Welcome to the third post of my Blogging 101 series! In case you missed my last two super informative posts, you can find them here: ‘The Importance of Branding’ and ‘Editing Photos + Creating a Cohesive Feed’. Although each of the topics I’ve touched on so far are super important, I would definitely say that the topic I’m discussing today is by far the most important. In the world of blogging, an organic following is everything and is truly what will make or break your business. Let me be super clear, when I’m talking about ‘following’ I’m not necessarily talking about the size of your following or really numbers at all. I’ve truly found that you’re better off having a small number of engaged followers than a very large number of ghost followers who never interact with you. Building a massive, organic following can take YEARS of hard work. But trust me when I say that taking the long road and doing things the honest way will totally pay off in the end. The most rewarding part about blogging for me is being able to connect with real people and help others. I like to say that even helping one person out is better than reaching nobody at all. Let’s elaborate a little more on some of my tips to building an organic following:
FIND WHAT SETS YOU APART:
The cool thing about the blogging world is that there is room for EVERYONE. Every persons journey is going to look completely different and I encourage you to find exactly what sets you apart. For me, I feel that I’m extremely relatable to young professionals and those just starting their career. A few things that both set me apart and make me relatable are that I’m a recent college graduate that’s living in an apartment and I work a full time job while trying to grow my dream of a side hustle. I also do a good bit of traveling and have juggled a long distance relationship for nearly four years. If you have connections in a certain industry, USE THEM! Analyze your life from an outside perspective, find the things that set you apart and run with them!
BE CONSISTENT + COHESIVE
I touched on this topic on my last post of the Blogging 101 Series: Editing Photo’s + Creating a Cohesive Feed. I wanted to talk about this again because finding a consistent edit for my photos is something that took me a really long time, but has truly helped in growing an organic following. Having a beautiful, attractive looking Instagram feed is truly a draw to people. Think about it, before people even get the chance to know you as a person, your feed is the first thing they see and judge you off of. The quality of your work can also help brands determine the quality of the content you will create for them in a collaboration. Having a consistent looking / branded feed can also help consumers get an idea of what they will be getting from you. I can’t stress the importance of creating + posting quality content on a consistent basis and finding a cohesive photo edit.
DON’T BUY FOLLOWERS, LIKES, ETC.
Purchasing engagement or fake following is truly a thing of the past and a major NO-NO. Brands have not only become more aware of users with fake following, but platforms have even been created for the sole purpose of identifying these users. Not only that, but the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing and can now detect users with fake following. The platform can punish these people by making their posts “invisible” to other users or even disabling their accounts all together. Trust me when I say this will only hurt you in the long run and is simply not worth it.
PLAN STRATEGIC GIVEAWAYS (BUT BE WARY):
Giveaways have been super controversial in the blogging world and for good reason. People definitely have mixed opinions about this topic, but I wanted to share my two cents. Giveaways are definitely the fastest way to grow your following but you have to be super careful with them. I have participated in quite a few giveaways since launching my blog and some have been extremely beneficial, others not so much. I’ve paid to participate in giveaways in the past that have honestly hurt my engagement due to the followers gained being of different demographics and having interests that don’t necessarily align with my brand. Instead of paying to be involved in massive giveaways, I recommend teaming up with influencers that are similar to you or brands that you love for a giveaway. If you go about giveaways strategically, they can be an AWESOME way to grow your organic following.
COLLABORATE WITH OTHER INFLUENCERS:
Collaborating with other influencers has been nothing but beneficial to both my brand and my organic following. Build connections with other girls on the Instagram platform and become online friends with them. Comment + like + engage with their posts and don’t be afraid to reach out via DM. I have met so many amazing people in this industry that have gone from being my online friends to real life friends! Meeting all of these inspiring individuals has definitely been one of the most rewarding parts of blogging. Get creative and collaborate with people from different industries, with essentially a different following. I recently teamed up with a few girlfriends and we all shared our recent favorite amazon purchases on our stories. After sharing, we directed our followers to the other girls accounts to watch them share their favorites too! Participating in unique, creative collaborations can help grow your organic following + even reach a new audience!
PARTNER WITH BRANDS YOU LOVE + PITCH YOURSELF
I encourage you to only partner with brands that you truly love. This may mean turning down a few great opportunities and some good money, but I assure you that it’ll be worth the wait. When you first start blogging the excitement takes over and it’s tempting to work with any brand that comes your way. Holding out for brands you truly believe in + align with will only build the trust your followers have in you and benefit you in the long term. People can see right through ingenuine and forced partnerships. Also, don’t be afraid to pitch yourself to brands. You can’t just sit around waiting for everyone to find you, this can be extremely discouraging and make you feel like you’re not good enough. Taking the initiative to pitch yourself can transform your hobby into a full blown career. Learning how to reach out to brands is super important and key to landing those dream collaborations!
HUSTLE HARD + DON’T GET COMFORTABLE
In an industry that's ever evolving and constantly changing, it’s important that you never get too comfortable. As soon as you may feel like you’ve got it all figured out, you’ll get thrown for a major loop. It’s important to stay on top of new trends/platforms and to constantly educate yourself. My favorite way to do this is by listening to educational podcasts. You can find a few of my favorites here! Attending workshops can also be a great way to get you fired up and learn from others in similar industries. You can find a recap of an incredible creative conference I recently attended HERE. When owning your own business, you only get out what you put in. I truly put my all into growing my blog and hustle super hard every single day. That usually means working every hour I’m off the clock at my full time job. I feel like people tend have a super idealized version of being an influencer but let me tell you, IT IS HARD FREAKING WORK. It’s our job to make everything look fun and easy but what others don’t see is all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a blog. I’m talking tons of negotiation, analytic tracking, pitching, graphic design, website maintenance, writing, editing + MORE.
LOVE WHAT YOU DO + LET IT SHOW!
You have to remind yourself to have fun with it, because when you love what you do and let it show, people will notice. I feel like people tend to read into others pretty well and for that reason I strive to make my community a positive/happy place to be. I can honestly say that I wake up every single day and LOVE WHAT I DO. This makes all the blood, sweat and tears (haha) 100% worth it. On top of that, feel like people are naturally attracted to positive + uplifting people. To make it in this industry you have to learn to overlook the eye rolls and negative commentary. Let the negativity fuel you and only work harder to make your dream a reality. At the end of the day, we are only given one life and one chance to follow our dreams. If you truly love what you do, stay humble and work hard- Success will follow!
Hope you enjoyed these tips & thank you for taking the time to read this post!
Please leave any feedback or comment below :)
Also, let me know if you’d be interested in a blogging tips Q&A over on Instagram!