OMG! I can’t even believe it! Two years ago today I stopped procrastinating and started Trend Hungry. This baby has come a long way, and it truly is my baby. Blogs take lots of time, attention, care, attention to detail, and there were a lot of times where I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. Like with anything new, it is a learning experience and wow have I learned a lot! I’m paying my blog love forward. Here are 10 bites of blog wisdom I’ve gotten from my two-year journey.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself. Jealously is ugly (not stylish!) so don’t stalk other bloggers and wonder why you’re not getting to pose in an ad campaign or aren’t quoted in a magazine. It’s not a race, so focus on you and be happy with your opportunities.
2. Do Better Yourself. Don’t feel crappy when seeing that your daily reads got to travel to Europe to attend runway shows. Instead, look at their site (and other top blogs) and see what they have in common. Do they post daily? Make their own graphics? Promote a ton on social media? From there reassess what you can do to better your blog, brand, and self. Maybe that means changing your Twitter handle to the blog’s name or putting yourself on a schedule to blog more often.
3. Work For FREE. Contributing to other blogs may not pay, but it’s a way to get free promotion and grab a new audience. I’ve pitched myself to Independent Fashion Bloggers and each time the article went live I saw a spike in traffic. Make sure wherever you’re pitching will link back to your site. Every Wednesday I feature a different blogger and link it back to them. It’s a win, win!
4. Network! Network! Network! This is a social biz and the more people you know the better! Attend local fashion events. Ask other bloggers if they can spare time for a phone call. Find people doing something you’re interested in and ask them all about it. People love to share their story and you can learn a lot this way. Before starting the blog I asked tons of people out for coffee. It led to me figuring out more of my interests, starting the site, getting my radio segment, my first TV appearance and other opportunities. I cannot stress how important mentors and contacts are. I’d be lost without them!
5. Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop. Don’t Stop. People that quit do not continue to grow. There will be times when you’re like “what am I doing?” or “will this ever make money?” and I’m proof that you’re fine and it will. To paraphrase Big Sean, “the grass is greener where you water it.” So nurture your blog. The more you put in, the more you treat it like a business, the more readers you’ll get and more opportunities will come. That being said, nothing happens overnight, so stick with it!
6. Spread The Love. Comment on people’s posts. If a reader tweets you, tweet back. Always be sweet and social. I left a comment on Refinery 29 and The Wall Street Journal liked it so much that they quoted me and mentioned Trend Hungry in an article. My inner journalism student was and is on cloud 9 from that.
7. Get Paid. When a brand emails you and wants to gift you something, at first you’re like “OMG, yes! I’ve made it!” Then, you start to realize you’re working for clothes. That’s cool, but clothes don’t pay the rent. If a brand really wants you, they’ll pay. Don’t shoot for the moon and demand a ton of money, but feel it out and say that you charge X for a sponsored post. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. It’s uncomfortable at first, but after a little, you’ll see that you treating it like a biz makes others view it that way too.
8. Always Be Nice. There are a lot of blogs out there and even when I go on a TV show, they may have two fashion segments booked. If there’s room on a TV show, there’s room in the world for lots of bloggers. So, share your story and advice. That person you didn’t want to help and badmouthed could one day be your boss. Instead, realize that a strong person isn’t intimidated by someone’s success. The goal is for everyone to grow and we’re stronger in numbers.
9. Invest In Your Business. I don’t know HTML and last time I edited a video was in college. Some things are better left to professionals. All businesses need to grow and change with the times, especially a web-based biz. There are many affordable web designers out there that specialize in blogs. Hit me up if you need a reference. See if you have any friends that may want to lend their talents and gain work for their portfolio. If you can’t pay make sure you show your gratitude in other ways. For example, I bring models for segments gift bags with some fashion and beauty goodies that get gifted to me. It might not be much, but I like people to know I appreciate their time.
10. Be Grateful. You’re alive! Life is good. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but do put the work in. Blogging usually starts off as a hobby, so enjoy it. Make sure your niche is something you absolutely LOVE so you’re looking forward to posting. Being nice and appreciating the success keeps it coming. I’m so thankful you’re taking the time to read this. I know it’s kind of long and not what I typically post. Thanks to all of you out there in Internet land. Without you, I’d basically be journaling. Special thanks to Kristen for your amazing videos, Danielle – my new video addition who amazed me this week, Kelsey, Morgan & Brooke – my three contributors that help shape the voice of the site, and to Lisa – my new web designer who has come up with a great design that will be coming soon! Thanks to my boyfriend for making my Trend Bite music and being my IT man. Thanks to Richie from Bad Rhino for teaching me social media strategies that have helped me grow a ton. Thanks to past contributors, media contacts that gave me a chance, friends and family for your support, and to my readers – you guys are amazing!
Stay stylish and don’t let having a skinny budget bog down your dreams! Love, Jessie