10 Things I’ve Learned From Blogging + 4 Year Blogiversary

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I can’t believe it y’all! Today marks my 4 year blogiversary! Four years ago I wrote my first blog post recapping my trip to California with friends. Little did I know hitting ‘publish’ would change my life! Fast forward 4 years and I am blessed to be operating Mash Elle as a full time job. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to love what I do for work! If you’re thinking of starting a blog (I know a few of you who are!) I highly encourage you to take that first step (I know how difficult it is!) and publish your first blog post. You won’t regret it! Today I wanted to share 15 things I’ve learned from blogging thus far. If you have a blog, dreamed of having a blog one day or simply interested in what I’ve learned about blogging – this post is for you!

Before I get started I wanted to thank Michael Hill for sending me their gorgeous arrow pendant necklace and circle necklace as a blogiversary gift! I adore how these minimalist necklaces add a subtle glimmer to any outfit. Make sure to check out their spring jewelry collection! Without further ado – 10 things I’ve learned from blogging.

10 Things I’ve Learned From Blogging

1. Don’t compare your success to that of fellow bloggers. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from blogging is the importance of wearing blinders. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others – whether it be with our looks, relationships or careers. However, in the blogging world different levels of success (including follower count and sponsorship opportunities) arise at different paces for each blogger. It can drive you crazy when you see a new blogger surpass you in follow count or being flown out to Paris by a sponsor. But your time will come. Community over competition – always!

2. Be prepared to be vulnerable. No matter how much (or little) you decide to share about your personal life, owning a blog can leave you feeling exposed. I try not to think about the hundreds (if not thousands) of photos of me online for all to see. I also share tidbits of information about my personal life, which isn’t always the easiest. This month, I plan to start a new (and very personal) blog series very near to my heart which will force me to be extremely vulnerable. Being vulnerable isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sharing intimate details about your life can form a unique bond with readers. It’s time to get real!

3. Don’t feed the trolls. As a blogger, the more followers you gain – the more scrutiny that will come with it. We live in a society where a computer screen allows us to type heartless messages to complete strangers with little to no consequence. People will say mean things. Don’t take it personal. If someone feels the need to say you look fat – that says a lot more about them than it does about you. Delete the comment. Move on with life.

4. Don’t take things personal. In the blogging world, it’s all business, baby. I quickly learned the importance of building a thick skin in this industry. You will hear the word NO all too often. Sponsors will turn you down. It’s so easy to feel hurt and think *why aren’t I good enough?*. The truth is it often has nothing to do with you. Sponsors look for specific representatives to partner with. Maybe they are looking for another age category or another geographic location. D0n’t take it personal. Each no will get easier – promise! Focus your energy on celebrating that YES!

5. Find a mentor. If you’re a relatively new blogger try to find a blogging mentor. Mentoring in the blogging world is very common. In a nutshell, mentoring means taking someone under your wing and teaching them the ropes of blogging without a fee. I was lucky enough to be best friends with my mentor. If you can’t find a mentor, try reaching out to someone who has been blogging a few years longer than you. Experience is often the best teaching tool. Explain your short term and long term blogging goals and how they can help you along your journey. It may take some time to find the perfect fit – but once you do their assistance can be invaluable!

6. Be a mentor. Make sure to return the favor and mentor another blogger. Don’t think you need to be blogging full time or have 5+ years of experience to be a mentor. You can be a mentor as every stage of blogging. As a mentor, you’re basically sharing what worked, what didn’t and answering any questions your mentee. I began mentoring a blogger after blogging 3 years. Being a mentor to another is one of the best feelings.

7. Don’t buy followers. Don’t do it! Unfortunately, many bloggers pay for followers on their social media platforms, which are “bot” (fake) accounts. This practise is not only unfair to sponsors (who are paying to advertise their product to many fake accounts) but other bloggers. Buying followers can be tempting, as it is a cheap way to accelerate your following (and increase profit from sponsors). Good news to those honest bloggers out there: many brands are beginning to use web technology that can analyze your following and detect fake followers. I recently returned from the Fohr Card “Fohr U” Conference which shared they have just released technology that can detect the percentage of a blogger’s bot following and inactive following on Instagram. On the Fohr Card platform, sponsors will now be selecting bloggers based on their “active” following (ie. real followers!). Hallelujah! Concentrate your efforts on great content your followers will want to engage with.

