Canines & Couture had its first birthday not too long ago and while it’s true that I’m still relatively new to the business of blogging, there’s no denying that I’ve learned a ton in the last 365 days and change. I’ve picked up a lot of tips from bloggers all over the world and ultimately, I know I’m nowhere near having it all figured out. However, as I continue to settle more into my own little groove, the things that stick most with me after having immersed myself into the blogosphere culture is what I unequivocally should not be doing. I wish I had found a post when I was a beginner blogger that had tips for what not to do when promoting my blog and creating new content because I have admittedly done at least a couple of these things listed below.
I always try to live by the four C’s in my professional life: Classy. Collaborative. Confident. Creative. One of my favorite quotes of all time that I draw upon consistently is, “Keep it classy, not crazy,” from the book, He’s Just Not that into You (hilarious read, btw). It’s easy to get “crazy” when you want something badly – like success and acceptance – and when emotions run high, I think about this quote to ground me. Always keep it classy, never crazy. These 5 tips will help the beginner blogger avoid that fine line of classy vs. crazy:
1) The following and un-following game. I’m starting out with the item that’s my biggest pet peeve. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be this rule. There’s nothing (and I mean nothing) tackier in the blogging world than soliciting a “follow” by following somebody and then quickly un-following after they’ve followed you back (that was a mouthful!). I’ve never understood this tact because the only thing it says to your potential readers is that you’re manipulative, tacky, and don’t care about forming meaningful relationships, professional or otherwise. If this is you and you just don’t know any better, I would suggest ending this practice now. If you’re going to follow, do it because you’re genuinely interested in following someone’s work, not because you’re trying to increase an inauthentic audience.
2) The competitive mentality. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the blogosphere is one giant competition for traffic. It’s an ugly trap and a completely unproductive one at that. There’s room for ALL of us and the only way to truly be successful is to help build each other up, share work and be on team #success for everyone. The more people who believe in the man/woman behind the brand, the higher your chances are of achieving the kind of professional life you dreamed of and the only way they’re going to believe in you is if you show them your humanity. So, get out from behind your blog posts and help other people with their dreams too.
3) The one word comment. If you’re going to take the time to comment on someone’s blog, make it meaningful. A “Nice.” or “Cute.” followed by a giant FOLLOW MY BLOG HERE is almost as tacky as #1 on this list. Make your comments meaningful. I am 200% more likely to visit a blog if it’s something I can respond to and indicates to me you actually took the time to look at / read my work. “Cool.” is a one-way-ticket to, People-Think-You’re-Annoying-ville, and nobody wants to go there; the ticket is cheap and so is the destination.
4) The mirror pic. I’m probably going to get some backlash over this one but honestly, it’ll be worth it if I convert even ONE blogger out of this practice. I mean, I get it; you want to show us your outfit. It’s fabulous and it just. can’t. wait. You have to share it NOW. I know that feeling. You’re excited and you should be; you look fabulous! But before you whip out your camera phone, I’d like to request you consider two things: 1) It doesn’t matter whether or not your intention is to share your stylish new ‘fit; all people see with this practice is a low-quality image and self absorption. When you’re taking a photo of yourself in a mirror, the message you’re sending loud and clear – whether you intend to or not – is that you’re vain. Think about it; when you’re standing in front of a mirror, what are you doing? You’re checking yourself out. And I know this isn’t your intention. Your intention is for others to check your STYLE out. Give your readers that opportunity. Take some real photos. Have your brother or your boyfriend or your friend help you out. It’ll be worth it when you have those spectacular images of your work memorialized…without a distracting flash reflecting back from a distorted mirror selfie (btw, this goes for dating profiles too).
5) The “I would love it if you checked out my blog” email. I receive a huge volume of emails on IFB with nothing more than a solicitation to look at someone’s blog. I’ve even gotten follow-up emails that say something like, “I hate to be annoying but can you please check out my blog?” DO you hate to be annoying? Because I have to say, that’s probably one of the most annoying things you could have possible said; a close second behind the first email you sent. You should email a fellow blogger when there’s intent other than solicitation. You might as well consider your email SPAM otherwise and we know that’s not your intention. Shed your brand in the right light and start by only reaching out to bloggers with whom you have something meaningful to say or ask of them. They will check out your blog without you even having to ask.
I hope these don’t sound too harsh. They’re really not meant to be. They’re meant to help a beginner blogger see there way past crazy town into the land of keeping it classy. At the end of the day, always do what feels right to you. Nobody else can determine that but I would always ask yourself, “Am I consistently keeping it classy? Collaborative? Am I being as creative as I can be? Am I portraying myself confidently? If you answer yes to even 3 of those things, you’re well on your way to finding the right blogging formula.
P.S. Let The Smooshy continue to dazzle you. Follow us on Bloglovin’!