This Is How I Do: Blogging
Hey y’all! Today, I’m covering a topic that I get asked multiple times about weekly – blogging. Usually, I get at least one comment a week like this, “Tell me the ins and outs and how I would go about doing what you do.” This post seems only fitting to share on my birthday (yay!) and I’ll do my best to share my experience with my 4 year journey.
(Plus I have some links at the end for my outfit!)
HOW I GOT STARTED
I started my blog to be a resource for those around me that wanted to switch to a safer, non toxic lifestyle and live healthier. I used to be about 60 pounds heavier than I am now. I ate really unhealthy foods, drank in excess, smoked cigarettes, didn’t work out and was on a combo of anti depression, anxiety and birth control medications. To say I wasn’t living my best life is an understatement. I started making simple switches in my lifestyle and then saw a dramatic change in my body and my health. I was flooded with daily questions about how I did this and if I could share so others could do the same and that’s when I got the bright idea to create this blog – so I wouldn’t have to text or Facebook message long paragraphs to everyone.
I did not start my blog to make money, although the small amount I do make is very nice. Four years in, I do get paid posts but very sporadically and I actually turn down more than I accept because they do not align with my lifestyle, values, or mission for this blog. I vowed when I started this space that I would stay true to myself and my brand and although it’s been tempting to take $600-2000 paying jobs, I cannot with a good conscience share products that I wouldn’t use in my daily life and products I know are unsafe. This would be the biggest difference that I’ve seen in my blog verses others who soar to the top of the Like to Know It platforms and get followers by the thousands every week. Staying true to my brand and my voice has been hard but I wouldn’t change it for one single moment and that’s something I always try to be transparent about.
If you’re wanting to start a blog you need to be true to yourself, know what your brand is, and stand by it. Your followers do not want to see you use a different skincare routine every week or see you pitch all of these things they just have to have when you don’t actually use them in real life. Realize that your voice holds value, even if you have 2 followers, and being real is better than any one time payment could be. So, when it comes to paid posts with brands, it’s important to realize that it’s a LONG and tedious process.
HOW I MANAGE PAID PARTNERSHIPS
I honestly did not start getting offers for paid posts until I was around 10,000 followers. This number might be different for others but this was when I started being approached by brands. After being approached, I had to decide for myself what my time is worth. I factor in the styling I do for the photos, the time it takes me to edit them, write the blog, link everything and share to my followers. Brands can pick different partnership options of mine to fit their budget and IF they decide they want to move forward, we both sign a contract agreeing to the content commitment and payment terms.
Most brands will approach you with content trade for products but I don’t usually accept those because the amount of product offered doesn’t always cover the amount of work I have to put in. I will accept a barter contract if it’s something I’ve really been eyeing or I feel the value equals the work that I am putting in on my end. I also do quite a bit of work reaching out to brands about partnerships and sometimes we work out something that benefits us both and sometimes it’s just an email trail back and forth.
I try to seek long-term partnerships with companies that also have value for my followers, instead of just a one time blog or Instagram post and done. A lot of time goes in to building these relationships and it’s always a daily task to follow up. I am also learning how to use different revenue platforms to offset my cost. I started incorporating Amazon and Like to Know It into my blog to try and help break even with blogging expenses.
Once you’ve gotten connected with a brand that wants to work with you and your contract is signed, you’ll see that most often, brands pay out over net periods. So it’s 30, 60 or 90 days after you post and invoice them that you will receive your payment. This is an important step and one that I write down so I can follow up with brands and receive payment. Most times, I have to remind the brands I am working with of my payment before they send it. This is something I’ve not followed through with in the past and realized months down the road that I did not get paid! This takes time on my end but I’ve helped reduce that by writing it all down in my calendar so I can quickly see what I have that I need to tackle that day. I also want to note that anything you receive for free or get paid for MUST be included with your taxes because often times brands will send you a w2 to fill out so they can deduct from their taxes with marketing expenses. This is a business and treating it like one really does help out at tax time. Because of this, I created an LLC once my yearly profit went over $2,000.
