Isn’t it weird that I would actually think of this topic when blogging is never a cool thing? I started type blogs since 2012, and my most active year of blogging was in 2016! But it became a downfall since 2017 and now I am lost.
The achievement that I am most proud of was helping out Glam Suitcases to blog about my experience with their tour in Jeju Island. I was so glad that I was given the opportunity to actually experience the pressure of making good content in order to build visibility of Glam Suitcases. Of course, there are other brands that I was invited to spread the news was Ha’labo Hair, Moleskine Malaysia, Aperio Malaysia, Althea Malaysia, Kahuna Poke and CRYNX Skincare
Steps Taken to Grow
I can’t brag that I am successful because I am meeting my downfall and yesterday I had to take my depression pills again because I think I am a failed blogger. Still, as a typical Blogger, we are open to write about our journey and wishing that our experience can be a reference for you to grow. Hopefully I can be called as an “Influencer” if I manage to Influence people to start blogging.
Trust yourself that you can write. I believe Everyone can write! If you can imagine what you want to say, you can write it out. If you want to tell any of your friends about your travel experience, you type it out exactly how you want it to be. It’s tough and might be slow but patience is the key. At least, no pressure on timeline because it not a job. The pressure comes when people pay you to do so (with a valid contract with your signature on it), or else, timeline is whenever you wish to be published.
Understand your motives. I know everyone adores influencer’s lifestyle. They seem to have to the best life, being sponsored for their outfit and you want to be one. Uusally bloggers are just interested to share, it’s a hobby for us, and the word “Influencer” only became a hit in 2017. If you are eager to have that life, it’ll be a long journey. The common way of bloggers to grow is that they first ” invest” a lot money on buying products, use them, share their personal thoughts and post it in all social media platforms, tag the brands, and do it constantly. From this, you will upgrade from a mere consumer to a brand influencer. Until you start notice that the number of readers/followers are high, you can start to request payment if any clients approach you. The common 5K is able to pitch yourself to brands that you wish to work with, 10K of instagram followers is the best for you to start charging your clients! It is already very common for so called social media “influencers” to buy followers, so either you go for the hard way, or the fake it till you make it way.
Your friends are your readers. People tend to be shy to share their blogs to their circles. If you can’t break that shyness away, you will never learn how to feel comfortable to tell people that you are a blogger and jobs will never enter. It may be hard for your blog to reach out to strangers unless they saw your blog in any search engine. Bear in mind they will not follow as close as your friends. When strangers got the info they need from your blog, they will just press the close button and move on with their tasks. Just be open and say blogging is your hobby, and you find it interesting to write. My experience was my blogging hobby secured me a full-time job, a trip to Jeju Island and able to be invited for brands launching.
Niche. Having a niche is important, but I think I took more than a year to figure what my niche is! It’s considered as an advanced level of thinking. Lifestyle means ALL ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE. For beginners, I do encourage lifestyle blogging because it is easy to think for a post. For example, writing what skincare brand you personally use, where did you go for your Christmas and New Year Countdown, your recommendation for a restaurant in Klang. The keyword is YOU/YOUR/PERSONALLY.
Common Malaysia bloggers are usually Lifestyle bloggers because it covers everything about them. My experience was that I wanted to blog about beauty and fashion, but never will I know how ugly and poor am I to finance the latest beauty products and to wear like the cool girls. I can really say my outfits are usually horrible. So I quit beauty and fashion, I took Lifestyle & Travel, and sometimes Food.
Learn Photoshop & Video Editing! Everything must be visual perfect! Do you know it is acceptable to make strong edits in photos just to make it appealing in your Instagram feed? Do you know if you master the art of editing videos, you can win the internet? Even you might think it’s super extra to put so much effort, and you’re doing it for free, keep telling yourself that you are creating contents on the internet, and it will be your portfolio when you are ready to make it as a job.
The software & application that I am currently using are:
- Adobe Lightroom CC Mobile | Photo Editor (Phone)
- Snapseed | Photo Editor (Phone)
- Quik | Video Editor (Phone)
- PhotoGrid | Photo Collage for InstaStory (Phone)
- PhotoscapeX | Photo editor (PC)
- Videopad | Video Editor (PC)
Making it as a Profession. If you are at a level to meet clients or been invited to any events, feel free to give around your name card. I got my name card from Printlah! Printlah encourages everyone to do our custom designs and they’ll be responsible to do the magic to make it real! Of course, I am happy with my own design of name card. Printlah did make me realize that I can make my Hobby into a Profession. It did push me to a higher ground where I start to realize that I have the ability to make my blog to have value. People would actually see bloggers differently if they got a valid name card for them to keep. And one special thing that I know is that everyone likes to go home not empty-handed, your name card will be that “gift” for them to hold on, they will definitely remember to keep your name card and refer to all the details on it.
