In a world where everyone (and their mom) is a blogger, it’s hard to find your place. Getting started, finding your niche, and establishing a following, can be extremely intimidating. So much so that people often talk themselves out of blogging all together. Over the course of the past (almost) 2 years that I’ve been slaving away on The Ocean Minded, I’ve received countless inquiries, how-to questions, on launching a blog. Often times, instead of responding with obvious answers on how to get started, I reply with what not to do, because I feel like that’s actually more valuable.
You can do everything right, but if you’re making these common errors, you’re really setting yourself up for failure. Here are seven things— what not to do— when you start a blog.
1) Don’t compare yourself to others — This one is number one, because (in my opinion) it is the most important. Do not, under any circumstances, compare yourself to the career bloggers who have been at it for 6+ years. Easier said than done, right? If you go down the dark, dark rabbit hole of comparing yourself, your outfits, your photos and your following to other’s, you may never come back out. It will make you question everything you’re doing. Trust me, just don’t do it.
2) Don’t buy your followers — Even the most well-known bloggers started from scratch, so trust the process and don’t rush it. You want your following to be genuine, like-minded people, who actually enjoy your content. Be patient and know that in time, you’ll see the growth that you’re looking for. In the meantime, know that your worth isn’t determined by the amount of likes on your Instagram.
3) Don’t be a copycat — The biggest piece of advice I can give to bloggers is to be original. People will appreciate that more than you know. Keep your content real, and authentic.
4) Don’t wait for brands to reach out to you — If I’m being completely honest, 60% of my brand collaborations are initiated by me. Not because I want the freebies, but because it helps me create fun, new content for the blog. You’ll get a lot of “no’s” when you first start out, but don’t let that discourage you. Find the brands that really speak to the vibe of your blog and reach out, you’ll be surprised who’s willing to partner up.
5) Don’t ignore your followers — When I first started blogging, I reached out to a big blogger seeking advice. Her response, “I can’t help you. I don’t have the time to give everyone advice who asks for it.” My response? Unfollow. I get that for gals with 100k+ followers, responding to every comment, email or DM would be chaotic— but don’t ignore your followers and don’t be rude. It’s important to understand that your followers are the reason you get to continue doing what you do.
6) Don’t pretend to be perfect — I have always tried to be raw, honest and real, and ditch the misconception that all bloggers are perfect. We’re all human, and I think people appreciate the honesty. You’ll find a more loyal group of readers if your content is relatable and actual, real-life, shit.
7) Don’t start blogging for the freebies — This is huge. If you’re starting a blog for free products, you’re doing it all wrong. People and brands will notice your questionable intentions. Start blogging because you’re a creative who loves photography and/or writing, the rest will follow.