8. Invest in a good camera ASAP. What would I have told the 2013 Mash Elle? Buy the Canon 6D! I wasted so many great collaborations shooting with a crap starter camera and lens. As with all startups, you need to invest. Well girlfriend, your camera is one of the best investments you will make. Take out a loan, dip into your savings, put in on your Christmas list. Just get it already. You’ll thank me when you have years of great quality photos. Don’t forget a great lens is equally important. I use the Canon , which is on the more affordable side. I highly recommend it! Also, I’ve never heard a blogger say “I wish I didn’t buy a ring light”. It will work wonders. Be like Nike and Just Do it.

9. Work with brands that respect you as a blogger. I’ve worked with plenty of brands in the past 4 years and I’ve learned not all brands will treat you as the businesswoman (or man) you are. Case in point: brands asking bloggers to work for free. Y’all, on average, I receive 2-3 emails daily asking me to work for zero compensation. Would you work a desk job for free? I didn’t think so. Brands who expect bloggers to spend their time and invest their money into a post without pay do not respect you. They are taking advantage of you. Of course, there are always exceptions. If you’ve been blogging a year or less, you’ll need to build up your portfolio with brands you’ve collaborated with. In this case, ask for product exchange. Additionally, if a brand doesn’t have a budget suggest they boost your posts on social media. You’ll receive more views and (in turn) more followers. Another exception: If Louis Vuitton proposes a collaboration without pay – you take it. Why? Because it’s Louis Vuitton. Having their name on your resume is probably worth more than your blogging fee, anyway.

10. Remember why you started. At the end of the day, whether your blog is your hobby or full time job, never forget why you started. Your blog is a public platform. What do you want to say to the world? There is so much negativity in this world. Make your blog your happy place. Make people feel at home when they read your blog. Your blog is a chance to take your readers away from their stressful day at work, their family problems – for just a few minutes. What do you want to say?

 

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Now it’s time to thank you my gorgeous, incredibly supportive readers! Mash Elle wouldn’t operate without you! Every like, comment, tweet, mention means more than you’ll ever know. I get teary eyed thinking y’all would want to read about some girl born in Ottawa, Canada but alas you surprise me every time! Know I am always here if you want to chat – I am an email away (mashelle.blog@gmail.com). I always respond to reader emails and it brightens my day when y’all drop a line!

Have you ever thought of starting a blog? If you’re a blogger – what have you learned so far?

Thank you to Michael Hill for sponsoring today’s post. As usual, all opinions are mine alone. 

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14 Comments

  1. May 9, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    Congrats on your blogaversary! I have a hard time comparing myself to other bloggers but I am so happy that you showed this and gave some great tips!

    Briana
    http://beyoutifulbrunette.blogspot.com/

  2. May 10, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    This was so refreshing & exciting to read. We’ve been following you since you started (well pretty much!) & it’s so amazing to see how far you’ve come. We’re so happy to read that you get to blog full-time, because we’ve really seen how much work you’ve put into Mash-Elle.com.

    It’s also SUPER motivating! We started our blog around the same time as you, and you’ve grown SO much quicker and larger than us in the same amount of time. That might sound like we’re comparing ourselves to you (which was one of your no-nos!), but it really just teaches us that staying motivated & consistent will help us achieve our blog goals.

    Thank you & congrats!!

    xo, B&K
    BKCsquared.com

  3. May 11, 2017 / 2:27 am

    I love this advice. I’ve been blogging for a year in June. It’s always exciting to hear how much other bloggers love blogging. It’s the best.

    http://goldclutter.com

  4. May 11, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    Thanks so much girl! It was a huge milestone for me 🙂

    Ps. your blog is adorable!

    Xo,

    Michelle

  5. May 11, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    Thanks darling! I think we all struggle with it at some point. It’s such a natural reaction. You’re doing amazing, keep it up! <3

    Xo,

    Michelle

  6. May 11, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Thanks so much darling! So proud of all you’ve accomplished!

    Xo,

    Michelle

  7. May 11, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    Hey girls! Yes I remember following y’all from the very start! I can relate to how your feeling – one of my favorite bloggers Darling Detail just celebrated her 4th blogiversary and her success is out of this world. She deserves every second of it, and I look at her as an inspiration. I think it’s all about re-framing your thoughts and looking to others to get motivated and crunch even harder.

    Ps. Just read your post on Big Little Lies and LOVED the series (binge watched it)! I think I want to read the book now 🙂

    Xo,

    Michelle

  8. May 11, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    YES you made it over the first year hunch! Everything is about to get so much better. Promise! Keep being fabulous girl!

    Xo,

    Michelle

  9. May 16, 2017 / 2:52 am

    Thanks darling! Means the world.

    Xo,

    Michelle

  10. May 16, 2017 / 2:53 am

    Thank you so much! A proud moment for sure! 🙂

    Xo,

    Michelle

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