inspiration

Blogging Tips PART 2

About two years ago, I wrote a giant post with all of my blogging tips. It remains one of my most clicked posts and I send it out no fewer than 20 times a week via email or Instagram DMs. A lot of you want to start blogs and I think it’s great. Yes, it’s a saturated market, but there’s plenty of room for everyone because everyone should have the opportunity to share their perspective. If you’re just starting out or want to learn more about the basics of blogging, that post is where you should start.

Even though I wrote that, I still get a lot of follow up questions, particularly from people who have been blogging for a couple of years and want to take it to the next level.

How to Be a Better Blogger

Let me start with two pieces of wisdom. One, trust your instincts. The best part about blogging is that it’s your space. As great as it can be to look to someone else for help, don’t fall into the trap of just doing what other people are doing. Do YOU. You have the best instincts for yourself because you know yourself better than anyone else. If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it. Don’t follow the masses just because it seems like that’s what you should be doing. Take even my advice with a grain of salt. If you think it will work for you, great! If you think you should do something else or try a different approach… do it!

Two, don’t get sucked into blogger scams. Now that blogging has become an industry, people have caught on that there’s money to be gained and a lot of times, it’s super sketchy. If I had a dollar for every weird thing I’ve seen a blogger selling, I could retire. I don’t recommend giving people money for “consulting,” or to be in exclusive Instagram promotion groups, or to join a “big league” giveaway. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Go back to number one and trust your instinct… and check the facts. Sometimes I see these ads on Facebook of people selling these blogging courses and then I go to their Instagram and it’s filled with bot comments and their Twitter has ZERO engagement. If it seems like a scam, it’s a scam and the only person who will benefit is the one receiving your Paypal payment.

Is starting a blog even worth it? Why can’t I just be on Instagram?

Starting and then maintaining a blog can be a lot of work. (Actually, it just is a lot of work.) Because it seems like “everybody” is on social media (e.g., Instagram) and it’s an already made platform, it seems like a no-brainer. Instagram is great but you should also have a blog behind it.

First, it’s going to be a space that you can completely control. What you can do, and how you “perform,” on social media can be entirely dictated by someone else. There are plenty of examples, but Vine, Pinterest, and Snapchat are three super specific ones. People got popular on Vine and even made careers out of it and then, womp, Twitter buys Vine and ultimately shuts the app down. Then what? Same with Pinterest and we’re seeing it now with Snapchat. (Frankly, people are going to see it happening on Youtube to a certain extent soon too.) If you grow your audience on a platform that you don’t completely control, you could be in trouble down the road.

With a blog, you don’t have to worry about algorithms or changes because… you’re in control.

Social media should supplement your blog. I consider my blog the bread and butter of what I do. I can write as much as I want and share as many photos as I want, without being tied to limitations set by a company. I also want to make sure that people can follow one, two, or all of my social media accounts and feel like they understand what I’m all about without having too much overlap in content. In my head, it’s like my blog is the sun and social media platforms are the planets. All the planets are doing their own thing, rotating on their own time, but ultimately are tied towards the sun. And while the experience on one planet will differ from the next, it’s all in the same solar system revolving around the one sun. (That may be a little far-fetched, but I hope you get what I mean!)

Another thing that I consider is that I try to transcend the whole concept of platform altogether. The ultimate goal is to cultivate an audience that wants to follow you and hear what you have to say, regardless of where you’re saying it. So Vine shuts down, but people still think you’re funny and they’re following you to Youtube and Facebook or your own spot on the Internet where you will continue to post content.

A giant mistake I see Instagrammers make is assuming that their followers will follow them off the platform. You post cute photos and captions, but would they also be interested in hearing what you have to say on a blog? Or in a Tweet? To take it to the next level, you have to go beyond being a one-trick pony. I think people started to see this Pre-Instagram Stories when they would try to get their audience to follow them over to Snapchat. Try not to focus on cultivating “an audience on Instagram” because it’s not actually as valuable in the long run as just cultivating an audience. An audience interested in you will follow you from platform to platform because the value isn’t in Instagram, it’s in you.

