On Monday I attended an amazing Style Collective webinar moderating by Annie Spano featuring an all-star blogger panel including Dede from Dress Up Buttercup, Lizzie from Lizzie in Lace, Maria from Savvynista, and Ashley from Two Peas in a Prada. I took so many notes throughout the webinar and and wanted to share the highlights with all of you!
I entitled this post “The Truth About Growing Your Blog” instead of “The Secret To Growing Your Blog” because after the webinar the big takeaway I went home with is that there are no secrets, there is just hard work. Boo, right?! All good things are worth working for though 🙂
Here are the truths they shared!
Only the patient and persistent succeed.
The road to becoming a successful blogger is apparently a long one! All these full-time bloggers emphasized that growing your blog and brand takes a long time and is a lot of work. In other words, its not for anyone looking for instant gratification. I’m using “instant gratification” liberally, because the bloggers shared that their success was a result of steady effort over not weeks or months, but years.
Each blogger said it took them 2-6 years of consistent work to build up their audience and network enough to take the full-time plunge.
It definitely takes patience and persistence to be working that hard and that regularly without huge results. It makes me respect my favorite bloggers that much more!
Treat your blog like a business.
Another common theme from all the ladies was that the turning point for their blogs was when they started treating them like businesses. That means spending exponentially more time on administration (spreadsheets, schedules, networking, budgets, goals, LLCs and tax forms, outreach, risks/rejection, etc.) over just styling and social media posts.
Many people think blogging is just shopping, dressing up, and taking pictures, but one thing I learned from this webinar was how much more goes into growing your brand.
Of course this isn’t literal (don’t start hiding in bushes people!), but every girl on the panel playfully used this word when speaking to how they grow their business and develop new brand collaborations. Some helpful tips included research on LinkedIn, Google, and PR agency sites. The last one was interesting and new to me. Lizzie was the one who mentioned this – but the other bloggers all nodded as they listened.
Find out what PR agency represents the brand you are pursuing. You can reach out to the agency to try and connect and cultivate a relationship with the brand that way.
If at first you don’t succeed…
A lot of good advice came here. The bloggers all told stories about slow growth spells, brand rejection, failed posts, etc. Here is some of the advice they gave on closely observing your audience and analytics, and how to bounce back better than ever!
- Keeping pursuing your dream brands. I wrongly assumed that once you make it big as a blogger, brands flood your inbox wanting to collaborate. While obviously more (and bigger) brands approach you as you grow in size, all the bloggers said they spend a lot of their weekly time on pitching themselves to brands. They all emphasized that if a brand rejects you, don’t give up and continue to “court” them. The girls shared that when they get rejected by a brand, they continue to buy and promote the brand’s product(s) to show their genuine support, loyalty, seriousness about partnering. Wait 6 months and try reaching out to the brand again; according to the girls, sometimes it takes reaching out 2-3 times before a brand says “yes”!
- Watch your analytics and adjust accordingly. If posts aren’t doing well, look for the ones that did do well…are they posted at a certain time of day? A specific price point? A niche aesthetic? Dede said that she often looks for spikes in what her audience likes in terms of prices point (e.g. direct links to items under $100 do well for her). Lizzie said that her followers go to her for her soft, whimsical, dreamy aesthetic. Maria said her audience goes to her for styling tips over “here’s what’s new to buy” links. Ashley shared that when she and her co-blogger started they would often post trendy fashion that they thought people would think was cool, but items they would personally never wear. They noticed their audience didn’t receive that well, and switched it up to be more authentic. They grew in engagement and followership after listening to their audience and making the change! Each girl had a different story that had the same moral – watch your numbers, adjust, and don’t give up!
- Holiday season and major store sales (e.g. Nordstrom Half-Yearly, Anniversary and Fall Sales) are huge for affiliate monetization!
- Beauty brands tend to pay more for sponsored posts (when compared to fashion brands).
- If you are an up-and-coming blogger look for up-and-coming brands, they are likely to be easiest to reach and interested in fairly collaborating!
- Consider using influencer marketing agencies like Social Fabric and Collectively.
Hope you found this recap as informative as I found the panel!
PS: I watched this webinar from Beaming, one of my favorite and oh-so-healthy California organic cold-pressed juice and smoothie spots. I definitely recommend checking them out (I have linked the locations here). And if you’re curious about the outfit I’m wearing in this post you can shop the slider below! Obsessed with this chunky knit sweater and distressed jean combo!
Happy blogging, y’all!