Sometimes it’s hard for me to spend money on my blog. Especially for things that people can’t readily see. But for the last few months, I’ve been paying for a monthly maintenance package from Hearts and Laserbeams. And it’s the best money I’ve ever spent! But let me tell you how I came to know that I HAD to do this.
I’ve been blogging for a really long time now. There have been times when my numbers have been great. And there are times when my numbers have totally dropped off. The blogging industry as a whole has changed as have the ways that PR companies and brands want to work with influencers. It’s super important to always check yourself and stay grounded. Just because you think you know what you are doing, doesn’t mean you actually do and you could be setting yourself up for failure. It’s ok to have the eye of the tiger when you are setting your blogging goals. World domination is on most of our lists, is it not? Full disclosure, my numbers have been dropping consistently for the last year. I think this is due to a number of factors including only blogging 3 days a week, not having a good social media plan and neglecting my tribe. In my opinion, my content is better than it has ever been. And I got a blog refresh, with a new crisp and clean look, that should be bringing me all kinds of sticky traffic. So I wasn’t really taking responsibility for my numbers and social media reach not being amazing. I was just feeling snotty and thinking that people would come to me, especially if they are the “right” people. But then I watched this video with Tiffany from SITS Girls/ Massive Sway. She tough-loved me out of my stupor. It was hard to hear. But it was something I needed to hear. You have to do the work to be successful. Simple as that. Check your ego, amigo. I did and oddly, it’s taken away stress even though my new to-do list is 8 miles long (que Eminem…) And you need to look at what you do well and what you don’t do well with. Then teach yourself how to do it all well. Don’t be complacent. Keep working and learning.
In the recent past when brands would reach out to me, I was only pushing to get the rate that I ‘deserve’. You know the rate, I came up with back when my numbers were awesome and I had better interaction…I’ve learned that while I shouldn’t sell myself short, I also should be willing to be flexible and understand what I can truly give to a brand. Do I miss an opportunity because they want to pay me only $200 and I would rather have $600? No, especially if they aren’t asking for the world but it’s a type of post you can pop out (while still turning out great content) in a short period of time (but your sponsored posts should always be in line with your brand, and something you feel good about – not just about the money). Also, if there is a brand, product, service that you love, want or need, I’m totes cool with taking it for free. Others may not be, but for me it works (once in a while – on a case by case basis).
Also, my numbers aren’t going to grow themselves. I need to create a plan for sharing on my social channels. I need to be an active part of the community to grow the relationships which ultimately help you grow your traffic. I need to attack my goals the way a normal business would. I need to put as much energy in to the backend part of blogging as I do to making pretty content. And to do this, I may need to sleep a few hours less. I need to work harder to learn the things like affiliate marketing and SEO that my head doesn’t readily understand. I shouldn’t just ignore those things because they don’t come easy to me.
With the blogger market so saturated, you have to be flexible, keep re-evaluating your worth and be innovative in ways that you can work with brands. But nothing is more important than working hard for what you want. It’s not going to come to you. You have to go get it. So get off your high horse and look at your process from the ground up. Use a fresh perspective and humble yourself. Then, with fresh eyes, create a plan. Do the work. Work hard.
P.S. If you aren’t part of SITS Girls or signed up for their newsletter you need to do that ASAP. They are a great way to get brand opportunities and also shares tons of great blog business articles. I’ve learned a ton from them. And you can too.
It is my favorite thing ever when Tori calls herself a blogging dinosaur. She’s this super cute blond gal, who is super business savvy and I know she just means she has been blogging a long time, but the image of a dinosaur just doesn’t fit her. Her strengths are so different from mine. Sometimes I am jealous of all the SEO and marketing knowledge she has but then I stop myself. We are all suited to certain things. And instead of spending my time wishing I could be more like Tori, I need to focus on my own strengths. The coolest part of finding your “tribe” is that they want to help you. They are willing to share their expertise and knowledge with you. Tori is there for me in a second if I need her help on something or have a question. These relationships aren’t one-sided, though. You have to bring something to the table too, but your friends will help you figure out what you are good at. They will ask you for help in certain areas that you never thought you could provide any value. They will lift you up when you are feeling down and will provide invaluable advice in all kinds of areas. And you will do the same for them. BTW, you NEED to check out all the business articles on Tori’s site. She knows what she is talking about.
If you are a blogger, and haven’t formed a community, move this to the top of your to-do list. Sometimes the relationships evolve naturally and sometimes you have to work to find them. Some of my blogging friendships (which shouldn’t be just pigeon holed as most of these relationships have grown in to full-fledged friendships with these ladies) started out with a simple email letting them know that I admire what they do and think they are doing an awesome job. Some were formed at blogging conferences. There are tons of ways to meet other bloggers. Finding your tribe won’t always be easy, but in the end it is something you will cherish.
There are so many bloggers out there and we all fall in to comparing ourselves to them from time to time. But if we can look at it in a different way, like a vast pool of potential friendships, maybe it would seem less daunting. We are all very different, but together we make beautiful music. On our own we are awesome, but together we are even better.
Do you have a “tribe”? Leave a thank you and link to their blog in the comments so we can all go say hi!
*I took this image in Palm Springs last year on our creative retreat. One of the gals, Tammy, wrote out this song lyric (Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’) for me. She’s ridiculously talented and I consider her to be part of my tribe. Thank you, Tammy for always being there to support me and for collaborating with me on photos and with your awesome writing! I heart you!
Go check out her Letters To You site!
You can download just the lyrics here: