It’s officially been a whole year since I started this blogging journey!
There have been ups and downs, but all in all... I can say it’s been an amazing first year and I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities. I’ve worked with plenty of brands, met so many resilient people, and learned a lot about myself in the process.
Curating content that focuses on beauty and fashion is nothing new to me, since I’ve been doing it on YouTube for quite some time. Last year I made the choice to focus on writing rather than creating videos. As much as I love creating videos, I thought actually writing would help me utilize my time more efficiently. I mean let’s be real... your girl is busy AF.
This is a little different from my regular schmegular posts. I want to reflect on the past blogging year and discuss five topics along with dropping some words of wisdom that I wish someone shared with me a year ago.
Stop overthinking your content
This is something that I STILL struggle with. When curating content, I tend to second guess myself. When I wrote my first few posts, I was still struggling to find my voice. I thought it would be easy because I didn’t have trouble finding my voice when talking on camera, as it came naturally for me. Sounds odd, but I’d say after first video, my charisma, uniqueness, and talent came out and slayed.
Eventually, I found the tone that I wanted to effectively reach my audience: To write how I talk to my friends. Some people write with some smooth, flowy diction. While I applaud those writing techniques, it ain’t for me sis. I want my readers to read my content as if we were having a chat over some drinks.
Unfortunately, creating the tone was the least of my worries when it comes to overthinking content. Depending on the topic, I can write one post in about 45 minutes.
I then start to question if I should write even more.
And that’s when the ball starts rolling.
I start questioning if I should even publish it. What if I didn’t go that deep? What if no one reads it? Is the title even catchy?
All these thoughts can easily lead to not uploading content.
I now have sooo many “lost files “ because I kept revising drafts until I don’t want to publish it anymore.
My point of sharing this isn’t to say you should stop caring about the quality of work you put out, but to not obsess over how to make it a better post. It’s similar to how we start this journey in the first place. We always think we need the latest camera and lighting equipment, the most expensive makeup, and trendy clothing to make this ish happen.
Bruh you trippin....
You need to use what you have and build from there.
It’s the same with curating content! You don’t have to write a whole essay for it to be deemed read worthy. Keep it simple. It’s totally fine to talk about a topic and then later on upload a part 2 going more in depth on the topic.
But what we not gone do... is not upload the work we just created.
Like if you don’t just click “publish” already...
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
A lot of my friends call me the “networking queen” . But to be honest, I was never always about that life. I’ve always been a super social person and I knew how to network when I was interning at tech companies. I thought it was a tad bit different because your girl was like “hire me, I’m a broke college student” so I had to learn how to sell myself rather quickly. I went to so many conferences, joined meetup groups, and created relationships with other POC in tech.
When I started blogging I felt like I was in a completely different realm. I didn’t even know where to begin when it came to sponsorship and let alone finding some sense of community. Not going to lie, blogging for the most part can be a lonely world. It’s just you and your laptop. Sounds wrong in so many ways, but that’s the only way to describe it.
Since I was sharing my posts on social media to drive more traffic, the most natural thing to do was to reach out to other bloggers on those channels, along with searching for meetup groups via Instagram and Facebook. I managed to stumble upon quite a few blogger and Instagram meetups within the first few months.
So coming from a technical background and being a video game nerd (yes a bish loves her video games) it’s easy for me to make friends and network with a lot of socially awkward nerdy guys.
But to discuss your passion for makeup and fashion with a bunch of other women... you’d think it would be easy right?
I was so nervous. I didn’t know anyone at any of these events and half the time I was not only one of the very few women of color in the room, but also one of the very few plus sized women in the room. I stuck out like a sore thumb.
I would say the first few events I attended, I dragged a friend along with me so I wouldn’t be alone. Shout out to my homie Megan for being a real one and coming with me to most of the events in the beginning, even though blogging doesn’t really interest her.
Anyways, little did I know. A lot of the bloggers I met were feeling the same way I was, which brought some relief.
I also realized that networking is just... networking, regardless of the industry. Whether you’re talking about what wireframing tools work better for creating UX/UI mockups, or what filters you use to create a cohesive Instagram layout, you’re still showcasing your skill set and gem dropping with other like-minded individuals. And while it might seem slightly intimidating in the beginning , there’s no need to psych yourself out about it.
Now I’m at a place where I get invited to influencer events and don’t need to bring a plus one because I’m comfortable just going alone and I’ll more than likely run into someone at an event anyways. Going solo always forces you to get out of your comfort zone and I’d highly recommend doing it when attending events in an industry you’re fairly new to.
Collab, Collab, COLLAB!
