Yesterday I went to my very first blogging event hosted by Chicago Bloggers. On my way there I was so nervous. I was honestly terrified it was going to be all beauty bloggers dressed in Gucci (lol). I’m here to report, yes, the majority of the women I met were fashion bloggers, but they were super sweet genuine woman. Women who wanted to make friends and meet like-minded people. It was not competitive, it was uplifting. Whether you blog about food, animals, technology, or travel — connecting with people who have similar goals is important. They understand you and are there to support you.
1. Network + Put Yourself Out There
That leads right into my first tip. The main speaker, Erika Eckman (@everythingerica), said when she first started, she went to literally every event she could to meet as many people as possible and put herself out there.
Meeting like-minded people has really saved me. If I wouldn’t have met backpackers while I was studying abroad in Brazil, I’m not sure if I would have been brave enough to backpack solo and quit my 9-5.
Emma (@emmaklenhart) shared an intimate story of how she was bullied for her YouTube channel. If you do not surround yourself with cheerleaders and supportive friends, it’s easier to give up on your goals and dreams.
2. Work Hard
I think it’s the most basic yet the most important. Yes, it is possible to go viral and gain you 100K followers overnight, but do not count on it. Don’t waste your time trying to take short cuts. Don’t buy your followers or buy into giveaways. Your blog will grow simply by how much work you put into it. If you create useful and meaningful content, it will get out there. With good content + some SEO knowledge + marketing yourself and your blog = success.
Kelly Mikta (@sugarcoatednchic) grew 17k followers in just under a year. She posts every single day (sometimes twice) and puts in time to engage with her followers. She has her tripod and multiple outfit choices in her car at all times. There’s a reason she grew so fast, she put in the work.
2. Support your Blogger Friends
If you like your insta friends content, put it on your story. If you enjoy a podcast, post it. If you love a certain blogger, tell your friends! The blogging community is a community. We are all here to help one another and there is space for all of us.
3. Be Organized + Plan
Erica Eckman admitted she plans all of her posts months in advance (WHAT!) Yes, months. She is always creating “just in case” content of her making recipes at home or photos on the go. Content she can use if she’s having a bad day or feels like ordering Thai food and laying on the couch all day.
Erica organizes her life in a calendar and uses it as her bible. She admitted she wouldn’t know what to do everyday if it wasn’t for her calendar.
Now, I’m assuming most of you reading this are newbies like I am. Yunah Lee (@Yunah.lee) suggests using apps like ‘Unum’ to plan out and schedule posts in advance.
I don’t think I met ONE person at the conference (even the most successful bloggers) who only blogs. To be honest, I was surprised. Most bloggers had a 9-5 or were in school.
Erica Eckman spoke about the importance of diversifying. Whether it be YouTube, a podcast, a company, websites, side jobs — Instagram could be gone tomorrow. Do not put all your eggs in the instagram basket.
5. Reach Out to Brands (How? + Which Brands?)
Erica Eckman recommended posting brands in your blogs, posts, and stories as much as possible. Brands will come to you. Other small scale bloggers admitted they reach out to all of the brands they work with. Yunah Lee said once you hit about 5-7k followers on your platforms, it’s appropriate to start asking for money (versus free product in exchange for posts).
Yunah suggests creating a pitch that includes information about you/your brand, why your values align with the brands/why you use the brand, and your numbers (impressions/followers/engagement). You can reach out through e-mail or DM. Do not be afraid to reach out to big brands! She recently started working with Victoria Secret Pink.
Reach out to brands you already use. Erica Eckman raves about American Airlines and ALWAYS flies with them, so she made a point to post about her experiences while flying American.
Kelly Minita admitted she has rejected many brands who’ve reached out to her claiming they didn’t bring value to her or her audience. She focuses on affordable and versatile fashion, she won’t work with brands who charge $150 for a sweater.
6. Create Value + Useful Content
Although it’s important to speak/blog about topics you are passionate about, it’s also important to double check you are bringing value to your audience. People want information. They subscribe and follow blogs who bring value to their lives. Make sure you are taking into consideration your audience. They are the ones who will tell friends about your blog.
7. Stay True to Yourself
I’ve found that the more honest I am, the more I help people. For example, when I (finally) come out as queer on my blog, I’ve never received so many messages and replies in my life. People respect honesty and aren’t looking to follow a perfect person (those don’t exist).
This message was broadcasted at the blogging conference. It’s exhausting being someone you are not. Be YO SELF.
…a couple more secrets
- Don’t pay to promote your Instagram, it has a negative impact on your account and impressions.
- Stay true to your niche. Diversify once you have a following.
- Don’t pay for instagram courses who claim they can magically grow your instagram account.
- Moz is a good resource for SEO courses.
- Change the title of your old blog posts to “reinvent” them — you don’t always need new content.
- Use Event Bright to find blogging events in Chicago.
Once again, thanks for reading and checking out my blog! If you have any more blogging tips to add – please put them in the comments!! Click subscribe to stay updated on my posts and support my blog! <3