Hard work, determination, persistence and a great idea: that is how you start a blog! A lot of you have been asking me lately about tips on how to start a blog so I decided to put together this blog post (fitting don’t you think? wink wink) to help you achieve your goals.
Here are my top 10 tips on how to start a blog:
1- Accept that you will be working 24/7:
Everywhere you go and everything you do, the blog will follow you. The thing with entrepreneurship is that you are always working and the same is true with a blog. You’re constantly: capturing moments & stories to share with your followers, responding to comments, managing your e-mails, etc. You will wear many hats: writer, marketing manager, accountant, strategy manager, creative director… Are you ready? For example, just the other day we went out to dinner with friends and when the food got served, I kindly asked that nobody touch their plates before I snapped a photo. My husband looked at the other couple and said in amusement: “This is our life now” (LOL). Nobody had an issue with it, and if they did, I think it’s safe to assume we would no longer be friends, but this IS my life and I love it. Will you? You must answer that truly before you move on to tip #2.
2- Find your niche & provide a solution to a problem
There are two questions that you need to answer before starting a blog:
1- Why are you starting a blog? If your answer is: “B/c I want free products”, that’s the wrong answer. You should want to start a blog b/c your passionate about a specific topic: fashion, food, home decor, travel… It should also be b/c you love to write and it makes you happy. If you’re note passionate about your topic, trust me, it will show!
2- What do you want to convey to your audience? It should be focused on your unique perspective and it should be different from what is out there right now; it should be something that has not yet been addressed. You need to find that white space.
Here is how I found my white space: I love to write and I love fashion. One of my teachers once said to me that I will write one day. It’s a funny thing to say to a student in accounting, but I did always liked to write. Also, as a professional working woman (I’m a CPA, CA), I realized that the fashion for working women space was still uninhabited, so I claimed it. It made sense as I would write for other working women and share all things fashion, beauty & lifestyle that would appeal to that audience. That is how I found my niche and I constantly try to find solutions to problems such as: “What to wear to an interview”.
3- Get a good camera or a good photographer
You laugh, but INSTA husband is a real thing. You need someone to take your pics. Mind you, when I started, my husband had ZERO interest in taking my pics, and it proved to be a real choir for both him and me to take photos. I would be demanding and wanting the perfect pictures and he would be impatient and constantly telling me that “I am never happy, the picture will never be good enough” so I fired him ;) It just wasn’t fun for neither of us and I started the blog for fun to begin with. Instead, I relied on friends who loved photography. However, that did not work for long as they had their own schedules and I needed someone regularity, so I hired a photographer. It cost money, but it was an investment and the pictures were really worth it!
Then, I moved to Toronto and since my photographer was in Montreal, I was left to fend for myself. I found photographers here in Toronto (really good ones and affordable), but once again, my projects were sporadic, I could not always plan in advance and it was becoming a problem. So, I had a heart to heart with my husband and I promised to get a professional lens for my camera and in return, I would need him to take all my photos whenever and wherever it was needed. It started with NYFW this pas Fall and we finally clicked! He’s been taking my photos since :)
Camera I use: Canon Rebel T3i // Lens I use: SIGMA 35MM F1.4 DG HSM LENS CANON
4- Always be ON:
The only way to succeed in the blogosphere is to post consistently & make sure your feed is aesthetically cohesive. Your pictures have to be really good and the whole feed needs to make sense. I recommend posting daily, but I don’t always respect that rule. Sometimes I don’t post for a few days if I’m too busy with work, but I’m trying as much as possible to be consistent. It’s especially important when you’re starting out. You want your content to always be top of mind.
5- Engage with your audience:
If someone reaches out to you via DM or comment on the photo, respond! It’s extremely important and you want your followers to know that you care about them. It’s also a good idea to always engage with other bloggers and people you like on IG by checking out their page, giving them a like and comment on a photo you enjoyed. You just simply need to be active. The more active you are, the more you will get noticed!
6- Network, network, network!
I still remember the 1st event I ever attended: Billy Boutique – AG Jeans was doing a collaboration with Alexa Chung and the boutique was celebrating an anniversary. I was SO excited and thankful to be there and I made sure to meet as many people as I could, give out my business card and throw around the name “Working Chix”. One event invite lead to another and soon I was attending 5 events per night. I loved every minute of it, but at the same time it was a lot of work. The fruits of my labour were paying off though, my follower count was growing and that motivated me to continue working. In the fashion industry (as in many industries to be honest), fostering good relationships and building trust & good work ethic are key. If you want to create a successful blog, you need to get out there!
7- Become immune to the word “NO” & take risks
Brands reach out to me now, but it was not always this way. I would be the one reaching out to brand and PR companies and I would often either get 1)No response or 2) A simple: NO. At the beginning it stings, like with anything in life that is refused to you. But then you take that NO and you analyze it – why was it a NO and how can I turn it to a YES? Do I need to build my audience more? Do I need to produce more content? Is there a fit with my audience and the brand? All that analysis will bring you to improve your work and if you work hard enough and you’re patient enough, that NO will be come a YES.
8- Your blog name = your name
Some people don’t know me as Anna, they know me as “Working Chix” and I love it! When I say “Working Chix”, I love when people say: oh yeah, I heard of it! I rather people remember my blog than my own name, b/c my blog is my brand and I’m proud when people love it and recognize it. So make sure that in choosing your blog name, it resounds with you.
9- Confidence is everything – own it! But, be authentic!
You cannot be an extrovert in this industry. You need to own it and have the confidence to put yourself out there. If you’re shy (like me btw, although a lot of people would never guess), you need to get out of your shell. Be open to events, adventures, trying new things and saying no. It’s important to have confidence in your brand and when the wrong opportunities come your way, have the guts to decline them if they don’t fit your brand, your vision or your audience. Always provide true and real opinions on everything. I made an executive decision to only share positive opinions & things I love. Which means that when I don’t like something, I don’t talk about it on the blog at all. For example, if a product was not up to my standards, instead of bashing it online, I simply don’t talk about the product.
10- Be grateful, thankful & grounded no matter what!
No matter how many followers you have or how many brands you’ve worked with, stay humble. People respect people who respect them – it’s just human nature. You gain more out of life by being polite than by being rude, it’s a simple but valuable lesson in this industry, trust me ;)
Hope this helps you chix – good luck in your ventures! Looking forward to reading your blogs!