At the end of the day, a blog is going to allow you to really express yourself beyond one photo. You could, of course, just use a blog as a visual diary, but honestly? I think a blog is best served when you can truly inject personality into it. Use it to stand out and to share what you’re all about. I don’t think you have to share every detail of your life, but in my experience, opening up and letting readers in is why people stick around. It can be scary at times as you’re being vulnerable in a public space, but it can be an extremely rewarding experience.

Should I spend a lot of money?

NO. Whatever you do, don’t go into debt trying to build a business around a blog. Guys, it’s not worth it. I can understand the temptation, but honestly? So much of what you see on social media and other blogs is fake (or faked to a certain extent). Bloggers are wearing fake Gucci belts purchased for like $5 on Amazon, traveling to Bora Bora on their parent’s dime, and putting entire wardrobes on credit cards, and then returning clothes after they’ve worn them. It’s keeping up with the Joneses to an extreme.

Until you’re making money and “hurting,” don’t spend a lot, if any. I was using a free blog platform for seven years with a template that I finagled myself and had a friend do the design.

From what I see, it looks like people think they need to go out and buy a new wardrobe and, woo!, you’ll get a million followers. That’s not how it works. Just know that you can run a blog, write a blog, photograph for a blog with everything you already own and love. In fact, that’s the best way to do it. Why? It’s authentically you.

One quick note about this too. Commission based income (I talk about what that means in this post if you’re confused) is a small fraction of my income now. I’ve focused all of my energy on flat-fee campaigns (aka sponsored posts) because the payoff is so much bigger. I consider my commission income (i.e., what I earn through rewardStyle) to cover my business expenses* (payroll, travel, etc.) and everything else is true profit. (*I’m also pretty frugal when it comes to business expenses, I spend as little as possible.) Focusing on commission means you’re almost always chasing a quick buck. It can earn you income, even with the clothes you already have, but it’s not going to build you an empire overnight. And you won’t have to shop until you’re broke or fake your wardrobe in the process.

And just like how I mentioned you don’t want to build your audience based on one platform? Same thing for these commission conglomerates. You don’t want that company to dictate what you can earn. At any given moment, they can drop your top retailer or lower the commission by half. This happens a few times a year and, while I do notice a difference, it’s not totally ruining my business because I haven’t relied on that for my solvency. If I solely relied on that, I’d be in trouble. For example, Nordstrom lowered their commission by a significant percentage last year and for a lot of bloggers who rely on their big July sale as the biggest point of income for the year… that could mean financial trouble.

Another way people waste money is to spend too much on equipment, mainly cameras. I see comments like this all the time: “What camera did you take this with?” I can guarantee you, it’s not the camera, it’s the creativity and fundamental-camera-knowledge behind the photo. If you learn how to use a camera, you can get an incredible shot, even if it’s not a $2500 camera. Unless you’re a camera aficionado, there’s no need to spend a ton of money on a camera. Get a basic one to learn on and build a lens collection from there as necessary. If you’re struggling with cameras, don’t worry, I do too. If I have to take a photo myself, I put my camera on auto (lol) and do a lot of post-processing editing in Lightroom to get it to look the way I want it to. I’ve seen a bunch of big-time blogger’s raw files and, well, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people are doing this (even with cameras worth more than a car).

Blogging Tips

When should you hire?

Just like spending money (which technically, hiring is spending money), I would hire when you absolutely must. Push through growing pains and stay as lean as possible. But there definitely comes a point where hiring is necessary. I’ve needed it a few times:

1. My accountant. Even though it’s not a full-time employee, having an accountant is INVALUABLE. If your blog has turned into a business, I highly recommend an accountant as your first “hire.” You may want a bookkeeper as well, but you can easily do that on your own with software like Quickbooks. Filing taxes when you own your own business can get tricky. It’s so worth it to hire an accountant who can do it in his/her sleep versus trying to get through it on my own.

2. My manager. I am on my third manager right now, but when I went to hire my first, it was because I really needed one. I needed someone to be the “bad cop.” That is, I needed someone who could aggressively negotiate contracts, go after payment, and generally protect my brand in a way I couldn’t “as talent.” (I mean, gag, I hate to describe myself as that, but as far as a contract is concerned, that’s what I am.) Even though my manager takes a percentage of everything that I do, she can negotiate contracts up where it’s so, so worth it.

