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Q&A on Blogging and Instagram- How to Start a blog, Work with brands, Grow Instagram

In this post, I am answering questions on How to Start a blog, work with brands, and  tips to grow Instagram

Q&A on Blogging and Instagram- How to Start a blog, Work with brands, Grow Instagram featured by top US fashion blog, Dreaming Loud

A few weeks ago, on my Insta stories, I called upon fellow igers to ask questions for a Q&A blog post. I have received several questions on Fashion, blogging, Instagram and few personal ones. I wasn’t expecting questions on blogging and Instagram tips since I never thought someone would ask ME for such advice.

I was wanting to share a blog post on these topics but not until I thought I have learned enough. But honestly, I’ll probably never be good enough to share because there is no end to learning.

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So, I decided to share whatever little I have learned so far. I am dedicating this entire post to blogging and Instagram tips and will do a separate blog post on fashion and personal questions.

Here are my honest experiences and tips on blogging and Instagram.

How to Start a Blog & Other Blogging Tips

QuestionI have been following your blog for quite some time and I really love your contents and how you post them. I have been planning to start a lifestyle blog for a very long time but just don’t know how to get a head start. Can you let me know how did you start yours and how was the experience?

Answer- Thank so much for following along and for your kind words, you really made my day <3

If you are really passionate about starting a blog JUST GO FOR IT. The more time you take, the harder it gets as you start to question and doubt everything. There is no right time to start working on your dreams.

 

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Question- How did you start your blog?

Answer- This is not my first blog. I had a Blogspot blog that I started back in college where I used to try hands at poetry and online journaling. Writing was always been my first love (even though I am not very good at it) and so was Fashion.

At any given time in my life, I always had a hobby or passion project running on the side.

2 months into my first job, I was unhappy and longing for a new hobby to keep me motivated and my creative flow flowing. That same year I switched to all-natural and started learning about green beauty and essential oils. This was the time when I discovered fashion blogging on Pinterest and found my calling. Within a month I started this blog.

My first of blogging was full of apprehensions, self-doubts, bad vibes on what my extended family would say or what if I get hurt. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put myself out in public since I am a private person and none of my social media accounts were ever been public.

I come from a community where people don’t understand blogging and can easily assume that I’m doing all this to grab unnecessary attention or I’m aspiring to be a model.

I told this story because I wanted to let you know that I wasn’t ready to be a blogger when I started. An idea popped up and I just implemented it. I slowly perceived it post by post at my own pace. People may tell you a million things to stop you or change the way you are doing. If you can’t ignore them, just listen to them but JUST do it in your way. Remember, it’s your dream, fulfill it in the way you dream of it.

Question- Share your tips on how to start a blog?

Answer- Here are my 5 tips on blogging.

1. Don’t start it with the intention of getting famous or making money from it from the day one. I didn’t even know you can make money through blogging a year back. Do it because you are DYING to do it, just like any other passion project.

2. Find what you are good at and make it your FOCAL POINT- With Lifestyle blog, you can literally write about anything but at the end of the day, what is your motto? are you inspiring your audience to lead a certain lifestyle or are you promoting a particular fashion style? You may or may not know the answer from day one but focus on figuring it out as you go. The earlier, the better.

3. Be CONSISTENT, that’s the key to blogging or Instagram or anything in general in life. Do it religiously or don’t do it at all.

4. It’s ok if the results are demotivating initially because your own friends and family might not give a damn about your blog let alone followers. But PERSEVERE, people will eventually see your sincerity and start to notice your work, just don’t give up (say not today!)

5. Stay TRUE to yourself and your brand. Don’t change your way because everyone else is doing it. It’s not easy to not get diverted but hang in there because it’s your blog, you are the boss, no one can dictate you on what to post. Ex- don’t promote a trend or a brand that you don’t believe in.

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Technology-wise-

To start a blog you can choose one of these blogging platforms- WordPress, Blogspot, Square space, Wix, and Weebly to name a few. I personally love and recommend WordPress since it’s the most popular among others, easy, flexible, and has a large community of users/developers who share resources and tools. Recently, I heard a lot of good things about Wix too. Do your own research and pick the one that suits your niche.

My website is on self-hosting wordpress.org platform where I pay for my domain and hosting. If you don’t want to invest in anything go for Wordpress.com as they offer both domain and hosting for free. But your domain name will include “wordpress.com” at the end and you can’t make changes to the code or have custom themes and functionality.  Let me know if you want to know more details on the technology side. I will do a detailed blog post because I customized most of my website by myself.

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Question I see you posting blog posts religiously without missing the schedule. So curious to learn how to stay motivated.

Answer- I wrote an entire blog post on How I Stay Motivated and How to be a productive blogger. All the tips are practical and something I personally follow.

 

QuestionI am a big fan of your blog and have been following your posts for about a year now. Your sense of style is impeccable! My question is, how does a small-time blogger like me get collaborations with brands? I don’t have a big Instagram presence and want to grow my audience with authenticity. Any tips on how you started and built your blog?

Answer-  I can’t tell you how much that makes me happy. Thank you so much for taking the time and letting me know that.

