Is April almost done? Where have 4 months of this year gone? Speaking of which, this also means that I have been blogging and nurturing Songbird Echoes for 6 months now. But that’s not what this post is about. Today, I want to share 6 things you can do in the first 6 months of blogging in order to build a strong foundation. I’m mostly speaking from my experience thus far so if you’re a new blogger, or about to hit the 6 month mark, or even if you’re past the 6 month mark, these are strategies that anyone can start practicing with their blogs right away.
1. Be Social
Engage, engage, engage. I can’t stress how important it is to not only have a social media presence (I’m talking Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat – to begin with) but also to engage actively with members of each platform that fall into your niche. Don’t just post something and move on to your next task. Take the time to respond to comments and interact with other blogs. This will generate traffic to your social media profiles and eventually interest a new follower to check out your blog. Speaking of which, engaging doesn’t end at just social media platforms. It’s even more important to engage with other blogs. Read (actually read) other bloggers’ posts and comment on them. That’s becoming so rare with the presence of social media these days, that it will actually set you apart. It further helps your blog because readers from that other blog will see your comment and if it was interesting and genuine enough, they will click on your blog and boom, you have a potential new reader.
2. Guest Blog
Is there a particular blog with a larger audience that you love? Okay, chances are that you probably have a lot of those blogs on your list. But choose one and write to them, pitching the idea of a guest blog. Guest blogging is beneficial for both parties because it gives the host some different content and it gives the guest some additional exposure. Speaking from an SEO-perspective, guest blogging is beneficial both ways here as well. How? Google loves when your blog has a backlink or an inbound link, which is essentially when another website refers to your website. So when you guest blog, you can introduce which blog you normally write from and this is how you will generate a backlink to your blog from the host’s website. You could then return that favour to your host by announcing on your blog that you will be guest blogging at their blog, providing a backlink to them. Fun, right? Finding a blog to guest blog for can be difficult when you’re new, so make sure your networking skills are top notch and you may just be able to do it with someone from a blogging network you’re a part of. I can’t speak from experience yet, but I’m in talks with a wedding blog so keep your eyes peeled for that in time to come!
3. Collaborate with Brands
Collaborations. The great “C” word in blogging. Seems like everyone out here in the blogosphere just wants to collaborate, right? Well there’s a good reason for it. Building relationships with brands is important and while it isn’t easy to achieve the best collaborations within your first 6 months, there are still many opportunities out there. It’s probably crazy to believe that I partnered with Fairmont and W Hotel in my first 6 months, right? This is an example to show you that anything is possible, all you have to do is seek the opportunities and truly hustle because ain’t nobody else gonna do that for you. Think about it, did corporations come knocking to your door asking if you wanted to do your 9-5 there? No. If they did, please write to me and tell me how. But chances are, you wrote countless cover letters and tweaked your resume to seek opportunities for yourself. The same applies to blogging and working with brands. This is not to say that you won’t ever get contacted – you will. Brands are trying just as hard to seek the best talent in the Influencer community so you have that advantage here as well. At the end of the day, working with reputable brands gives your blog credibility. Make sure you pitch professionally and don’t be afraid of rejections. Also remember, you must stay true to what your brand and blog is all about or you will lose the trust of your readers.
4. Observe and Learn
There’s this quote I love a lot, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. However in blogging, it doesn’t hold completely true. When you try to imitate fellow or your favourite successful bloggers, it won’t help you in the long run. Why? Because after all, you aren’t being yourself and you can only imitate someone for so long until it doesn’t work its charm anymore (or you know, they or your readers have caught on and then you’re in serious trouble). However, I always say new bloggers should always observe and learn from successful bloggers in their niche. It’s okay to take inspiration and frankly speaking, everything has been done out there. There isn’t much you can do that’s unique but the power you have, is to own the inspiration by putting your personal touch to it. With inspiration and work as powerful as that, who knows, it might actually lead to you doing something unique. But at the end of the day, make sure you know what’s going on in the industry and are up to date with it. While observing and learning from bloggers can be helpful, it can also hurt you if you tend to compare your work with theirs. Everyone has their own pace and this practice should only inspire you to serve your audience better.
5. Network Locally
There’s nothing more exciting than meeting other members from the blogging industry that stay in your city. We get so caught up with perfecting our blogs and social media presence, that we forget the human aspect of it. It’s really important to disconnect and meet like minded individuals. Meet ups with fellow bloggers can be beneficial in so many ways. For starters, it helps build a much stronger relationship with that individual than you could ever do online. It also helps each other to feel more inspired. While chatting, you’ll tend to discuss all the blogger woes you experience and it’s great to have someone who can relate with you. Don’t be afraid to share your experience online as well, because it shows other readers that you’re sociable and approachable. The truth is, we all work better together, so why stay behind the screen when you can meet someone for coffee or a meal. I promise you will come out of that meeting feeling refreshed and motivated. Additionally, you can attend blogging conferences and speaking by experience, I absolutely recommend you do this. It can be expensive, but it’s a matter of finding a way to re-arrange other expenses if it’s over your budget. I think it’s a great investment if you’re serious about blogging.
6. Affiliate Programs
Not everyone blogs to make money from it. However, there are some (most) of us who are incredibly passionate about it and see no reason for why it shouldn’t be rewarded financially. Blogging can easily become just an expensive and time consuming hobby and before you know it, you’ve lost out on opportunities that would compensate you and then it becomes difficult to join that race. This is why it’s important to position your content in a professional manner from the start, especially in the first 6 months of blogging. Joining an affiliate program is one of the first steps you can take towards monetizing your blog. Some programs are very well organized, like RewardStyle for example, and help you along the way by working through strategies and tips for your blog. It’s a great start and it can open doors to many exciting opportunities in the future.
7. Blogger Network
7? Yes, you just got a bonus tip. Joining a blogger network can seriously be the best thing you do for your blog. The earlier you do it, the better. I joined Style Collective just days prior to the launch of my blog and I’m so glad I did. Before even going live, I already had this incredible support system of girls who run their own blogs – some new, some veterans. The one goal we shared? To support one another. At Style Collective, not only do we engage with each other’s blogs and social media channels, but we are a tight knit group of sisters whom we can speak with anytime. Shady emails in the early stages of your blog can be nerve racking to deal with alone, but with Style Collective, you have a platform to ask the members their experience with such and such brand, or ask if they too, received a similar email. I can go on about the many examples I’ve appreciated being part of a blogger network, especially Style Collective, but the main reason is that you will have a community to call your own. Send me an email if you’d like to receive a referral to join Style Collective.
I’m sure you’ve been practicing a few of these things within your first 6 months of blogging already, but I’d love to hear which ones you found most helpful. Comment below and let’s chat more.