The Advanced Guide to Instagram for Bloggers

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

If you are a fashion and lifestyle blogger, chances are that you know that the pressure to perform well on Instagram can be stressful at times. In many cases, Instagram has a heavy influence on whether or not a brand wants to work with your blog, or even how much income you will make in a month.

Figuring out how to successfully navigate and conquer the waters of this powerful social media platform can on a good day seem daunting, and on a bad day, seem down right impossible.

Do Any of These Sound Like You?

"Instagram is like the Pandora's box of social media... I can't seem to figure out the secret!"

"If I have to think about having to take another Instagram photo today I'm going to quite literally lose my sh**."

"How am I supposed to build my blogging empire when I'm only getting like- three followers a day?"

Yeah, I feel you sister. I've been there once before too.


 

So Why Focus On Instagram Then?

 


Pinterest drives traffic.

Twitter builds a community.

Facebook creates engagement.

And better yet? Instagram will do all three when used correctly.

Instagram is a powerful tool that can be used to build and curate an audience of potential blog readers. When your followers see your face everyday via snap shots of your life, it builds trust and strengthens your brand recognition within your audience.

Let's break down your new Instagram strategy into the basics shall we?

1. Understanding the Basic Principles and Why They're So Important

2. How to Target Brands With Your Content

3. Choosing the Instagram Theme that Best Represents Your Brand

4. How to Make Money With Instagram

5. Learning to Take the Stress Out of Instagram and Plan Your Content Like a Professional Blogger

6. Powerful Ways to Boost Your Engagement and Get More Followers

One last thing before we dive in. Make sure to download your FREE 10+ page Instagram workbook that accompanies this blog post. Click on the button below to get your copy!

The Advanced Guide to Instagram - Marie Hampton
 

Get your Instagram workbook for life + style bloggers


 

The Basic Principles

 


1 | Followers Aren't Everything

Everyone seems to place the utmost importance on the number of followers that you have. While yes, followers are important, having an engaged following needs to be the priority. I see so many life and style bloggers with crazy high follower counts (think 50-100k and up) that have very little engagement for the amount of people that their content is exposed to.

Yes that 103k looks pretty impressive, but if no one really cares about what you're posting what good does it do?

Brands want to see engaged viewers that are actively commenting and participating in the community that you have created with your feed.

 

2 | Get Engaged

Engaged followers are more likely to buy from any brands that you are promoting, click on your affiliate links, head over to your blog to read more of your content, and most importantly, keep coming back for more.

For this reason, I would strongly recommend against building the majority of your Instagram following using giveaways and other "quick fix" methods. A little of this is okay, but you can really hurt your brand in the long run if you predominantly rely on building your followers with disengaged followers received from giveaways. More on giveaways a little later!

 

3 | Consistency Is Key

Posting consistently is more important than ever with the recent algorithm change. If you are posting more frequently (think at least 1-2 times a day) Instagram is going to show your content to more people. When your content is shown to more people, Instagram can see that it is enjoyed by your followers and other users, and will then in turn show it to even more people. Funny how that works...

If the thought of coming up with engaging content to post twice a day makes you want to curl up in a ball, then hang in there.

The solution is coming, i.e. keep reading lady!

 

4 | You Get What You Give

This last principle is a simple one. You get what you give with Instagram. Yes, there are definitely strategies to speed the growth process up, but as a general rule of thumb, you get what you put in when it comes to Instagram. You can't expect dozens of people to follow you everyday if you aren't engaging with your followers and other new users that aren't familiar with you yet.

Be friendly and engaging. Like a few photos, comment something meaningful, etc.

It's all about the romance. Yes, even on social media.

Quick Note - Please do NOT be like the lazy people that comment generic one word comments looking for a follow. "Beautiful" and "Nice top!" do not count as engaging comments ladies.

*steps off of soap box*


 

How To Target Brands With Your Content

 


While all bloggers may not choose to work with brands, doing so can reap many benefits such as:

  1.  Direct exposure to the brand's potentially large and influential social media following
  2.  Compensation via products and fees
  3.  Increased exposure to other brands (leading to more opportunities in the future).

As the blogging industry continues to grow, brands are becoming more selective with the bloggers that they choose to work with.

When it comes to Instagram, they are looking for someone with an engaged following that fits into their ideal customer model, consistently professional content that is posted frequently, and aesthetics that match the look and feel of their brand.

This might sound like a lot to take into consideration. However, never fear, content strategy planning here!

Let's do this ladies.

 

Choosing the Brands

First things first. Before we get into the logistics of optimizing your content for certain brands, we need to figure out which brands best fit into your brand, website, and content. Make sure to remain true to your blog's content and avoid targeting brands just because they are large and influential.

For example, Home Depot is probably not the best fit for your website if your blog is predominantly fashion focused.

When choosing the brands that you can see yourself working with in the future, consider the brands that you already use on a daily basis. Which products and brands can you see naturally fitting into your everyday lifestyle?

Promoting brands that you already use daily will make for an organic campaign that rings true to your audience.

 

Make Your Brand "Bucket List"

Start by making a list of all of the big brands that would essentially make you wee your pants with excitement if they ever came knocking. I know that's dramatic, but imagine Nordstrom ringing your door bell with free clothes and a social media promotional campaign... Exactly.

Next make a list of all of the mid-level and smaller brands that you would also love to work with. Use the space next to each brand to jot down a few collaboration ideas that might interest them. Note: Consider separating this list into local v. non-local. Local brands will entail different types of collaborations and interactions (meet ups, brand events, in person meetings, etc.)

It is important to have a clear focus on both the top level brands that you would love to work with in the future, as well as the more attainable ones that you can work with a bit sooner. This helps to keep your blog and social media content aligned with the companies that you are targeting in the present and future.

Quick Note - I am in no way suggesting tailoring all of your content to brands just so that you can work with them in the future. Please stay true to your own message and content that makes your blog uniquely yours (brands prefer that anyway, I promise). These are just tips and strategies to help to grab their attention with your unique content.

 

Creating Content That Resonates With a Brand

Refer to your lists that you created above, and look at what some of these brands are about. I strongly encourage you to make notes for each brand that you wanting to work with in the note section.

Ask Yourself

Are they predominantly fashion based companies, or do they fall more into the lifestyle vertical?

What kind of personality would their ideal customer have? What are some habits and activities that they might enjoy?

Do they use bright, bold colors on their social media accounts or do they opt for darker, moodier colors?

