Instead of my usual somewhat-lazy Saturday, I spent this past one at the OWN IT Summit at Georgetown University. Focusing on how women can lead in the 21st century, I was able to hear from speakers like Norah O’Donnell, Kara Swisher, Liza Donnelly, and Richelle Parham.
I also had the opportunity to go to office hours with Georgetown Alumna, Carly Heitlinger of The College Prepster, and pick her brain about all things blogging. Since so many of you are also bloggers, I thought it’d be fun to share her advice with you today.
1. CREATE DIFFERNT CONTENT ON ALL YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS.
In order to grow your following on each social platform, you need to give your readers something unique they can’t find elsewhere. What’s the point of having a Twitter if all you do is link your Instagram feed up to it? Instead, you should strive to create content for each network that suits the medium. Overtime, your readers will know that particular social network the only place where they’ll be able to get that kind of information from you.
Over time, if you truly create unique content, you’ll see your numbers grow. It won’t be exponential (even Carly’s isn’t!), but it will be steady over time. And set realistic goals for yourself—don’t say you’re going to gain 1,000 new followers in a month if last month you only gained 50. You’re setting yourself up for failure—instead, make sure you get at least 50 again and maybe a few more. Over time, those numbers will really start to add up.
2. WHEN YOU’RE CREATING CONTENT, BE AUTHENTIC TO YOURSELF.
One of the questions I asked Carly was how she dealt with criticism of her blog. She said that although it’s a hard lesson to learn, you have to realize that you cannot be everything for everyone. Instead, you have to focus on being authentic and the readers who relate will follow.
This means it’s important to create content that is true to who you are, whether it’s sponsored or not. She gave the example of creating a sponsored post for Air Heads. If you were going to accept the opportunity, you should actually like Air Heads and be able to incorporate them naturally into your content. If you can’t, it’s best for your brand if you pass on the opportunity. Learning to say no to unauthentic opportunities will help you in the long run.
3. TRY TO GIVE YOURSELF ONE DAY A WEEK WHERE YOU HAVE NOTHING SCHEDULED.
Carly makes sure she doesn’t have any meetings or plans scheduled at least once a week so she can just sit down and power through her to-do list. Since she works for herself now, some weeks she does this on Tuesdays, other weeks it falls on other days.
Although this may be hard to do if you’re working full time or if you’re in a situation where you have less control over your schedule, I love the idea of setting aside time to just power through your task list. Maybe it’s just an afternoon or a few hours, but I think we can all agree: less distractions = better work.
4. WHEN YOU’RE PITCHING TO BRANDS, HAVE A CLEAR COLLABORATION IDEA.
Even though Carly doesn’t pitch to brands very much, when she does, she makes sure she has a very clear vision for their partnership. It’s a lot easier for brands to say yes if you’ve already done the work of coming up with an idea and showing them how you can bring them a return on their investment.
If you’re a PR person trying to work with bloggers, the same rule holds true. Avoid canned emails, and make sure you have the blogger’s name spelled correctly and that you’re sending the pitch to the correct blogger. Carly receives pitches addressed to Jess of Bows and Sequins all the time, which makes it extremely hard to take a collaboration idea seriously.
And as an added bonus, a few fun snippets of information I loved learned about Carly—she’s so sweet in person, y’all!:
- Shoes are the best seller on her blog.
- Her favorite class at Georgetown, where she was a Business Major, was Entrepreneurship.
- Her biggest regret from college was not studying abroad.
- For the first year and a half, the only people that read her blog were her Mom and Grandma. Overtime, different sororities on campus found her blog which is how it initially started growing. She also credits her use of Twitter around 2011 for rapid growth, since it was such a new platform then.
- She admits to having an obsession with Barbour jackets since you can wear them almost year-round in New York City.
Love all of these tips! I especially like the idea of do nothing day!
Thanks girl! Me too – I wish I could put it into practice more!
Awesome tips, thank you for sharing! Right now I’m only using Facebook and Pinterest to advertise, so I need to look into Twitter and Google + to see what special content I can offer to each site.
Yeah! Let me know what you find out about Google+. I love using Twitter and connecting with other bloggers that way.
These are fabulous! Love the idea of not scheduling for one day of the week. I’m unorganized at heart and some days I just need some time to be free from a strict schedule. Pinning!
Thanks Erin! Even for the scheduler, I think free time is great for coming up with new ideas and just getting through things that are hanging over your head.
Really great tips! I completely agree with being authentic to yourself. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. But I find that my readers see right through that!
Thanks, Molly! I definitely agree sometimes it’s easier to go with the pack, but the people that break away from what others are doing usually stand out. My readers see right through that too!
Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing! I love the one about being authentic to yourself.
Thanks Christina! xo
Love the tip about having a collaboration idea!! Genius!
Thanks girl! xo
I love the college prepster!
Me too! She’s wonderful. xo
Love these tips! Especially the authenticity one, I think it’s so important to stay authentic to ourselves and our readers!
Thanks Bree! Could not agree more – you do a fab job at that! xo
Love this, your blog is fantastic, your colors are my all time favorite! Some great tips! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Rebecca! :]
This are great tips!! Thanks for sharing!
You’re so welcome, Isabel! xo
Great tips! Thanks! I love your workspace too! So cute
Thanks! It’s actually Carly’s – but I am envious myself.
Love this feature! Really a great read.
Thanks Taylor! xo
These are great tips!
Melanie @ meandmr.com
Thanks Melanie! xo
Great tips! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks Val! xo
I have loved Carly and her success throughout the years. I bet it was wonderful learning straight from her – these are all definitely good tips to instill in your blog/business. I really like the idea of a master to-do list and using one day a week to get lots of it done ahead of time.
I agree – it is wonderful that she took her dislike of college and was able to turn it into something positive and give herself an outlet. Glad you enjoyed it, Kati! xo
Great tips. I really need to work harder on creating original content for all my social media; I am definitely guilty of hooking up instagram posts to my twitter or facebook. Thanks for the great tips!
Thanks Chelsie! It’s so hard, but it is definitely worth it! xo
These are some awesome tips. I am totally bookmarking this post!!! Great share!!
Thanks Jamie! Glad you liked ‘em.
Great post! Carly is so amazing. I love her. And she shared some fantastic advice!
Thanks Nikki! Could not agree more.
Such a great interview chock full of helpful advice! I love the part about putting out different things on different social media channels. That makes perfect sense. And I love the tips about pitching to brands. Thanks for sharing Katie!
Taffeta & Tulips
Thanks Kate! Glad you liked it :] xo
Thanks for sharing these tips Katie! I’ve never thought about creating different content on your social media platforms. It seems like a great idea but could be hard to practice especially if you have time constraints. I’ll have to keep this in mind though for when I have more time!
Thanks Tina! I completely agree about time – sometimes you just have to do what works for your schedule :]
Ahh the OWN IT Summit sounded amazing, and so cool that you got to meet Carly! Thanks for sharing these tips!
Thanks for stopping by, Mikkaela! xo
I was a huge College Prepster fan for the longest time, but her attitude towards her readers has gotten so poor that I had to stop supporting her. She’s long-championed anti-bullying campaigns yet she AND her boyfriend bully people on social media. She even stalked a reader and publicly announced where this woman worked, which led to other College Prepster readers calling her workplace and demanding she be fired! Carly has worked so hard for everything that she has, but if she doesn’t watch she says or does she will loose everything.
i love the idea of taking a one day break from the entire social media thing. i really need to incorporate something like that in my routine! 😀