I cannot stress this enough... you’re only going to get so far creating solo content. And while that is great to establish your brand and develop your niche, it’s even better to work with other creatives that have a similar audience. This is something that I learned early on. I believe it was about my fourth blog post that I decided to do my first collaboration.
The most successful method on finding other Bay Area blogger babes?
Being a thirsty hoe.
I initially tried to email the bloggers that I found through Instagram or from other blog sites. However, NOBODY responded.
So I decided it may be best to just slide into the DMs.
I’m not going to lie... I got a lot of mixed responses. I was either left on read, some people even thought I was trying to be like “what’s good” (can’t say I blame them... I slid in their DMs) and some people were straight up rude. More on that in the next section.
But there were also plenty of people that were interested in collaborating. I got to work on plenty of projects with talented creatives which eventually landed us sponsorship with companies and even contract jobs.
The more I collaborated the more I got to network with other creatives and learn so many different techniques when it comes to distributing content, creating cohesive layouts, and even ways to gather more content. It’s truly been a blessing working with the dope ladies and gents this year and curating amazing content .
Walk it Like You Talk it
This can be a whole blog post on its own. But who wants to spend all that energy being negative?
I would say around my 4 month mark, that’s when a lot of national brands started to notice me, as well as other bloggers. The more events I was going to, the more women I would meet that would introduce themselves as a “boss babe” or “feminist “ that is all about “women empowerment “ .
Now don’t get me wrong. Identifying as a feminist that started blogging to uplift other women is totally fine. I mean that’s basically why I started this as well. But I’ve noticed they’ve become buzz words that women feel like they should use in order to be with a certain crowd.
Just an observation.
The majority of women I have met are truly genuine and help each other out, and even recommend other creatives to brands. But some are just merely trying to kick it with those who will help them get another pay check.
This is my thing. We are all essentially in this to get paid and be our own boss doing something we are passionate about.
But being a pretentious snake isn’t the way I will go about making that happen.
Regardless of the industry, I know that people try to surround themselves with others that have notable work so that they can also get ahead. That’s a given.
The majority of popular bloggers happen to be white women around the ages of 18-35. Same with You Tubers; which is why we now have events like YouTube Black and many more POC events for bloggers and other creatives, so we can commend those for their excellence.
What I didn’t know, is that even within those communities, so many women are out here trying to use others and once they are deemed expendable, they ghost them or worst case scenario try to sabotage their own brand.
It's happened to me and it's happened to quite a few of my blogging friends.
It’s like girl, we are already a marginalized group as is. What’s wrong with you?
Yet these are the same women that co founded their own collectives for women of color, and continue to use the women empowerment rhetoric.
Here is a minor example of an encounter I had with someone that tried it with me.
It was when I first started blogging and I was looking for other bloggers on Instagram to collaborate with and I just so happened to slide in this girl's DMs.
Why? Because I loved her style of blogging, her fashion was on point, and I thought maybe we could do some type of lookbook while showcasing our different styles.
Immediately she responded in a distasteful way. Basically said along the lines of:
Why would you even dm me?
I don’t even know who you are.
I rarely collaborate with “fans “ but if you were a true fan, you would be following me.
Yo..... I just complimented your work and asked a simple question. It’s okay to just decline. Let’s not be extra now. I just said "No problem, I hope you enjoy the rest of your day".
Fast forward to three months later, I went to an event and happened to see a few of my friends. She happened to be with them. Now mind you, this is now after I landed one of my bigger sponsorship deals that was announced a week or two prior.
She immediately is like:
“You look so familiar... you’re working with _____ right? I’ve seen you so many times on Instagram with ____ and _____”
I was just like “okay cool... thanks!”
And that’s when she proceeded to ask me if we should chat sometime and maybe collaborate.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!
I could’ve answered in a million and one ways. But...
I politely declined.
Moral of the story... proceed with caution when mingling with people.
Very few of them are truly your friends.
And the rest can miss me with the bullshit.
Anyways.... on a less petty note...
Make sure you’re having fun
You’re doing this because it’s something that seems fulfilling . Yes, the deeper you get into working with other people, brands, etc, there’s almost this need to feel like you need to create content that people want to see.
Yes and No.
You do want to create content that your readers and niche would like to see. However, you don’t want to stray away from what makes you unique and why you started doing this in the first place. Don’t create content that you think people will like because other creatives are curating around that topic. Do what makes you happy and the numbers will follow. Trust and believe.
I’ve learned so much within this past year. Whether it’s been social media techniques, FTC laws (cause it gets real if the caption ain’t right) or other personal growth, this is literally only the beginning.
There are so many projects lined up even as I type this and I can’t wait to share them with you all. 2019 is going to be one hell of a year and I’m here for it.
Thanks for Reading!