So you want to start your very own blog or content outlet (podcast, YouTube channel, Instagram, etc.). You have surfed the web with phrases like ‘how to start a blog,” “becoming an online influencer,” “making money with content.” I’ll even go as far to say that you are likely over whelmed with all of the information. I have been there and totally get it! When I decided to start #Hayliestory, 2 years ago, I felt like I was in over my head!
First, I want to congratulate you on your ambitions! Choosing to share a piece of your life with the world is a scary but rewarding thing and I applaud you for that. Second, I want to tell you to ‘Take A Breath,’ there is a lot to soak in but it will all be worth it. Here are some of the things I wish I had known when I started my blog:
Map It Out
When choosing to create content, for your blog, success is dependent on what you produce. Having a focus or niche is a great way to attract and attain an audience. It’s tempting to want to write about everything but keeping a main theme will help create a consistency that audience love. Keep in mind that different social platforms are your friends. If you want to blog about food and travel but also share your enthusiasm for fashion you can use your website for food and travel but utilize a social media channel like Instagram for your fashion passion.
**Also, I highly suggest picking 2-4 channels to start with. While it seems like a great idea to do a website, email blast, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Reddit, YouTube (and the list goes on and on) it’s a lot of work to maintain all of those channels. Focus on driving web traffic and building Instagram followers then expand to a Facebook community and newsletters (or whatever you think you can handle at first).
It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Now that you have a general idea of what direction your blog will go it’s time to research. When I started researching I became very intimidated about my ambitions. I’ll be honest I am the kind of person who will not do something unless it is near perfect or to what I define as my very best. When it comes to creating content you are only going to get better the more you create so “waiting for perfection” isn’t benefiting your craft. Your content is going to grow and evolve as you grow your audience and learn what they want from you. Researching is a great start for building your brand and platform but only you and your audience will dictate what your content will become.
Making Money Vs. Living Passion
I’m going to be straight; if you are only doing this to make money (perhaps overnight) you are going to be incredibly disappointed. There is some money to be made as an online influencer but not everyone makes it big and it definitely doesn’t happen instantly. GaryVee was making content for years before he started making money as an influencer. Creating content should be fun and something you enjoy. I’m positive, with your determination, you will make a profit but I hope you do it solely out of the love of creating content because friends, living to work is so much more fulfilling than the other way around.
Don’t Look At Numbers
It is so tempting to look at your numbers in the begining. It’s even more deflating to see other’s numbers and compare theirs to yours. I beg you, do yourself a favor and do not look at your numbers! It can take up to 5 even 10 years to see the impact you make in numbers. I look at it this way, if I only get 1 person to read my content and they have some kind of emotion associated with it (motivation, encouragement, inspiration, etc.) then that is all that matters to me. Sure there are influencers that have 10k followers and over 5k likes with 500 comments on their posts; that is great for them! They started where you are and built toward that. Focus on the value shared in your content and connecting with your followers!
Loyalty Is of High Value
So you have looked at other bloggers and they are getting like 600 comments and you think hmm..maybe I will do the same thing. DON’T! It’s one thing to get inspiration but an entirely different thing to change who you are to attract people who aren’t your audience. Don’t get me wrong, there are trends worth implementing in your overall strategy but stay true to your brand. If your brand color is green and all of a sudden you change to blue but then the following week it’s yellow, people will get confused. They like consistency and decide to follow you because of your uniqueness. Stay loyal to your followers and create content for them.
Talk About It
When I first started blogging I was a little nervous to talk about it. I didn’t really advertise what I was doing even though I was trying to get a video series made called City Surge. After ordering my business cards for BloggyCon2017 I became a little more open about what I was trying to do. I am now completely open about what I do for fun and it has led me to so many opportunities. Don’t be shy to talk about what your passion is! Tell friends and family that you are blogging. Share with them your mission and where you see it in the near future. I also suggest you develop an elevator pitch,practice it, that way you can ramble off exactly what your brand is all about. It shows you are both passionate and professional.
Listen & Learn
As I have said before your content is going to evolve as you and your audience do. Follow top influencers like Rachel Hollis and Gary Vaynerchuk to observe how they are communicating with their people. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts, read books and go to conferences; put yourself out there! My personal favorite conference is BloggyCon at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. This is a great place to expand your craft, network with other bloggers and of course enjoy Cedar Point. Click here to purchase your tickets for this year!
There is a lot to soak in at first! I could have told you what host to use, how to implement SEO or even why one social media outlet is better than the other but I wanted to share things that took me almost 2 years to understand. Remember to not compare yourself to others. At the end of the day you offer a uniqueness no one else can and we so lucky to experience you!