Get a Blogging partner. The common saying, you can grow fast if you are alone, you can walk further if you got a group. We all need motivation, support, a clear vision and goals, and invites to walk this blogging journey. I would really recommend that do have a close blogger friend that does similar niche as you, connect with them, tell them that you want to work as a partner with them. The reason behind this is that Many events usually would allow bloggers to bring their plus one partner. Or, you can always suggest your client to invite your blogging partner. They would love it because it’s always best to have more bloggers to spread the news! If blogging became a competition, you will struggle. If jealousy takes over you, you will struggle. Get a friend, share what both of you can do together to groom each other to be better.
Be Active to Search for Clients and identify your “rivals” on Facebook. Nowadays clients are getting too convenient to search for bloggers. They just simply post it in Facebook mentioning the criteria they need from bloggers, then call everyone to leave their Social Media Handles at the comment sections below. Usually, these clients want free bloggers to blog for free, but they also want to have the best bloggers to choose from, such as checking your followings and stuff. For me, I would still rely on these clients to increase content for my blog. In the meantime, I would check other bloggers (we got all the handles we need at the comment section) to compare and see what can I improve on to make me grow better.
One of the most active Facebook Groups for “Clients” is https://www.facebook.com/groups/141757976466617
Learn Digital Marketing. I am not even at this level to talk about Digital Marketing because I am not familiar with it. This is like the expert level for blogging! Most of my friends that are fimiliar with digital marketing told me that I should work on this. I wish you all can take note this part because I currently have no mental strength to pursue higher for now. But since timeline isn’t an issue for me, I’ll probably plan and make a strategy when I am mentally fit.
Personal Struggles Experience
Mentally Unfit & Self-Worth issues. I decided to slow it down this year because I never knew a “hobby” would make me feel bad about myself. I start comparing with other bloggers, I start thinking why I would never grow or am I taking things too seriously because I started this journey purely as a hobby without any intentions to make it monetary and now I want to make it as a “Job”. The struggle is there, and I actually would want to Give up, so I let procrastination take me away and let me stay at my slow pace.
No investment in brainstorming ideas & Strategy. It’s not just creating contents, It does involve how do you market yourself (Marketing), your impression from bloggers and clients (Packaging & PR), the visual perfect feed (Visual), make your posts appear better on the internet (Digital Marketing), and so much more soft-skills just to make your blog grow. It involves Time, Money, Patience, Courage, Good Language skills, PR Skills, Photography & Videography Skills and Creativity to be a content creator. I am very bad with time, money & patience. Therefore I should take a break, step back and see what can I fix to be better instead of being stubborn forcing myself to continue what seems to be not workable.
Lack of Equipment Support. Nobody would ever understand that the pressure of having a slow computer that couldn’t properly edit a video, an old camera that is now officially dead and an old phone which dropped into the toilet bowl once now couldn’t capture a photo when needed. My issues are none of my computers at home are able to render a video properly. Example, the audio would slow down 1.5 seconds so when I talk there is no audio coming out until the next 1.5 seconds, the video is running but the visual just stuck there for no reason. Of course, we have our super-phones that have apps to edit a video, but now my phone cannot sustain any heavy usage due to dropping it into water by accident. As for Camera, mine is official dead, so I am using my partner’s camera without a flip-screen so my ideas and time of usage would be limited. By calculating my loss, I need 1500MYR for a Sony camera, 3000MYR for a Powerful laptop that can sustain both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premier Pro, 2000MYR for a stronger Mobile Phone. A good blogger would need to have knowledge about tech stuff, and it’s never cheap! Due to my finance and knowledge incapability, I am really a failure.
My Blogging Timeline
Year 2015 was the typical blogging as a diary year. I started writing since. 2016 was the year of Cafe Hopping because it was like a “Must do” thing to make yourself stand out by visiting cool cafes in the city and elsewhere, plus showing it in Instagram that you were there. I took that opportunity to start writing my experience professionally and learn how to take videos and pictures. From this, I knew Blogs suits me more because I get to write in details rather typing summary in a caption. 2017 was the year that I am officially a grown-up. I made myself to go for a solo trip to Taipei just to get away from my mother. From there, I knew I love visiting different places and wish everyone would do what I did! Therefore I would say I want my niche to be TRAVEL AND LIFESTYLE!
I am glad that people are curious in blogging and want to try living like those influencers out there. Well to be honest if I struggled in my journey to blog, most probably people will find it hard to persevere. Wise words from every blogger that I heard was Perseverance! My wise word for you is to make sure you are mentally healthy. Although I am proud of my past achievements, I still admit my loss, I am weak, I am going back to my own pace. Hopefully, I will be back when I am financially capable to give my gadgets an upgrades & to be mentally healthy. Thank you for reading.