (100 followers, 0 comments, 10 likes) account!” If a brand wants to truly work with a content creator, shipping should be provided especially if they are not even offering payment. Many new aspiring bloggers and micro-influencers fall for these types of offers.
Or there are just some offers that offer really low payment. I know how much I am supposed to be paid, so I negotiate the payment or just refuse the offer.
7. Remaining genuine
A lot of people have called bloggers “sell outs.” I receive many proposals for campaigns and I reject the ones that do not interest me or I don’t see myself purchasing. Even if the payment amount is good, I will only advocate for products that I would use myself.
8. Stayed on top of things
Time management and procrastination is not an issue for me so this was not much of a challenge. I often have to balance multiple campaigns at once, which have specific deadlines and guidelines. Whenever I accept a campaign, I immediately create content once I receive the product(s) and draft out what I would like to say about them.
9. The best part is that I met amazing people who share the same interests as me
I am in a fashion and lifestyle niche and I have met some amazing girls. These girls are uplifting and very supportive. I also plan on meeting a few friends in person, which will be very fun and exciting!
It’s been almost a year since I started influencing on Instagram and five months since I started blogging on my website. The journey has been short but very rewarding. I have gotten a lot of lessons and experiences out of influencing and blogging so far. I am excited to learn more, improve, and build my experiences. If you would like to start yourself, I strongly encourage you to go for it!
I hope you enjoyed reading what I personally have gotten out of blogging and that it will be helpful for those who want to start.