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Being Authentic in Today’s Blogging World

March 21, 2017

View More: http://vivaluxphotography.pass.us/sarah-lennon

View More: http://vivaluxphotography.pass.us/sarah-lennon

View More: http://vivaluxphotography.pass.us/sarah-lennon

View More: http://vivaluxphotography.pass.us/sarah-lennon

Dress (30% off with code HAPPYSPRING), Necklace (c/o Baublebar), Shoes

I’ve been blogging now for about three years. While three years might not be as long as some of the other bloggers out there have been blogging for, I have learned quite a few things in my short time. Today it seems that there are so many more Bloggers or InstaBloggers popping up and I have always lived by the motto “the more the merrier,” but I thought I would share a little advice for any new Blogger or anyone who is thinking about becoming one.

My Instagram account has always been my number one social channel and I have worked very hard to gain my following. It has taken me three years just to gain a following of 20k. That’s about 6-7k followers per year, which seems relatively normal and I am happy with.

Since Instagram has  changed its algorithm several months ago things have slowed down, A LOT. My posts are not getting into people’s feeds like they used to. I get the same amount of likes on my posts now that I used to get when I had less than 10k followers because of this.  It’s discouraging on some days, especially when I see others with less followers than me getting double or triple the amount of likes on their photos. How is that possible? Do people just like their stuff THAT much more than mine? Do companies see me and wonder why I’m not growing by hundreds of followers each month or wonder why my likes are so low? Then I look at these peoples accounts and I start to see all the followers that they have purchased. With the creation of apps like Social Blade, it’s easy to see who buying and who is not.

I hate that this is the direction blogging has gone in these days. People don’t feel good enough and feel like they have to keep up with everyone else by purchasing a following and likes. I’m here to tell you that you ARE good enough and why cheating your way through the blogging world may get you ahead now, but ultimately will harm you. Anyone can set up an Instagram account, buy followers and likes and then reach out to companies for a sponsorship, but is that fair to the companies we are promoting for? I wanted to share some advice and some things that I have learned in my blogging journey in the past 3 years:

1. Do things for FREE. I see a lot of new Bloggers complaining about companies reaching out for a product trade and no compensation. Trust me when I say I know how much work it is to blog and promote a product, but sometimes you just gotta do it for free. I spent the first year or so of blogging just doing product exchange and purchasing my own clothing to build up my blog and prove to brands that I could create good content.

2. Establish a network. Find other bloggers like you. Having a support system of like-minded friends can be super helpful in your blogging journey. Not only is this helpful, but one of the best perks of blogging! I have made some amazing friends just from blogging or being on Instagram.

3. Find your Niche. Don’t copy other bloggers. Find your inner style and self and share that with the world. Not every style and trend is going to fit your personality, so don’t just post it because everyone else is. Creativity will get you far in this business, especially now because there are so many bloggers out there.

4. Work with small companies. I have worked with some amazing companies in the past 3 years and have really loved both the big and small ones. The smaller companies are great, but remember they are “small” in the sense that they might not have a huge marketing budget to work with. Work with these companies for free when you start. They will help you build up your portfolio, you will be helping to promote a small business and you will meet some amazing shop owners along the way!

5. Be Grateful. Make sure you are thanking brands for working with you. A handwritten thank you note goes so far these days. Create long lasting relationships with brands so that they will want to work with you again in the future.

6. Be Honest. Purchasing followers and likes might seem like it will get you ahead, but I promise you companies out there will know. You may end up getting a few collaborations, but think about all of the opportunities you might be missing out on!

7. Take good pictures. You don’t have to have a fancy, expensive camera to blog. The most important thing is to just start somewhere. Buying a nice camera or hiring a photographer can be expensive when you’re just starting out.  Looking back at when I first started, I cringe when I see some of my photos, but we all started from somewhere. Focus on getting quality photos and you will be golden.

8. Work hard. Blogging should be about what you love and should be enjoyable. It is definitely hard work if you want to do this full-time (or even part-time for that matter!) but hard work always pays off, I am a firm believer in that.

Blogging has been amazing to me these past three years and I am so lucky and grateful for all the opportunities and friendships it has brought me. When I first started I had NO CLUE what I was doing (and I am still learning!) but I just went with it. The best piece of advice I can give to you is to stay true to yourself and BE REAL! If you are a newbie Blogger and have any questions for me, I would love to help you out. Feel free to send me an email or drop your contact info in the comment section below. Thank you for following along and for reading this post!

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24 Comments

  • Reply Tif Fannin March 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    You nailed this!!!! I love this post and hope that your words are heeded. I would add that building friendships and collaborating with other bloggers is so important, but other bloggers don’t want to work with those who cheat! You just get a bad reputation all around. I think that it’s so important to be authentic and genuine! (Do I have enough exclamation points in this post yet?haha) It’s so OBVIOUS when someone is buying followers and I’ll be honest–when I figure out someone I follow on IG is buying followers, it makes my heart drop and I see them in a completely different light. And finally, I think it makes you a fraud when you go to companies and represent that you have x# of followers when really you bought a huge chunk of them!

