You’re in for a treat with today’s blog post, it’s a bit of a long BUT totally worth reading. So, bear with me and go grab a coffee because I’m sharing how I made my first year of blogging a success with y’all.
So, 1 year ago I hit the publish button on my blog…YIKES. I seriously didn’t know what to expect. I kinda came to the party late because I was 31 years old (now 32), and initially started blogging to channel my creativity and passion for beauty, style and travel.
AND 1 year on, what a year it’s been! Like seriously I did not expect my first year of blogging to be anything like it has been. I’ve collaborated with some amazing beauty brands, met some lovely people, increased my instagram engagement and have been invited to some of the hottest events.
So to celebrate my Blogaversary (yep that’s a thing) I wanted to share how I made my first year of blogging a success by focusing on what’s worked for me. And that’s, creating a brand, producing good quality content, using social media and working with brands.
Creating a brand – Heel Diaries
When I first decided to start my blog, the two most important things was my brand and blog template. In the beginning, I thought about what I wanted my audience to think when they landed on my blog, and that was ‘Chic Blogger.’ Out of this concept my blog name and brand was born ‘Heel Diaries’ and a chic, contemporary blog template was designed to reflect my individuality and passion.
- I used Pipdig to design my blog template. They have 100’s of designs and themes that are ready to download and use.
Good Quality Content
Content is King…well in this case Queen. I’m a firm believer in this, after all your passion for whatever it is your blogging about should come through in your content. In the last year, I have come up with some unique ways to bring inspirational content to my audience.
Here’s what’s worked well and got the best engagement.
- Exclusive beauty reviews – If you can get your hands on NEW products first and review them for your audience that works well. Timing is key so make sure you’re the first to know about launches by signing up to your favorite brands mailing lists.
- Guest blog interviews – Get in touch with some industry experts and ask them to collaborate by interviewing them for your blog. I did this with Shavata Brows & DR Murad and you guys loved it.
- YOAST SEO – OK, so this is a plug in which offers page analysis when writing content for your blog. Any one that’s serious about blogging needs to get this because it does simple checks to ensure your content ranks high in google rankings. Search engines love this and it’s the main reason to how I’ve managed to get around 2000 hits per month on my blog. And rank top of the page on google rankings for some of my blog posts.
I ranked top of google rankings for my ‘Huda Beauty Faux Filter verses Fenty Pro Filt’r blog post.
- Google analytics – This is seriously my gold mine when it comes to insight. I look at my google analytics every month because the insight is so valuable. Google analytics is a free web analytics service offered by google that tracks and reports all your website traffic. It helps to breakdown down your blog statistics so you can see exactly what posts are popular, and how many hits you’re getting. Any one serious about growing there blog needs to get struck into this.
- Good quality photos – I get asked all the time about what camera I use. Good quality photos are super important because a lot of people will just skim read your content and gaze at your pictures. I use my iPhone 7 plus in Depth Effect mode, it’s a signature blurry-background effect that’s normally achieved by using DSLR cameras.
Here’s a few examples of iPhone depth effect verses normal camera mode. You can clearly see the difference.
Social Media – Instagram
Instagram has definitely been the best social media platform towards my blogging success. It’s really allowed me to widen my audience reach and engage with my followers. Of course good quality content is important, But don’t forget that instagram is an amazing networking tool.
Here’s how I used my instagram to help increase my brand, followers and engagement.
- Switch to instagram business profile – By doing this, it allowed me to get valuable insight into my posts so I could see which posts were most popular and create more of them.
- Advertise – The business profile also allowed me to advertise on instagram. I do this often and by often, I mean once a month. I normally run a campaign to get target the right audience to my blog or instagram page.
- Add people who have similar interests – There are 100000’ of people that have similar interests as you, so make sure you add them. You can do this by searching hash tags that are relatable to your blog like; fashion, beauty etc. and adding like-minded people to expand your network. This tactic takes a lot of time investment but works.
- Engage with your audience – I’m definitely the kinda blogger that replies to comments. I mean come on unless your Kim Kardashian there’s no excuses. It’s not about looking exclusive it’s about engaging with your audience and getting to know them. And that includes direct messages.
- Hash tags – I always use the maximum number of hash tags which is 30. This allows new followers to find my content and engage with me.
- Events – Every time I go to a bloggers event and meet people, I always add them on instagram this has helped me to expend my followers.
There’s no secret formula with instagram, it’s all about investing your time and being consistent and the results will follow.
Collaborating with brands
Now this is an interesting subject. I remember when I started blogging I use to think how the hell do I get brands to recognise me and add me to their PR lists. This didn’t come easy and I think you have to build credibility with your brand and blog before you can even expect brands to collaborate with you.
Here’s how I collaborate with brands;
- Create a blogger media kit – One of the major challenges for bloggers is knowing what is considered a fair rate for a bloggers service. Any one serious about blogging should have a blogger media card. This is normally a one page visual that highlights all your blog stats like monthly hits, geographic data, social stats, brands you’ve worked with, services you offer as a blogger and rates. It’s difficult to determine how much you should charge, but here is some guidance that I found online. But honestly it depends on your individual engagement and insights.
How much should I charge
3 – 10K £100 – £150 (per post)
10 – 20k £150 – £250 (per post)
25 – 50k £250 – £500 (per post)
Video & motion content is generally 25% – 50% higher. These rates are based on industry bench marks from credible blogger platforms.
There are hundreds of free templates on google that you can use to build your own.
- Don’t be shy – Contact brands that fit in with your blog. When I started blogging I wrote an introduction email to some of the brands that I would love to work with. A simple approach like this got me on some exclusive PR lists, so I was first to know about new beauty launches and events.
- Join an influencer market place – There are so many platforms out there that connect influencer / bloggers like us to brands who have active campaigns. The two platforms that I use regularly are; The Blogger Program and TRIBE. You can sign up to both platforms and if you get accepted, you’ll get exposed to a host of campaigns with established and upcoming brands that are looking for influencers / bloggers like us to work with.
- Eventbrite – Sign up to Event Brite it’s an online platform that allows you to keep on top of any events happening locally or nationally. I have signed up to get email alerts on any events related to beauty or fashion in the UK. It’s a fabulous platform that all bloggers need to join.
So, these are my genuine top tips on how to make blogging a success. I honestly hope that you found them useful and that they will help you and inspire you to continue with your passion and blogging journey.
Here’s to another year of blogging…