We chatted with Lydia, creator of Omaha, Nebraska-based fashion and lifestyle blog Chic + Modish, about how to launch a successful blog - while working full time and mothering two young children.
Q. How did you get started blogging?
While I was pregnant with my first child, I created a pregnancy blog and kept up with it for the entire 9 months. This past January, I thought, gosh I really want to get back into blogging. I’m a teacher by day, so I do have some free time after school and I’m off in the summers. I knew I could totally do this! I published my first post in late January of this year. I really enjoy it. It’s really fun, something for me to do after my kids are in bed, when I have time to myself, something to play around with it. I do most of my posting during that time.
Q. When you started blogging, what came easily and what aspects of blogging were challenging for you?
Finding an audience was the hardest part. I have a personal Facebook account, so I would post about my new blog on Facebook for all of my friends and family to see, but figuring out how to get other people to see it was a challenge? So I've been learning how to market myself and my blog. I've found that joining Facebook groups really helps a lot in growing an audience, and of course social media in general. Blog linkups have been enormously helpful too.
The easy part: writing about fashion is something I’ve always been interested in, and have cared about since I was a little girl. I knew I wanted to share that part of myself. It’s been really exciting to start from nothing and get to where it is now, and watch it grow!
Q. Who/what are your greatest fashion inspirations?
I used to subscribe to a ton of magazines, but now that I have absolutely zero time, I mostly just look at other blogs for fashion inspiration. I used to look up to celebrities - I loved Sienna Miller and Nicole Ritchie - but now I just peruse fashion blogs, such as fellow Omaha blogger Sabby Style. Also, while you might not think it, Omaha actually has a vibrant fashion scene. We have Omaha Fashion Week every year, and while it's nothing like New York Fashion Week, it is kind of a big deal around here. Actually people in Omaha are really into fashion. We have a ton of trendy boutiques and the market for fashion over here is very high. "Oh, Omaha Nebraska, you guys don’t just walk around in overalls and eat a lot of corn?" But it’s not like that at all! It’s actually a big city with a great downtown, nice restaurants - it’s not all corn fields like people think.
Q. Your top 3 pieces of advice for a new blogger?
- Start slow, don’t overwhelm yourself. Take your time at first to learn the tricks, learn about blogging, and do your research. A lot of people who try blogging get burnt out quickly, because they get overwhelmed. It’s definitely a marathon, not a race. It takes time.
- Pick a couple different social media networks to focus on advertising your blog at first. Don’t try to cover every social media site under the sun, because you’re going to spread yourself too thin. Just focus on 2, maybe 3 social media sites, and really work on building those up at first. As you become more well known, you can start adding in other social media sites to advertise your blog.
- You don’t have to spend a lot of money blogging. There are so many "how to be a blogger" things out there, so many people are trying to sell you advice, make you pay for different packages. But you really don’t have to spend a lot of money blogging. Get used to blogging, get your feet wet, and figure out whether you like it or not first. If you realize you do enjoy blogging, then you can start hiring people to help you or purchasing things for your blog, but don’t rush into spending a lot of money right away.
Q. How do you fit blogging into your busy schedule?
Breaking it up into pieces is the only way I can manage my time. I try to post twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. As soon as I've posted, I start thinking about what to write about next, and I start the new post the same day. Then I come back to it over the next 3 days, adding to it. The last day, I just do edits and all the little stuff you need to do before you post.
I work on my blog every day, even if it doesn't seem like it. I don't have the time to sit down and make the entire post at once. Piecing it out, bit by bit, day by day, is what works for me. Sometimes when my youngest naps, I try to squeeze in a little time for blogging, but mostly I find time to work on my blog after everyone goes to bed.
Q. What do you like about Silkstaq?
I think it’s really cool to be able to see the size and shape bloggers are, because if you’re following a blogger, they don’t typically tell you what size they’re wearing on their blogs. They'll link up to the clothing, but you never know what size it is! Clothes can run big or small so what size are you wearing in those pictures? Having a Silkstaq account and being able to follow some of your favorite bloggers allows you to see, "oh she’s a medium, I would never have guessed, so this how a medium of that shirt looks on her." So you get an idea of what to get if you’re trying to copy their style or buy the shirt they’re wearing in the pictures. I also love that you can see the hashtags that other bloggers are using, so you know what hashtags are working.
While we love to take photos of the bloggers we interview, we haven't quite made it out to the Midwest yet, so the photos above are all courtesy of Lydia's blog.