Do they re-post customer photos on their Instagram, or do they exclusively post their own photos?

Are there any relevant hashtags that they use frequently?

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

These are some examples from Lisi Lerch's Instagram account, a preppy jewelry company. As you can see, they feature bright colors and happy patterns on their feed. They often re-post styled photos of bloggers featuring their pieces.

If you are a preppy fashion and lifestyle blogger that loves bright colors, this brand might be a great fit for you! Pay attention to the aesthetics of each brand in order to determine if it is a good fit for you or not.

Take the notes that you have taken for each brand and keep them in mind when you are creating future blog and Instagram content.

You want your Instagram feed to tell a story of a sort about what you and your blog represent. What story would best resonate with each brand that you have selected? Try to find a common ground with several brands and focus on gearing your content toward their ideal customer. More on content creation later!

In the meantime, have you downloaded your FREE 10-page Instagram workbook yet? 

 

Get your Instagram workbook for life + style bloggers.


 

Choosing Your Instagram Theme

 


What Is An Instagram Theme?

An Instagram theme is a general set of design rules that create the overall look and feel of your Instagram feed. For example, a few design rules for the theme that I have included below might be:

1. Use the *insert filter name here* filter on all photos

2. Boost the contrast in all photos

3. Only include photos with predominantly white backgrounds

4. Post a quote every four pictures

Those were just some examples of design rules that this Instagram account might follow. While every photo that you post doesn't have to strictly follow every one of your design rules, it needs to visually work with the rest of your feed.

 

Why Do I Need An Instagram Theme?

If you are a blogger, you don't NEED an Instagram theme to function, however, I would highly recommend looking into them. Not only do Instagram themes look professional, they can make your feed more appealing to specific brands with a similar aesthetic.

 

Dark With Contrast

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

If you notice in @caitlinbea 's Instagram theme, she sticks to a muted color palette featuring greys, blacks, and other dusty colors. There seems to be a grey tint over all of her photos. While I am not sure of her exact editing process, I would guess that she boosts the contrast, decreases saturation a bit, and then applies a grey tinted vignetting filter over the finished picture.

This theme would work well for you if you are not a huge fan of bright colors. Caitlin typically wears darker colors, so this theme works well with her existing life style and wardrobe.

 

Warm and Rustic

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

This warmer Instagram theme also stays true to blogger @besspearson 's style. I like that she still incorporates colorful objects into her feed even though she uses a darker filter over her photos. While the filter is still similar to @caitlinbea 's filter above, Bess uses nature scenes and subject matter to warm up her feed.

 

Bold and Colorful

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

I love that this Instagram feed is so bold and colorful. The bright colors fit @lonestarsouthern 's personality perfectly! While she doesn't seem to use a filter over her photos, each picture has enhanced highlights and saturated colors.

 

Soft and Pale

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

This soft feminine look de-saturates the colors in each photo and adds a hazy glow. This soft theme works perfectly with @marissalace 's shabby chic apartment and boho wardrobe. PS. If you haven't watched any of Marissa's Youtube videos you are seriously missing out. I LOVE her.

If you haven't downloaded your printable 8-page workbook, get to it lady! These are the same planning sheets that I designed and use for myself so I know that you will love them.

 

Create Your Own

Don't feel the need to pick just one of these Instagram themes to use as your own. Mix it up and experiment with different toning and filters until you find the combination that you like! For your photo shooting convenience I have included my favorite apps and tools that I LOVE:

Snapseed 

If you don't get any other app, get this one. Similar to Adobe Lightroom, this app allows you to edit the toning (saturation, highlights, exposure, etc.) of different PARTS of the photo instead of the whole thing like with other apps. Want to boost the exposure of just your face and not the rest of the photo? This app is your girl.

VSCO 

Another photo editing app that has a lot of neat filters that I enjoy. While I don't personally use this app that often (i'm not a big filter girl) I know that a lot of Instagrammers love it!

White Foam Board

This inexpensive tool is PERFECT for taking those iconic Instagram layouts shots. Foam board is sturdy and makes for the perfect white background! You can purchase a piece of this board for about $5 from your local craft store.


 

Making Money With Instagram

 


Affiliate Programs

Many life and style bloggers, in addition to securing paid brand partnerships through Instagram, monetize their feed with Reward Style's Instagram affiliate program Liketoknow.it.

If you are unfamiliar with what this program is, it is a service that allows your readers to shop the products and items that you feature in your Instagram photos by signing up for the program, liking your photos, and receiving the direct product links straight to their inbox.

You as a blogger, will receive a commission if your reader clicks through the link that was sent to them and decides to purchase products through your source.

 

Related Post: 10 Ways to Boost Your RewardStyle Sales

 

The amount of money that you can make through this powerful affiliate program is all dependent on the amount of followers that are liking, signing up for, and viewing your content. I know many bloggers with large followings that make a sizable portion of their income from Instagram affiliate programs alone.

For this reason, if you are new to blogging or are an existing blogger ready to take your own brand to the next level, it is important to have a strategic plan when curating content for your feed.

Sponsored Instagram Posts

The second way to monetize your Instagram feed is through direct brand sponsorships.. Many bloggers, in addition to affiliate marketing, will accept compensation in exchange for posting a sponsored image that meets the brand's specifications. The amount of compensation that you receive is dependent on the number of followers that you have as well as how engaged and responsive your audience is.

This ties back into why it is so important to have an ENGAGED following, not just a large one. Brands will pay close attention to the amount of likes and comments each photo is receiving.

 

Get your Instagram workbook for life + style bloggers. 


 

Content Planning Like a Pro

 


Now that you have selected an aesthetic that you want to stick to with your Instagram feed, you can now begin creating content. However, before I begin actually styling and shooting photos, I like to work off of an inspiration file to get the creative juices flowing.

 

Collect Inspiration

I have a secret board on Pinterest that I use to collect some of my favorite shots that I have seen on Instagram. I browse through this board before I shoot to get ideas for my own content.

To do this, all you need to do is create a Pinterest account, make a board, set the visibility to "secret," and pin away!

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

EXTRA TIP

I also like to have separate secret boards for specific seasonal content such as spring or Christmas. This helps me to stay organized and always have fresh content for each holiday and seasonal change.

 

Shoot Instagram Photos In Large Sessions

It is hard to always have content to post if you are only shooting one to two photos a "session." Shoot several photos every day? Um no. I basically live in yoga pants so shooting an "outfit of the day" just isn't going to work without planning most of the time.

