GALLERIES

    5 Things I’ve Learned From Blogging

    Clocking up nearly ten years blogging (a couple of not-to-be-shared named blogs before Brunch), and almost four years since launching this site. As I approach the birthday of my best project to date, I was thinking back to why I started and what I’ve learned.  The internet landscape has changed quite a bit since then, so it’s interesting to think back on this industry’s evolution. So, here are five things I’ve learned from blogging thus far… I’m sure with time there will be more notes to add!


    Integrity + readers trust 


    The idea of sponsorship did not occur to me when I started blogging back in high school (I actually felt embarrassed that I spent time online designing a website and writing about pretty things…for no one but me), and it didn’t occur to me four years ago when I started this blog. I feel lucky to be able to scribble down what inspires me and share snippets of my life for a living. That said – there have been times earlier on where I decided to work with a brand that, yes, I like, but didn’t love. The dreaded post day came around, and I sat at my laptop reluctant to press publish. It dawned on me then that I made the wrong choice. But looking back, it was a great stepping stone and learning experience. I’ve made a promise to myself, and to you, that I will only work with brands which I genuinely love, buy myself, and am proud to catapult that thing live on the blog. The most important aspect to me, as I move forward and work to elevate this site on a daily basis, is to have a transparent and genuine relationship with my readers. Literally, all opinions are my own.


    Find your niche and stick with it


    This is what makes blogs so interesting; people change, and so does content. However, I do think it’s important you stick to what you know. What are you most passionate about? What performs best for you? I try to focus on the posts that I can clearly see you love the most.


    Harder than it looks


    Blogging is usually perceived to be an easy job. It’s certainly not easy, and going full-time has shed even more light on how much I have to hustle. Every single day is different – but entails writing, editing, photo shoots, photo editing, meeting with partners, creating new content ideas, pitching for upcoming collaborations. You wear many many hats each day, and it’s actually quite hard to completely shut off. Something I am trying to get better at.

    Then there’s the admin side to it, which is the worst (don’t even get me started on taxes this year!). There’s so much you can be doing, but you’re only one person. Plus, it’s not always a creative mindset day, I can go through creative ruts for days, weeks, months even at times – owning my work and managing myself has been a challenge, but I will say it is all worth it in the end, so this is not a complete complaint.


    Community


    This goes back to #1 a bit, but I’ve learned that the most inspiring part of this blog, is you. Engaging with readers is rewarding for many, many reasons. When I get an alert for a comment or an email from a reader, it makes my day. And on the flip side, I’ve had so many people act shocked that I got back to them quickly– that’s what I’m here for! Never hesitate to reach out.

    Another thought– I no longer have a boss to give me feedback or coworkers to make me feel appreciated for something I helped with etc. – you totally fill that void and reassure me in such big ways by leaving just one short comment. I’ve said this before, and it probably won’t be the last time I praise you, but this corner of the web wouldn’t be the same without the people who immerse themselves in the content too. So thank you!


    Compensation


    I don’t think I’ve discussed this before on my blog – but think it’s an important thing to mention. Compensation works in a few different ways – through rewardStyle affiliate links (I receive a small percentage of the sales I generate through links I tag through their platform), brand direct opportunities (when brands reach out to me directly, and we ideate content ideas around a product, etc.), and through agencies I work with (most likely bigger scale campaigns).

    I only work with brands I love – and will speak to them or product from my own brain and give you an honest review, thoughts, or story around the collaboration. Bloggers deserve to be paid; for the amount of time, energy, creative direction of photos and writing – and sharing with said community we’ve cultivated. What I’ve learned? Balance sponsorships, stay genuine and be as transparent as possible. I try and give the most value I can within each sponsored post.

    Overall it’s been quite a ride. My motivation stays the same throughout the years – I want to create something I am proud of and have a place to share great things about life through my lens.  The most important thing I’ve learned is this – I’ve found that this site was my calling, and will forever be updating it. As always, feel free to shoot any questions you have, I’m here! x

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    Ashley
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    21 April

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    • This is such a fantastic post – happy almost birthday to your blog! I agree with you about blogging is harder than it looks – it’s incredibly difficult to explain to someone that isn’t familiar with what goes into blogging, but it’s frustrating to just stand by and have people aimlessly nod their head at you pretending to understand it. Bloggers definitely deserve more credit in that area than I think that they currently receive. And, I hear you about sponsorships – I’ve been going through my archives getting ready for the big WP switch, and I was cringing at some of the brands that I “worked” with, either for free or out of the sheer fact that I was a beginner and wanted any type of exposure. Only sharing things that you truly love and believe in is key, and you do a great job of that! 🙂

      • Thanks, Karly! I read this somewhere awhile back – “you’re as good as your last post”, and I try to keep that in mind. I love a breezy life catch up post, but I want to try and make sure that I’m bringing value to the table on a consistent basis. So many things to think about, but you’re doing a great job as well! Can’t wait to see your redesign. xx

    • Great tips!

      alexamjohnson.com

    • Love this post because I too, have been blogging for nearly 10 years and it has changed so much! It’s so great to have a creative outlet and pursue it as your passion but remembering to be true to yourself, write what matters to you and your readers and stay authentic is so important. Here’s to many more years 😉

      • Totally! Thinking back to why you started, your strengths to focus on and continue to build, and keeping integrity in mind at all times have been top priorities for me now that I’m full-time. Congrats on the 10 years! Keep up the great work, and thanks for saying hi! xx

    • So honest, real & transparent – love it!

      • Thanks, lady! I hope you had a great weekend. Excited to catch up soon!

    • Sophie Collins

      Great post ash xx

      • Thanks, Soph! Hope you had a good weekend! x