I am a blogger/entrepreneur/publicist/model/philanthropist, so naturally there is never a dull moment around here. I have learned so much from all the ups and downs in life that I hope by sharing my stories and experience I can inspire, motivate, and bring amusement to others!
A little bit of both! I’m the owner of a public relations firm, Relevé Public Relations, and while we are not solely focused on fashion and beauty related businesses, we do represent many brands in those industries. Thus, blogging and also working with bloggers is a huge part of my day-to-day routine!
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I started a blog because I wanted a place to share my experiences with life, modeling, and starting a business.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I recently started transitioning my personal blog more into a full brand. I had a web developer make my original website and through that process I learned so much about how a site look visually appealing that I ended up teaching myself the basics enough to be able to create my current site on my own, which is still a work in progress, but it’s getting there!
Mine wasn’t very difficult because I just wanted to use my name! =)
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
Currently, I’m using the ‘Point’ theme. Since I have a self-hosted site I love the JetPack pluggin because it allows me to still have access to wordpress.com features (like site statistics, the ’subscribe to blog via email’ widget, etc.). You also definitely need a shortcode plugin as well to add additional features to your posts and pages. The plugin you use will most likely be dictated by your theme as not all shortcode plugins are compatible with each theme option.
I use WordPress and I would absolutely recommend you do the same! It’s very easy to navigate and there are so many plugins and features you can add to customize your site and posts to make them look unique.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I normally contribute about 1-2 posts a week to my business’s blog. We do our best to get new content up everyday, so I have about 3-4 other writers who contribute weekly columns in addition to posts from guest bloggers as well that I also edit. I’d say I normally spend around 4-5 hours per week between writing my own posts, editing posts from my staff, and promoting our blog content.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Social media is definitely the main resource I use to promote posts, especially Twitter! Since Twitter is such a fast-paced platform, you can get away with promoting more frequently, without blowing up your followers’ feeds, than on other outlets, such as Facebook. I like to pull an intriguing sentence or phrase from a post and copy that into the Tweet along with the link to spike interest. I also submit my posts to sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon too.
Absolutely! However, before you even think about trying to monetize your blog, you need to make sure you have a solid foundation – do you have a visually appealing website that’s easy for users to navigate? Do you have an eye-catching logo? Are you posting quality, unique, and relevant content that is initiating discussions and interactions? Is your site getting consistent, significant traffic? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these, then you are ready! Check out different affiliate programs and only participate in ones that are cohesive with your blog! You don’t want unrelated ads/images or your readers will just think you’re in this to make money. You can also apply for Google Adsense that pays you when users click on ads from your site. Finally, don’t be afraid to charge for features once your blog is developed. Create a visually appealing Media Sheet (think mini Media Kit) that lists your social media stats, web traffic, key demographics, etc. If you are organized, prepared, and professional, brands will be more likely to invest in a featured post from you.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
If you have the time, passion, and determination to blog, then by all means, blog away! But if you know that you can’t commit to dedicating consistent time each week to develop and promote your content, it’s best to hold off for now. Blogging has to come from the heart in order for readers to be able to genuinely connect with you. I hate writing, but I enjoy blogging because it makes me happy to bring attention and exposure to the brands and professionals I work with, which is what motivates me. Never just blog for the sake of blogging.
If you’re not sure, start out with building your social media presence. Experiment with Tumblr, Tweet about topics you would be interested in writing about on your potential blog and see what kind of response you get. You can also try guest blogging and collaborating with other bloggers to see if you enjoy the process of creating content before you commit to a full blog of your own. As far as advice for new bloggers, always be yourself! Even when you’ve been given free samples or someone is paying you for a post on their brand, never ever give a positive review just because you’re receiving something from it – this crushes your credibility and will deter others from working with you in the future. Be up front with brands and tell them that you only post your honest opinions and if they can’t respect that, then they probably weren’t a good fit for you anyway!
Images © AllynLewis.com
Image 1 © PhotosOnCall
Image 2 © Hilary Bishop Photography
Image 3 © Angie Candell Photography
Image 4 © Willyum Photography
Image 3 © Donald Keys/ MyAgape Photography