Happy 1 Year Blogaversary to Me!

Hey ya’ll!

So, you read right…I’m ONE! Well, not me of course but my brand! That’s so weird to think…I have a brand. AHHHH! If you’re reading this, whether it’s your first time here or you’ve read everything I’ve put out in the last year, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

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Dress // Boohoo

Over this last year, I’ve learned so much about the blogging word. The thought of that kind of overwhelms me a bit. Though I’ve learned alot, I know that it’s only a fraction of what there is to know. I have so much more learning and growing to do, but that excites me! There’s so much more that I want to do and so many other facets of this industry that I want to explore. For now, I’ll just go over some of the things I’v learned in the last year that I’d wish I’d known when I started…well kinda sorta. Growing and evolving is half the fun right?!

1. Blogger jargon can be overwhelming. 

Media kit…influencer…content creator?! UGH! What does it all even mean? Quite honestly, I only have a thin grasp of all the terminology but I think I know enough at this point to move forward. These three terms are what plagued me the most when I started. I took to google, read blogs, studied pages of people who identify as these things, etc. So, just in case you are thinking about blogging (or just curious about what it all means), a media kit is basically a digital resume for bloggers/ influencers. It allows you to showcase yourself to brands and outline the reasons why you’re qualified to do the work you’re seeking. It may include information like social media stats, average monthly blog visitors and brand collaborations you may have done (if you’re new to the game like I was, keep reading because I’ll talk a little later on about ways I got brand experience starting out). It was very intimidating starting out because I had none of the things that brings a media kit to life; no brand work experience, a very small social media following and a baby blog. But I’ve found that it’s not necessary to have a huge following or tons of experience for brands to want to work with you. Brands are looking for influencers at all levels that can represent them as long as you can do it well.

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Shoes // Shoedazzle

Speaking of that word, influencer…I really shied away from it at first. I mean…am I really an influencer? A influencer is essentially someone who presents a product to you in hopes of influencing your future purchases. So, am I an influencer? In the last year, I’ve determined that the answer to the question is yes. I present things to you, my reader, in hopes of influencing your decision to buy that or a similar item (and if I’m lucky, making a few cents). Though this is what I do, I have to be honest about the fact that making a few cents is not the whole reason I do it. Not even close! I’ve been sharing where I buy my clothes, how I do my hair and my favorite makeup for free for years. I genuinely enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping women feel their most beautiful. I know how it feels when I get dressed and do my makeup, and I just want everyone else to have the same feeling (this is also very true of love. I’m a serial matchmaker and my husband hates it! Lol! I just want everyone to be in love and happy!).

Now, content creator really threw me for a loop! At first, I really didn’t fully understand what a content creator does and how this title differs from that of an influencer. I have a better understanding these days, but am not so eloquent in my explanation. So I turned to good ol’ Wikipedia for help on the subject. Wikipedia basically defined content creation (what a content creator does) as a contribution of material to the online world. This may include blogging, photography, social media channels, so on and so forth.

2. Good photo editing apps are your fraaaand!

It took me FOREVER to find good photo editing apps that gave my photos the look that I wanted. I knew what I wanted from the start, but I went through what felt like a million crappy apps to find the ones that do exactly what I want them to. So, in attempt to try to save you some time (unless you hate the way I edit my pics) here are the ones I love!

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Adobe Lightroom CC

This app is the bomb! I also appreciate that there is a free version for those of us on a budget. I use it to lighten, sharpen and clarify my pictures. It works wonders on cell phone pics as well!

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This app is also free and offers all the filters you could ever want. The options are actually a bit overwhelming because there are so many! I mean, how do you choose when the pic looks great with the A7 and the AV8 filter?! Sheesh! Either way, there’s plenty options to choose from to create beautiful effects on your photos.

Unfold 

Now Unfold isn’t a video editing app, but is it one of my favorites. It’s the best for creating absolutely beautiful IG stories. Honestly, I don’t always have a picture to post everyday. However, I have something to add to my story all the time. If you want to give your stories a more polished look, then Unfold is the app you’ve been looking for. There is a free version of this app as well, but it’s only a few bucks to get access to all the offerings.

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Jacket // Ross (Similar items here and here)

Canva

I use Canva to create all of my blog graphics. The app itself is free and many of the formats are gratis as well. Though there are for fee options, I feel like the plethora of free options always get the job done. It’s really easy to use and the simplest way that I’ve found to create beautiful, engaging graphics.

