Blogging Q&A

I have noticed an influx in DMs and emails asking about blogging, so I thought it was time to answer some questions about the industry, whether you’re just curious from the outside looking in or are interested in making a blog. Hopefully this will shine some light on what I do for a job and how things run behind the scenes!

I broke down the steps of starting a blog in this post, so if you are wanting to create your own blog, check there first.

Why did you start your blog?

I was quite honestly bored and needed a creative outlet during summer break in college. I had always loved clothes and shopping, but I never had thought about it until that day in July 2015 – and then within hours Sophisticaition was born and live on the internet.

What did you study in college? And what majors are best for influencer marketing?

I studied public relations, and I think that’s helped me tremendously with the blog world. I work with PR agencies daily and I can understand where they’re coming from! I think anything with business, marketing, advertising, PR, corporate communications, etc. is good for influencer marketing. Since the industry is so new, there really isn’t a “social media and online branding” course of study, which would be the most beneficial for potential bloggers.

What websites help you make a website?

There are multiple, but the most popular are WordPress, Blogger and Squarespace.

How many posts a week?

I think this is entirely based on you and your audience. It really is a balance of supply and demand. I have decided that three posts a week on my blog is the sweet spot of multiple posts with a range of content, but not too much for my readers to keep up with or for me to produce.

How do you get people to your site?

There is no definite answer to this question. You can promote posts on social media, have friends share it via email, etc. but it really takes time building up a solid readership that will check out your blog every morning as they drink their coffee and open their emails at work, or on the train home.

Where do you get inspiration for blog posts?

Honestly everywhere! If I see a cute pair of heels on someone when I’m out, that may be the inspo for an upcoming post! I also ask my readers what they want to see, which helps.

How do you get enough photos for content on the blog and Instagram?

It definitely is about planning the posts you want to have on the blog and then laying out outfits ahead of time – if you wait until the day of shooting, you’ll end up wasting an hour deciding if these shoes go with that bag. I shoot multiple looks in the same day for the blog to maximize the content in the span of a few hours. For Instagram, sometimes I take an iPhone pic in the moment and post it. I use UNUM to plan my Instagram feed!

What makes a good photo to post?

I think lighting is ultimately what separates “good” and “bad” photos, but obviously a blurry or out of focus photo is something you’d want to avoid posting. I like crisp and bright photos personally, but it’s all based on your personality and editing style.

How do you get your Instagram to look cohesive?

There are many editing apps such as VSCO that can apply the same coloring and lighting to photos to help them look uniform! I use Lightroom presets as well.

What work is involved other than taking photos?

HA. Taking photos is the tip of the iceberg. Let’s see… I basically run my own marketing corporation and it’s a one-woman show. I’m a creative director, an editor, a stylist, often a makeup and hair artist, a product photographer, a debt collector… the list goes on and on. Read more on the behind the scenes of blogging here.

Can you make money blogging?

Not at first, but there definitely is income potential. However, if you’re trying to start a blog with the intention of making money, you won’t succeed.There’s a stat I’m now forgetting about how the vast majority of bloggers give up within 6 months because it’s too much work or harder than they anticipated. You need a genuine passion for your site to stick it out and see success!

Are you constantly needing new clothes?

Some friends of mine are always ordering something new to shoot. Personally, I don’t have the time or money to be spending thousands of dollars on new clothes just to take pictures in, and I instead like to show you the pieces I have in my closet, whether they are a new trendy cheap item from a store like Forever 21 or a more expensive investment piece from Nordstrom. I think that’s a personal choice, though, and my audience likes the authenticity and affordability of my stuff, whereas other bloggers can post (and sell) designer bags like crazy!

Can a blog just be on Instagram?

“Instablogging” is where you share a photo with a long caption in place of a blog with text posts. I know many people who do this but again, it comes back to your audience. I also feel like it’s important to note that Instagram could die tomorrow whereas my blog is going to weather every social media storm – I own it and no one can change the algorithm or force my readers to pay to see the content.

How do you select brands to work with?

I have to make sure they’re a good fit for my audience first and foremost, so I only contact brands I already vetted, and carefully consider any pitch emails I get. If it’s not going to be a mutually beneficial relationship, I pass!

Should you start a new blog Instagram or change your personal into it?

I changed my personal to my blog, but I have made a “finsta” for my friends and family in the past year. I do think it’s helpful keeping business and personal stuff separate, but I have friends who just have one account for both. I talked more about this in a recent YouTube video.

Are all bloggers full-time or do they have 9-5 jobs?

I am actually in the minority in that my blog IS my 9-5 (let’s be honest, 9-9) job. There are many lovely ladies who have blogs AND full-time jobs, and I applaud them for keeping it all together! It was very hard for me to balance my old job with the blog as it began to take off. My friend Megan basically works two full-time jobs between Kendra Scott and her blog! The key for working while blogging is time management and using any extra tidbit of free space in your calendar for the blog.

How do you deal with not having benefits as a full-time blogger?

You can get self-employed insurance and savings options – it does take some digging and it may be more out of pocket at first. I feel like I’m in a good spot when it comes to this since I have good coverage, but I do sometimes wish I had a 401(k)!

Is blogging as glamorous as it looks?

There have been times where I have an out of body moment and I have to pinch myself that yes, I’m here and this is happening. New York Fashion Week definitely was one of them. However, 99% of the time, I am at home with sweatpants and a messy bun working from my couch which is the antithesis of glamour.

Unexpected challenges?

Honestly, I’m on my phone all the time for work, and I hate being *that friend* at dinner. I try to institute a semblance of working hours to avoid that.

What’s your favorite post?

So far, I think my favorite post is Be Happy With Your Now.

 

Have a question not on this list? Let me know below!

 

 

Leave a Comment

5 Comments

  1. Congratulations on a great blog 🙂 How long have you been blogging Caitlin? How did you get your first revenue stream?

    Posted 1.15.18 Reply
    • Caitlin wrote:

      Thank you! I have been blogging since 2015 and first started making an income with affiliate marketing 🙂

      Posted 1.16.18 Reply
  2. I love the honesty of this! What a great insight into the behind-the-scenes world of a blogger. And seriously, congrats on being able to blog full-time. That’s a major life win in my eyes!

    keep up the great work! Your site is beautiful.

    Posted 1.15.18 Reply
  3. What a great read! I just celebrated my 1st year of blogging and am so thankful for this journey. I didn’t realize you could make money at first and I am really thankful for that. I have always done this 100% for a fun hobby and now money is just a plus. I have had a lot of new bloggers ask about how to make money and my #1 piece of advise is DO NOT do it for the money.

    Posted 1.17.18 Reply
    • Caitlin wrote:

      Yes, me too! I had no idea about monetization at first, but realized it as i grew and brands reached out. i definitely don’t think i would have stuck with it and actually enjoyed the journey had i been money driven 🙂

      Posted 1.17.18 Reply

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