Who's with me?

My solution? Shoot your photos in large sessions. Use my handy dandy worksheet that you can download here to plan your Instagram shoots. I usually shoot once a week and get at LEAST enough photos for the upcoming week.

EXTRA TIP

Set a time limit for each shoot so that they don't stretch on for hours. I am such a perfectionist and I can easily spend half an hour on one photo. Yikes. Working with a time limit lights the fire under your well toned rear and will increase your productivity.

Make a list of all of the shots that you want to get and the supplies that you need to create them. Do you need to have your nails done? Do you need any special props like flowers or a Starbucks latte? (#werebasicbitches #itsfine)

Collect everything that you need ahead of time to make shooting easier.

Make sure and download the printable workbook that you can use to follow along with this post.

 

Identify Your Content Focus For The Month

Be mindful of any holidays or events that are happening each month. For example, is it the first month of spring? Did a brand just launch their new winter collection? Is there a huge sale happening that you can capitalize on such as the Nordstrom semi annual sale? Staying aware of the events that are happening allows you to better tailor your content to your audience and what they want to see.

 

Post Your Instagram Photos at Strategic Times

Stop what you are doing right now and go sign up for Iconosquare. This amazing tool is only $5 a month and invaluable to boosting your engagement and follower growth. Iconosquare is an analytics system that tracks all of your Instagram activity and growth. This baby does it all, follower growth, hashtag performance, you name it! My favorite feature of Iconosquare however, is the audience tracker tool that allows you to see when your audience is most active on Instagram and your individual feed.

This feature allows you to post at the optimal time every day for maximum engagement, likes, and exposure. Here is an example of someone's audience activity separated by day of the week:

This comprehensive guide to Instagram is catered specifically to fashion and lifestyle bloggers looking to grow their reach and their brand using this powerful social media platform.  Lets dive in! Click the image to read the full post.

The Bottom Line - When you post at strategic times each day, you are optimizing your post for the maximum amount of views, likes, and comments. Do it.


 

Boost Your Engagement and Get More Instagram Followers

 


While there is no quick fix solution to gaining Instagram followers, there are several strategies, that when utilized, can be very effective in building your following.

First and foremost, you need to focus on hanging out in the right places on Instagram.

Finding the Right Hashtags

It is important that you are not only hash tagging your photos with the right tags, but that you are actively commenting and interacting with Instagrammers using the same hashtags.

Hashtags are great tools to find where your potential followers are hanging out.

Find like minded individuals using the same hashtag as you. Begin interacting with them and liking a few of their photos, and do the same with some of their followers. Chances are if their audience likes this Instagrammer in your niche, they will like you as well and potentially follow you.

Sarah from Venus Trapped In Mars wrote one of the best articles that I have found for using hashtags to increase your likes and followers. She includes an extensive list of active hashtags that fashion and life style bloggers can tag their photos with.

 

Becoming a Social Butterfly

As I mentioned before, it is important to get yourself in front of the right audience, but it is even more important to actively interact with them. I used to be so guilty of mindlessly scrolling through my feed and only liking the occasional photo.

When I made it a habit to no longer just like a photo but to like AND comment on each one, I really started to see a difference with the number of followers that I was receiving.

 

Host a Giveaway

Hosting a giveaway can be a highly effective way to obtain followers. I find that it is best to team up with at least one other blogger when doing so, in order to maximize your audience reach. 

The trick is to give away a prize that would specifically appeal to your target audience, not everyone and their mom. You want to maximize your chances of having these giveaway followers stick around after the giveaway has ended by targeting your ideal followers in the first place.

Unfollows are to be expected, but you want to hang on to as many engaged followers as you can since that is the main purpose of hosting a giveaway.

While simple giveaways teaming up with two or three other bloggers can be immensely effective, I don't recommend participating in the loop giveaways that involve upwards of 10 or more bloggers. In my humble opinion, loop giveaways can come across as spammy and frankly, desperate. More importantly, loop giveaways won't provide you with engaged followers. They are simply there for the metaphorical free food and booze. 

 

Grab your Instagram workbook for life + style bloggers.

 

I know that this novel length post was a lot to take in, but these strategies will really work for you! Make sure to download the 10-page workbook that accompanies this post by clicking the link above and take your Instagram game to the next level. 

Let me know in the comments below if you already use some of the strategies that I mentioned above. If so, how have they worked for you so far?

XOXO.

 

Plan and Style Blogger Photo Shoots Like a Pro (Free Planning Sheet)

This guide makes planning and styling your life and style blogger photoshoots quick and easy! Take the hard work and stress out of shooting blog photos. Click the image to read the full post.

If you are a fashion and lifestyle blogger, chances are, you are familiar with a blog shoot and how much work can go into creating one.

I'm going to shoot this simple outfit and cocktail, no biggie, shouldn't take long. We can just run outside and snap some quick shots. 

"HA! We will see about that," smirk the blogging gods. 

Cue the wind, wardrobe malfunctions, camera frustrations, the weird thing your eye is doing in half of the shots (but seriously what's up with that?), and the random pedestrians that keep walking through the frame.

While every photo shoot isn't this tedious (I promise), without the right preparation and planning, it can be! Download my blogger photoshoot planning sheet to help you plan your next shoot and take the hassle out of preparation! Click the button below to grab your copy.

After blogging for several years, I have come to find that the more prepared I am for a shoot, the happier I am with the results. Taking the time to collect inspiration, carefully selecting an outfit and meaningful location, and rounding up any props or supplies that I need ahead of time makes for a stress free shoot that I enjoy creating.

Make sure and grab your copy of my FREE blog photoshoot planner. I use this on my own blog, and it has been a complete game changer.

 

 

Take the stress out of planning the perfect blog shoot.

 

Preparation = Success

Let's break it on down shall we?


 

Step One: Determine the Purpose of a Shoot and Select an Outfit

 


First things first: What is the purpose of this photo shoot? Are you highlighting a specific product or piece of apparel? Are you shooting a cocktail or yummy appetizer? Once you have determined the focus of the shoot, you can select your outfit.

 

A Few Things To Consider When Picking An Outfit

Is the outfit the main focus of the shoot? What accessories are you going to be highlighting with detail shots? If you already have a location or prop in mind, what colors would coordinate or contrast nicely with them?

