I still remember sitting in the grass at Prospect Park with my friend back in 2009 talking about the concept of the GlamSavvy Life. The concept was simple with the purpose being to celebrate the stylish and smart Black women that I knew. I recognized that these were the individuals who were not getting the shine they deserved anywhere else and I wanted to create a platform for them. I was so sure that I was going to start a blog and that it would be the go-to online space of inspiration for a younger generation of driven Black girls. I was wrong.
I had absolutely no idea how difficult creating content was, how to use social media, how to market content, or what tools I needed for blogging. The first trial of the site resulted in the content being mostly news based. I was seriously trying to keep up with major media outlets by regurgitating the information that they put out. From there, I moved away from being a news outlet blog to just featuring Black women with great style and impressive stories. Although I loved this phase, I realized that it was costly to do major photo-shoots and while the content may have been inspirational, it was not always useful to my readers. I changed directions again and shifted to style blogging, which so many people were asking me to do. People really wanted to know the details of my outfits and generally more about me, which I had shied away from for a long time. The problem with this concept was inconsistency because I did not capture my outfits often and it was not enough for a savvy audience.
Up until very recently I had absolutely no idea what I was doing for the overall blog concept. The decision to be authentically me, put myself out there, and honing in on my niche is what has changed everything. I have doubled the page views on the blog, increased my social media presence and engagement, and developed strategies for all the major pieces of running a successful blog. I can finally see the tide turning and I am getting it. It was definitely embarrassing, and sometimes frustrating, to not know what I wanted to do. Still, I would not change anything because there are always lessons in the journey. I wanted to share the five biggest mistakes I made for the past five years while blogging:
Comparison Comparison has been known as the thief of joy. I would not say it stole my joy, rather than it moved me away from my vision. Of course, I sought out the best bloggers in the game and wanted to implement some of the things they were doing to achieve their level of success. It is smart to seek inspiration from the best, but the trick is to remain true to your VISION. Inspiration is one thing, but mimicking ideas without proper knowledge to execute is quite another. Instead comparing myself to bloggers with way more experience than I had, I should have been seeking to find out what it takes to run a successful blog. The truth about what it takes is not usually among the polished photos and social media campaigns. Seek inspiration but do not compare yourself to others because you do not know the steps they took to get to their current position.
Inconsistency In the blogging world, you cannot afford to be inconsistent. The competition is fierce because you are competing with major media outlets, veteran bloggers as well as up and coming blogs each day. Chances are you are not the only one vying for your reader’s attention and inconsistency is the easiest way to lose your reader’s trust. If they have no idea what to expect from you, they may venture to the person that delivers great content on a consistent basis. Having recently installed a scheduling app, I know look back at months when I only posted twice and the content was not great. My readers deserved more than that. Now my goal is to post at least four days a week, gradually increasing to two posts for five days of the week.
Waiting On Permission Many of us are suffering from what I like to call the “fairy god-mother syndrome.” We are waiting on someone to show up and tell us that we deserve the things we want and hand us the keys to success. It is not going to happen. You have to put yourself out there and literally go get it! I know we all know this, but there may be something holding us back. Do not wait on the right numbers or the right people paying attention to your brand to get started. If you have great ideas, act on them.
Not Investing In Myself In the past five years, I have never attended a blogger conference, a meet up, took any classes or webinars or sought out a mentor. I did absolutely nothing to invest in my personal growth or that of the blog. I have recently learned that it is impossible to reach your goal without investing in yourself. The blogiverse is constantly changing, which means that your skill set must change with it. I have made a commitment to excellence and constant improvement. Therefore, I must invest and at this point, the reason I have a 9-5 is to put that money into the business that will be my legacy.
Not Believing in My Story For a long time, I shied away from putting my full self into the blog. Up until this year, no one really knew my name, but that changed when I made the decision to unapologetically use my story to be useful to others. As a private person, this has been extremely hard, but also equally healing and powerful. Opening up has helped me in the creative part of content creating and I often have to ask myself how can I turn this into useful content. I love having an “aha” moment for blog posts. My story is my power and it will be the life of my blog.
I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am finally understanding and getting better. The last five years have been extremely trying, but I am still here and I still have the opportunity to take this where I want. There will be more obstacles along the way, but I will push through them and come out better than ever. I hope that these mistakes have been helpful for your blogging journey and I wish you the best of luck!