Last week I was sitting at home doing e-mails when my dad sent me a text “welcome to the 100K club, I’m so proud of you”. I knew it was coming, so I have no idea why that moment was so emotional for me, but I remember just sitting there in awe for the first time thinking wow.. I can’t believe I actually did it. What a surreal feeling – 100,000 people?! For two and a half years I’ve been pursuing this blog and building my brand without looking back. I had no idea where it would take me or if it would even be something people would read. I’m overwhelmed by the love and support I’ve received and the friendships and partners I’ve made along the way. Nothing has been more rewarding than reading each e-mail & comment and running into people in person who tell me they’ve been following along. I just wanted to say thank you so much to all of you who have taken time out of your busy lives to write me an encouraging comment or email. You’re the ones who kept me pursuing my dream of creating this blog and sharing the things I love.
I love you guys!
10 things I’ve learned on my journey to 100K
1.Be consistent when it comes to your brand. Not everyone wants to read OliviaRink.com and that’s totally okay. Regardless of the opportunities that came my way, I’ve always tried to only post about the things I truly love and the type of content I’m passionate about that aligns with my personal style. I know a lot of younger girls have followed me since the beginning because of my background in cheerleading, so it’s always been important to me to keep my posts uplifting, relevant, classy, and relatable.
2. Quality > Quantity. I used to try to post on Instagram 3 times a day, and I would frantically try to create content just to put it out there – because that’s what I saw every other blogger doing. About 6 months ago, I cut it down to 1 post a day (sometimes 2) only posting things I felt were inspiring and did a good job of representing my brand. I noticed my engagement and following grow significantly when I started being more selective about the things I shared.
3.You’ll tell yourself it’s not worth it 500 times. Taking the ‘road less traveled’ is much longer and has way more bumps than the easy route. And believe me – when I started this whole thing I wanted to turn around every time things got hard. But I’m so happy I never gave up. When you go out on a limb and take a risk to try to do something unique – chances are it’s going to be pretty hard, but the reward IS worth it. Just keep going and ignore that annoying voice inside your head.
4. Unfollow Purge. When I started blogging I followed a ton of other bloggers and creatives in the industry that I felt ‘inspired me’. After a while I started getting discouraged and overwhelmed with everyone else’s posts – I even noticed myself trying to post the same types of things these other girls were. I decided to go through and unfollow anything I felt wasn’t inspiring or adding to my creativity. It helped me quit the comparison game and made me confident in my own creativity again.
5. FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP. Persistence is key. If you want anything in this life, you have to go after it. One of my favorite quotes has always been ‘if you don’t ask, the answer is always no‘. When you’re dealing with brands/agencies/people who receive hundreds and hundreds of emails every day, you have to be ruthless and not accept ‘no’ for an answer. I’ve sent 7 follow up e-mails to a brand before and on the 8th one, guess who landed the partnership??
6. Co-work and Co-create. One of the BEST things I’ve ever done in both my business and personal life is cultivate relationships with other creatives in my industry. Blogging this year has been so much more enjoyable and successful because of my close friends I’ve been able to collaborate with, bounce ideas off of, and network with. Plus – when you’re self employed and you work from home by yourself all day long, you start to go a little crazy – so it’s nice to sort of feel like you have co-workers every now and then!
7. Understand your readers. It’s important to understand the type of content your readers respond best to. Make sure you’re asking questions and taking their feedback into consideration. Create surveys and post them on your blog to see what posts they enjoy the most or what other type of content they’d like to see. Be real, open, and honest when it comes to engaging. I try to respond to every e-mail/message that comes into my inbox. Sometimes that can be a little impossible, but I always do the best I can to develop those relationships – that’s one of the best aspects of my job.
8. Be strategic. Sometimes I get so caught up in administrative work that I forget to lift my eyes up once in a while and plan for future growth and strategic ways to build my business. I think it’s very important to know your prime posting times (Instagram Insights is great for this – I typically always post at night). Pitch your ideas to bigger blogs that may want to feature your content. Tag accounts on Instagram that might be interested in re-posting and include the most searched hashtags that are relevant to your image. Understand what type of images do the best for you on social media and create more just like those. Invest the money and time into your posts that’s required to make them great!
9. Photography & Editing is key. My following really grew once I started to really investing in great quality photography – it’s so worth it. People love looking at pictures more than anything else. My 2 main photographers shoot with a 5D Mark III Canon with a 50mm 1.4 lens and a 6D Canon. I usually edit my Instagram pictures with with VSCO and Snapseed. Clarity, good lighting, and emotion incorporated into posts = key!
10. Enjoy what you’re doing. When you love something and you’re passionate about it that will shine through your work.
Thanks for reading and have a happy Sunday! AND GO CATS – Sweet Sixteen here we come 🙂
Photography by Ali Stone