Thinking about the outfit, location, and props as a finished product will help you to plan the individual components of the shoot. When selecting an outfit to wear, make sure to pack accessories like jewelry and belts, shoes, and any extras that you might need such as hairspray or a specific shade of lipstick.


 

Step Two: Select a Location

 


 

This step can get overlooked very easily. I completely understand if you need to shoot something last minute and don't have time to drive across town to that one fountain by the pink bench. However, if you do have the time to properly plan a location to shoot in, I highly recommend that you take the time to do so.

TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF PLANNING THE
PERFECT BLOGGER
SHOOT. 

What To Look For In a Blog Shoot Location

I keep a running list of neat locations that I pass by in Dallas that would be fun to shoot in. Look for colored walls, gorgeous garden scapes, pretty restaurant patios, grassy knolls, and anything else that catches your eye! Bonus points if that location has a bathroom nearby to change outfits in.

Remember to pay attention to the tone and coloring of the location.  For example, if there is a forest-y feel to the shoot location, maybe opt for a rustic outfit with riding boots and a poncho instead of heels and a blouse.

My favorite way to add meaning and an additional element of interest to an outfit post is to shoot in a meaningful location. This is the perfect way to show case an outfit while adding depth with additional content. The creative options are truly endless with this style of post!

Here are a few places and ideas to get you started:

1 | Your favorite restaurant, order your favorite cocktail and appetizer

2| Your favorite place to blog (mine would be my neighborhood Starbucks)

3 | The gym / yoga studio / spin class / etc. that you enjoy going to every week

4 | The place you and your significant other love to go to on date night

5 | An ice cream parlor

6 | Your local swimming pool

7 | Your favorite place in the city where you live

If you live in Dallas, these are some of my favorite locations to shoot in:


Highland Park, Texas

Highland Park Village - Pretty storefronts to shoot in front of with light colored walls.

Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village - Gorgeous ivy covered wall on the exterior with pretty lattice work.

Lakeside Park // 4601 Lakeside Dr. Highland Park, TX 75205 - This giant park has so many places to shoot in front of. Choose from a babbling creek, rustic nature paths, a huge pond with lily pads, a large rustic wooden bridge, and more.

Flippen Park // 4421 N. Versailles Avenue Highland Park, TX 75205 - This small scenic park has gorgeous flower beds, a white wooden gazebo, and a large fountain with pale blue water to shoot in front of. 


Uptown, Dallas

Parigi // 3311 Oak Lawn Ave #12, Dallas, TX 75219 - This restaurant has a gorgeous shady patio with cute bistro tables and a killer menu. Nothing like having a glass of wine on the job! 

Klyde Warren Park // 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Suite 403, Dallas, TX 75201 - Klyde Warren Park is a Dallas must. This expansive park has so many neat areas to shoot in, including a gorgeous glass restaurant on the park, Savor.

West Village // 3699 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204 - With a similar aesthetic to HP Village, this shopping district has plenty of cute shops and restaurants to shoot in or in front of!

The Centrum Courtyard // 3102 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219 - This high rise office building and retail space has a neat courtyard in the center with a fountain and pretty flowers.


Miscellaneous Areas, Dallas

NorthPark Center // 8687 N Central Expy, Dallas, TX 75225 - I may be a little biased, but our mall is one of the prettiest that I have seen. There are so many pretty restaurant patios to shoot in (like La Duni), a giant landscaped courtyard, and a ton of high end retail stores. 

HG Supply // 2008 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Lower Greenville) - HG Supply is one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas as well as one of my favorite places to shoot. They have a GIANT rooftop patio that will knock your socks off. The view of the Dallas skyline is also pretty prime from this location!

Need More Ideas?

Obviously there are SO many more neat places to shoot, but these are a few of my personal favorites. If you live in Dallas or are just visiting and need some shoot location recommendations, please feel free to reach out to me.


 

Step Three: Make a Shot List

 


I find it really helpful to make a list of shots that you want from your photographer. I have an inspiration board for photo shoots that I keep hidden on Pinterest that helps me to plan the details of each shoot. I collect photographs that inspire me that I can later show to my photographer to use as a jumping off point.

Here is an example of a shot list that I might make for a shoot at HG Supply, a local Dallas restaurant: 

1 | Me sitting at rooftop bar holding drink

2 | Top down view of my hand holding drink, highlighting my bracelets

3 |  Detail shot of my purse, sunglasses, and Moscow Mule mug on patio table

4 |  Me standing in corner of patio, view of Dallas behind me

5 |  Me sitting on top of patio table with feet down in the chair

You get the gist. 

Keeping a shot list results in a much happier, satisfying shoot for me. There is nothing worse than reviewing the photos post-shoot and realizing that you didn't get enough detail shots, full body shots, or horizontal oriented shots, etc.

 

Take the stress out of planning the perfect blog shoot. 


 

Step Four: Pick Your Props

 


While props aren't necessary in every blogger photo shoot, they can be great visual additions when used correctly. Props don't have to be as corny as they might sound. Think about what the theme of your shoot is and try to list a few objects that are commonly associated with that theme. For example when shooting a back to school look, I might use one of the following: textbooks, a school bag, a binder, etc.

This guide makes planning and styling your life and style blogger photoshoots quick and easy! Take the hard work and stress out of shooting blog photos. Click the image to read the full post.

 

Step Five: The Finishing Details

 


Now that you have selected the theme of your photo shoot, chosen an outfit, location, and prop, it's time to head to the location! Make sure that you have any other extras that you might need such as hairspray, bobby pins, a mirror, extra ice and paper towels (when shooting food or cocktails), and anything else that will make the shoot easier for you and your photographer!

While blogger photoshoots can be a lot of work, they are SO much easier when you take the time to plan them. When the details are taken care of, you are left to focus on the most important part: having fun, and getting an end result that you are proud of.

Make sure and download your FREE  printable photo shoot planning sheet below and make planning your next photo shoot a breeze!

 

Take the stress out of planning the perfect blog shoot.

 

XOXO.

Marie Hampton Signature
 

10 Ways to Boost Your RewardStyle Sales

Are you a fashion blogger looking to increase your sales and income from your affiliate program RewardStyle? Click the image to read the ten ways that you can boost your revenue this quarter.

Affiliate sales have become the bread and butter for many fashion and lifestyle bloggers who make a full time income from their blog.Top affiliate marketing companies such as rewardStyle and ShopStyle have forged the way in this industry by connecting influencers and brands together all over the world.

