How I Found My Voice

When I first started blogging I was very unsure of my direction, my voice, and how much of myself I wanted to reveal through my online presence.  The power of having a “voice” is one of the greatest gifts that you can you have in life because it is yours. Reflecting back, I now realize that fear was holding me back.  I was afraid of judgement; I surely didn’t want to offend anyone with my thought processes or personality.  It is always a journey trying to find your voice and develop your brand as a blogger that’s why I am offering my new webinar, “Find Your Voice.” I am a developing a series of inexpensive webinars that will help you take your online presence to the next level!

When I freed myself from this bondage and found my voice, I was able to create a blog that has continued to flourish and grow with my core audience.  Fear can keep you stuck because it doesn’t allow you to step away from common forms of thinking and just be an individual, and I pride myself on being a free thinker.

When I found my “voice” it was life-changing.  It helped me grow and understand my audience and my purpose.  This is why I developed my brand new class, “Find Your Blogging Voice!”  I want other bloggers and business owners to understand the power of having a clear voice so that you will stand above all of the noise that is online.  Today I’m going to share a few tips that helped me to develop my voice.

Have A Clear Point of View 

When your readers understand your point of view it helps them understand what makes you different from others. This does not mean that you should be tactless or offensive, but it is good to be somewhat vulnerable at times.  Your readers need to see the “real you.”  Showing that you have flaws and are human is always a good thing.

Just Start & Be Consistent

In order to develop your voice, you have to begin creating a consistent body of work that people will start to identify you by.  As you continue to blog you will evolve, and you can tweak things along the way.

Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks

I would have never developed the confidence that is required to build a blog or start my own courses if I let fear control me.  I had to step away from the thought-processes of what it means to have a successful blog and create my own vision.  I had to set goals for myself, without being afraid of what others may think.  You will never have a blog that you love if you are afraid to do anything that is different.

Identify Your Target Audience

You have to understand early on that you are not expecting everyone to read your blog.  You only need the people who resonate with your content and beliefs!  It is better to have a core group of loyal blog followers, than random people who visit your blog infrequently.  When you focus on your audience, your voice will become quite clear because you will begin to attract the people that need your information.  You will even attract people who think they don’t like them, but you win them over somehow.

Be Deliberate With Your Delivery

Take some time to figure out your personality and writing style, and be deliberate about the way you disseminate your information. This will help to really illuminate your voice more deeply, which will help to develop your unique blogging voice.

It is time to step out of the shadows of other blogs and become confident about your voice so that you can grow your own audience. My new webinar will help you do just that!  If your interested sign-up for the webinar HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging Is Not A Business Model

You all know that I love my blogs, so you may be surprised to find out that I do not view my blog as a business model.  I view it as the “hub” where people come to get information.  It is a place for me to connect with old supporters and attract new ones, so that they can be exposed to various parts of my brand.  Once you are able to attract an audience of any size you will be able to create a business that caters to needs of your readers.  Blogging is not a “get-rich quick” scheme.  It takes a lot of strategy and hard work to build a business around your blog.  There are a few bloggers who I believe can make high profits from their blogs, but it is rare (probably more than you think).

Why blogging is not a business model:

  • It takes a lot of blog traffic to use your blog solely for profit (and that will most likely never happen for the average blogger).  Most blogs, even the most creative and consistent, only make a few dollars a day through affiliate marketing strategies.  You have to have traffic in the hundreds of thousands to millions to really break into the upper crust of high earning blogs.  Some bloggers focus on sponsored posts, but that is not a sure thing either.  Blog marketing is still fairly new, and I imagine that payouts will also change as brands become more familiar with this type of advertising

 

  • I have to agree with expert David Risely, when he says “unless you are selling something you don’t have a business.”  Depending on ad revenue from your blog is not the same thing as having a business.  You can control your own business, but you cannot control how much you earn through ad revenue.

 

  • You have to figure out how to solve a problem for your audience in order to be able to use your blog as a tool for your business.  People purchase services and products from people that they trust in order to make their life easier in some way.  If you can figure out what your audience desires and be able to provide it, you can use your blog as foundation for a profitable business.

 

  • When you treat your blog as “business model” you will appear inauthentic to your audience and it will be difficult to build a loyal following.  You can see this with bloggers who promote every trending item on their blog.  You may get popular, but it will be difficult to convert sales from your blog.  It is crucial to build a community around your blog so that your audience can trust you.  You don’t have to have thousands of followers to develop a business that you are passionate about that your audience will support.

 

  • All your hard work will be in vain if you try to haphazardly earn from it.  You could post everyday, read blogs, try what everyone else is doing and still never earn more than a dollars from your blog.  A blog is platform for creation, self-expression, teaching, and promotion.  You have to be clear about how blogging actually works, especially if you don’t have a widely popular blog.

I hope this post will help you rethink your blogging goals and process.  Do you want to blog as a hobby or use your blog as a promotional platform to pursue your other passions and business goals?

 

Tackling Your First Blog Post

Your first blog post is your introduction to the world (well sort of).  Many people will tell you to talk about yourself, your interests, and maybe even why you started a blog, but to that I say…who cares?  Until people know what you have to offer, they will not care about your blog.  Leave the bulk of your introduction on your ABOUT page and show people what skills/gifts/talents you have that will make them want to come back to your blog. Check out the video for my recommendation on how to write your first blog post.