3. Full-time photographer. This was my most recent hire. It’s made a huge difference. A big reason why I could afford this in the first place was having an incredible manager. I’d recommend using freelancers or even friends for as long as possible to save money. I don’t have an “Instagram Husband” so hiring a photographer was the next step for my blog.

But what about the “Instagram Algorithm.”

Here’s the thing… there’s nothing you can do to control it. I’ve been in meetings with representatives from Facebook/Instagram and they completely ignored the “a” word. It was actually pretty incredible. They were clearly briefed to avoid discussing and acknowledging it altogether.

The good news? It’s affecting pretty much everyone, so don’t worry. Just focus on creating the best content you can create and content that you’re proud of! Put it on your blog first and foremost… and then just put it on Instagram.

Staying active on the app (commenting/liking) and using whatever new features they come up with (Live, Stories, stickers, fonts, slideshows, etc.), of course, won’t hurt. I do the best that I can while a) not losing my mind and b) still able to sleep at night. I don’t want to do anything unethical and I don’t want to let something I can’t control ruin my creative energy.

Whatever you do… don’t complain about it. Trust me, no one wants to hear it. (This is probably terrible to admit, but there’s a blogger who is constantly whining about the Instagram Algorithm. I kind of want to tell her that her engagement probably has nothing to do with the algorithm and more with her attitude!)

What can I do to feel more comfortable in front of a camera?

This is an interesting question that I get all the time. I find it so interesting because, well, I feel so awkward in front of the camera almost always. There is nothing natural about posing with a photographer. (Now that I do this for a job, I always think about how unnatural it can be when you realize that “candid” moment was witnessed and memorialized by a photographer.) With that said, knowing that actually relieves a lot of that awkwardness for it. Yes, it’s awkward and that’s why I feel awkward, so let’s just have fun with it.

Having a photographer that you trust (even if your “photographer” is just a friend holding your phone for you) is the first key. If I’m shooting with someone I don’t know, I’m as stiff as a board. I like to joke around, laugh, and all around have a good time with it. Not only do I feel more at ease in front of a camera that way, the photos always come out better because I’m genuinely happy.

The other thing is that you just have to go for it. I described it to someone once as being “shameless,” and I think that’s the best way to describe it. You have a vision for a photo that requires you to stand in a crosswalk? Own that crosswalk. You want a boomerang of yourself jumping on the beach? Jump girl, jump. Check your self-consciousness at the door and make the magic happen.

Lastly, make sure you get to review all of your photos. If you’re working with a photographer who selects and edits the photos, ask for the whole “roll” so you can review everything. Seeing the best 30 photos won’t teach you anything. I like to go through all the photos so I know what poses work and what doesn’t. Often something seems like it’s going to be a killer shot in my head, and then I look at the photo and something got lost in translation. I’ve learned how to pose by figuring out what doesn’t work for me.

Is buying followers the only way I can be successful?

NO NO NO.

Guys don’t do it. I can go on and on about why buying followers, likes, and comments is a horrible idea. But let’s start with the very basics. One, you’re kind of cheating the system. If you feel like “everybody is doing it,” you should follow better people or make new blogger friends. Not everyone is doing it. And not to sound like a mom or anything… but if everyone jumped off of a bridge…. you know what I mean. Two, it’s against Instagram’s terms and conditions. You’re breaking your contract with them and putting your future success at risk. Do you want to sign into your Instagram account one day only to realize you’ve been kicked off? Not. Worth. It.

It’s also very obvious. Brands and companies (and regular people) are starting to use services like Social Blade to see if an influencer’s engagement/follower count is organic. I recommend checking it out for yourself. If you see accounts that are following/unfollowing at high rates or seeing giant gains and losses in their following account every other day, they’re buying followers. I have very little respect for anyone who does it and brands are going to see right through it.

The fake comment thing is also just as obvious. It takes about 30 seconds of sleuthing to see that someone’s comment section is filled with fake accounts and even faker comments. “Cool pic” 400 times does not equal engagement!

