This post was written in partnership with ShopStyle Collective
After 10 years of blogging, I definitely have learned a thing or two about the industry. But to be honest, it took years to figure it all out. A lot of trial and error. A lot of new things happening in the industry. From Instagram becoming a thing, to attending blog conferences, and learning the ropes of negotiating contracts and rates. There are SO many things I wish we had back when I began in 2011. But now anyone can become a blogger and have all the tools they need right at their fingertips.
With many lessons learned over the last decade (wow) I wanted to share them with you too. In case you’re thinking “I want to become a blogger”, things are much easier to navigate these days. So much information is out there, unlike back in 2011 when there was no Canva, no organized affiliate programs and no such thing as a blog photographer. These are my 10 lessons I wish I knew when I started (so you don’t have to figure it out!)
10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging
1. Figure Out Your Vision
You don’t have to have it ALL figured out, but having some general idea of what your vision, voice and goals can be insanely helpful in organizing your content. Whether you want to be a food blogger who focuses on Keto, or a style blogger who focuses on affordable fashion, figure it out. You can always mix in a few other things, but by always having your vision, your why, your defining characteristics decided and laid out, it’ll bring a lot of clarity to your work. I’m always aiming to provide practical tips to make you feel more put-together.
2. Monetize From Day One
One thing that didn’t even EXIST when I started blogging, was utilizing affiliate platforms. I’ve been a part of the ShopStyle Collective program for many years now, but it wasn’t an option when I first created my blog. It was just all so new! Now when you start a blog, you can begin monetizing your content immediately through affiliate marketing. And if you’re not familiar with that, it’s simply monetizing links to retailers. So anything you see that I link in a blog post or on social media to shop a look, I make a small commission if someone shops. It’s at no cost to the shopper, too! This way, you never miss an opportunity to generate revenue.
ShopStyle Collective now has The Standard Program which is a back-to-basics program for new influencers that offers a straightforward tool set consisting of affiliate text links and simplified analytics. This is something I wish I had 10 years ago. Someone to help guide me through the platform, utilizing the best tactics for the tools they offer, growing your audience and so much more. If you’re thinking about becoming a blogger, or have just started, be sure to learn more here.
They just launched a new app called Collective LinkIt to make it easy as well when you’re on the go to monetize! I find myself using the Collective LinkIt app a lot when I’m responding to DMs while on the go, or linking looks while I’m traveling. It’s also a nice way to see what people are clicking and shopping. Download the app here for iOS or Android.
3. Create A Contact List
Contacts in this industry are everything. Make a list of all your contacts in a simple Excel document. And be sure to update it frequently. People move jobs and agencies represent new brands, so this list is typically everchanging. Creating a master contact list is key to staying on top of your growing brand contacts.
4. Get Organized
I really like using Asana to stay organized for my day to day. But whatever way you can get yourself organized, do it and stick to it. This also means get your revenue and expense spreadsheet organized, organize your photos and also your folders of affiliate links with the Collective LinkIt app to easily access while on the go. I love that I can share products with the app while out and about.
5. Start An Email List
Oh how I wish I had an email list from day one. My audience could be SO much larger if I took the time to do this. But also, there weren’t many options available 10 years ago. But now, there are great platforms for that. One thing I love to use in my newsletters is a call to action to shop an item or sale. It’s a great way to share my online finds with my readers and generate affiliate revenue. It’s super easy to do with the help of ShopStyle Collective links and analytics to track my success.
6. Write Helpful Content
I had no idea what SEO was in 2011. Or even in 2015 to be honest. And finally figuring that out has helped grow my blog traffic and grow my affiliate revenue with ShopStyle Collective. Writing helpful, SEO-friendly content is GAME CHANGER. And utilizing various ShopStyle Collective tools like their affiliate text links has made a significant impact on my earnings.
7. Get Comfortable Pitching
I hear it so often from bloggers. They’re nervous to pitch. They don’t know what to say. I was there too at one point. But you just have to jump in and go for it. Practice makes perfect, so just keep doing it. The more you do it, the more connections you’ll make, the more relationships you’ll build and the more revenue you’ll generate in the long run.
8. Diversify Your Content
You don’t have to write just blog posts. You don’t have to just be on TikTok. As a matter of fact, do more! I wish I dabbled in more things at the beginning and wasn’t so against the newness of everything that came out. Personally, hated IG Stories when they came out. Now love them. Hated TikTok, now find it very compelling and worthy of wasting time over. Be an innovator and not a follower. Try new things, diversify your content across platforms, mediums and even the type of content you create. It won’t ALL work, but some will, you’ll learn, you’ll pivot and expand.
9. Invested Earlier In My Brand
As many of you know, this blog used to be called My Style Vita. It took me 9 years to finally change it. I will say, it took me 9 years to finally figure it out I think. But nonetheless, I think investing in your website, your logo, and everything that goes with it is 100% worthwhile. And something I wish I did sooner. I kept putting it off hoping to not spend money. But now I look at my AID website every day and love it more and more. Something I never felt when I logged onto My Style Vita.
10. Your Going To Compare Yourself To Everyone, DON’T
Easier said than done. And something I remind myself of every single day. I’ve been playing the comparison game since day one. From trying to emulate my favorite bloggers I discovered at the beginning, to wondering if I’m doing enough now as I see people launch brands and products. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and it is a daily practice to work on it. Do you and do what makes you happy.