If you are a new blogger that is trying to learn the ropes, join us for Blogging Bootcamp! Enrollment will be open for one more week!  Come learn the basics of maintaining and growing your blog and get access to our private Facebook group.  Sign up HERE!

You Don’t Need It!

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There seems to be a misconception that you have to have certain things to start your blog, but this is simply not true.  The most important factors in starting your blog are time and dedication.  I started blogging many years ago with no prior knowledge of how to do anything.  I live in a rural town in NC, and I didn’t have a lot of resources, but I had the knowledge to figure it out!  So today I am going to dismiss some of the myths about starting a blog.

Reader QA: Sponsored Posts Vs. Product Reviews

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I know that a lot of new bloggers are trying learn the ropes (just like all veteran bloggers had to do at one time), so I wanted to tackle a great question that I come across quite often.  Here is this week’s question: “Is there a difference between sponsored posts and product reviews?”  And my answer is, absolutely!   I do both because I find them beneficial, but today I’m going to break down the differences and what the benefits and disadvantages of both are.

Reader QA: How Do I Create A Blog With Content That Has Not Been Done?

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The saying “there is enough room for everybody,” is one of the truest statements ever made.  It is estimated that there are 7 billion people on this earth.  There are so many people who are waiting for you to share your gifts and knowledge with them; that is your duty.  One of the major questions that I have been receiving is, “What do I do when I feel like everything has already been done?”  I believe that many of you are putting way too much pressure on yourself because the reality is that most people do not have an original or creative blog, but you are an original!  It’s your voice and your talent that separates you from the crowd (not just your subject matter). It is time to revamp your thinking, so today I’m sharing 5 ways to overcome the “It’s Already Been Done” rut.

How Do You Decide What Brands To Collaborate With?

WARRIORS OF (1) I was recently asked the question, “How do you decide what companies to collaborate with on your blog?”  This question is so important because it is something that I wish I would have thought about in my earlier blogging days.  After a few years of blogging you become more knowledgable about your blog and about what types of companies you should and should not be working with because it can be tricky to figure this out when you are just starting.  Over the last two years, I have worked with some companies that did not have my blog’s best interest at the forefront of their goals or they expected something for nothing.  At the end of the day this is a business, and no one really loves (it’s not really about you).  It is about your reach.  I am fine with that, but their are some guidelines that I had to develop for my blog, so I am sharing those with you today in effort to eliminate some of the frustration that I have had to experience.  Here are five questions that you should ask yourself before you collaborating with a company.

What Makes A Blog Worth Reading? (Who’s Unique?)

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The question “What makes your blog unique?” was presented in an awesome post that I read on IFB recently, and it touched on a topic that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Just as in everything in life, I have discussed that there is an hierarchy among bloggers.  You have your probloggers that rule the scene, such as Gary Pepper or Fashion Toast, but at one point there truly was a place for people who had “ordinary” blogs to connect with others in a way that is more relatable to their lifestyle and experiences.  While the top bloggers create amazing photos and experiences for their readers in very creative ways, it makes you wonder what has to be done to maintain an interesting and unique blog.  My blog started out very small (with no readers) and continues to grow, but what I want it to grow into is still unclear.  Lately, I’ve had to make some serious decisions about the future of my blog.  What makes a blog unique and worth reading?  Is there anything out there that has truly never been done before?

Well, no, but I do believe that bloggers can bring something unique to their niche and the audience that they serve.  A lot of bloggers probably don’t feel this way, but I sort of view myself as a servant who seeks to help and provide knowledge.  I don’t mind this role because without a loyal group of supporters who inspire me there would be no reason to blog.  It’s definitely not the money.  There are very few bloggers who are making the kind of money that can truly sustain a lifestyle through this form of work (looks can be deceiving), so do your research.  If you add in being a minority, who is plus size with kinky hair, you have another set of factors to contend with while trying to run a blog.  It takes thick skin and a lot of self-confidence to try and permeate a domain that is still dominated by traditional forms of beauty even in the plus size community (light skin, wavy hair, certain body type, etc).

I would like to feel that I bring something to my blog that people aren’t getting in a lot of other places, but the truth is I’m not sure.  The article on IFB made the claim that it may be impossible to be successful with a personal blog.  I don’t know if this is true or not, but it is definitely something to think about as I move forward with my blog.  I have been able to inspire women, make some money regularly, have the honor of being featured in major publications, and do guest appearances from time to time all from having a personal blog.  Right now, I have no plans to step away from my blog because I love it so much, but my feelings vary from day to day.  What am I hoping for…more appearances, monetary gain, or even blogger fame?  What is the ultimate goal?  This is a question that every neophyte blogger should be thinking about.  You have to know where you’re headed.

So, as I ponder over the question of what truly makes a blog worthwhile,  I challenge you to do the same.  There really is no point of continuing to work endless hours on a blog that has no ultimate goal or purpose.  So let’s talk…what makes a blog worth reading these days?  It’s hard to tell.