Wait Pause- What Is Affiliate Marketing Anyway?

If you are unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, let me quickly break it down for you. Affiliate marketing is a type of influencer marketing in which brands reward affiliates (in this case, you the blogger) for marketing efforts that result in a sale.

Ex: I decide to talk about my fall fashion favorites on my blog. I am a member of an affiliate program with a popular clothing retailer and link to several of their blazers. A blog reader clicks on the link to the blazer and decides to purchase the blazer along with an additional pair of earrings. I, the blogger, make a small commission from those sales that were made through my affiliate link.

 

How Do I Become An Affiliate?

There are two ways to become an affiliate for a brand:

1 | Join the brand's private affiliate program directly through their website

2 | Join an invitation only company that generates a relationship with thousands of brands automatically when you are accepted into their program. I.e.  rewardStyle and ShopStyle.

 

Back To RewardStyle

Now that you have gotten a basic understanding for the way that affiliate programs work, I will dive back into the ten ways that you can boost your affiliate sales with rewardStyle.

Note: While these strategies are specifically tailored to rewardStyle, a commission based affiliate program, similar strategies can be adopted to fit a pay-per-click affiliate model such as ShopStyle.


 

1 | Utilize All Of the Tools Available

 


RewardStyle does an amazing job of providing influencers with a variety of tools that they can use to establish and increase their affiliate sales. Below is a list of some of their most popular features and widgets that you can use to boost your sales. RewardStyle always encourages bloggers to utilize all, or most, of these features in each and every blog post to achieve the maximum impact and widen the path to purchse. I too, encourage this practice.

Shop The Post Widget | A widget that can be embedded directly into a blog post or used in the side bar of your main page that allows users to shop mentioned or favorite products directly. (Featured above) For maximum impact, include a 'Shop the Post' widget at the top of the blog post under the main image, as well as at the bottom of the post.

Money Spot Widget | This neat tool allows you to deep link your images with the products used in that photo or collage. Users can mouse over an area of interest on the photo and be taken directly to the product that they are seeing at the click of a button.

Look Book Widget | Similar to a 'Shop the Post' widget, this tool allows you to link favorite products in a polished looking scroll window that users can use to shop your mentioned products directly. The difference between a 'Look Book' and a 'Shop the Post' widget is the size of the product images. A 'Look Book' features larger images that can be viewed one at a time, instead of smaller images that can be seen in small groups at a time as with a 'Shop the Post' widget.

Boutique Widget | Creating a curated collection of your favorite products is made easy with this simple tool. Many bloggers like to create shopping sections on their blog that users can use to easily find and shop the bloggers' favorite products of the moment.

Direct Links |  Dispersing text links throughout your post that link to exact products as well as retailer landing pages will really help to boost sales. Not everyone is a visual shopper and would rather just click a link instead of searching for the mentioned products in the widgets featured on the page.

Notice how in the image above Brighton uses text links under each photo, text links embedded in the paragraph, and a 'Shop the Post' widget.

 


 

2 | Track Sales and Promotions

 


In addition to identifying current sales and promotions on a certain product when you first link it to your blog or Instagram, it is equally important to keep tabs on whether the product goes on sale AFTER the item is already posted. I see bloggers mentioning current sales that are occurring on products already discussed and posted all of the time. An easy way to do this is to include a short mention of the sale at the bottom of a current blog post, or by re-posting an older Instagram photo featuring the item.

The trick to this is keeping a log of all products mentioned in your posts and Instagrams with links to purchase them. Yes this is tedious. Yes I would probably rather do 90 other things than track every product that I mention. But sister, it's worth it. If mentioning that a product is majorly on sale results in three more sales a week or a month but you get $40 - $50 commission, it's worth it.

 


 

3 | Understand Your Audience's Purchasing Preferences

 


Understanding your audience's purchasing patterns and preferences is detrimental to boosting your affiliate sales. If you aren't mentioning and linking to products that they not just love, but will purchase RIGHT THEN AND THERE, then you are throwing money out of the window. Use your RStyle analytics to identify which price points convert well for your specific audience.

Be Strategic

Just because you love a Gucci bag and want to include it in your fall favorites blog post doesn't mean that your audience is going to purchase one impulsively right then and there. Consumer's typically don't impulsively buy expensive products and goods. They do their research and take time to decide whether spending the money is worth it.

Unless you are a luxury style blogger and have built your following in this niche, linking to expensive goods that most can't afford is a poor (bah boom chh) choice that will result in fewer sales. Instead, link to a more affordable bag in a similar style that your readers will be more likely to purchase right then.


 

4 | Predict Consumer Behavior

 


Consumer purchasing behavior changes depending on the time of the year. For example, November and December drive 30% more e-commerce revenue than other months, and consumers are more likely to purchase accessories that accompany larger ticket items after Christmas.

By identifying and forming a content strategy with holiday and annual event statistics in mind, you are better to able utilize this consumer behavior to your advantage. Plan your content around these annual events to drastically increase your sales. RewardStyle has great strategy guides available to members on their blog delving into popular shopping events such as Fashion Week, Black Friday, and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.


 

5 | Use Sales Strategies That Really Work

 


Focus on Featuring One Main Product Per Post | Although, the majority of your blog posts are going to include a multitude of products, try to choose one or two of them to predominantly focus your attention on. When you select a single product to discuss, you are better able to cater your narrative to sell that specific item in a way that still provides your audience with valuable content to read. Focus = Sales.

 

Eliminate Questions and Fears That Could Prevent A Purchase | For the sake of an example, let's pretend that we are featuring a moderately expensive winter coat in an outfit post. As mentioned earlier, readers are less likely to impulse buy more expensive items, so it is important to eliminate any barriers that are preventing them from purchasing the product.

Make a short list of questions or concerns that your reader might have that would prevent them from clicking your link and purchasing the item at this exact moment.

Thoughts to consider...

Is this product truly worth the price? Can I find a better deal somewhere else?

Is this product going to hold up? What is the quality like?

Will this product fit my body type (if talking about clothing)?

Is this item true to color? Does it look exactly like the picture on the website?

What are different ways that I could use this product? (I don't want to purchase if I can only use it once).

