If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that a few weeks ago, Sabrina, Lauren, and I hosted a blogging and Instagram workshop at Sugarloaf Mills in Duluth, GA. After four years of blogging (three years full-time), I’ve grown to love talking about blogging.
I actually get asked how to start a blog on the regular, but it’s still surprises me every time someone actually wants to hear what I have to say. I love sharing what I’ve learned over the years and learning from others and what they’ve learned.
One thing that I absolutely love about the Atlanta blogging scene is the chance to build relationships with and support the other bloggers in the area. I’ll get into a few a few of the things we discussed in the workshop below, BUT if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my experience, it’s the importance of finding your people. Blogging can be a lonely gig if you don’t make relationships. And if you make relationships with people in your area, they sort of become your co-workers and, trust me, it makes blogging so much better.
During the workshop, we covered the basics of blogging and Instagram and then had an opportunity for Q&A.
Finding Your Niche
Finding your niche might be one of the most important steps when getting started in blogging. Your niche is what sets you apart and makes you unique, so it’s important to ask yourself what makes you different and what perspective can you offer that’s different from everyone else’s. While it’s important to take this seriously, it certainly can and will change over time. But there are a billion and one fashion bloggers. Having a niche will help you stand out in the crowd. So your niche needs to be specific (not too broad). I tend to think the more specific, the better. That being said, be careful not to be too specific or you might limit yourself and find it difficult to come up with content. Like, don’t start a blog that only covers how to wear off-the-shoulder sweatshirts.
Defining Your Brand
While your niche might be the heart of your blog, your brand is the face of it. Branding covers your content, tone + voice, aesthetic, and fonts + logos. It determines how people see you and your brand. Your Instagram feed should be a good introduction to your brand. It shows your aesthetic through your photos and editing and it introduces followers to your tone through your captions and storytelling. If you have a blog or Youtube channel, your branding should carry over with similar content that uses the same tone and aesthetic.
You can do all the preparing and planning in the world but actually getting started can be the hardest thing to do. i know it was for me. I talked about starting my blog for forever until one day I just couldn’t stand it and made myself do it. To get started, you’re going to need to pick a platform (I vote Wordpres.org), purchase your domain and hosting (if self-hosting), and figure out a theme/layout for your blog. Then you’ll need to secure your social channels and figure out a posting schedule. Finally, you’ll need to get some gear. You’ll obviously need a laptop and, if you’re going to take your own photos (or have a friend/boyfriend/random stranger take them for you), you’ll need to invest in some camera gear and editing software. If you have questions about gear, email me. I can geek out about cameras all day long.
Preparing Your Toolkit
Your blogging toolkit is a set of apps and documents you keep handy to help with the day-to-day of blogging. I keep the WordPress app, all my social platforms, and photo editing apps on my phone to help me get work done on the go. It’s also helpful to me to have the Adobe Fill & Sign app on my phone so I can sign contracts quickly when I’m away. I actually prefer to use this for contracts even when I’m home because it’s just so simple. As far as documents, I keep my media kit/rate card, W-9, invoice template, a sample contract, and a sample pitch email on my desktop and phone so I’m ready to talk collaboration at any time.
If you have any desire at all to make money from your blog, whether you want to go full-time or just earn a nice side income, you’re going to need to have a good idea of how you plan to do that. There are lots of ways to make money from your blog, but some of the most common ways are through sponsored posts (when a brand hires you to create content for your blog and Instagram), affiliate marketing (like liketoknow.it or rewardStyle), and ad space (those banners in the side bar or sometimes pop ups). I have definitely made most of my money from sponsored posts but I’m a firm believer in income layering and not putting all of my eggs in one basket. There are plenty of other ways to make money like creating online courses or selling digital products or services. Figure out what works for you and add layers as you can/want to.
What I Wore
When I woke up to get ready for the workshop, I was feeling VERY pregnant and swollen (unfortunately) and knew I wanted to wear something comfortable. I had laid out an outfit the night before but that went out the window as soon as I saw myself in the mirror. Ever been there? I also hadn’t bought much in the way of maternity clothes yet, so I knew a pair of my favorite affordable maternity jeans (I cut the hem to fit me) would be essential. For the workshop itself, I wore this cozy off-the-shoulder sweatshirt with distressed jeans, bow flat mules (luuuuuv these so much), and Kate Spade earrings. After the workshop, I switched into some classic ankle strap heels for lunch.
Thank you so much to Sugarloaf Mills for hosting this event and asking us to be a part of it.