Even though an account may “look” successful with big numbers, it doesn’t mean that success will actually follow. True engagement is what really matters. [This is from the Blogging Tips Part 1Consider this: a blogger with 100,000 followers and a 0.5% “conversion” rate, she’ll have 500 sales. If a blogger with 10,000 followers has a 5% conversion rate, she’ll have the same number of sales. A 5% conversion rate is amazing– it means you have a highly engaged audience and that has JUST as much value as someone with a huge, although less engaged, audience.

Blogging Advice

How should I schedule content?

This is a two-parter.

Part I: Scheduling blog content is an art and a science. I follow a loose schedule and then fill in the gaps based on the season and what’s going on in my life. I set up an editorial calendar in Google Docs and add topic ideas to the calendar days. It’s a super easy system and I can customize it, however, I need to. I have standing posts every week (like guest posts on Mondays and an “On My Radar” series on Friday, and shopping posts on Saturday) and that makes it easier for me to see what’s coming up and what I still need to do. I definitely plan out one week in advance and up to two weeks, loosely. Because I shoot content one week ahead of schedule, I generally know what my following week will look like from a content perspective.

My social posts then follow my editorial calendar for my blog. (Remember that sun/planet analogy?!)

Part II: Scheduling too much is something I would really avoid. It’s robotic and unauthentic. Of course, if you’re blogging or doing social media on the side while you’re holding down a full work or school schedule, you might need to do some scheduling. I would limit it as much as possible so your posts feel like real time. I tend to write my posts the day before (although I’ve probably drafted something in the days leading up to it) so that they feel authentic. I used to be able to get away with scheduling a week ahead, which was great for my student schedule, but now with Instagram Stories and other real-time social channels, it feels like a lie if I write a post too far ahead.

Also, this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but scheduled Tweets are the worst. Sometimes I scroll through bloggers’ Twitter accounts and of course, their engagement is non-existent… they’re not actually active on it. They’re scheduling Tweets to their blog and products and nothing else! Twitter has been one of my favorite platforms as of late because it’s so easy to connect with readers (even easier than IG DMs). I treat it like its own channel… because it is!

Carly the Prepster

WHAT should I blog about?

This is up to you! Kind of going off of everything I’ve already said: be you, follow your instinct, and don’t feel like you have to do what everyone is doing. Come up with a North Star for your blog and try to stick with that. For me, I try always to treat my blog like a conversation with friends. Whatever I’m talking to friends about, I’ll share on my blog! This helps me stay focused on sharing content that feels “me” and it helps me come up with ideas all the time because I can just take note of what my friends and I are discussing.

Your blog might be reviews of books you’ve read, your take on current events, documentation of your travels, or roundups of the best sales on the internet.

Ask yourself what you’d want to read every morning. Is there something missing from the space? Chances are if you’re interested in it, there are other people interested in it too. Even if you’ve already been blogging for a bit, if you’re feeling lost with content, don’t feel like it’s too late to change course. You can always go back and tweak what you’re blogging about. Maybe you haven’t had a direction at all or maybe you realized you’re not candid enough or maybe you don’t like what you’ve been writing about at all. It’s never too late to change course.

As a little bit of a precaution, I would try to think long and hard about your direction and stick to it as best you can. Don’t give your readers whiplash by being all over the place. If you’re going to be a travel blogger, you’ll have to travel. (Two vacations a year is not travel blogging!) If you’re going to be an affordable blogger, don’t go out and buy a designer bag for every outfit. If you’re going to be a preppy blogger, don’t start wearing the trendiest of trends the second they come out. Stick to your direction because that’s what your readers will come to expect.

How can I stand out?

Now, I know I’ve said to follow your instinct and not to do what the crowds are doing. But in this case, look at what the bloggers are doing who stand out to you! Are they writing long-form posts and spilling their heart? Sharing awe-inspiring images that make you want to hop on an airplane? Or maybe you appreciate how they’ve responded to every comment and email and DM you sent.

I know I’m not going to stand out for having model looks and a designer wardrobe. I try just to be myself and show my appreciation to readers by engaging with them in comments/emails/DMs. I keep things positive but I don’t gloss over certain challenges in my life.

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72 Comments

Emily

“Now, I know I’ve said to follow your instinct and not to do what the crowds are doing. But in this case, look at what the bloggers are doing who stand out to you!”