Now that you have your audience's potential questions and concerns written down, answer them in your post! You don't literally have to include a Q&A, but find creative ways to work the answers into the body of your post! Brighton from Brighton the Day, does a great job of this as seen below in an excerpt from her blog post:

Sell the Transformation That the Item Will Give the Reader, Not the Product Itself | One of the most important things to remember when selling a product is that people are not purchasing the product, they are purchasing the transformation that the product will give them. It is important to keep this knowledge in mind when writing your post.

 

"One of the most important things to remember when selling a product is that people are not purchasing the product, they are purchasing the transformation that the product will give them"

 

For instance, when writing the post featuring the winter coat that we are using as our example, I will extensively discuss how the coat will make my readers look and feel warm, polished, and put together.This is drastically different from just briefly mentioning that I wore the coat and that my readers should automatically spend the $300 to buy it. I am selling the way that the coat will make them FEEL.

 

Create a Personal Relationship With the Product When At All Possible | Adding value, meaning, and personal touches whenever possible is crucial when exercising your influence as a blogger to make a sale. I go into more depth about this in this post, but it is important to provide value and truly connect with your readers, not push them into purchasing something that they don't really love.

By discussing your personal relationship with the product you are featuring whenever possible, you will help your readers to connect with and trust you, which often results in a sale.

 

Use Urgency and Scarcity to Spark Action | Cart abandonment has soared to an average of 68.63 % as of January 2016 (Baymard), and isn't showing signs of slowing down. It is really easy for shoppers (I myself am guilty of this) to find items that we love and place them into our carts with every intention of purchasing tonight, tomorrow, or when we get paid again... aka more than likely never.

It is important to create a sense of urgency and scarcity when at all possible to incite your readers to purchase NOW as opposed to later. Mentioning sales and their end dates, low stock counts of items, and other information that will spark a purchase, will increase your overall rewardStyle sales.

Note: Please keep in mind that you should use this strategy sparingly and that it will not always be possible to use it.

 

Use a Strong Call To Action (CTA) | This strategy can easily be combined with the tip mentioned above. Your readers need to be TOLD to purchase. Simply providing a link and crossing your fingers in hopes of a sale simply isn't going to cut it. Use copy such as

"Click here to purchase this black wool coat while it is still 40% off. Winter coats always sell quickly, so I made sure to purchase mine as soon as the sale began." 

Not only does this strong Call to Action incite readers to click the link to purchase, it establishes urgency, as well as that I, myself made the same purchase (insinuating that you should too). Ladies if you didn't actually purchase the coat, don't lie to your readers and say that you did. This is simply an example of one of the ways that you can create a strong CTA that will encourage sales.

 


 

6 | Create a Resources Page or Shopping Page

 


Many bloggers, including myself, like to create different shopping pages (using the rewardStyle 'Boutique' widget) for the different verticals that we feature on our blog. Brighton features separate shopping pages for items featured on her Instagram, as well as favorite beauty items that she is currently loving.

You can get really creative with the 'Boutique' widget. Don't limit yourself to just featuring "fall favorites" and "items you're loving." For example, if interior design is one of the verticals that you cover, it might be a fun idea to make a page on your shopping tab with an "interior of the week" photo and feature similar items that your readers can shop to achieve the same look.


 

7 | Integrate Your Social Media Platforms

 


Consistently incorporating your rewardStyle links into other social media platforms will drastically boost your affiliate sales. While yes, your blog is your home base, not everyone follows bloggers the same way every time. I will exclusively follow select bloggers on Instagram, while with others, I usually just visit their blog to see their new content. Don't ask me why I do this, because I frankly don't know. Many others have this same mentality, so use it to your advantage.

Choose the Best Performers

Choose the social media platforms that you seem to perform best on, and focus on creating quality content for that space. Julia Engel does a great job of posting her favorite clothing pieces on Twitter for her followers to shop. Again, the sky is the limit so get creative.

RewardStyle is home to the ever popular LIKEtoKNOW.it application that lets Instagram users like your photo to receive all of your outfit and product details straight into their inbox. When users click a product link from that email and decide to make a purchase, you, the Instagrammer, will make a commission from that purchase.

I am planning on writing an entire separate guide to boosting your LIKEtoKNOW.it sales and the different strategies that you can use to do so. In the mean time,to learn more about the application, head on over to LIKEtoKNOW.it's website. 

 


 

8 | Optimize Your Website

 


Optimizing your website structure and layout to encourage sales will result in a boost of purchases. While financially it isn't always possible to get a custom website created for you that does this, there are things that you can do yourself, or hire someone to do, that will go a long way in boosting your affiliate sales.

 

Related Post: 17 Essential Ingredients To An Expensive Looking Blog

 

Below are two examples of websites that were more than likely custom created to fit the unique needs of the blogger. If hiring a developer isn't in the cards for you just yet, use these sites as inspiration to create elements that will have a similar effect in the meantime.

Custom Websites

Amanda Miller from the Miller Affect, does such a great job of using a simple web layout to highlight her favorite products featured in each post. Minimizing the clutter on your site will make it easier to showcase the products that you want to recommend to your readers. Notice that you can shop the contents of each of her posts before ever clicking into the full post view. You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to shop your products.

Julia from Gal Meets Glam, takes a similar approach and uses a mix of different modules on the home page of her website. It is difficult to give you the full effect using screenshots, so make sure to visit her website for the full effect. Notice that she features one product for each post like I recommend doing in tip #5.

Get a Similar Looking Effect

As I mentioned previously, it is possible to recreate some of the elements that work so well for the sites above, by yourself. RewardStyle allows you to embed their 'Shop the Post' widgets into your sidebar and posts, so it is easy to create a shoppable side bar element that can be used in the same way.

In addition to a scrolling shoppable widget in your sidebar, consider picking one "product of the week/month" to focus on. Write a little blurb underneath and talk about why you have chosen this item. Make sure to mention if the item is on sale, if applicable, or any other pertinent details that the reader needs to know. This practice ties back into focusing on one product to recommend, which narrows the reader's focus and often results in more sales.


 

9 | Expand Your Verticals

 


RewardStyle does a great job of encouraging their influencers to think outside of the box with the type of content that they are publishing. A fun and easy way to increase your rewardStyle sales is to expand the verticals that you cover on your website.

If in the past you have predominantly just covered fashion, consider expanding your focus and taking on a new vertical. If you have a passion for interior design, entertaining, or traveling, consider slowly working one of these verticals into your editorial calendar. Introducing new content allows you to introduce new products to your readers relating to your new vertical. This is a fun way to freshen up your content schedule while simultaneously expanding your sales opportunities.

