Blog Q&A

gigi-new-york-plannerOver the weekend, I posted asking if you guys had any questions to let me know because I would be answering them in this post! I’m going to try to answer them in as much detail as I can and if there are any questions I missed, please write them in the comments below. I tried to consolidate as best as I could! You guys asked some amazing questions! 🙂

How do you stay current with what’s new or in style at the moment? I really just browse online a lot. I also subscribe to People Style Watch and go through it monthly, ripping out what pages inspire me and keeping in my notes (on my iPhone) what trends I like, what looks I liked and use that as inspiration! I’m sure there are a ton of trends I don’t know about… I also window shop a lot and see what stores are displaying and try to cater to that trend, while still remaining myself.

Where do you find inspiration for your posts? I find inspiration everywhere! Sounds corny, but it’s true. Sometimes I’m at work and I’ll just see something on the computer and it will get me thinking… or sometimes I’ll be at Nordstrom and see something I love and think of an item I have in my closet that would help me recreate my look. I also get inspiration from other bloggers and it’s so fun seeing how we style the same item(s) differently. I think what inspires me is what’s around me.

How do you retain your followers and get them to interact? The way I get my followers to interact is by interacting with them! I’m always asking questions, answering comments, following up, etc. I absolutely love my followers and a lot of them have become great friends and always make my day with their sweet comments. I think when you acknowledge someone for being kind or asking a question, they stay. I really try my best to also talk more informally in my captions. I want to make myself seem as real as possible… and as human as possible. After all, I’m a human too! I think when you write captions that sound too robotic, people will get bored. Truth is, there are a lot of fashion bloggers out there. I think the key to me retaining followers has been finding my voice and sticking with that. Also, people want to follow you because they like your style. I’ve asked so many people to describe my style in a few ways and, more often than not, many of them will respond the same or very similar. I follow (insert name) blogger because her style is feminine, fun and flirty. I love looking at that and I want to see that on my feed. The best thing you can do for your ‘brand’ is to create a voice, create a look and stick to your personal style. Don’t be all over the place because a magazine says that’s what is trending. Do what you feel comfortable with and stay true to who you are.

How do you stay cool while shooting in super hot weather? Um… I don’t! Haha. 90% of the time I’m sweating, super cranky, and want to go home and sleep. I shoot one outfit within 7-10 minutes (sometimes less) so I just suck it up and think about my comfy bed waiting for me at home!blog-questions-and-adviceBefore you started making an income while blogging, how did you constantly wear new clothes for blog posts? I’ve always been a shopaholic. When I wasn’t blogging, I was babysitting, working in retail, always doing something. I’ve always had some sort of money to allow me to go shopping. However, with that being said, I know it’s not possible to spend money on clothes, accessories and shoes all of the time. I would blog a lot less frequently… like 2-3 times a week. Also, instead of constantly wearing new clothes, switch up the way you wear a specific item. People love to see the versatility of an item and it makes it that much more valuable and worth it to your reader to read your post because they can get different styling ideas for just one piece. I also wore a lot of older clothes and just tried to find pieces in stock that closely matched what I was wearing. I also got a lot of gifted clothes from companies/brands as a result of me reaching out to them (see below).

How do you grow your blog when you’re new and can’t spend any money? Mix the old with the new! Try out new things. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to start a blog. If you’re looking for no commitment, use Blogger. It’s free and an easy platform for blogging. They also have really cute templates! Once you’re ready, you can switch over to WordPress, which has endless possibilities. Web designers also (for the most part) like working with WordPress. People often think that you have to spend money to be a good blogger and that’s not true at all. I still incorporate pieces that I’ve had for years into my blog posts. I think if you stick to posting 2-3 times a week when you’re first starting out, try doing a mixture of fashion and lifestyle (lifestyle doesn’t cost anything because you don’t have to buy clothes!) posts and incorporate the old with the new, you can really find your niche.

How long did it take you to grow your following? I started my blog in 2014 at the end of January. It took a while. I set a goal to hit 10k in August of last year and I was able to make that goal. At the end of this August, I hope to hit 40k. I think it grew because I’m consistent, am always posting, will always answer questions and interact, and I invested a lot of time in the beginning. I used to search through hashtags to find bloggers, boutiques, brands and more! I would then like, comment, follow… you name it. I was desperate and determined to get my name out there.

