This post was originally published on 5/31/17. This post contains affiliate links.
*Ask Rachel Post*
ICYMI, you can submit you questions on ANYTHING to me using the contact form. My responses might just appear on the blog! This reader’s questions focus on how to price yourself and ask for payment when getting started. She asks:
“I am a new blogger and have noticed a lot of contradictory information out there… I want to avoid going back and fixing things, so I ask you, what are the biggest mistakes you see new bloggers make?”
This was legit perfect timing since I've been wanting to write a post on biggest blogging mistakes! Thank you for writing in!
7 Biggest Blogging Mistakes:
Forget Their “WHY”
We all start blogging for one reason or another, typically it's to build a community. To find connection. So many of the bloggers I speak with share stories of being bullied, or feeling “different.” Their blog is a way to find that connection they've craved. People need people. No matter what the situation or content. We need one another to bounce ideas off of, lift one another up, and cheer each other on. Even if your “why” isn't community, still get clear on it and write it down somewhere you can refer back to.
[RELATED] Writing Your Life's Mission Statement
Pro tip: If you're “why” is to get insta-famous or make bank, then maybe do something else. Having a “successful” blog is one of the most time consuming processes. Unless you are coming out the gate with some serious connections and money to invest, you will put in an exorbitant amount of time. If your end goal is to be insta-famous, I promise it won't happen fast enough to keep your attention (unless you go on the Bachelor and make it past night one).
They Skip Promotion
When I first started blogging, I heard that you should spend 20% of your time writing and 80% of your time marketing said content; #MindBlown. While that's a huge split, if you're trying to turn your blog into a business (whether full time or a side hustle) you 100% need to promote. Even if you're goal is community, not monetization, you still need to promote. How else are your future friends going to find you??
If you fall into the latter camp of non-monetizers, adjust the split. Spend about 40% of your time creating content and 60% of your time promoting. When I say promoting, I mean the obvious, posting to your social channels. But promotion also includes engagement. Responding to comments on social media and engaging with other people's content. Essentially making friends with your audience and as an audience member of other people's audience.
To build off of the tail end of the last one, bloggers need to network! This can look like a ton of different things. Commenting on someone's blog and Instagram posts whenever something new comes up (that repetition will make them more likely to engage back with you!). Asking someone for a digital coffee date. Starting an interview series to get some one-on-one connection that provides them some value (access to your audience). You will NEED friends in the blogging world. Whether it's to cross promote each others content, strategize, or just to stay motivated when you feel like giving up.
Like I've said, blogging is no small feat. It takes an intense energy and focus to build it up, particularly when it comes to remaining consistent. LBH, raise your hand if you've promised yourself you were going to eat healthier or get to the gym more, did really well for a week or two then stopped ???
Yeah, blogging is like that. It's truly a lifestyle change or choice (depending on how frequently you post content and the type of content). If you are trying to be a lifestyle, fashion, or beauty blogger, it's 100% a lifestyle (because that's basically your brand #duh). So if you aren't ready to spend all day erryday thinking about your content and what moments in your life are content worthy, then maybe only post once a week! Seriously, that's OKAY! Its better to cut back on your content calendar than put out crap content.
The key is to create a realistic schedule and stick to it. Even if nobody reads, stick to it. People are creatures of habit, and like the predictability of a posting schedule. Plus they want to know that you are a person of your word. Think about it like this: if you have a friend who you go to yoga with then grab a post class juice every week, your relationship will grow and flourish. If that friend starts to flake out, you will probably make other plans and find someone else to go to yoga and juice with.
Alright so this is a bit of a doozy. The obvious: poor grammar and spelling. Listen, I get it, my blog is full of typos and grammar issues. The reality is our brains can't proofread our own work. It compensates for what we intended to write. No matter how many times I proof read or use tools like grammarly, there are still issues. The key is to at least make the effort to reduce grammar and spelling issues. — Seriously, if y'all knew how many times I proofread you would die.
The next part of bad writing: thinking your audience cares about you. Harsh, I know, but true. If you're just starting out, your audience doesn't know you from the next person and unless you're jet setting every weekend or Emily Rose Hannon, nobody cares. You have to make them care slowly over time.
The last point about writing I'll make: it's plain boring. Listen, you don't want your blog to read like a ratchet chick's text message, but you also don't want it to read like your MLA formatted term paper. Remember how I just said your audience doesn't care about you? Well your writing is how you get them to care! Don't tell people about your life (because like I said, why would they care?) show them your personality through your writing, and in turn, they will start to care about your life!
Consume Too Much OOPC
OOPC = Of Other People's Content
To the point above, I think a lot of people's writing ends up sucking because they are trying so hard to emulate someone else's content. Keep your eyes on your own paper in the blogging world. Sure, there will be some posts that it seems like every blogger and their mother are writing about (like this one for instance), the key is to do it in a way that's true to your voice.
Moreover, it will help you avoid the comparison paralysis trap. Write about your experiences, thoughts, and opinions. If you're sticking to your “why” (read #1 in this post) then you shouldn't worry about everyone else's.
[RELATED] 3 Secrets To Growing Your Blog
They Don't Invest In Themselves
If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, then you have to start by taking yourself seriously as a blogger! Full disclosure, I am typically of the DIY camp. I don't like to outsource and prefer to teach things to myself. Unlike a lot of bloggers who start blogging, then add services, I did the opposite and was a digital business coach for a year before starting my blog. I knew the ins and outs of basic web design, branding, and promotion. My background gave me a leg up in my first year of blogging, but I got to the point by investing in myself first and continuing to do it.
When launching my coaching business, I hired a business coach, purchased a domain and professional hosting, and hired a professional photographer. All of it was an investment in my future as a coach, which later turned into an invest in myself as a blogger. The skills were easily transferred and led me to launch blog coaching as an additional service to business coaching.
Even after getting picked up as an expert quote on sites like Forbes (who I write for monthly now), Brit + Co, Dailyworth, and so many more, I kept investing myself. I bought courses like BossPitch and Summer Camp (use code RACHEL to get 10% off!) to help me pitch and work with brands. I created courses like my Guide To Pinterest to help take others through the exact steps I used to grow my blog traffic by 750% from Pinterest!
BossPitch is the course to teach you the ins and outs of pitching brands directly and taking control of the income your generating from your blog! Finally you will have the tools to negotiate your worth, find and contact brands, and only do sponsored content that's on-brand for you!
For each person that signs up using my affiliate link, you will also get:
A FREE 60 minute 1-1 session with me to talk about anything blog/business related + one piece of your writing work shopped!
Meaning I'll give you all my thoughts, feedback, and expertise!
To learn more about BossPitch, you can read about it in the post I linked above or watch a replay of our live Q+A from last week! Remember, doors close tonight and Erica doesn't know when it's going to relaunch!
>>> Sign Up For BossPitch NOW!! <<<