HOW I CREATE A CONTENT SCHEDULE
Now, let’s get back to our blog and our voice. Outside of paid sponsorships and branding, I’ve realized that having a content schedule is key. You have to be consistent with your blogging for your readers and brands to find you appealing. I’ve seen so many people start a blog and fall off after a month or so because the amount of work put into blogging when you aren’t getting paid is just not worth it to them. I think of it as a marathon and not a sprint. This isn’t something you’ll get famous for overnight unless something you post goes viral, so putting in the work and being ok that you aren’t getting millions of views and money after two months is important to remember. It is my goal to complete to 4-5 blogs a week (unless life gets crazy which it has been this summer). My blogging schedule always comes third because of my children and my Beautycounter business. But I always make sure to make time for it.
For content creation, I have a notes tab on my phone where I write down content ideas, develop content from questions from my followers, and try to cover topics that I am asked numerous times about.
HOW I MANAGE THE TECHNOLOGY
You might not know this but it does cost money to blog. Especially if you want a good hosting site, email, domain, etc. My blog is through WordPress, and I purchased my domain, email and hosting from GoDaddy. This is either a monthly or yearly expense but either way you look at it it’s an expense. I also hired someone to come in and build my website and helps anytime I need anything tech related.
Outside of my tech expenses, I’ve found that I need to invest in a nice camera so I purchased this Canon Rebel during a sale and recently gifted myself a new lens which really has taken my photos to the next level. My computer died on me last year so I purchased this MacBook and I am sure y’all are all well aware of how expensive that can be. To edit my photos, I purchased the Lightroom packages and that was interesting to navigate by myself. You can pay to learn all the ins and outs of your camera and Lightroom from a professional but I did it the hard way because when I started my blog, we were not financially blessed to do either.
HOW I RECEIVE SUPPORT
Someone recently asked me how my husband feels about my blogging. This always tickles me because he is the one that really has to listen to all the things I have going on with my blog. He is also the one who takes 90% of my photos unless I can get a local photographer for a shoot or beg my 7 year old to snap a picture (and hope for the best)! Derrek will be the first to tell you that it takes a lot of work, but he knows that my blog helps people on a daily basis and is always down to support me. He is quick to support me not only because I am his wife, but because he can see how this space has helped us take a family vacation to the mountains, get car seats for our kids, provide free meals for our family and so much more. He realizes that it takes a lot of work, but it does help others and also benefit’s us in return. He is my biggest cheerleader and loves it when people come up to us in public to speak about what they saw on my blog or just to say hi. I really do appreciate all that he does from taking a million photos to get the angle just right, keeping the kids busy while I work in peace, or being ok with me taking the time to message every single one of you back everyday.
I feel like I covered the majority of the questions y’all ask me but if I haven’t please ask me in the comments of this blog. I would love to share more with you. I also want to say how appreciative I am that y’all trust me as a resource for all things non toxic and healthy and even want my fashion advice. Know that every time you comment, like or purchase something that I share it does help confirm my decision to spend so much of my time investing in this space. It means the world to me to create content that y’all find value in while also staying true to my voice.
I’ve already gotten so many questions about my outfit that I’ve gotta link it for y’all. I love this dress for maternity and after, I also love that it comes in little girls sizing so you can match your littles. These shoes are so comfortable and I love wearing them with dresses. My earrings and bracelets are from a new shop I’m loving, Cindy Borders Jewelry. The only thing that I don’t have a link for is the bag which I received as a gift from Beautycounter. If you like anything I’ve liked for you, make sure to snag them before they sell out! Also, don’t forget to comment or email me with questions, I’d love to help you on your blogging journey!
Are you happy with the website that you chose with? I am interested in restarting my blog, but I think down the way it would be nice to have e-commerce potential.