I have been getting a lot of requests in the past months on ‘should I be a blogger?’, ‘how to be a blogger?’, ‘what’s your suggestion to an upcoming blogger’ and so on. So, I decided to create a blog post on the whole deal about blogging once and for all. This being blogger guide is a long one; I’ve divided it into 3 parts. The first one is about how I became a blogger and why should you choose to be one, if at all. The second one is a set my tips and suggestions for when you are starting your blog. Finally, the third part covers choosing & promoting yourself on the right social media, what to do and what not to.
Disclaimer: I want to also give a disclaimer before we move forward – I am not a representative of everything or anything a successful blogger is. There are many far successful bloggers out there, much more established and famous than I am. In fact, I’m a ‘micro influencer’ at best. I dare to write to this article only because I get a lot of questions about blogging and don’t mind sharing whatever I know. Furthermore, in terms of tangible success, I am able to draw a regular income from my blog, fund all my travel, have collaborated with about 250 brands in the last 2-ish years of blogging, & I don’t even blog as a fulltime activity (I have a full another career etc.).
Part 1, How did ERTSY come into being?
ERTSY or ERTSY CHIC is the name of my blog, which is short for Erubescentecstasy because well, that name is complicated for more people than I thought. Now, the choice of name of the blog and its dichotomy is enough a giveaway to the fact that I never thought people will give two shits about my blog. I started writing a blog because I was honestly & genuinely passionate about writing first and my niche (travel in style) right after. To this day, I only write about something if it excites me. Another reason to think of blogging is to with my career choice of Digital Marketing. I thought even if I fail, I’ll end up learning a lot and will apply it to my career if nowhere else.
My story is simple – I wear a UK size 14-16 which happens to be the average size of women the world. Other than being constantly body-shamed in this despite a fairly healthy lifestyle and no measurable health-problems (other than a pre-existing hormonal disorder), I’ve always had trouble finding the right size of clothes for my size. For me, it was just absolutely bizarre that the women with the most common sizes had such fewer fashion references and that’s what prompted me to write this blog. Moving to Paris just kickstarted my creativity.
I also write about self-empowerment and growth from time to time because as a person suffering from social anxiety and hyperfunctioning introversion, I realize that not only the way you look but also the way you feel defines your confidence. In a nutshell, my blog is and will always be to help people confident in their skin and love themselves to the level of desire!
Part 2, Why should you be a blogger? Should you be a blogger at all?
Since about everyone is a blogger today, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in trying your luck at it, too. However, being a blogger isn’t about sharing your pictures on the social media (that’s an Instagrammer/influencer). There’s actual research work that goes into writing articles or at least coming up with something valuable that your audiences can benefit from. So, if you feel that you do have something to contribute to the landscape of conversations in the field of your interest, or are passionate about writing, by all means, start a blog today. However, if this is to get a bite out of the ‘influencer marketing’ action or just something you want to try, sticking to Instagram is less time consuming and will be more cost effective, too.
I have said this once and I’ll say it again, don’t be a blogger to replace a full-time job. I’m sorry to break it to you but blogging is not enough to sustain your life just because the business requires so much reinvestment. With no disrespect to anyone, only people who’ve had access to a lot of capital from their family funds or such have been able to grow their blog to the level where it sustains itself without having a job all along. I know people with hundred thousands of followers who still hold a job because of how expensive this business is. It’s a great way to be able to accommodate your hobbies and creative passions a little better, break even, earn a little side income, even, but not enough to replace a job.
Once you do start, you’ll also need to build a technical expertise in webmaster skills & SEO to help your site grow. Here’re some SEO tricks to help you start and google adsense integration steps to start off the monetization.
Part 3. Choosing & Promoting yourself on the right Social Media
Whether you’re a blogger or a social media influencer, choosing and promoting yourself on the right social media is the most important aspect of this job. So, here’re my inputs on scaling this mountain.
First things first, identify your social media in relation to your aesthetic. Today, Instagram has all the possible action, so it is the safest choice but also the most competitive. However, there are many alternatives worth considering, too. For example, some social media channels are big in a specific market, like Wechat in China and some social media works better for direct affiliate link clicks or even selling like Roposo in India.
After a lot of deliberation, my focus today is my Instagram and I’ve come a long way into understanding how it works for me. In General, these steps are going to help you grow on Instagram:
- Content is the Queen. If your content is not contributive or creative enough, you might as well give up.
- Choose a niche for yourself, stick to it. Add 1-2 hashtags in your profile bio to increase your reach.
- Use relevant hashtags and don’t go beyond 20 on a single post.
- Add clear ‘call to action’ in your posts. Say if you want your social media family to read your blog, always specify that there’s a link in bio waiting for their attention.
- Follow people who’re more established in your niche for inspiration and to network with their community to create a followership for your work.
- Join ‘engagement pod’ or small groups with other bloggers sharing similar content to kickstart your engagement. While this may be a good step while starting out, you can end up getting your account flagged in the long term if you only depend on pods.
- Follow/Like/Comment/Engage because Instagram Algorithm rewards you for being present on the platform. It’s okay to occasionally follow random accounts too, if they’re weird or not inspiring, you can always unfollow them later!
Most importantly, understand that blogging and social media are a fulltime job with lower stability in rewards. So, be ready to be unnoticed for your awesome content till you finally make it.
I wrote a full blog about my struggles with blogging last year describing how awful and thankless a job blogging can be. You can read it here. However, here I just want to mention the fact that it has only been downhill from there in terms of the gratitude. While a lot of people make the work worth it all, the negative comments and sometimes weird, entitled attitude of people is just disheartening.
I’ve had many moments when I have wanted to give up blogging completely but I feel that I blog now purely because I love creating content. All my collaborations are creative collaborations. I try to be as honest about my reviews as possible and would never trade my principles for money. I can afford to do it only because I have another career to support my life so I don’t judge some other bloggers who are too dependant on good money.
In conclusion, I’ll just say that you have to be very brave to put yourself out there for the world to judge but don’t undermine yourself. Depend on the supportive people in your life and in the blogging community to always cheer you up and help you realize why you started this in the first place. My blog would be nothing if not for my friends and family who’ve been ever-so-enthusiastic about my blogging even if they didn’t understand it sometimes. Plus if you’re actually spending time and energy on creating content, don’t undersell it. Don’t let brands coerce you into doing collabs for free or even on barter unless you really believe in the product.
Most importantly, have fun and put your personality forward when you blog. It’s your personal medium and you can literally do whatever the f*ck you want with it!
Share in comments below what you think about this guide and if you think I should add something more or if you’d have any questions.
For more of my Travel in Style adventures, keep reading ERTSY. Till then, Happy Blogging!