You've decided to start a blog (or maybe even have it up and running). Congrats, that's super exciting!
We're sure you're over there pinning like crazy or googling every blog-related term you can think of. Let us warn you, there's a TON of information out there and it's super easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you're so behind when you have barely started.
Today, we're going to take a step back to talk about the essentials. We're sharing the main things to focus on getting done in your first few months of blogging besides setting up your website and deciding what to blog about.
01 - Set Goals for your blog
Goal setting is the first phase of starting a blog. You'll need to think through your "why" (i.e. the reason you're starting a blog) and have a good grasp on what you hope to accomplish through blogging.
Your goals will help guide you as you create content and choose which brand collaborations to say yes to. Make sure your goals are specific enough so that you can break them down into actionable tasks. Goals that are too big and broad won't help you since they'll be hard to work towards..."a goal without a plan is just a wish."
02 - Set up your social media accounts
You'll need to set up your social media accounts in order to market your blog and offer social posts to brands for campaigns or collaborations. Instagram is almost a must-have for bloggers, as well as Pinterest since it will help drive traffic to your blog. Twitter and Facebook are optional but reccommended.
Along with setting up the basics, and making sure your handles match across all the accounts, you'll also want to create a social media strategy for each platform. A strategy allows you to be more efficient in your approach and use social media to it’s full potential. It lets you harness the power of social without spending hours upon hours on platforms with little to no return.
When you’re first starting out, its important to make a plan for how you want to approach each platform. Thinking about the type of content you want to create and setting the tone for how you want to interact and engage gives you a solid and consistent start as you begin to build your following and build your social presence.
03 - Create an editorial calendar + publish consistent content
An editorial calendar will help you avoid opening Instagram blank on what to post, or coming home after a long day of work only to sit down to write a blog post with no idea about what to say. An editorial calendar is a publishing schedule for your content. It helps you plan what posts you'll be publishing when, as well as schedule out your supporting social media posts. This means you can plan ahead to write and schedule posts before they go live. This is especially important once you start getting brand collaborations, so you won't be staying up all night to meet a deadline.
Publishing consistent content establishes your blog's "heartbeat." It lets your readers know when they can expect to hear from you and when they should check back on your blog for new content. Its super hard (if not impossible) to create content consistently without planning it out via an editorial calendar.
04 - Begin growing your following
As you start to gain followers, talk to them and be engaging. It might be just responding to comments at first or making small talk, but getting engaged with your audience early on will help you establish a strong relationship.
You'll be able to communicate with them and gather feedback that will help you create the content they want to see and serve them better. An authentic and engaged community is the foundation for monetizing your influence. Without an understanding of who they are, and a relationship where they know and trust you, you won't be able to offer them what they're looking for.
Start converstaions on social, respond to emails, and engage with your followers via DMs. This is also the time to start a mailing list and begin collecting emails for a newsletter.
05 - Find your #girlgang
Blogging can be lonely, so you need a tribe of bloggers to back you. It's so important to find a community of like-minded people that you can engage with, bounce ideas off of, and who will support you and encourage you in your blogging journey. Aside from the already present challenges of being a blogger and creating your own brand, the influencer industry can feel like the wild west at times since it's so new and ever-changing.
P.S. if you haven't found a tribe, we'd love for you to be a part of ours. Just pop over here to explore our membership.
06 - Learn how to shoot / Improve your photography skills
Good photos are a super essential part of creating amazing and engaging content. But great photos don't have to be crazy expensive. Teaching yourself photography will help you define and develop a unique style and allow you so much more flexibility in creating your own content.
Even if you plan to work with a professional photographer for things like outfit shoots, being able to take your own product or flatlay photos is an essential skill. Not only will it save you money, it will come in handy when you're in a pinch and need to shoot your own photos, whether it be because a deadline was bumped up or because you're on vacation.
07 - Set up Google Analytics + Learn about SEO
SEO might sound scary and complicated, and while there's a lot to learn about it, the basic principle is that you're setting up your site to make it easy for search engines to understand it which in turn means you'll rank higher in searches. Search Engine Optimization includes things like adding keywords into your posts & post titles, adding alt text to your images, updating your slugs and post descriptions.
Adding all this info means you will be able to tell Google more about what your content is about. The more information you give them, the easier it is for them to connect you via search to people who are looking for content and topics like yours.
Search for SEO articles on Pinterest and check youtube for google analytics tutorials to help give you a basic understanding of SEO and how to track what's working by looking at your website statistics.