Can you do a post or comment about other bloggers you follow/are inspired by? Would love to see the type of content that you like because I think I would probably like it too and am always looking for new blogs to follow — of course I think I know some 🙂 but would love to learn about any others that I may not already know. Thanks!

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Elizabeth

Excellent tips! I’m a long-time reader and a wannabe blogger (never seriously taken the plunge), but love the idea of it! Thanks for sharing.

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Shannon

Carly, this is one of my favorite posts I’ve read on blogging tips! I really like how you didn’t sugar coat any of your advice. I love reading your blog because of how authentic you are. Plus I feel like you do talk to your readers as friends.

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Mia

This is just the post I needed to read this morning! As a newer blogger I feel like I’m constantly struggling with the idea that I have to spend tons of money and always have the newest clothing for posts (especially when it comes to Instagram) to be successful. Thank you so much for sharing all of these amazing tips!

Mia || http://miagoesshopping.com

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Alyssa

Thank you for such a comprehensive post! I appreciate you sharing what you’ve learned and how you approach your business.

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Alyssa

LOVED this post. There’s so much of the comparison game out there, but the real reason I’ve continued to blog for 5 years is because I just love it: writing, connecting with others, even though it’s not my full time job!

Alyssa
http://feathersandstripes.com

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Ramsay

I feel like I read a million different similar posts all saying the same things, but you’ve put a new twist on them.
Thank you so much!

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Olga

Carly, I love everything about this post and how in depth it was! As a new blogger, this was really helpful to read. I absolutely agree about listening to your instinct and just doing you. I blog because I enjoy it and think others can appreciate my authenticity. It’s not about the money or brand deals or followers. It’s discouraging to see so many people doing it for those things and following/unfollowing you or leaving spam comments just to gain followers. Authenticity wins every time and I would much rather have a small engaged audience than a ton of followers.

Olga
http://www.littlethingsolga.com

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DonnaS

I don’t think readers appreciate how much work goes into creating a blog. I always enjoy your varied content. Thanks for all you do!

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grace

love this post so much Carly. Totally agree on so many levels, especially the importance of having an actual blog and not putting all your eggs in one basket (social platforms and revenue sources alike!) xx

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jordan @ dancing for donuts

these tips are SO helpful – thank you!!! i always wonder about spending money on my blog, but i do think there are ways to be successful without going crazy! granted, you have to spend money to make money, but there’s a balance 🙂

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Melissa Faye

I love this post, but I do have another tip! Don’t blog just thinking it will generate an income or a FT job. Blogging for me has been a 10 year long love affair and I remember connecting with so many bloggers that have way surpassed what I have done. I have tried everything to grow readership, but I have to accept that it may not happen and for me, blogging is an outlet. I don’t take photography too seriously because it’s really about the words for me. BUT, I love seeing blogs that have killer copy and photos! I love the best of both worlds!

Also, you statement about social media are so true. Social media has become almost bigger than blogs, and a lot of people making a lot of money from their posts. It terrifies me to think that one day, it could all end. Vine was gone just like that and for me, social media is always changing. Instagram could be short-lived, we just don’t know. I think Facebook and Instagram taking control and trying to make a profit is the main reason behind the algorithms. They want to help people gain more exposure, but at a cost. My posts always get 200 more views when I boost them than when I don’t. I can see how that has become so huge now!

Good post!!
Melissa Faye

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Shannon

Great post! Especially about posting authentically- so important. I hate seeing those typical blog posts everyone seems to write that are unoriginal… I would rather post something good once a week than struggle to get posts out and write something quick… I just applied for reward style i heard good things about it.

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Mariah

This was such a great post! I love how it felt so conversational like you were sitting there talking to me. Thank you for the great advice!

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Helen

This post was so helpful, Carly! It was so great to hear your thoughts and advice as a blogger. I really enjoyed your advice on investing in your blog. I think it can be easy to feel like you need to spend a lot of money to make your blog grow, but that isn’t always the case.

-Helen
http://www.sweethelengrace.com

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Tiffany

Thank you for writing a post that is truly helpful (and for being so open). Quality content about the business side of blogging is few and far between.

