Good morning friends! I’m finally over my lingering cold and had some time to get my life together, so I could finally give you a recap of the Dallas blog conference! And as promised, I brought you back some blogging tips to help you grow your own blog!
BLOG CONFERENCE RECAP
This girls’ weekend is always a blast and the conference is really well done with gorgeous details, fun parties, and one-on-one time with brands you have worked with in the past or may partner with in the future.
More than that, it’s an opportunity to hang out with friends that you don’t normally get to see since we’re all over the map!
I roomed with four of my best girls and the laughs were nonstop! This is truly such a great group of women that I’m so thankful for. We were just missing Courtney, who couldn’t make it.
The first night was a pool side party complete with fancy drinks, delicious appetizers and synchronized swimmers!
I wore a versatile shift dress and comfy wedges because I knew it would be a long weekend for heels. The ‘Megan’ pendant tassel necklace really gave the dress some personality!
I wish I had gotten more pictures with friends, but did happen to snap this one with Ashlee!
The next morning was when I started feeling so bad, so I spent much of the day in the room, missing some speakers, classes and the evening party, but I made a short appearance for Jillian Harris’ and Erin’s talk. So glad I got to see them!
On Saturday, I wore a white sundress with feminine crochet detail. It really went well with the lush landscape of the Crescent Court hotel.
At lunch, I’m so glad I got to sit and catch up with Marnie! She is such a good friend and you’ll love her YouTube channel where she chats about beauty, fashion, decor, budgeting, family life and more.
Saturday night, I rallied for the last party of the weekend, which is always such a good time with a DJ and lots of dancing!
I was determined to wear this floral dress with a sweetheart neckline- I just loved it so much!
Being together with these girls was really so much fun and I’m so thankful for our friendship!
Too bad they are no fun!
HOW TO GROW YOUR BLOG
Now onto the blog tips! There are a million recommendations for developing a successful blog – on both the creative and technical levels. But only you can define what having a successful blog means to you. I think the most important tip to gain any sort of success in the blogging world is to build great relationships.
And, no doubt about it, the number one way to grow your blog is to build your relationships. That goes for relationships with: 1) your readers, 2) other bloggers, and 3) eventually with brands. Today, I’ll focus on building relationships with readers and other bloggers, because that is what is most important for your own authenticity and the best way to attract readers to your blog. It also ties into what will eventually make brands want to work with you, if that’s one of your goals.
How do you grow your relationship with readers if only your mom and BFF are reading your blog? Well, you need to get eyes on your blog. How do you do that? You have to consistently put out quality content. You need to pin images of that content to Pinterest (Pinterest is still my biggest traffic source). You’ll want to share each post across your social media channels like Instagram and Facebook.
And then respond genuinely to every. single. comment you receive. Whether that’s on your blog, social media, email – everything.
But don’t stop there. If the person commenting on your blog has one of their own, go visit theirs and leave a comment on their post. Same goes for social media. Respond to those comments thoughtfully and then visit their pages and leave your own comment.
This is one part of blogging that takes a lot of time and energy, but building valuable relationships takes time. And it’s worth it. It’s exactly what I did 8 years ago when I first started blogging. Back then, there was no Instagram and people weren’t using Facebook to promote their blogs. Comments on blog posts were how people communicated. I responded to comments AND would go visit other blogs and comment on their posts. It’s actually how I met some of my closest ‘blogging friends’ to begin with! And how I found some of my favorite blogs.
It’s imperative to have blogging friends because there is so much information and knowledge to be shared. We can all learn from each other and help encourage each other when we need it because we understand each other.
If you don’t have that many readers/followers, that’s okay! Trust me: it’s far better to have fewer, more engaged readers, than a massive following of ‘strangers’ that really aren’t invested in what you’re doing. We can get caught up in the numbers game and start valuing our worth in likes and followers if we aren’t careful. I always feel like the best bloggers are the ones that make me feel like they are talking directly to me. I hope that’s how YOU feel when you’re here.
That also takes some vulnerably and a willingness to put yourself out there even when it’s scary. You don’t have to share every private thing with the world (in fact, I think some things are sacred and better not shared), but at the same time, you need to be real, genuine and let your true self come through in your blog posts.
I’ve found that it’s a two way street with readers trusting you and YOU trusting THEM. Once you have built up a real relationship over time, it’s easier for you to share the not-so pretty parts of your life. That’s where I’ve always gotten the most support and felt like my voice had meaning.
And I always like to offer value in my posts, which is why I still write about productivity and fitness, things I’m passionate about!
Quality Over Quantity
If you are consistently publishing quality content and making every post worth reading, you will gain loyal readers who look forward to those posts. And they will tell their friends, and so on. Take Gwen for example. She doesn’t post very frequently, but every post is amazing and makes you want to come back for more.
This can be hard because it might feel like you are spinning your wheels, not gaining much traction, but you have to be patient and keep on believing in yourself and what you have to offer!
You don’t need millions of pageviews or followers to eventually get noticed by brands that want to work with you. Many brands – including big names like Nordstrom – like to partner with ‘microinfluencers’ – those ‘everyday people with a decent following of over 3,000 followers on social media that focuses on a particular niche’.
When real people view you as relatable, genuine and trustworthy- they become loyal followers, or as I like to say, friends. Which truly makes blogging so rewarding and what keeps me excited to wake up each day and keep doing it!
JILLIAN HARRIS’ BLOG ADVICE
- We are all unique and individual
- You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so go for it!
- Always be yourself
- Work at your own brand, yourself and think about what makes you different and sets you apart. Ask yourself, “why do people follow you?”
- Go beyond yourself and ask, “What can we do for our community?”
- It’s hard, but don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.
- Blogs aren’t going anywhere- people’s eyes are on their phone and that’s where you need to appear.
- Even if you’re blogging at 40, your readers will age with you.
- Your readers trust is the most important thing. See, I told ya! *See above!
- Stay true to your core beliefs, for example, Jillian works with brands that don’t test on animals and help reduce waste.
- Don’t let haters change your path.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
- Who are you?
- What is your brand?
- What do you believe in?
- What is important to you?
- What makes you different?
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- Who is your demographic?
- What is the purpose of your brand long term?
- What value are you providing to your readers?
- What channels will you be present on?
- What’s your Mission Statement?
HONEY WE’RE HOME MISSION STATEMENT
To genuinely encourage women to take care of themselves by being more healthy and fit, stylish, organized and productive so they can LOOK their best, FEEL their best and BE their best!
I use my mission statement as a guideline for every post I publish. It helps me make sure that what I’m putting out into the world adds value, even if it’s just an encouraging word or style tip!