Whether you’re a new blogger or a seasoned professional, you’re bound to make mistakes. Here are five dumb mistakes bloggers make and how to avoid them.
Many people who watch or are familiar with my YouTube channel know me for travelling around Washington, DC, but, some still don’t know that I’m a travel and lifestyle blogger. In fact, I’ve been blogging since 2017.
During that time, I’ve made some seriously dumb mistakes along the way and I’d like to help you avoid making them, too.
This blog post is for bloggers who want to level up their content, gain a bigger audience and ultimately, earn some big bucks.
I recently attended a blogging seminar at the AC Hotel Washington DC Capitol Hill, held by the DC Blogger Union and got the chance to hear from another DC travel blogger and marketing strategist, known to her fans as Marissa Daily.
During her hourlong presentation, Marissa confirmed some things that I already knew, but she also dropped some seriously sparkly gems along the way. While her presentation was tailored towards travel bloggers, the information is still applicable no matter what niche you’re in.
With that being said, here is my countdown to five of the dumbest mistakes bloggers keep making, but need to stop right now.
1. Mistake #5: Believing Silly Myths About Being A Blogger
You need 10,000 followers on a single social media platform to work with travel brands. You need to invest thousands of dollars in equipment. The market is too saturated to succeed. You have to quit your job to be a real travel blogger. If you’ve heard anyone say any of these things before, just know that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
I’ve seen girls with 4,000 followers on a single platform securing lucrative brand deals. Do you know why? Because they are very targeted in their niche, have an incredibly high engagement rate and they have followers who cling to, and do everything they say. That’s influence.
Also, these same girls who are blogging hold down regular 9 to 5 jobs while pushing out tasty, digestible content. And most of them will tell you that they don’t have fancy, expensive cameras and equipment. They use their cell phone and find the right lighting. That’s it. Your content is king, not your gimbal.
2. Mistake #4 Not Establishing Your Blog’s Mission
Why do you live where you live, work where you work, do what you do? There’s always a reason behind it. There’s a drive? It’s a mission. Most bloggers figure if they buy their domain, secure their blog site’s name and start writing that’s all there is to it. But, what is the goal of setting up that site? Why did you do it? Who’s it for? Who’s it going to benefit?
You’d be surprised how many people operate without a mission. It’s the thing that keeps you on track.
When I first started blogging I set out with the intention of writing for me, and I foolishly held on to that thought process for years. The reality is, I’m not just writing for me. I’m writing for people – an audience. If I’m just writing for me, then why am I spending money on hosting fees, GoDaddy services and website managers? I should just get a diary and call it a day. It’s much cheaper.
You have to have a mission. End of story.
3. Mistake #3: Not Building A Community On Your Social Media Platforms
You can’t post and go astray. Full disclosure: I’ve been guilty of this and learned the hard way about the negative impact it has on your social media channels.
I was definitely a late adapter when it came to social media. I didn’t want people in my business and I didn’t want to be in theirs. I hated engaging. But, it’s called social media for a reason Bloggers who refuse to engage with communities will find that people will not want to engage with them, and they certainly won’t check out your blog.
My two main platforms – outside of my blog of course, are YouTube and Instagram, with a heavy emphasis on YouTube. It’s the place where I’m most responsive and engaged.
Be Responsive And Authentic
You do yourself a great disservice if you don’t build your community and building your community means being responsive and being authentic. Marissa correctly pointed out that you shouldn’t try to be everything for everyone. I couldn’t agree more.
There are subscribers, for example, that want me to do certain things and go certain places. Most times, I agree and do it. But, there are instances when I respond to say that it’s not something that interests me, and guess what? They either respond negatively or unsubscribe. It’s not that I’m trying to be mean, I’m just trying to be me. I don’t take offence to it, I just realise that they’re not my tribe.
Building a community also means engaging with others’ content meaningfully. Imagine meeting a friend, you invite them to your house and they take the time to tour your home and comment on so many things that they love or admire. Then, they invite you to their home and you stand outside and say, ‘looks like a lovely home’, then you hop in your car and leave.
That’s what people do every day on social media. Someone follows them because they admire their content, then the other person – feeling a sense of obligation – might visit their follower’s page for a minute, then leave. They don’t leave a comment, like a photo or anything. It’s disrespectful and a quick way to lose a supporter.
Post With A Purpose
Building a community also means posting with a purpose. I make it a priority never to post an article when I’m too tired or not interested. It shows in your work. If it helps to plan your content, do that. If you prefer to work as you go, you can do that to, but that requires a great deal of discipline.
Also give your content legs. Don’t just post a blog on WordPress and not repackage it for YouTube or Instagram. You can also freshen up old content and give it new life for a new platform.
4. Mistake #2: Not Pitching To Brands Properly
If you’re ready to pitch to brands you have to know that there’s an art to the pitch.
Marissa shared a wonderful anatomy to a good pitch that you can read down below.
Beyond the fact that you want to make sure that your pitch is professionally written and free from grammatical errors, you want to make sure that you’re pitching to the right person.
You can go to the company’s press page, most companies have one and find the appropriate person. Or you can go to RocketReach. RocketReach helps you connect directly with the right decision makers using the world’s largest and most accurate database of emails and direct dials. Basically, it helps you find any email with real-time verified data.
I have to thank Marissa for putting me on to that because before that seminar, I had never heard of RocketReach.
5. The #1 Mistake: Putting Your Rates On Your Media Kit
This final mistake is one that I could not wait to share with you. Never, ever, ever ever ever, put your rates on your media kit. This is something I have cautioned against for years.
There are so many factors to consider when pricing your services, and when you send a company or a major brand your rate sheet, you essentially lock yourself into your pricing.
It’s important to know the full scope of work and to understand if the company intends to use your image or likeness in perpetuity, plans to boost posts with your image or content, what’s exclusivity or requires that you sign a contract that forbids you from working with competitors. All of these things affect pricing. And if they want you to deliver your content quickly, then you should charge a rush fee.
If for some chance you are strong-armed into sending a rate, let the brand know that it is merely a base and could change depending on deliverables.
Also, here’s a quick tip you could use: if a potential brand partner asks for your rate, don’t send it as an attachment. Some company servers will flag that email as potential spam or a virus. You always want to send it as a hyperlink – you can have a hidden page on your blog that only people with the link can access or you can get a Google link to share.
There is so much that I could talk about as it relates to dumb blogging mistakes we bloggers make, and maybe I’ll explore this more in depth in another blog post.
Leave a comment down below telling me some of the dumb mistakes you’ve made over your blogging journey. I’m always interested in hearing fun stories and learning how you grew from it.
This Bahamian Gyal
Pattya Chowdury says
Excellent blog post. I saw your YouTube video and had to come here. Thanks for posting the pitch script. I am in the process of creating a pitch right now. This was extremely helpful!