Examples of New Verticals to Incorporate

  • Travel
  • Motherhood
  • Interior Design
  • Fashion
  • Entertaining / Cooking
  • Home Improvement / DIY
  • Weddings (document your own)
  • College Life - Tips, Tricks, and Advice
  • Photography
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Blogging Tips

 

10 | Get Organized

 


While getting organized may not directly increase your sales, it will set a solid foundation that will increase the effect of the other 9 strategies that we have discussed.

A Few Ways to Get Organized

  • Clean out your rewardStyle favorites folders. You are probably very aware at how cluttered and junky these can get. Set up a separate folder for "Always Wear" and "Upcoming Features" as well as a general "Favorites" folder.
  • Schedule out as many Instagram photos as you can. Tag all of the items ahead of time and write all of the captions, so all you need to do is post when the time comes! This will save a TON of time.
  • I would consider creating an "Already Worn" favorites folder to place items that you have already featured and worn. This will make it really easy to go back in and check if any items have since gone on sale or sold out.
  • If you know that a major holiday or event is coming up such as Christmas, start favoriting items a few months ahead to save you HOURS of time when you go to create your holiday gift guides later down the road. All you need to do when the holiday rolls around is check to see if all of the products that you favorited are still in stock.
  • Schedule a monthly meeting with your rewardStyle representative even if you typically stay in pretty frequent contact with them. They do an AMAZING job of helping you to develop strategies that will allow you to meet your personal sales goals. Touch base every month to talk about what worked and what might not have worked and readjust your strategy when necessary!

 

If you made it this far, I am so proud of you. This was a lot of information, but when utilized, will blow your sales out of the water! Make sure to Pin this post to refer back to later, because again, this was the size of a mini novel so I don't blame you if you didn't memorize everything. ;)

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! What strategies have you been using that have been working for you? Have you used any of the strategies above yourself? How did they work?

XOXO.

 

 

 

 

Fake It As a Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger

Fake it till you make it as a fashion blogger. Read the full post to find out why this is so important!

Whether you are a seasoned blogger with an established website, or a metaphorical blogging freshman stumbling around trying to find the cafeteria, we all have to fake it from time to time. Know that when I say fake it, I am not referring to lying. I am referring to walking the walk and talking the talk before you might be entirely comfortable doing so.

Let's Break It Down Shall We?

At some point in your blogging career you will be faced with a situation that you aren't quite comfortable with. Whether it is working with your first photographer, negotiating pricing with a brand, or signing a contract for your biggest collaboration yet, it's going to be new (unknown) territory. When faced with situations like these, it is important to remember that not only are you a successful blogger, you are a successful business owner. 

Whether you feel like a successful business owner or not, it doesn't matter. This is where faking it comes in. Treat yourself and your business with the respect that you would give it if you have already accomplished the big dreams that you have in store for it.

1 | Look visually professional in every way possible. We're talking letter heads, branded email signatures, correct grammar (durr), business cards, a professional looking website, the works!

2 | Do your research. When working with another blogger, brand, or business, it is crucial to learn everything that you can about that person or business' background, brand mission, and target audience. Please note that this also includes conducting research for your own blog posts and content.

3 | Talk the talk. Know important industry terms and be able to use them when applicable. However, do not start dropping big words and concepts into an email or conversation just to make yourself sound more professional. More than likely this will have the opposite effect and make it sound like you are over compensating for your actual lack of knowledge.

4 | Do as the big girls do. I have learned a lot of what I know today from watching and studying other successful fashion and lifestyle bloggers. While many of these bloggers keep the inner workings of their business' private, you can learn a lot just from observing their content, social media habits, and website.

5 | Be prepared. A huge part of what makes successful bloggers and business owners successful is preparation. Notice that more often than not, big bloggers have 2-3 Instagram photos prepared for each day, and a whole editorial calendar of content covering various department store sales and events. They're ready for anything and you should be too.

6 | Go the extra mile. It is the little things that stand out. Go the extra mile when working with readers, other bloggers, and brands. If you negotiated a paid social media post with a brand, mention them again in a post later that week. Free exposure will resonate well with the brand and set your website apart from others that they may currently be working with as well.

The Bottom Line

If you want to be taken seriously in this industry you need to take your business seriously. I don't care if your actual business is a shit show on the inside, you need to appear calm, cool, and professional on the outside. Walk the walk and talk the talk before you feel ready. Brands, bloggers, and readers will begin to notice and good things will come from it.

Can't Stop Won't Stop

Don't ever forget that you and your business can go as far and wide as you want it to. NEVER give up, and NEVER let anyone, or anything convince you otherwise. If being a successful fashion and lifestyle blogger that makes thousands of dollars a month was easy, everyone would be doing it. Don't let that stop you from pushing ahead, beating the odds, kicking some ass, and getting yours. Because lady, it's out there for the taking.

XOXO.

Marie Hampton Signature
 

Build Your Influence As a Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger

Grow your reach and build your following and influence as a fashion blogger. Read the full post to found out how.

As your blog grows and your reach expands, one of the perks that comes along with your increased exposure (generally speaking) is an increased level of influence over your readers and their choices. This may mean influence over the products that they choose to purchase, or it may mean influence over the way that they view certain topics.

The Power of Influence As a Blogger

I want to be very clear by what I mean here because I know that my previous statements can be taken the wrong way.

The term influence can have many connotations, both positive and negative. I don't condone or promote using your influence to manipulate your readers for your own financial gain. That quite frankly, would make you someone that is in the blogging industry for the wrong reasons. Without your readers, you wouldn't have said influence, and you should be using it to truly benefit their lives, not your bank account.

Now with that being said, making money off of your readers when you connect them with products or information that you honestly love and know THEY will love, is a different story. At the end of the day, your blog is a business (which is why you're on this website) and you do need to treat it as one.

The Big Picture

You might be thinking, okay influence is great, but how does that fit into the big picture of my website and business?

Wait what is that? A helpful diagram illustrating my points? Boom. I've got you covered.

I've broken down the connections and benefits that influence over your audience can have:

Grow your reach and build your following and influence as a fashion blogger. Read the full post to found out how.

 

Establishing trust and influence with your audience leads to an even more dedicated following. For example, let's say that you have a medium sized blog audience full of engaged readers that love sharing your content with their followers. Because you have established yourself as an influential authority with your audience, it has led them to do your marketing for you and continue to propel your growth and reach forward. Just like that, you have grown your medium sized audience into a much larger one.

