You know, it's so funny how often I get the "how did you start blogging because I am interested too" question. I still feel like I have such a small following, growing, but still small enough that I am always surprised when people reach out for advice. And believe me, I am not an expert.
I did the same thing when I started Trendy in Indy. I reached out to those I idolized to figure out how I could get where they are. Some where helpful, some not so much. And quite honestly, I appreciate both responses.
I have had to figure some things out the hard way and I feel that's how people learn best sometimes. So I want to answer some of the blogging 101 questions I receive without giving everything away. Here we go...
1. Blogging 101: How did you come up with your name?
A: Honestly it just came to me. I have always liked rhymes and things that flow. If you say "Trendy in Indy" out loud, it just goes together. I would also describe my wardrobe as trendy and I love the city I've grown up in, so there you go. I know it can be difficult to come up with a name so I apologize if this answer isn't super helpful.
2. Blogging 101: How do you grow your Instagram followers?
A: The question of all questions. I have a love/hate with Instagram. It seems if I would have started this blog about a year earlier than I did, it would be much easier for me to grow "organically." Due to the Instagram algorithm changes, it can be difficult to know when to post what content, etc. I recently went through the Maddy Corbin Mentorship program and I highly recommend her. Best thing I can tell you: give love, get love (thanks Maddy).
And personally, I stay away from large giveaways. I did one Rafflecopter which was great for blog traffic, but I haven't done a huge loop. I thought about it at first (especially when I watch people who do them grow their followers and I stay stagnant), but then decided I wanted to be as organic as possible. I also just don't have the money to buy into the giveaways (yes, that's how they work). But for people who do them, sometimes it works and that's totally great.
Lastly, it's not just about your number of followers. It's about engagement. But this is going to be another post about influencer misconceptions. So stay tuned.
3. Blogging 101: What's the best way to take pictures?
A: Marry a guy (or girl) who is patient with you or have really awesome friends, or both. I thankfully have both and have no shame in asking people to take my picture. Most people are supportive of my blog and totally get it. I am so thankful for the hundreds of pictures Collin and Halee take (haha).
Also, iPhone photos go a long way. Definitely download the VSCO app and find a filter you love because It's best when your feed is consistent. Change up the type of photos you are taking to keep it fun and engaging.
4. Blogging 101: How do you come up with content?
A: A daily struggle. Sometimes, I have great ideas. Other times, weeks go by and I have no inspiration. I have a notebook I carry around and keep notes in my phone when I think of something or see something I want to write about. I definitely suggest writing down all of your thoughts and saving them when you have a creative block.
5. Blogging 101:How do you partner with brands and companies?
A: Lots and lots of pitching, messaging, and emailing. You do need to have an authentic following with great engagement. I can say that after working on both sides of a) working with bloggers for RaeLynn's and b) being a blogger now myself.
Remember those mistakes I told you about? Always double and triple check your messages. I can't tell you how many times I've sent my pitch I keep in my notes on my phone with the wrong company name in the intro. SO EMBARRASSING.
I am so thankful for the companies and brands that have given me a chance and have seen success through my content.
Those are the top 5 questions I receive. To those of you who do want to start a blog, here are a few more pieces of advice:
- Be innovative. Don't just do what everyone else does. Find and highlight what makes you stand out.
- Be yourself. Don't be someone you're not. It's very easy to get caught up in numbers (likes, followers, shares). I still do that some days. I find myself comparing and wondering when I will get there. But the truth is, I started this blog because I am truly passionate about sharing what I love with the world (or whoever wants to read).
- Google will be your best friend if you are learning how to edit your own photos and video.
- Pinterest is your friend. It is one of my largest sources of traffic to my site.
- Don't ever work with a company or brand just for money. Work with them because you believe in their product or service.
- Don't GIVE UP! There are so many days when I think I am not getting where I want to go fast enough. But then I remember to slow down, refocus, and just create.
I know this may not have answered all your questions, but hopefully it's a start. If you have more, I would love to hear them in the comments.