Over here at BFK we got a lot of questions! (We love them–that’s how we know what to write about each week–so keep ’em coming!) So we thought it would be fun to create a new series called “BFK Q &A” where we pop in every few weeks and answer some of the most common questions we get from readers.
Ready to jump in? Let’s do it:
My iPhone6 isn’t cutting it for my blog photography. What kind of photography equipment should I be investing in to get started?
We did a whole post that breaks that down right here, actually, but in short, getting started with photography can be tough, and it’s difficult to determine what is worth the money and what isn’t.
As a general rule, you should buy the best camera and lens that you can afford. Photography isn’t an area I would recommend skimping on and it’s probably the most important element of all when it comes to building a successful blog.
That being said, the Canon Rebel is a really affordable entry-level DSLR. We also love the 35mm and 50mm as starter lenses. Pop on over here for our DSLR camera guide where we break down photography equipment in more detail.
I just started my blog–when do I start making money?
I’m going to be honest. If you’re getting into blogging with the sole purpose of making money and quitting your day job, I don’t know how successful you’re going to be. Blogging is really hard work, it’s insanely time consuming, and to get it off the ground, it’s going to take pretty much all of your energy and free time in the first couple of years.
That being said, it needs to be your passion. If it’s your passion, it doesn’t feel like work–it gives you joy, and despite how much time it requires, you wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t start a blog to make money. Start a blog because it gives you life like nothing else can–because it gives you a creative outlet and makes you feel excited about getting up in the morning.
*Steps off soapbox*
Okay, so if you’ve checked the passion box, great. You’re still with me. Focus on building your brand and growing your audience first and foremost. The money will come later. With growth comes money!
I often get asked “at what point can I start charging?” and this isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. I started charging when I was getting too many requests for collaborations and I couldn’t handle them all. Think of it as supply and demand. If you’re getting a steady stream of product collaboration requests that you can’t keep up with, start charging.
(Hint: Start by asking, “Do you have a budget for this campaign?” and let the brand throw out an offer first, and negotiate a price that feels comfortable to you from there.) If you’ve gotten to the point I referenced above, when in doubt, ask for the money. The worst they can say is no, and you can still counter back letting the know that you love the brand and are willing to make an exception. You never know if you don’t ask!
How can I improve my social media strategy?
Great question! There are about 100 ways to go about this, but above all, I think it all boils down to quality and consistency/frequency. I typically find that bloggers need to improve in one of these two areas (myself included, the frequency part I still struggle with), and it’s hard to succeed without doing both.
This means, you need to be posting quality photos frequently. On Instagram, I would recommend twice per day on average. But this doesn’t mean posting anything for the sake of checking the box–play around with what you’d like your brand to represent. Decide on an “image voice” and stick with it. Your photos are also part of your branding! Check out our free “how to find your image voice” download over here!
That being said, it’s REALLY hard to post on every single channel consistently. I’ll be the first to admit, I neglect my Twitter. Sometimes I don’t get around to scheduling multiple Facebook posts per day–so cut yourself some slack, and don’t run yourself ragged. Instead, I’d recommend on choosing one or two social media channels as your main focus, and REALLY hit those hard–focus your efforts there, and then expand slowly once you’ve gotten into a solid rhythm.
What’s the fastest way to grow my blog?
The more focused your niche, the faster you will grow. Think of it as being a big fish in a little pond, vs being a little fish in a huge pond. We made the mistake in the beginning of covering too many topics, which not only burned us out, but it created kind of a hodge-podge audience and it was harder to gain a loyal following.
For example, say someone clicks through a food pin on Pinterest and then gets to your blog and sees about 10 different post topics, but not very many on food, they’re going to get overwhelmed and probably leave because they aren’t going to find what they’re looking for.
On the flipside, if someone clicks through a food pin and gets there and finds tons of food posts, they’re going to be like YES! A new awesome food blogger to follow!
So, let’s use another example–say you have a fashion blog. How can you narrow that down more? Are you edgy,? Are you preppy? Are your outfits more attainable everyday or more inspirational? What budget do you typically stay around for your items? How old is your audience? What are they looking for when they come to your site?
If you’re wearing a super preppy expensive outfit one day, and a really trendy and edgy outfit the next, is going to be hard to build a following this way. The more specific you are with what people are going to get when they get to your site, the faster you’ll be able to stand out and grow.
This idea doesn’t just apply to your blog, but also your social channels. You’ll find that my Instagram feed is more style heavy, because that’s what my Instagram followers look to me for. My blog readers like style, of course, but they also come to my blog for more personal content than you can get on my other social channels. Both though, fall under the umbrella of “attainable, everyday inspiration.”
Pay close attention to what does or doesn’t perform well, and don’t be afraid to tailor your content based on what your audience wants.
I don’t have a lot of money to invest upfront, where should I focus first?
This is a great question, and you could really go any which way you please based on your own personal preferences, but overall, I would focus on the following two areas, first and foremost: Photography, and a quality website. You can’t really succeed without both.
I touched on photography equipment above, but equally important is learning how to use your camera, so check out our photography section of BFK right here.
Additionally, we recommend starting with WordPress.org. Yes, it costs also money, but it’s much better to start off the right way then go with a cheaper option upfront, and upgrade later, because this will only complicate things when it comes time to switch from one platform to the other. WordPress is unparalleled and truly the only option we’d recommend when starting your blog.
We walk you through how to set it up here in under 5 minutes, and also have a whole section on WordPress here, plus we even offer an online course called “Hobby to Hustle” that walks you through all the basics of getting your WordPress site up and running, and growing it, too!
What other questions do you have? Leave them below and we’ll make sure to include them in our next Q&A post!2