What’s one thing you would do over if you could? I’m not really sure. I wouldn’t take anything back because I’ve learned from every mistake I’ve made. Maybe I would have kept better track of my Instagram patterns, when was the best time to post, what my followers liked seeing the most, etc. I did that a lot later on and wish I would have done it sooner.white-deskAny style tips for staying cute in the Florida heat? Shorts and sundresses! I love sundresses because they’re airy and light.

How do you organize/store all of your jewelry? That post is coming tomorrow!

How do you manage your time and stay so organized? With patience, a great planner and a lot of determination! Every Sunday night, I write out my posts for the week and make sure everything is set. I write what post will go up when, any ideas I may have for the post, and jot down any random ideas I may have for the week for Instagram. For any random ideas, I write them in my notes on my phone. It’s the easiest and most accessible way for me to remember and, if I’m lying in bed at night and think of something, I can jot it down immediately! Usually at night is when most of my ideas come to me. But I’ll sometimes be walking around and thinking of something. The key is to always write down your ideas, keep a planner with everything for the week written out and plan your posts!

What is the best advice you have ever received and the best advice you have to give? The best advice I’ve ever received is that I can’t please everyone. Unfortunately, there are mean people everywhere and it’s inevitable. I still haven’t accepted that I can’t please everyone, yet, but it’s advice that always sticks to me… especially when I get a really rude email or comment. The best advice I have to give is to not focus so much time comparing yourself to other bloggers. We’re all different and we all grow at different rates. If someone else has grown a lot faster than you, that’s okay. You’ll grow, too. Give yourself time. Don’t be hard on yourself because your likes aren’t at the same amount that so-and-so’s likes are at. Also, don’t be upset if you see someone styling the same thing you’re wearing. We all shop at Nordstrom. It’s going to happen. And don’t let bloggers bully you into thinking you’ve copied them! That drives me nuts. Do not let them affect you.

How do you avoid awkward poses while shooting? I really just try to act like I’m standing or being normal. Sometimes my mom comes along and stands behind my dad and makes me laugh or we just start talking. I think because I shoot with my dad I’m not shy. The best way that you can avoid awkward poses is to either shoot with someone you know or have someone you know come along. They’ll make you feel comfortable and that’s when the photos come out the best!

What camera do you use?  My dad uses the Canon Mark III 5D. He’ll be giving camera tips once a month starting soon!

What do you use to edit your photos? Lightroom! It’s the best. If you are a student or teacher you can get a great discount. I only paid $99!

How many looks do you shoot in a single day? 3-5 outfits per shoot and I shoot once a week (usually on Sunday).

How do you take above-the-head selfies? Put the phone in selfie mode, slant it so that your feet are in the center of the bottom of the frame and use the volume button on the left of the phone (I have an iPhone) to take the photo! It takes a lot of practice… I actually JUST got the hang of it a couple of months ago.

How did you grow your IG following? I invested so much time in the beginning of my blogging career into Instagram. I would search hashtags (for example: #miamiblogger, #blogger, #style, #styleblogger, #fashionblogger, etc.) to see people or brands that were similar to me. I would then start commenting and interacting and we would end up following each other. Another thing that really helped me grow my following was being consistent. When you’re consistent, people know when they can expect to see something from you and they look forward to that! Lastly, working with boutiques/brands, usually very small as I was just starting out, helped a lot. I would make a deal with them that we would both have to post and when they would post I would gain followers depending on how large of a following they had. Collaborations are key in the beginning. It’s a way to 1) get free clothes to post 2) get exposure 3) get your name out there. I can’t stress the importance of them enough. However, make sure that the brand/boutique is in line with your style and blog’s brand.

How do you manage your time with work and blogging? I plan everything out. I actually work, go to school full-time and blog. It can be tough but if you’re organized and have everything planned and even write your posts the weekend prior to them going live (I don’t do this but I know a lot of people who do), you’ll be fine! You can always make time for things your passionate about.

How do you deal with a lack of clothing to post? Collaborations! When you do collaborations, companies will usually send you clothing in exchange for a post. This is how I really did it in the beginning. So much of my clothes was gifted and I would post that clothing. It gets very difficult otherwise. Reach out to companies! Chances are they haven’t heard of you, especially if you’re just starting out. Don’t be afraid to shoot them an email or comment on one of their photos that you’d love to collaborate. They might be looking for exposure as well and would love to work with you if your styles align with one another! I did this ALL of the time. Don’t be shy!