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Eva

Such a great post Carly, thank you so much for sharing! I always need a reminder to not focus on Instagram, because I hem and haw about what to do better/differently. I am spending most of my time focusing on my blog and getting better at creating content on there.

I am lucky enough to have an Instagram husband – or rather, a husband who is really into photography. I just get into a little trouble with actually choosing a direction and going with it, but slowly I’m getting better. I realize I should be utilizing this asset a lot more than I am!

Anyway, thanks for sharing. This was really great, and I’m going to head over and read your other post <3

Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

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Maggie

Love this post! I have read through all of your blogging tip posts and love that you took the time to expand on it for those of us that have been blogging a little bit! THANK YOU!

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Ashley

Carly, thanks so much for these valuable tips and pouring your heart into all of them as you go. As a new fashion blogger who just started out last year, I have been greatly encouraged. It means so much to me, and I’m sure so many other readers, that you do take the time and energy to respond, give advice, or just simply chat with all of us girls who are inspired by your creativity. Keep doing you!!

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Erin

I’ve been following you since you were in college and it’s incredible how you’ve turned that little blog (it was your itense study tips that drew me in) into a full-blown career! This is an industry that changes SO fast, think about how much of this post wouldn’t have made any sense even 2 years ago, let alone 10. Keeping up with everything must take some hard work! Personally I’ve never had an interest in starting my own blog, but since I’ve been following a handful of bloggers for years now it’s really interesting to read how it all works and how it is people manage (or try) to monetize it. Keep it up!!

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Deb

This is a great post Carly! So spot on and so much that your fellow bloggers need to know and understand. Thanks so much for sharing your hard earned insights!

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Katherine

Ohh I loved this post 😍!

Ive been thinking of starting a blog for fun and this was a great read, very insightful and inspiring.

Thanks Carly!

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Kirsten

Carly!

Thanks for the tips. I agree about the not buying followers and likes. It’s always given me the creeps. But what about IG’s option to promote posts?

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carly

Good question… I haven’t found it to be that beneficial, but I don’t think it can hurt either, even if you just do a small amount.

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Alexa

This blog post was SO helpful & honest. I really appreciated your insight on the Instagram algorithm especially.
Thank you for being authentic in all you do, Carly!!

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Laura

Carly, this is so helpful!! I’ve been a long time reader of yours and I recently started my own blog and have definitely been thinking through some of these dilemmas and quandaries…there’s just so much to do and so much out there already to compete with. Definitely appreciate your insight!

http://www.areweadultsyet.com

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Yoyo

These are great tips! I’ve only recently started following your blog but I find that you are one of my new favorite bloggers to follow, especially with such a thoughtful
piece like this one. I can’t wait to go back and read part one!

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Sarah

This post couldn’t have come st a better time! I’ve been travel blogging for a couple years and have reached a point where I feel like it’s time to step everything up a bit – my photography, my content and showing more of my personality. I loved what you said about staying true to yourself. It can be tempting to jump on the band wagon of what other successful bloggers are doing, but when I try something, like say a pose for an Instagram photo and it gives me a grody feeling, I know I should avoid. Thanks for sharing all these great tips. They were super helpful!

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Brittany

Thank you for sharing this! These are some really great tips! I like how this post isn’t like every other blogging tips post out there; it’s much more authentic!

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Katherine Speirs

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! A great post Carly full of incredible tips and insights.

I just LOVE reading your blog every morning with my coffee!

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Jamie

Thank you so much for this post! I really appreciate all of your tips and insight. I have been blogging for 3.5 years now and a year in to blogging I made an Instagram for my blog. As my Instagram grew much faster and larger than my blog audience, I started to rely too much on it. I still post on my blog daily, but I was spending more time trying to cultivate a following on social media than on my actual blog simply because I had seen quicker results. But with all the algorithm changes my engagement has really dropped off and I’ve really realized that Instagram, while fun, wasn’t the reason I started a blog. The anxiety I was feeling about low engagement on my Instagram posts, has slowly bothered me less and less and helped me refocus on what’s important!

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Lila

It kinda weirds me out when I see people give up their blogs to build their Instagram, and it’s happening so much lately.

What’s going to happen to these people when they don’t have a blog, no mailing list and Instagram jumps the shark as a social network. It’s going to be bad for a lot of influencers.

