Starting a blog can be exhilarating and down right scary. I remember when I first started my blog I never showed my face. I wanted my followers to appreciate and like my outfits, not the person wearing them. As I write this, I think about how ridiculous that is. Now I want to relate to my followers as much as I can and show the good, the bad, the ugly parts of my life because that’s the REALness of life. I started Collartocollar.com because I felt that there was a lack in the industry of REAL bloggers who talk about everything, not just the good. Now, there are so many other wonderful humans doing the same thing! There are still many who aren’t but hey, little victories right?! I feel like sharing as much knowledge as I can with others is the best way to PAY IT FORWARD for new bloggers. I was able to gain SO much knowledge from individuals who provided free information on their blogs, websites, etc. Any way I can share with my peeps, I will! Here are the five biggest mistakes I made starting out as a blogger.
NOT BEING YOURSELF
The public/world wide web can tell if you’re trying to be someone else. The blogging world is becoming ever so saturated nowadays and it’s unbelievably obvious when you’re being fake. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Be completely YOU! I started my blog to talk about fashion and pretty much anything else I wanted to talk about because that’s me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve caught myself trying to be like others multiple times and having to look at myself in a mirror and be like, “Tanna, this isn’t you! This is what you think other people want to see but it’s not you.” It’s truly a day to day struggle balancing what I think people want to see vs. being genuinely me. Overall, be you, because there’s no one else like ya!
BEING ON YOUR PHONE 24/7
This. Is. A. Struggle. When you first start out, you feel like you HAVE to be available at all times of the day. Honestly, this is still a struggle and I’ve been blogger for years. Your followers that are genuinely interested in you are okay with waiting a couple hours before you respond. Enjoy your life with your friends and family. Don’t feel like you must be on social media ALL THE TIME. It’s ultimately not healthy for you. For me, the screen hurts my eyes and I start to feel drained. I especially hate thinking about all the time I spent on my phone rather than being present with my friends and family. So, take videos and post about your life but don’t feel like you need to have your phone glued to your hand. It’s easier to think about it this way. Not posting and being active 24/7 gives your followers something to be excited about when you do post. The anticipation man.
NOT GIVING YOUR FOLLOWERS QUALITY CONTENT
Think about what you might want to read on a bloggers site. Now tailor that to you and your brand. You want to provide your followers with content that’s valuable to them. Essentially, you want to make your website a resource for individuals. For example, I love fashion and sales so when I’m thinking about content I do a lot of research on clothing sales coming up and add in the discount codes as well. This makes it easier for my readers to shop the sales because they don’t have to scan the website for the tiny discount code word. I want to make it as easy as possible for my readers to shop sales. Another example of this might be reviewing place to eat in a certain city or reviewing products. I give my honest opinions because that’s what I want to read before I purchase a product. Make sense?
SAYING YES TO EVERY BRAND DEAL
Have you ever seen bloggers who are constantly talking about products? I mean they’re nonstop posting about the next best product to use and what code to use to save on it. Don’t get me wrong, some of these are great ways to make money for new bloggers, but make sure you don’t lose yourself in it. If you’re going to work with a brand be sure you’re still being you and giving your followers the content they want. Your followers are following you for a reason and if you all of a sudden start posting about random products on every post they’re not going to be interested anymore. I’ve personally unfollowed bloggers because of this. I felt like every post I saw of theirs was about an energy drink rather than what they started their blog for. You can say no to brands that aren’t you too. I’ve done this multiple times, especially if they’re not paying me and just giving me free product. You can even say no after receiving the product if you don’t like it. There are polite ways to tell a company that you used the product and it didn’t work for you, etc. How I do this is write an honest review on it. I say that I didn’t like the product for this reason BUT it still might work for YOU. I think that having some not so positive reviews shows that you are honest and most brands appreciate that. Keep your passion in mind. My roommate and I used to write quotes on our mirror in college to motivate us. This could be a great way to remember what you started your blog for.
BUYING FOLLOWERS OR USING PROGRAMS TO FOLLOW/UNFOLLOW
This seems super desirable in the beginning when you have a small following but be warned, it’s definitely not the way to go. When you buy followers, you’re not buying real people who actively engage and like you for you. These are usually bots that might engage with you but it’s not genuine. With micro influencers being such a thing nowadays it’s not worth buying followers to boost how many people follow you. It’s ALL about genuine engagement from real people who like what you’re bringing to the table. Now you’re probably thinking, “but Tanna I’ve seen those programs where companies run your social media for you and follow/unfollow people that are real”. Yes. You’re right. There are so many companies like this that will reach out to you. Don’t be fooled. I actually tried this a couple times in the past. I thought why the heck not. It’ll be nice to have this company do this for me and save my time. I took the survey they provided online and put in the keywords that went with my style. Ex. Fashion, blogger, travel, etc. You get the picture. It seemed to be working at first. I was gaining traction and more people were commenting on my photos but then I realized I started to receive creepy messages from older men. Y’all like CREEPY and just down right gross. I was like why the hell are they messaging me. How did they find me?! Well guess how! The freaking company that was supposed to be following other bloggers was following creepy old men on Instagram! I couldn’t believe it. I contacted them immediately, and they just acted like they had no idea and went about their business. All in all, what I’m trying to say is grow your audience and following organically. Don’t fall for these scams because that’s what they ultimately are.