WHAT I'VE LEARNED IN MY FIRST YEAR AS A FULL-TIME BLOGGER | A Classy Fashionista

WHAT I'VE LEARNED IN MY FIRST YEAR AS A FULL-TIME BLOGGER

Thursday, April 12, 2018

It's officially been a little over a year that I've been a full-time blogger. That time seriously just flew by! To think back on how far I've come in just one year is amazing. Sometimes it still feels like a dream, but hey, hard work pays off, and I get to live out my dream and I am so, so, grateful for the opportunities that I've had.

For me, blogging has cultivated new friendships, passions, and dreams. I've learned many life lessons and I know to never give up, ever--no matter what. If you're another blogger out there reading this, I hope this post encourages you and gives you a few pointers to keep growing as a blogger yourself.


Stop accepting free product as payment //

As much as I love my free product, by accepting it just to accept it without payment was only hurting myself! Once I started standing my ground with brands, guess what?! I started getting paid! It's definitely lovely when a brand will send you product when you're not required to post, but try to stray away from the partnerships where they require you to post an entire blog post for one product. Your time is valuable. Now there is one exception to this tip. If you genuinely need the product and it's worth your time to post for free in exchange for the product, by all means, go ahead and post your heart out!

Numbers aren't everything, engagement is //

Focusing on numbers alone will get you nowhere. Engaging with your followers & with others is a sure fire way to gain genuine followers. Something that I wished brands would look at more often is the engagement rather than the following count. It doesn't matter how many followers you have if no one is engaging with your content. Stay true to who you are, do you, and the numbers will come.



Pinterest is your best friend //

I cannot stress this enough. Pinterest is seriously my blog's best friend & biggest supporter. No joke. Each month, through my pins on Pinterest, I have an additional fifty to sixty thousand pageviews on my blog. It's such an amazing resource to use. Make sure that each of your blog posts have a corresponding pin that you can share on Pinterest to gain more traffic. Pinterest has the power to take a post from basic to viral overnight.

Be sure to use keywords within your pin description and use catchy and SEO friendly blog post titles and you are on the right track to setting up a pin & blog post to go viral. Utilizing active group boards is another way to really help expose your content to even more people, then they share it to their followers, and so on and so forth.
Put your post title and main points in your pitch //

Give brands a little inside scoop into your post. Definitely don't give all of the details to your post, but a little glimpse into what you can bring will hook them and keep them wanting more. Something that has worked amazingly well for me is coming up with title and basic idea and breaking it into a few main points. I'm not giving away my content, but more so the basics to the content that I can provide for them that will benefit them & their business needs.

Pin Me For Later!

Pitch to brands no mater how "small" you are //

I started pitching to brands when I had less than one thousand followers on Instagram and just over five thousand pageviews on my blog. Brands will fall in love with you and your voice, because you have an influence. If a brand loves you, they have ways of promoting your posts so that more of their target audience sees your post. Coca-Cola was one of the first brands to take a leap of faith on me and when one huge brand believed in me, it gave me the confidence I needed to keep going--to keep growing--to keep pitching.

I was only blogging for a few months full-time at that point, and I was in tears when I saw the email that they wanted me! So, don't think that you're too small. Be true to who you are and a brand will love you for that, because you are genuinely you.



Utilize a content calendar //

Content calendars are my happy place. I have to stay organized and this is my way of staying organized. I will print out a physical calendar (old school, I know), and write in pencil each day that I have a post or social share. I'll also keep track of any dates that are block out dates for competitors, if drafts are due to brands, and it also allows me to see if I have any openings for potential collaborations or if I'm booked solid.

Having a physical place to document each and every post allows me to stay organized, know when photoshoots need to take place, and assure that I never miss an important deadline. If you don't have a content calendar, definitely print one out or utilize a digital calendar--which ever you prefer.



Document all expenses & income //

Keeping track of every blog expense and income statement is super important. Not only is it important to track your income & make sure you're headed in the direction you want to be going, but you're ahead on the game for taxes. I have an Excel sheet that documents each transaction and auto fills totals & profit. I also separate the expenses by categories (office supplies, travel, campaign products, etc.) to make it easier for tax deductions.


Reach out and ask for help //

Finding a strong blogging community that you can reach out to when you have questions is what will help get you through the tough times and help you get where you want to be. Blogging is definitely an adventure and we're all in this together. One thing that I will say is don't expect people to give you all of their hard earned knowledge. Make sure that you're doing the work yourself, too.

I have a group chat on Facebook full of other bloggers where we can ask for advice & bounce ideas off of each other. I highly recommend getting connected in something like this. Once you find other like-minded bloggers, stick with them, encourage them, and help each other out.

Related Reading: Why It's Important For Bloggers To Meet Other Bloggers In Real Life

Whether you're a brand new blogger or you've been blogging longer than I have, I hope this has encouraged you. As always, stay classy, stay positive, and love the life you live. The world is at your fingertips, darling.

18 comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I am so encouraged reading how you worked hard and grew. What you said about pitching even when you are small really hit home with me. I am still super small, (like under 1000 pageviews a month small) but I want to grow! I've debated pitching to some smaller brands, but have always chickened out... my site isn't ready, I'm too small, they'll think I'm a joke... etc. I am going to really work on my getting my site in tip top shape, and then I'll start pitching! Thank you for the encouragement, much love!

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    1. Yes, definitely keep working at it! It's the greatest feeling ever when your hard work pays off!! I'm so glad you were encouraged reading this!! <3

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  2. This is so inspiring! It has been my dream to be a full time blogger, but I feel stuck. I've been creating content for two years, but I only get a couple thousand pageviews per month. I've worked with a lot of brands, but it's only in exchange for free items because my reach is so small. :( I love writing and I want to continue to post on my blog forever, but it's hard when I have to put so much of my own money into it. I hope one day I am as successful as you have been!

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    1. Keep working hard at it! As long as you're passionate about what you're writing about, never give up! If you're not utilizing Pinterest, definitely do so--it's a game changer for sure!!

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  3. Great tips and very inspiring! I hope I can offer similar insights after my first year!

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    1. I'm so glad this was inspiring for you! <3 As long as you work hard towards your goals & dreams, I just know you will have a similar outcome!! :)

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  4. Great advice. Thank you. I'm still working on getting Pinterest down :)

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    1. Keep working hard with Pinterest--it's a game changer!!

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  5. YES GIRL!!! You probably know how I feel about pitching brands...ha! It's a GAMECHANGER and totally is the way to go!!!

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    1. YAS!! It's seriously been the biggest game changer for my blog!! I'm definitely saving up $$$ to take Boss Pitch, too! I hear it's amazing!! <3

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  6. This is so helpful!! Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration to me!

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    1. Aw you're the sweetest! <3 I'm so glad this was helpful for you!! I'm so excited for where your blog & business takes you!

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  7. Yes yes yes to everything you wrote! I'm coming up on my first year blogging full time and was going to write a similar post! One thing I stress the most (that you said) was never taking product for free, it just devalues you and other bloggers! Congrats on one year! :)

    xo
    Sami
    The Classic Brunette

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    1. YAS exactly!! So exciting you're coming up on your blogging anni, too!

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  8. Great tips! I agree with all of them -- they're even true almost 5 years in! I've never been able to figure out Pinterest though, and I have no idea why!

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    1. Pinterest is definitely an animal to learn, but keep working at it. It's seriously the biggest game changer ever!

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  9. Building a blogging network is so important - such a fabulous way to gain support and insights!

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    1. Yes, exactly!!! Community is the way to go!!

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