One Year of Blogging!

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My blog is ONE!
I have learned so so much this year + it’s been a great experience. I am really close to 10k which will be a big accomplishment for me. Obviously I am still a tiny fish in a HUGE blogger/instagram pond - but I feel like I’m growing at a good rate and staying consistent! A lot of people I know that have started blogs end up abandoning them after a few months :( I never understood why so many girls I knew would start something and not keep up with it! But I totally get it now. Starting a blog is one thing, but to make it successful takes quite a bit of effort. Eventually it can just become a chore. There’s definitely been times where I think “Should I really keep doing this?” but then I’ll get an exciting collaboration or make a connection with someone inspiring and I’m like oookay, this is why I do this.

Initially I was inspired by mommy bloggers and knew that I wanted to start sharing my experience as a first time mom. Once I started really getting into it, I found that I wanted to share my style/fashion finds too. FInding your niche is really important because that is who your target audience is going to be. Mine is motherhood + lifestyle. I find fellow bloggers who fit my niche and engage engage ENGAGE with them. If you haven’t already figured it out, engaging is THE most important thing to do if you want to grow. I unfollowed a ton of people from college/high school/randos and started following girls in my niche and it started making a significant difference in the amount of exposure I was getting.

Most people start their instagram page before their website, but I did the opposite. I had already written a couple blog posts before I changed my instagram to a business page! Many seasoned bloggers have said to NOT put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, it’s important to promote your brand across several different social channels. I have my blog (this website), ig, business facebook page, pinterest and twitter. Another major one is youtube… I’m not quite there yet.

I was talking about the importance of community in my stories the other day. I honestly might not still be doing this if it wasn’t for the North Florida Influencers and all the opportunities I’ve had because of them. We’re so blessed to have each other to learn from! I know that not every city has a strong blogger/influencer community like this, but I would really recommend finding locals (in your niche) to meet up with. COMMUNITY > COMPETITION. Making blogging friends IRL is awesome because you can attend events together and/or meet up and take each others photos! You can also trade contacts, get advice and just learn so much from each other in general. There’s also several girls that I haven’t met in real life who I consider friends! I genuinely love seeing their posts/stories everyday. That is why instagram can be so great.

Once I started building my following, I began to get collaboration requests. I got my first (unpaid) collab at 2,500 followers. Partnering with brands is where the big $$ comes in for bloggers. I’m not at all saying I’m making big bucks LOL, but I have to start somewhere. I created a media kit (you can create your own or buy one on etsy) and have become more comfortable reaching out to brands myself. There is still so much I’m learning about all of it!! My mind is constantly being blown. People who don’t consider full-time blogging “work” make me laugh. There’s forming relationships with brands, shooting content, creating drafts, sending drafts, editing said drafts, posting, sending final pictures and insights, sending invoices, planning/editing/writing blog posts, and sOoO much emailing back and forth. It’s a lot. I really want become a full time blogger and make a decent income at some point. I know it won’t be easy but I think it’s what I’m supposed to do. There’s several facebook groups I’m in that are great resources for bloggers. I’d definitely recommend joining a couple. There are also TONS of blog posts about all of this and there’s classes/courses you can take… those however do cost money. Apparently @julssolomon’s Pitch it Perfect course is amazing. I’ve learned that I have to INVEST in myself to get where I want to be.

This year I really want to give my blog/website just as much attention as my instagram. I’m really going to try to get up 2 blog posts per week. It sounds simple but I really have a hard time with it!! It all comes to me pretty fast once I actually sit down and start writing, but I’ll have drafts sitting there untouched for weeks if I don’t make myself focus. Unless I have an actual post due FOR a brand - in that case I’m definitely focused lol. I love it though. I love sharing things with y’all on here and instagram. It is so fun to me! It’s also a goal of mine to be more REAL on instagram. I think stories is such a great feature for bloggers/influencers to show their real selves/lifes.

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btw my shirt is from Thread Tank - use code ASHTON10 for $ off your purchase until May!

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My favorite part of it all is that I’m documenting these precious moments of my little family. Getting to look back at all the pictures I take (even if they don’t make the cut) remind me how blessed I am. I also love that it’s a place where I can let my creativity sHiNe. I also LOOOOVEEE when people reach out to me telling me the got/tried something that I recommended. It makes my heart happy. My only regret is that I didn’t start all of this sooner. If you want to start a blog, GO FOR IT!!! I’m so looking forward to what this year has in store for us + my blogging career!
Thank you to all of you who have followed along so far :)