I wish I got a better photo of my tee, but it says “New York Attitude With California Feelings” and honestly nothing has ever resonated with me more. TBT to when my blog was called L.A Style, N.Y Smile. This is probably my last outfit post that feels warm weather appropriate. My final hurrah to summer if you will since it’s finally going to start getting colder and I’m finally going to start shooting fall appropriate looks. Late to the party, as always. Anyways, today I wanted to talk blogging. I try not to talk about blogging often since I’m not an expert in anyway. I have nothing figured out obviously. But, I’ve learned a thing or two that I wish I would have known when I started blogging. So today I wanted to share my thoughts on what not to do as a new fashion blogger.
Don’t Be A Press Release
To be honest, I’m all for accepting product in exchange for a post when you’re starting out in the blogging community. I still accept product from time to time if it’s a brand I’m passionate about and want to build a relationship with. Where I draw the line is working in exchange for NOTHING. Sorry, no, not nothing. In exchange for a “chance to be re-posted by our social media team.” Huh? I can not tell you how many times I’ve received an email when I first started blogging about the launch of a new product, a bio about a company or a social campaign they want to run. And basically, they wanted me to write a post and be super “organic” about said product or company and of course not disclose that they reached out to me because they weren’t giving me anything in return.
Let’s go over a few examples, shall we? I worked with a popular nail polish line when I first started because they wanted to promote nail care in the winter and naturally I was so excited. They didn’t want me to mention that they reached out and they didn’t even send me nail polish. I just so happened to have some of their products and really wanted to build a relationship. I wrote this whole post with a ton of pictures and did a really great job if you ask me. And nothing ever came out of it. I then worked with another notable brand because they wanted to promote handbags on their website and asked me to share what was in my bag. Again they didn’t want me to disclose they reached out and didn’t want to send anything, but again I wanted to build a relationship. I did a whole post and shared not only one bag, but three different bags to show some variety in sizes and nothing ever came out of it. And the PR girl was so rude to me afterwards! Additionally, there’s an eye wear brand that continuously reaches out to me when they have a new launch. They never want to send product or payment, but instead kindly offered to send me high-res images. So kind.
And my favorite experience was a travel board on the west coat that wanted me to write about what I wear on vacation… They weren’t offering me a trip or anything, just wanted me to write about the area and things to do and what to wear. Write about an area, I’ve never been to!! My point is, when you’re first starting out, I personally think it’s okay to accept product. It helps you build a blog resume of sorts and you can show brands what you’re capable of. But, I think it’s so insulting when brands expect you to be a press release and just write about something you’ve never experienced. And it makes me so upset when I see people fall for it and being taken advantage of. We can try to educate brands all day, but at the end of the day we need to have respect for ourselves and our work to say no.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
And speaking of saying no… don’t be afraid to say no regardless of how new you are to blogging. I once had a friend who told me to say yes to everything. Especially since I was new and starting out, say yes to every opportunity. While I do agree that you should be open to different opportunities, I don’t necessarily think you should say yes to everything. I used to and as you can see above, got screwed over and worked hard for nothing. I still get emails from places wanting to send me product, but it’s just not my style. One place in particular is all about going out dresses and dresses for the clubs, but like, have you met me?? My idea of a fun Friday night is pizza and a Disney movie! As exciting as it is to work with brands and get free clothes, just make sure it aligns with who you are and what you want your brand to be. If you’re all over the place, contradicting yourself and constantly doing c/o items just for the hell of it, you’re going to push away your audience before you have an opportunity to connect with them.
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Your Own Path
Everyone’s road to success is different. Maybe you get great feedback and blog views from Instagram even though everyone else complains about Instagram. Or maybe Pinterest isn’t the tool for you even though people swear by it. And that’s okay. There’s a ton of information out there, a ton of advice and different resources and while it may be helpful, it’s also super overwhelming. I’m here sharing 5 things I think you shouldn’t do, but maybe you think something will be beneficial. Just do you! Trust your instincts and be open to trying everything. Just because something worked for someone, doesn’t mean it will work for you and vice versa. When I started blogging, so many people raved about Facebook, but I just didn’t feel as if it was a right fit for me. After probably a year or so, I created one. It’s still not an amazing resource for me, but I think it’s a great addition to my site and I created one at my own pace when I felt like it was a right fit.
Don’t Follow The Crowd – Figure Out Your Own Voice
And while you’re on your own path to success, just make sure your content reflects that. I was once listening to a podcast and something the host said really resonated with me. She said if you’re ever looking for inspiration or trying to achieve something on your site, do not look at your favorite blogs as a resource. Because it’s already out there, it’s already been done, it’s not going to reflect you, it’s going to reflect them. She was basically talking about a site redesign, but I really think this idea applies in general to creating content for a blog.
When I first started blogging, Wendy’s Lookbook was my absolute favorite blogger. I wanted my post layout to look like hers. I wanted my style of writing to be similar to hers. And then I realized, I’m not her. I’m not creating a brand, I’m just trying to mimic hers and decided to switch things up and do what I wanted and what I felt was right. The reality is, we probably started a blog because we loved some blogger out there that really inspired us to start our own site. And that’s great, but it’s important to then go down your own path. If you copy a blog name or have a similar one, that’s the first thing people will notice. If your photos are similar, your writing is similar, your website is similar, people can tell. Even if you think it’s the smallest thing, it’s totally noticeable so just do your own thing. And if you’re really inspired by someone, that’s totally fine, but just make sure to give them credit!
Don’t Start A Blog To Make Money
You’ve heard it from every single successful influencer, whether it be YouTube or blogging. It started as a hobby and took off from there. The reality is, you don’t need to blog. No one is forcing you to do so. It’s not like a regular job where you’re guaranteed to make any money. So don’t start this with the intent of it being your career and making so much money and becoming famous. Because that’s the best way to be unsuccessful and crash and burn. Start a site because you want to share something, continue because it’s your passion and be grateful for success if it comes your way.
It’s always so incredibly obvious when someone is in it for the money or started because they want free things or lots of followers. I personally didn’t use affiliate links until a few months after I started blogging and I felt as if that was a good decision for me. I wasn’t worried about trying to make money or any of that. It honestly didn’t even cross my mind. I was just enjoying learning how to take photos with my mom and sharing my thoughts in different posts and then I was ready for the next step. I personally don’t like when people start off blogging with affiliate links, but that’s just my opinion! To each his own. But, at the end of the day, I think you should blog, continue blogging and pursue it if it’s your passion, not because you think you’ll make a quick buck.
Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Thank you so much for reading!