This past week I left a question up on my IG stories asking you guys to drop questions relating to blogging. There were so many that I could no way put it in my usual Sunday IG post, where I've been selecting ten and answer them. So today's post is dedicated to a selected ten questions I've chosen to answer relating to my work and the world of blogging, which is more like the Wild Wild West. Just a General making sure my shoulder's straight ;) Continue reading to learn more about my experiences as a full-time blogger, where today marks three years since M + S launched. Happy Blogiversary to me and Happy Monday to you!
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START BLOGGING?
Right before I started MaQ + Suz, I had endured some pretty heavy-duty, life-changing experiences which encouraged and led me to my new platform. Along with my desire to find an outlet where I could put both my visual eye and the written word together at the same time had always been apparent, but it wasn’t until I entered the world of blogging before everything came full circle.
WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE AS A BLOGGER?
Every day is different depending on my schedule for that week, such as what deadlines are approaching, upcoming events and so on. Overall, I spend over 40+ hours a week working on the blog and that includes responding to emails, meetings, posting on social media, editing photos, writing blog posts, working on SEO, going out for photoshoots and events, writing contracts - the list goes on and on and on. We have shoots every day so I try to stick to a routine that way I don't have to organize as much. So I usually start my mornings with emails, walking the pooch, a photo shoot, and/or meetings/events. It's never a day off when it comes to my job and there's just never enough hours in a day to get it all done.
HOW DO YOU GAIN MORE FOLLOWERS?
I get this question a lot and I have to say it's really all about the quality of your content! This, and being consistent every day and being patient. Remember, the number of followers you have is just a number. What's important is the engagement you have with your audience and what you do every day to give them something that makes them want to follow you. That being a source of inspiration, or a special skill one can learn from, it should be something that makes you stand out and be unique. Now if you're in this for instant-gratification, I'm telling you right off the bat, don't do it! Gaining a substantial amount of readers/followers takes TIME and a ton of work. You have to be okay with the fact that it could take years.
Also, AUTHENTICITY. I believe if you stay true to yourself and your branding image, along with high-quality content, then new and old followers will genuinely want to follow you and your business. Sharing the process of your journey keeps things real and I love people for that, and I know others will love you for it too!
So here are a few tips to help you grow your audience:
Create Killer Content – The more often you do something the better you'll get at it. And that goes for content, whether you're behind or in front of the camera, don't be afraid to think outside the box, take risks, and try new things you'd normally not try. This will help you find your aesthetic/style.
Post Daily – Consistency is key. I can't tell you how many times back in the earlier days when I wouldn't post every single day and my engagement dropped nearly half its size. YIKES! Don't be out of sight, out of mind in terms of posting!!!
Engage With Your Audience – I always try to comment back on comments whether its on IG or the blog, but I also comment others within my niche.
Tags & Hashtags – Yes you should abuse the #30 rule for IG. Don't be shy to tag promo accounts within your niche to get a possible repost after using their hashtag of some kind. You can tag up to 20 accounts in a single IG post. So take advantage!
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE DEMANDS/PRESSURES OF WHAT YOUR JOB?
As demanding as it can get, I take perseverance & determination, hard work, and discipline and yet at the same time it also requires you to not take yourself too seriously. Otherwise, it’ll no longer be fun anymore and life is also meant to be enjoyed. I guess it’s all about finding your own balance, and everyone has a different path and in variated times in our lives.
WHAT CAMERAS/LENS DO YOU USE?
Canon 5D models, Olympus EMD-5, lens Canon 28-135mm 3.5/5.6
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GROW YOUR FOLLOWING & WHEN DID YOU START TO BLOG?
I launched my blog in August of 2015. For the first year or so, I really didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't sure what my niche was, how I wanted to brand my image, etc; and most of the time felt completely lost. I experimented with a lot of different topics from interviews to meet and connect with other like-minded people in my field as well as attending events to network. Once I started to hone in on my style I felt more confident in pursuing blogging full-time. In two short years, I've gained over 35K on Instagram with a total reach of over 70k. I work with global brands such as L'Oréal, Aveda, Kiehl's, Dove and more & have been featured in WWD, BFA and Getty Images.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A BLOG/LIFE BALANCE?
It's always important to prioritize what you NEED to get done versus what you want to get done. Now that I do this full-time, I am always on deadlines, so these come first. Afterward, it's a matter of what else I can get done for that day. I never feel like I get enough done every day, but it's only because there's so much and so many hours in a day! Learning to accept what I cannot control has helped me so much, and has kept me grounded. I'm not as hard as I am on myself (which is super difficult for me, if you know me at all) as I can be onto to others just as much. Also, taking it easy more and more is actually healthy and well-balanced. For example, I rarely ever work on Sunday mornings.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON THOSE REALLY BAD DAYS?
Whenever I’m having a pretty awful day, I cut myself loose and leave the ‘office’ for the day. I’ll go and take a long walk with my German Shepherd, MaQ and the city always is an escapism from another escapism. New York has a way of clearing your head and at the same time eating you alive (if you’re not careful enough). And sometimes there are days that’ll defeat you, where you’ll feel so bad about everything that getting up seems hard enough on its own. But then I think of all the shit that’s brought me to where I am today and I do believe I made it here for a reason. Perhaps the past has made me who I am today, but it has certainly motivated me to keep going and to keep pushing boundaries I didn’t think were possible. You have to keep on keepin’ on…
HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR CONTENT?
I gather inspiration from everywhere. The sights and sounds of the city. From traveling. From people watching. Food, books, music, film. The list is endless. If I ever find myself in a rut in terms of finding inspiration for content, I just take a break from thinking too hard about it and enjoy a good book/film, walk, bath, etc; and it always comes to me. If really stuck I am not afraid to ask my readers for feedback and what they want to see more of. Listen to your audience!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER BLOGGERS?
Word HARD. Be NICE to people. Always appreciate what you have rather than wanting what you may not have (yet). Just because someone else's journey is on a different (maybe even faster/or so you think) path than your doesn't define you or your work! It's not the destination that matters, it's what we go through along the way that does which is what I try to share with you guys more and more. And, the glasses are ALWAYS half-full, guys, I swear! 🙂