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Having a dedicated audience leads to more prestigious brand collaborations that in turn lead to a higher income. 

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When new viewers see that you are not only producing top notch content, but working with industry leading brands, that establishes more trust and increases your influence, thus starting the cycle over again. 

We have talked about influence and why it's important for your business, so let's discuss a specific way to profit off of it.


 

Influencer Marketing and the Blogger: A Love Story

 


What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which individuals with a strong market presence are leveraged to sell products (that they love) to their readers and followers. Many bloggers make a large portion of their income from this practice and supplement with other methods such as ads and direct product sales.

As a blogger, you are the middle man between the brand and the consumer. You are making the brand's product relatable and desirable to the consumer in ways that a faceless brand could not do. Why? Because you have a face. Thank goodness, because blogging might be difficult if you didn't have one.

But really in all seriousness, when consumers see you using and enjoying a product, it makes it easier for them to visualize themselves buying and using that same product. That in a nutshell is influencer marketing, and when utilized correctly, can make you, the brand, and your business, a lot of money.

How Does Influencer Marketing Differ From Affiliate Marketing?

If you are not familiar with the term affiliate marketing, it is a method that brands use to extend the reach of their brand, products, and services through the use of an affiliate. Let's say that I have a t-shirt company, and I want you, the blogger, to help me promote it. For every t-shirt that a customer buys through your recommendation, you get a percentage of that sale. A popular affiliate marketing company within the fashion and lifestyle community that you may know is Reward Style.

Affiliate marketing is a branch of influencer marketing. They both involve the use of a specific individual that is placed between the brand and the consumer. The difference is that with influencer marketing individuals are usually paid a larger flat fee for promotion of that brand as opposed to commission from individual product sales as with affiliate marketing.

While the logistics of both marketing strategies slightly differ, they both have one very important thing in common:

Influence.


 

How To Build Your Influence As a Life + Style Blogger

 


1 | Determine Your Target Audience

The most important step to growing your reach and influence as a fashion and lifestyle blogger is determining who your target audience is. Without understanding your audience, it is hard to create content that really resonates with them.

2 | Build Your Audience's Trust

Gaining your audience's trust is absolutely crucial when building your influence as a life + style blogger. It is important that they trust your word, advice, and recommendations and genuinely care about what you have to say. Without this established trust and engagement, your blog has a lot less value in the eyes of a brand seeking a potential collaboration and more importantly, is a lot less fun to run and maintain for you.

Watch and Observe Your Audience

Once you have identified who your target audience is, start spending time in the places that they like to hang out in. For example, let's say that your audience really enjoys Instagram. Pay attention to the other accounts that they are following, the content that they themselves post, and questions and conversations that they are having. You can learn a lot about your audience just from quietly observing them.

Break Down the Barriers

When it comes to growing an engaged audience that trusts you, the most important thing to focus on is breaking down the barriers and letting your audience get to know your true personality.

To illustrate my point, let's begin with two scenarios:


Scenario One - Pretend that you yourself are not a blogger, but a reader that casually enjoys and follows various life + style blogs. You're on Instagram and you discover a new blogger that sparks your interest so you decide to follow them. Fast forward a few months - you remember seeing a few posts from this blogger in your news feed, but never decide to follow them on other social platforms or head to their blog. The end.


Boring story, I know. Stay with me here.


Scenario Two - You are once again a casual blog reader browsing around on Instagram. You stumble upon a style blogger that you fall in love with and decide to follow her. You then proceed to waste thirty minutes scrolling through her gorgeous Instagram feed, and decide to head over to her blog.

On her blog you discover that you not only love her Instagram, you love her unique personality that shines through with her writing and other blog content.

Eventually you discover that she has a Youtube channel, Snap Chat, and Twitter account, so naturally you follow her on there too. After a few months of watching her interact with the camera on Youtube, and getting to know her daily life, routine, and personality from Snapchat and Twitter, you officially decide that you are going to actively start keep tabs on this blogger.

She happens to talk about this amazing skin care line that she uses religiously, and you purchase several of the products to try out for yourself. Why you might ask? Because you now know and trust her. If she says these skin care products are amazing, then they're amazing. Influencer marketing at its finest. The end.


Cool Marie thanks for that long, super fascinating story.

Okay, but seriously do you understand what I am getting at here? Taking the time to get to know your audience and making sure that they get to know you is a HUGE deal. A huge following is great, but it doesn't mean anything if they don't trust what you have to say and keep coming back for more.

 

"A huge following is great, but it doesn't mean anything if they don't trust what you have to say and keep coming back for more."

 

A Few Quick Ideas That Will Build Your Audience's Trust

Utilize Video Platforms | Using platforms that break beyond the wall of pictures and text like Snapchat, Youtube, and Periscope all help to familiarize you and your brand with your audience. Video is an amazing tool that can be used to give your audience a behind the scenes look into your life and true personality outside of the "picture perfect" blogging world that we all see.

Stop Editing Yourself So Much | There is a lot of pressure in the blogging community, especially the life + style community, to act and appear a certain way. Remember that even though we all try to make our lives appear put together and shiny, for the most part, they aren't. As lady like as we all are on the outside, I'm sure a good portion of us cuss like sailors, binge eat ice cream for the hell of it, and wear yoga pants 70% of the time. I know I sure do. Be yourself. Be relatable. Be a little abnormal sometimes. Your audience will welcome this breath of fresh air, I promise.

Add Value to Your Content | Use your social media platforms to create helpful, informative, funny, witty, creative, conversational, thought provoking content. Instead of simply posting a picture of your latte with your sunglasses and wallet next to it with a lame caption, use that opportunity to provide value to your readers. Start a discussion, share a fun fact, provide additional content that accompanies a blog post that you wrote this week, etc. Make liking and commenting on your post something that they really want to do!

Essentially What I'm Saying About All of This Is...

Don't blog to build your influence and sell products with affiliate links. Not only does that sound unfulfilling, that sounds boring as hell. Be your true genuine self and produce valuable content that your audience loves, and the influence will come. When the influence comes (or if you already have it), you now have a strategy that will help you to utilize it to the fullest. Connect your readers with the products and things that you LOVE and want them to enjoy.

Be Glenda the Good Witch. Your outfit is too pretty to have a house dropped on you. 

XOXO.