    • Reply sarah March 22, 2017 at 3:03 am

      Thank you Tiffany! Im so glad that you chimed in on this post. I agree with every single thing you sad! love ya girl! xo

  • Reply Heather Brown March 21, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I love this post, this is great! I am so glad you are a part of the blogging world. It is hard starting out and there are lots of ups and downs, but it looks like you are doing so well! Great advice to all bloggers out there 🙂

    • Reply sarah March 22, 2017 at 3:03 am

      Thanks Heather, you are so sweet to say that. I am happy to have met you along the way! xo

  • Reply jcrewismyfavstore March 21, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I totally agree with you!!! I think that it’s important to grow authentically and organically. Buying likes and followers is analogous to cheating or plagiarizing. It’s SO unnecessary. Work hard and reap the rewards of your honest labor.

    • Reply sarah March 22, 2017 at 3:04 am

      Yes girl! I am a true believer in working hard to get what you want. I also believe in karma….lol

  • Reply Laura @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels March 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Amen! It is so important to just be yourself and be real. People will notice when you are sharing something you love!

  • Reply Meghan March 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I loved this post Sarah! Thank you for being you!

    • Reply sarah March 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks Meg! Love ya girl!

  • Reply Kristin F. March 22, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    This was such a great post about growing authentically and organically. Kudos to you!!

    • Reply sarah March 23, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Thank you Kristin!

  • Reply Becky Goerend March 23, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! This is totally what’s been on my mind lately. The instagram stuff has been bothering me so much! You’re doing great! Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Reply sarah March 24, 2017 at 3:09 am

      Yeah, it has been weighing heavily on mine as well, so I finally decided to blog about it! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my post! XO

  • Reply Mary March 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Sarah, I have only recently found you on Instagram but was immediately drawn to your bright feed and sweet personality. I really appreciate this post. I have been blogging for about a year, but only in the past few months, really starting to work my butt off at it. I love your honestly and saying its OK to work for just product (because that is where I am at for the most part) I believe everyone starts somewhere. I think it is insane to buy followers. I would much rather know that people were following me because they liked my page and style even if it takes 5 times as long to build that up. Oh and thanks for the tip about a handwritten note. I would not have thought of that. I always send an email thanking them, but I will have to do this too.

    • Reply sarah March 24, 2017 at 3:07 am

      Mary you are such a peach. Blogging isnt always easy, so kudos to you for taking on the blogging world! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you!

  • Reply Sarah March 23, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Love that turquoise necklace against your pretty red dress!! Amazing post with some great tips!! Thanks for sharing :).

    Sarah
    Trendy & Tidy

    • Reply sarah March 24, 2017 at 3:06 am

      Thank you Sarah! I appreciate you taking the time to stop! xo

  • Reply Laura @ Have Need Want March 24, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Such a great post! I’m all about growing authentically and organically. It truly will serve you better in the long run. I’ve never even heard of Social Blade, so that’s a new one to me. Thanks for sharing your opinion and keep up the great work!
    xo, Laura

  • Reply Abby March 27, 2017 at 3:02 am

    I love your honesty and I share the sense of discouragement about people who have 100k followers. I don’t think I would be willing to invest money just to grow my followers. What’s the point in that? I think the only person you are trying to fool is yourself in the process. I prefer organic growth and authenticity. I don’t care about numbers anymore, if brands want to work with me, that’s fine. They make that choice. I am just going to do what would work for me and for the brands who still choose to work with me.

  • Reply the cape on the corner March 27, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    i feel like blogging is definitely not what it was when i started blogging, and that’s led to me really blogging less and less. it’s inauthentic, it’s showy, it’s numbers, it’s partnerships as opposed to genuine sharing of something. i began in the home blogging realm, and it feels that way over there, too. now i just read fashion blogs…or no, everything seems to be a lifestyle blog these days. there’s so much content it’s almost overwhelming.
    b

  • Reply Kristy / Seven Graces March 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Absolutely love all of your tips! I couldn’t agree more. And you are rocking Instagram! I’ve been blogging for three years as well and haven’t even broken 10K yet. Go girl! 🙂

  • Reply Erica @ Coming up Roses March 30, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    YES. YES YES YAAAAAAAAS GIRL! I just followed you on Instagram (I LOVE your account! So colorful!), and I lovelovelove your attitude. Every point is so spot on. I’m with ya 100% on authenticity…and brands DEFINITELY know!

    Coming Up Roses

  • Reply Maddy March 31, 2017 at 2:40 am

    I love this post Sarah! I enjoyed hearing your story! At such a perfect time too. Lately, I’ve been feeling discouraged because my blog isn’t growing like I want it to. I work so hard and feel like it goes totally unnoticed. Just have to keep doing what I’m doing and someday it will hopefully pay off! This post made me hopeful it can happen!

    • Reply sarah April 3, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Hey Maddy!
      Thank you. Yes, it can definitely be discouraging at times, but if you are passionate enough about it just keep working hard and it will pay off.

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