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Jazz

Thanks for this post, Carly! I’ve been blogging for 3 years now with a corporate job at the same time and am trying to learn all I can in order to get to the next step. This was a great refresher. I am interested to know your position on pitching ideas to brands vs. “applying” to pre-existing opportunities.

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carly

I talk about that in Part 1 a bit, but I’ve never personally reached out to a brand before!

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Sarah

STANDING OVATION! Girl, this is the best, best, best thing I’ve read on a blog in ages. In fact, just five minutes ago I was 100% ready to start ditching blogs for good because I’m so tired of how so many are trading in original, authentic content for what they think I want to read (and usually don’t). Thank you so much for always providing intelligent, honest, relatable content, especially when it comes to speaking to social media and your career. Keep it up, Carly. We need more like you!

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Kristin

Excellent post-and very well written. What I like most about you and your blog IS your authenticity. Its clear you have a love for what you do, you are not posting about what designer clothes than no one can afford and you can laugh at yourself and have fun. That to me makes you relateable and in touch with your demographic. Keep doing you!

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Brittany Monroe

Loved this post, Carly! Everything you’ve said is so true from my experience and it was such down to earth advice. Love reading your blog & following along. If you ever need a guest post, I’d love to contribute one!

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Gallantly, gal

Whoa, thanks for this super in-depth, detailed post! Seriously 🙂
I appreciate all the hard work you put into it, and I love your message that we should just do what we want to do. There’s no real set format, and it’ll help us stand out.

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Erin

Carly, I so appreciate this post.

I especially love the comments you made regarding the IG algorithm. There’s a blogger I used to follow but I’ve since stopped because she complains about the algorithm ALL. THE. TIME.

If you post regular, good content, your readers will return. It’s why I keep coming back to YOU after years and years. I barely ever check IG for more than 2-3 minutes at a time so I don’t often see you on my feed but here I am… reading your post(s)!

Anyway – this has been refreshing and eye-opening.

Thanks!

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C.

Hi Carly,

Thanks for this awesome blog, just what I needed during my research fase! Keep up the good work. And I’d like a post too, about your inspiration blogs. Looking forward to reading more of you.

Love, C.

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Shannon

Wow – Carly! This was an amazing post & came to me at a perfect time. I just made the switch to full time {notice to my job today!} and this was EVERYTHING I needed to read. Also LOVED the part on stop complaining about the algorithm. I find it unbecoming as well. Thank you so much for the wealth of knowledge. Forever keeping this bookmarked. As times change, all this advice will still stand. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! This was so in depth and invaluable. Would love this as an ongoing series! xx Shannon || http://www.champagneatshannons.com

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Caroline

Thank you so much for both posts Carly — really great info. A question for you and other responders with blogs — do you think using a Mac is a necessity? I’m starting a blog and need to buy a new laptop. My blog will focus on civic issues in my community, so it may not require as much photo editing ect., as a lifestyle-oriented blog. Thank you!!!

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carly

Definitely do not need a Mac! Anything with internet and a photo editing software will work

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Jamie

What a wonderful post! So thorough, informative and motivational. I started my blog about six months ago, and I truly love writing it. But, I get really discouraged sometimes with the social media/engagement aspects of it. You gave me some great ideas to work on. Keep up the great work girl.

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Melina

This was such a great post. I’ve been a blogger for a little over a year now, and I want to say that these tips were so helpful! I’ve been really trying to figure out how to up my game and to really get more serious about my blogging. Thank you so much! xxx

Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

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Genya

A really great post! I think a big part should be that blogger should support each other. Sometimes I think everyone is affraid of others being successful. It makes me very sad… Just imagine the power of women supporting each other!
XO
http://www.lifeofmissg.com

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Amanda

Thanks for this elaborate post, Carly! It’s awesome to hear advice from someone like you who has been in the biz for years now. I often feel like everyone who buys the latest top from Nordstrom is just doing it because everyone else is…and that becomes so unoriginal! Yes, it’s difficult to stay the course and do your own thing, but in the long run, it helps improve the quality of the content you LOVE to share the most.
xo Amanda
Affordable by Amanda

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