Me as a new blogger:
When I started my blog in 2014, I had no idea what I was doing. I looked around and saw other bloggers posting outfit photos so I thought I would do the same. I posted on my blog maybe once a month and my Instagram page reflected my personal life of morning runs and study sessions at the library.
In the summer of 2016, I landed my first campaign with American Eagle Outfitters. I was blown away that a random girl from the Pacific Northwest at 2,000 followers could represent a major fashion retailer. I decided to focus my efforts on building Emma’s Edition and knocked my AEO yearlong collaboration out of the park.
Where I’m at today:
I’ve now been blogging for almost 5 years (that’s crazy) and I’ve learned so much about filing as a business, pricing and negotiating with brands, and building up my online presence. I frequently get asked what advice I would give to new bloggers. So I was inspired to reflect on my experience and share the mistakes I made as well as the mistakes new bloggers are making in 2019.
If you’re an aspiring content creator or blogger, this blog post is for you. If you’re trying to figure what to focus on and what NOT to focus on, I hope this blog post helps clarify your journey.
Here are 5 Mistakes New Bloggers Make in 2019
Mistake #1: Spending money on courses when they haven’t started a blog a yet
In 2019, there’s a massive amount of online courses you can take about how to pitch to brands or step up your Instagram game. While all of these courses can be helpful to your journey, they may not be the right thing to focus on if you’re just getting started.
I’ve personally seen girls who are wanting to start a blog, but haven’t started a blog, spend hundreds of dollars on courses. Yet, they haven’t made the step to actually picking a blogging platform, name, and launching their website.
You probably could take a new course about Instagram or blogging every single week for a year – but until you actually launch your blog, you can’t apply any of this information you’ve learned.
If you want to start a blog in 2019, you must start a blog.
Then when you realize that there are gaps in in your blog or you want to learn a specific skill-set to help you become a better blogger, you can pursue and invest in additional courses.
Mistake #2: Focus on making money when they haven’t made any content
I’m in a few blogging Facebook groups and I’m always surprised when people ask how do they make money when they just launched their blog or about to launch their blog.
Blogging can be a great side hustle or full time job that earns you money – but this does NOT happen overnight. Just because you change over to an Instagram business account and launch your website doesn’t mean that people will start flocking to your website and driving up your page views and engagement.
If your ultimate goal is to make money with blogging, you have to create content, build an engaged audience, and understand how to work with brands.
This takes time. I personally recommend building up at least 6 months’ worth of content before you start asking for money from brands. I personally didn’t start making money from blogging until I hit over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
If you want to do a side hustle that makes money faster, I’d recommend dog walking or dog sitting with Rover, selling your gently used clothes to Crossroads Trading or Buffalo Exchange, or even driving Uber or Ubereats. You’ll make money way faster in these side hustles.
Mistake #3: Getting caught up and frustrated in the follow/unfollow game
When I decided to start putting my energy in my blog in 2016, I realized that my following would go up by 10 then down by 20. And then the next day it would go up by 20 then down by 10. I quickly learned the follow/unfollow game that accounts and bots were doing to increase their following numbers.
I remember the explosion of apps that showed you who unfollowed you. I remember people religiously checking these apps and immediately unfollowing people who unfollowed them. This will drive you crazy if you put your energy into this game.
This is NOT a productive way to spend your time as a blogger and content creator. What other people do with follow/unfollow does NOT affect your ability to create content or engaged with your audience. Instead of getting caught up in the F/UF game, you should focus on meaningful content to your audience. You should focus on increasing your blog traffic and figuring out ways to cross promote your blog on Pinterest and Twitter.
Mistake #4: Not engaging back with their community
Most people’s focus is to grow and grow their following number. Most new bloggers miss that building your community through engagement is what’s actually going to grow their audience size.
I learned last year that my most loyal Instagram/blog friends actually brought more Instagram and blog friends to my platforms. Engaging can be as simple as replying to every comment on your photo. Engaging can be going back to everyone’s pages who commented on your photo and commenting back. Don’t overlook your current audience and take them for granted. They’re already following you and engaging with the photos you produce so why not engage back?
Mistake #5: Haven’t defined what success looks like
One thing I really struggled with when I first decided to take blogging seriously was defining what my success looked like. I assumed that success meant a large following and/or making money on brand deals. I assumed that success meant new content every single day.
I realized after about a year that I had to define my own version of success. To me, success is providing meaningful content for my community that encourages them to explore, create, and live life with style. To me, success is helping at least one girl find confidence on posing or asking a brand for payment. To me, success is producing 1-2 blog posts a week.
My version of success does NOT have to be the same version of your success. So what does success look like for you?
Can you relate to the Mistakes New Bloggers Make? Have you made these mistakes?
Do you want to learn 3 more mistakes beginning bloggers make?
I’m sharing them with my Close Friends group on Instagram Stories. You can visit Join my Instagram Stories Close Friends Group blog post for more information!
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed learning the mistakes new bloggers make!
Photos: Karya Schanilec