The things I am going to share now, I wish someone has told me earlier. It would have saved a lot of agony of depressing tears and sleepless nights. Blogging is just like any other job or even worse where your colleagues/fellow bloggers won’t reveal much because of job security or competition.

Since there is not much (reliable) information online and there is no hard and fast rule on how to be a successful blogger/ social media Influencer. Every successful full-time blogger/influencer has paved their way up with their unique ideas, hard work, and dedication just like entrepreneurs do. So, think of yourself as an entrepreneur building a brand from scratch. 

First of all, no blogger is small, don’t think that way. You have a certain section of the audience that would interest-specific brands. Know your audience and approach those brands that are related to your niche with collaboration ideas. Not every brand will respond you back, but WHAT IF they do, isn’t it worth it. Create opportunities when you don’t have any.

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To answer on how to grow your audience-

1. Be yourself, that’s how people will relate to you.

2. Post consistently even though you are getting low engagement as I said earlier, you have to grab people’s attention and that will only happen if they see your content regularly. People follow you to see more content from you, if you don’t post, there is no reason for them to follow you.

3. Respond to your followers, appreciate their time. Think of how many times you have commented on someone’s post and appreciated their content.

Someone sent me this the other day “I like your today’s post but I didn’t comment because I have never commented on anyone posts”. Not saying it in a negative way or pointing anyone out. Some People just don’t like public attention, I was like that too. So, appreciate people who really came out of their way to praise your work. Return the favor, when you like someone’s post. Think of it as a community where we grow together. Through Instagram, I know some lovely people across the world and trust me it’s the best part of it 🙂

4. Take better pictures. Maintain a cohesive (maintaining the same mood across all pictures, can be achieved by adding the same filter or tint to every picture) feed if you can. I am not a big fan of this since my outfits are all colorful and my filters change based on the colors and mood I want to set in the picture. A high-quality picture is a key and you can achieve that even with your phone camera. My favorite photo editing apps for iPhone are VSCO cam and Snapseed.

5. Connect with like-minded bloggers and influencers you admire by engaging (liking and commenting) with their posts. That way you are supporting others and also promoting yourself by increasing your visibility with your comment on their posts. You can find like-minded bloggers or followers through your niche hashtags.

6. Use hashtags that are relevant to your posts. The goal is to find hashtags your target audience would likely search for and use on their own. To search for such relevant hashtags- type the hashtag you already know like #ootd in the search and check other people’s posts to see what additional hashtags they are using. Or you can check your favorite accounts in your niche to see what hashtags they are using.

When you search for a hashtag, Instagram gives you the number of users using that hashtag. When you are selecting your 30 hashtags (that’s the number of hashtags you can use per post), don’t pick all high competition (high count) hashtags. Choose some under 3-5M, some under 500-800k, some under 200k, and some in a couple of thousands. That way your post will make it to the “top post” section for at least few hashtags.

Use brand hashtags that are unique to a specific brand to be featured. Ex- for this Banana dress I used hashtag #itsbanana as it’s the Banana republic’s branded hashtag.  That way when Banana searches the hashtag for outfits to feature on their website. My post might show up and if they think my picture is relevant and of good quality. They will comment on my post asking me to give them permission. once I reply yes to that, voila! My picture with my Instagram username will be seen by everyone who visits their website. If you are lucky enough, they might regram it on their Instagram account.

7. Add location to every picture you post so that your pictures will come up in a location search. This is something I have learned very late.

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QuestionDo you always post with passion? Don’t you reach a stage where you post just because people are expecting you to post

Answer- I post every single blog post and Instagram post with passion. Blogging is not my primary source of income, it’s my hobby (even though it feels like a full-time job). So, I don’t have to push myself if I lose interest in it.

However, I do have days when I’m demotivated and don’t want to be on social media. I take a break and come back rejuvenated.

End of Q&A

Modest Fashion and lifestyle Blog Dreaming loud wearing BCBG Ziggy Woven Moto Jacket 2 - How to Start a blog by popular Ohio blogger, Dreaming Loud

Coming to the outfit, I have never thought satin dresses would look good on curvy bodies. I am obsessed with how this dress fits right on my curves. I am convinced that satin dresses are for every body shape. You just have to find a well-tailored dress like this one.

I tried the belt bag trend for the first time by wearing my crossbody bag over my waist. I used a rubber band to knot it at the back since I didn’t want to ruin the handles by knotting them. Belt bag breaks up the solid color of the dress and cinched my waistline. I love this trend since they are very practical, I love the free hands.

Also, Banana Republic is currently offering 40% off sitewide + 10% off for Banana card members. I shared my favorites from their latest collection in the slider below. Sloan pants are my favorite go-to pants for work. I have them in black and red.

Shop The Post

Banans Slipdress (on 40% off right; best-fitted satin dress; wearing Petite 4) | Bcbg jacket (also here) | Pumps c/o | Crossbody Bag wore as Belt bag | Earrings | Cuff 1,2 | Necklace c/o (use code SUREKHA15 for 15% off) | Crown Braid Tutorial

Favorites From Banana Republic

If you have any questions on how to start a blog, leave them in the comments below or email me at [email protected] I will try to answer them in my next blog post.

Do it with passion or not at all

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post, it means the world to me!
Love, 
Surekha