How to Stand Out as a New Blogger
What? A good influencer with a good reputation is usually approached by brands and not the other way around.
So what? You may not have numbers at the beginning, but you can still offer value.
Now what? As a new blogger, focus first on building your online image and credibility.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed that increasing your number of followers is harder than ever. There are many reasons behind it, including the always-improving Instagram algorithm, API updates, changes in ethical guidelines, etc. I’m not going to go into technical details in this article. I want to discuss ways to grow your blog and social accounts organically, tactics that are beneficial in a long-term.
Once you’ve achieved growth, it’s easier to pitch yourself to dream brands and send out your media kit. Why? By then, you’ll have a strong foundation and something valuable to offer without having a large following. Below, I highlighted questions brands ask when approaching an influencer, and things you can do to get on their radar as a new blogger.
Do you have a strong brand and social profiles?
The first thing brands look at is pretty obvious - it's your online presence and aesthetics. Serious brands with a solid influencer marketing strategy would never approach an influencer who doesn't match their aesthetics. Also, they are looking for influencers who would love their product so that the relationship will be beneficial for both.
Start working now on your online identity. Keep in mind these important aspects of personal branding:
Have a clear strategy and know your "why" (aka mission + purpose). Make it clear - is your blog a hobby or a business? If it's a business (or you're determined to make it a business one day), have a clear vision. What is the purpose of your blog? Who are your trying to talk to? What can you offer to your audience? Having a clear purpose and mission for your blog will help you to focus, set the right goals and implement the right tactics.
Go niche. It's great to be inspired by other established bloggers. But instead of drooling over their success and pretty pictures, take time to evaluate what are they doing differently. Ask yourself what do you want to become known for? What audience do you enjoy interacting with the most? Is there any gap in this market you can fill or create?
Have a visual brand identity. If you're taking blogging seriously, you should have at least basic branding that includes a custom web domain, well-designed blog, and a basic logo. Later on, you can develop a complete brand identity that includes colors, fonts, unique imagery, etc. So many tools are available online to make all these without any design experience, there's no excuse for not having it.
Find a 'reaction trigger.' In other words, test and know what your audience responds to the most. What type of posts, language, mood do they relate to? This is ultimately known as your unique voice/style.
Are your really that influential? What's your engagement rate?
Brands want an influencer with a devoted community. In fact, brands are most likely to recruit micro-influencers because they deliver the best ROI (return on investment) on campaigns. So, good news! It eases your concerns about "followers fever." Forget numbers for now. Numbers shouldn't be your priority at the beginning.
Instead, put your initial efforts into finding your tribe on social media and building your community. Take no shortcuts. Success takes time and commitment to engage with people and to develop real relationships and readership for your blog. Followers are not numbers; they are people, so treat them as such. When you grow your community and engagement, your follower number and readership will grow organically.
Never play a 'follow for follow' game. It's unethical and a complete waste of time and energy.
Don't follow without announcing yourself. Leave 1-2 thorough sincere comments on profiles with whom you wish to connect.
Don't waste your time engaging with people who never comment on your posts. Sorry. It's a two-way relationship, just like in real life. If I'm interested in you and you are not interested in me, it’s not going to work. (‘I’m just not that into you!’)
Be human and be yourself. Engage with other people as you would at a party or social event.
Be active in groups/communities where your ideal reader is not where your competition is.
Reach out to and connect with other bloggers with whom you share the same audience but blog about different topics.
Start a conversation. Ask a question. Be curious. Remember, it's not about you. It's about them.
Support your devoted fans. Give love to your followers who regularly like and comment on your posts by doing the same. Since you might not follow them, bookmark their pages (create a category) and check back with them regularly.
How often your posts are published?
Consistency is the key. It shows your commitment and effort. If you want brands to take your seriously, be serious about what you do.
Ever feel that you are constantly late to the party, whether it's a holiday or other event in your industry? To keep you on track and on time, establish and maintain a content calendar for your blog and social media. Plan and create all the necessary content at least 2-3 weeks in advance. It’s easy to find online calendars of specially designated days, weeks and months (and holidays) a full year ahead, so start planning now.
Spoiler alert! I'm developing a free content calandar specifically designed for lifestyle and fashion bloggers. Subscribe to blog updates so you won't miss this freebie!
How many sponsored posts you are posting?
I'm sure you come across some influencer profiles full of sponsored content. And you know how fake it feels. It may be tempting to accept any money coming your way, but be selective. Posting too much sponsored content can reduce credibility with an audience and diminish a campaign's impact for brands - not something they are happy about.
Work only with brands you really like and that match your personality and brand image. Always put your readers first and only promote items that are really beneficial to them. Also, spread out the frequency with which you post sponsored content to maintain trust and credibility with your audience.
A clear direction and dedication are your best friends if you want to start making money blogging. Keep posting, keep learning, and keep improving.
Need more clarity or help with your blog strategy? Work with me.