One of my favorite parts about blogging is getting to educate and help others along the way. I get questions daily about how I started my blog, curated my brand, found my niche and balance blogging with a full-time job. Julia Bluhm (juliainbluhm.com), a blogger and student at Butler University, reached out to interview me for her journalism class. The assignment was to interview someone in a career field of interest, and she agreed to let me share these questions and responses with you here on my blog. Keep reading for some of my blogging insight!
Q1 // So I know you’ve been blogging for two years and have been really consistent with it (that’s awesome!), but I’m interested to hear more about the process you went through to start your blog. How much planning went into starting it? Why did you want to start a blog in the first place?
I’ve always been a creative person, cutting magazine clippings and making my own designs and collages as a child. An interest in blogging came so naturally to me at a point in my life where I was craving a creative outlet more than ever. I was on an end-of-summer weekend trip with my mom in Louisville, had the idea of starting a blog in the back of my mind, mentioned it to my mom that night in my hotel room and just logged on and started it in minutes! With that being said, no planning really went into it at all at first. I’ve always loved creating and sharing with others, so it was such a no-brainer for me. I was (and still am) so passionate about it that I posted every single day for the first two months. I’ve maintained a schedule of posting at least two to three times a week ever since and have never lost interest or considered quitting. I’m thankful every single day that I started my blog and found my biggest passion.
Q2 // It also seems like you do a ton of other content-creating in addition to blogging, like videos and your Bone & Bloom shop, etc. Why did you want to expand to other areas beyond blogging?
With the dream of being a full-time entrepreneur one day (I mean, who doesn’t want to make a living off what they love doing most?!), expanding your blogging horizons is often necessary in making that transition. Regardless of income, designing and content creating are huge interests of mine that I’ve started picking up on the side mostly for fun. I love helping others see their vision come together through branding, website development and social media marketing because it gives them the same excitement I experienced when I started my blog. Content-creating opens so many doors in the digital world we live in and I love helping others see the opportunities that are out there for them.
Q3 // How do you balance all of the content creation you do with having another job? Have you considered doing blogging and/or other content creation full time?
Balancing it all can be tough! I’d be lying to you if I said a lot of my days don’t involve working 9-5 at my job and 5-9 at home on my blog and other creative ventures. Balancing the two involves a lot of hard work, pushing through your most tired days and maintaining an organized schedule to ensure you’re managing your time well and not forgetting anything. This means I’m always glued to my email and my planner is my best friend! Blogging and content-creating on my own full-time is the end goal. I plan to continue to maintain an outside full-time position for financial reasons as a young professional, transition to part-time work, then make the move to freelance or self-employed work along with my blog within the next few years as my husband and I start a family. I truly believe that if the passion is there, you can do it.
Q4 // How has a background in PR helped you in creating and growing your blog?
Great question! A public relations foundation helps me to understand the business side of blogging, the importance of mutually beneficial relationships when working with others, the value of social media marketing and outreach, and so much more. I’ve noticed many bloggers come from a PR background as we’re typically creatives who love writing, branding, designing, pitching, promoting, content-creating, etc. I’ve found it to be extremely beneficial and I’m thankful to have such a great educational base to work off of!
Q5 // Building your own brand and identity when it comes to being a content-creator/social influencer is pretty hard! Do you have any words of wisdom about that? You seem to have a really clear brand and image surrounding your blog.
Thank you! I believe the trick to great branding is being consistent on all social media platforms and branding materials with a great logo, clear messaging, a color scheme and knowing who you are and who you want to be as a business to a T. A helpful branding exercise is writing down words and collecting images that best represent you and who you want to be, then choosing a small handful of those to implement into your branding materials to express what your brand is and who your key stakeholders (or target audience) are.
Q6 // How did you eventually start working with brands on your blog? I feel like a lot of bloggers don’t know where to begin when it comes to making money from their blog and communicating with brands.
For me, brand work came organically. I had someone reach out to me for the first time close to a year after I started blogging. I pitched an idea to them that was even larger than what they were seeking, and the rest is history. I don’t do a lot of pitching and most of my brand work comes from others reaching out to me, but when I do pitch, it’s great to target brands that you already know, love and have purchased from. Etsy is a great place to start! When seeking brand work, it’s so important to have an established presence online (I’m not talking about followers — I mean a presence that’s professional, organic and marketable) that brands will find appealing. I suggest having a large handful of blog posts up, coordinating social media profiles and example posts sharing brands you love that you may not have worked with to show the marketable content you can create.
Q7 // There are tons of people creating all different types of content online these days (for blogs or any other type of creative career) — what is your advice when it comes to finding your niche and creating content that stands out?
You need to know yourself well (I mean really know yourself) to find your niche. What kind of work makes you jump out of bed in the morning? What genres are you most interested in? Who do you see yourself working with and to what extent? I’ve found that this takes time. Experience will help you figure out what your biggest passions are and what areas of the creative industry you’d like to focus on, whether that is writing, designing, photographing, filming, editing, etc. To stand out online, as cliche as it sounds, you need to be 100% yourself with a bit of marketability in the mix. Pinpoint what makes you appealing to others and use that to your advantage to find your target audience/clients!
If you enjoyed this Q&A, feel free to submit questions in a comment or via email and I’ll respond or include your question in my next Q&A! Be on the lookout for my next blog post, “Let’s Talk: Money Isn’t Everything.” Have a great weekend!
P.S. The top I’m wearing in this post is from my friend’s online boutique, Stella & Tide — go give it a peek! 🙂