What do you do for SEO on your blog? I use SEO Yoast for WordPress! It’s extremely easy, user-friendly, and is great. I’m not sure if Blogger has something like this but I know that WordPress has a lot of great plugins available like this one. It helps you figure out how to properly use your focus keyword or phrase throughout your post to boost SEO and will tell you whether it’s good, ok, not so good, or bad.

What do you say when reaching out to brands? I basically give them an elevator pitch. What this means is that I write something short and sweet introducing myself and letting them know why I think we would be a great fit. I sometimes present them with past collaborations or link out to previous posts that they can reference to, as well. The most important thing to do is to let them company know why you think collaborating would be great for the both of you and how it can benefit both sides of the agreement. Something super important to remember is that the brands will not notice you unless you reach out to them when you’re first starting out. We all know about brands or bloggers because of their collaborations, right? Exactly. Reach out to them. The worst response you can get is a no… and, if that’s the case, move on! There are companies out there who will love to work with you. Trust me. If you have any questions about reaching out, please email me!

Thanks so much for taking the time to ask me questions and I hope these answers help you out! I’m sure there are more questions that you guys may have… so email me if that’s the case and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can. xo!

PS. BaubleBar is having Christmas in July! 30% off sitewide! Use the code ‘xmasinjuly’ to get your discount. I’ve linked some of my favorites below and you’ll see a bunch of them in tomorrow’s post. 🙂 

 

Lauren Ashley
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Comments

  1. Ashley @ Purple & Pearls

    You have got to be one of my favorite fashion bloggers because you’re so down to earth! I love that you admit it’s hard to be a fashion blogger, and I also appreciate that you wear different items many different ways! Love that I found you through the Millennial Blogger Network!
    xoxo

    Reply
  2. Annaliese

    I LOVE this post! Totally pinning it to Pinterest to come back to again and again.

    Also- the pictures of you at your desk- CUTEST THING EVER! And I cannot wait for tomorrow’s post! I have figured out great ways to store my statement necklaces, earrings and rings… but I’m totally struggling with ways to store my dainty necklaces and bracelets!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Reply
  3. Alessandra H.

    Even though I didn’t take the time to ask a question, I found this post SO useful and it truly gives me insight into all the hard work you put into your blog! I admire everything about your approach to fashion blogging and I really learned a lot from your advice about how to pitch to brands!

    Alessandra | The PumpUp Blog

    Reply
  4. Jordyn

    I really enjoyed reading your responses Lauren. Your tips about working with brands are great! Your positive attitude and kindness really show in your answers.

    Reply
  5. Brittany

    I was so happy you answered my questions!! Thank you so much!
    All your answers were helpful and encouraging!

    Reply
  6. Twenties Girl Style

    I am currently dying to read this, but so crazy busy that I don’t have time to focus. I just bookmarked it though and am reading it first thing when I wake up. You know I love you and your ALWAYS AMAZING tips!

    xo Ash

    Reply
  7. Alicia

    You’re seriously a blogging mastermind, gf! I definitely need to take the time to interact with my followers more, sometimes I get super caught up with my schedule and forget to take the time to do it! Also, thank you for the heads up about how you take those over the head selfies, cause those are SERIOUSLY hard haha!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

    Reply
  8. elana

    I love this post! I learned so much helpful blogging advice. I didn’t know your dad takes all of your photos – what a talented family!

    Reply
  9. Brooke

    Great advice Lauren! How do you put your phone in “selfie mode”?! Is that a real “mode” on your phone? Love your style posts and I am also looking forward to your Dad’s photography tips!

    xo,
    Brooke |KBStyled

    Reply
  10. Amanda Cross

    Such great advice in this post! I am definitely starting to learn these lessons more and more as I start to post fashion posts more frequently. This was seriously a treasure trove of great advice!

    Reply
  11. Kat

    This is a great post! Very honest and helpful. I feel that most people who follow blogs also blog in some way themselves. These are useful tips not just for fashion bloggers, but really any kind of blogger. Xo

    Reply
  12. Belinda Solis

    I just saw your snapchat regarding you Q&A on blogging…really appreciate your honesty and your post above. I just started a blog and it really is hard work but I cant find myself to stop as I honestly get lost in putting the post together. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

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