3. Don’t wait for brands to slide in your DMs…get after it!

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I’ve always been the type of girl to go after what I want. I know it’s so cliche to say, but it’s true! If I submit an application to your job, you’ve got a week tops to call me. If you don’t call, I’m showing up at your place of business! I go for what I want, and I want you to know how much I want it too! The same is true of the blogging/ influencer world. There are so many people who do what we do, it’s not realistic to believe that a brand is just going to stumble across your blog or your feed and say, “oh yes! She! She is the one I want!” I mean, that may happen in some cases, but for microinfluencers like me (oh yes, another blogger term) it doesn’t happen often. If it’s a brand you support organically, when you post about their product let them know! Tag them, at them, wave your hands back and forth wildly while screaming their name! Whatever you have to do to get noticed, do it! That’s easy for me to say now because I do it all the time, but I didn’t always. Even though I’ve always been the girl to go after what I want, I also tend to underestimate myself. Like, what do they want with me when they’ve got all these other people to choose from? Wrong!

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This story is unrelated to brand collaboration, but it was an eye opener for me in how important it is to intentionally bring attention to yourself. Earlier this year, we went to the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit at the NC Museum of Art. I took photos and eventually wrote a post about he entire experience (you can find that here). I addition, I also posted of photo of myself in the exhibit standing in front of a large portrait of Eunice Johnson on my instagram feed. My husband suggested that I tag her daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, in the post. I was like nah fam, that’s unecessary! I’m sure she has plenty to do and she’s not checking for my IG post so bye! Lol! BUT, I reluctantly did it anyway and within minutes she responded with gratitude for my post! After I picked my edges up off the floor, I  (one) realized Doug was right and, (two) realized I had to be intentional about making myself be seen. Getting a gig as an influencer isn’t much different than getting a 9-5 in today’s digital world. For me, the same rules apply.

4. Link up with platforms that do the leg work for you.

Making yourself be seen is all well and good but, just like with a regular 9-5, brands want to know what kind of experience you have. I honestly felt like I was fresh out of undergrad again and was back on the wheel of “you need experience to be considered for this job” and “nobody will hire me because I don’t have experience”. Luckily, I found some blogs that led me in the right direction. I joined a few platforms that bring the brand work to you. Of course you can get work without the middle man, but when you’re new to the game and still getting your footing it’s nice to have someone do it for you.

The Heartbeat Company

Joining was, thankfully, super easy. I answered a few profile questions to help them match me with campaigns, and made sure my paypal was up-to-date so that I could collect any coins coming my way. After that, they sent emails directly to me about available campaigns that matched my niche and/or interests. I could decided to apply for the campaign or not. If I was chosen to participate, they would send me the product and a timeline to have my post submitted. Simple as that! I got experience representing brands, and made a few dollars in the process.

The Sway

This platform is very similar in that it is very easy to get signed up and get started browsing available campaigns. Many of the campaigns can require a larger following, so that can be a roadblock for newer influencers. However, there are available options for those with various sized followings.

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Fohr

Fohr Co. is dissimilar in that this platform doesn’t necessary supply a list of available campaigns to choose from. However, it’s very cool in that it stores all of your information in one place so that brands searching for an influencer like you can not only find you, but find out everything they’d like to know about you. Now I know that sounds a little creepy, but of course EVERYTHING about you can’t be found there. It’s essentially everything that you are willing to put into your bio. The more you add the easier it will be for brands that are looking for you to find you. It provides everything from the number of followers you have on IG to the demographics of your audience. So, if a brand is looking for someone with a following that is predominantly female, between the ages of 25-34 living in NC and that’s you, if you’re utilizing the Fohr platform then they’ve found you.

5. Consistency is key!

This, by far, has been the hardest for me! I vacillate back and forth between wanting to be really involved in social media, shooting all the content and writing all the blogs and going zero dark thirty while being completely over the whole social media thing. I haven’t quite figured out why it is my motivation waxes and wanes so drastically, but I’m working to find a happy medium because I really do enjoy doing this for you guys! For example, I mentioned before that I don’t post pictures daily but I can definitely get jiggy with posting (almost) daily in my instastories about what I wore that day. It’s so important for me to only start what I’m willing to maintain. When I find I can’t maintain it (or I’m not willing to maintain it), I get overwhelmed and it takes the fun out of it for me. I have so many ideas in my head of things that I really want to do, that I can’t allow myself to get bogged down in things that I think I need to do because everyone else is doing it. Finding a balance between being true to yourself and keeping up with the metaphorical Joneses can be a full time job in itself! #Whewchile

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Nevertheless, with all these lessons learned and the countless lessons before me, I’m excited to see what the next year holds. Thank you for coming along with me for the ride! If you’re a blogger/ influencer, what’s the one thing you’ve learned that you wish you knew before you started? If you’re toying with the idea of starting a blog/ becoming an influencer, what’s stopping you? Dish in the comments below!

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As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, talk to me! If you like what you see, subscribe!

Talk soon!

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