Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Does This Outfit Match My Blog? A Guide to Staying On Brand

Do you ever find yourself asking that question? Trust me it's not just you. As a blogger trying to build a brand, it's easy to find yourself: A). in a box you want to get out of or B). all over the place. When, let's be honest, we're all trying to be like Goldilocks and find that sweet spot that's just right for us. It can be a tough spot to be in. The only real fix to this is time and experience. 

When it comes to Kelley With Love, I've gotten to a point where I no longer have to ask myself if I'm being on brand, but it wasn't always so easy. I had to learn to tap into my very own aesthetic story and most importantly I had to find my voice. The one thing that you have to be careful of is becoming something you're not for your blog or brand. It's easy to find yourself being or acting like someone you're not because you feel others will like you more or that it will be received better. Believe me, that gets old quick. You may even begin to resent your blog and brand to the point of quitting. It's important to remember, that at it's core, your brand is about who you are, what you represent, and your values. 

The key is to be authentic from the beginning. When or if you decide to build a blog or brand and you begin to create your aesthetic story - ask yourself the following questions:  What aesthetic aspect of my life would I like to be represented in my blog? How can I capture and share this? For example, if you've been following the growth of Kelley With Love then you know my brand is all about fun, femininity, and aesthetics. Even when I'm not blogging, you will see each one of these aspects reflected in my real life.

Take this outfit for example. It's lacy - super feminine. It has a little off the shoulder action - definitely my idea of fun. It's white - one of my aesthetic elements. If you look through most of my wardrobe, desk accessories, or even my home you'll find these elements reflected throughout. I find that sticking with what I know and what is true to me has helped me find success in blogging and building a brand. Below I'm sharing a quick guide filled with questions I ask my self when creating content for the blog and building my brand, whether that be blog posts, products, newsletters, or social media content. Grab a pen and paper and check it out below.  Don't forget to share with a friend!

A Quick Guide to Staying On Brand

3 Questions to Get Clear On When Creating Content for Your Blog or Brand

1. What aesthetic aspects of my life would I like represented on my blog?

  • Home?
  • Lifestyle?
  • Work?
  • Style?

2. What in or about my life is the answer to someone's problems? 

  • What skills have I perfected?
  • Guidance & Inspiration? (i.e relevant life stories)
  • Humor?
  • Information?

3. Can I adequately and authentically share my perspective and capture what I want to share visually?

  • Examples:

7 Questions to Help You Stay On Brand (Your Voice + Aesthetics)

1. Am I clear on what I like to share?

  • Topics I enjoy talking/writing about?

2. Am I clear on what my ideal client needs from me? 

  • Problems he/she needs solved?
  • Inspiration, Humor, Knowledge, Creativity?

3. What has been successful in the past on my blog?

  • Types of posts?
  • Types of photos?
  • Types of social media shares?

4. Can I research how interested my audience will be prior to sharing? 

  • Poll/Survey
  • Question on Social Media
  • Question to Readers on

5. Can I pair this with other posts in the future (or link back)?

  • Which posts?
  • In what way?

6. Is this on topic?

  • How does this fit in with the types of posts I share?
  • Is this something I will enjoy writing about/sharing?
  • Will my readers enjoy and engage with it?

7. Does this translate across social media channels?

  • How will I share this across social media channels?

Did you enjoy this? Would you like me to create a worksheet with this information for you? Comment and let me know below.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kim Kardashian's Robbery in Paris: A Reminder for Blogger Safety

By now I'm sure you've heard about Kim Kardashian and the scary and unfortunate turn of events she experienced this weekend. All of it got me thinking about bloggers and our safety. We often talk about how to protect our work as bloggers, but rarely do I hear the conversation we should always be having - how to protecting ourselves physically. This is often on my mind. Blogging is still a relatively new field. There's still tons of research to be done about blogging, how it's changed the job market, affects lives, and even creates celebrity. Many of us know those bloggers that are super famous and always jet setting and we aspire to be that one day. One thing we must never forget is that with visibility comes exposure and higher safety risks. 

Let's be clear. This post is not to make you paranoid or fearful. This post is, however, to remind you to always be aware and to put your safety first. I am a naturally observant person which I feel by default makes me extra cautious. I'm the girl who makes all of her friends call her when they get home safely. A little mommy-esc yes, but so necessary! I'm all about staying safe so I wanted to share some of the safety tips my friends and I use. Check out how to stay safe as a blogger and entrepreneur below.

7 Tips For Blogger Safety

1. Scope It Out


As bloggers we often have to find locations for photo shoots, content creation and more. I make it a priority to scout out places before it's time to shoot to get a feel of the area. I check out who's around, what type of businesses are nearby, and if there is any presence of law enforcement. It's important to check at the time of day you plan to shoot as this can make a major difference. While we can't plan for everything, having a good idea of how safe you are will help you stay focused on what you're doing instead of watching over your shoulder, or worse, running for your life.

2. Go Airplane Mode


Many bloggers, including myself, use the airplane mode rule. This mostly applies to Snapchat, but when you snap in airplane mode you can post your snap at a later time. In essence, this is just the equivalent to creating drafts of what you'll post for your social media channels. How can this help with you safety you ask? Well if you visit some place and you want to blog about it, you may want to share the location. By creating the post and sharing it after you've left the location, you're adding an extra measure of safety and security for yourself. Unless you're at a meet up, this will allow for safety while you enjoy the experience. Sharing your plans and locations after the fact - MAJOR KEY.

3. Go Incognito


Visuals have become such a HUGE part of everything we do as bloggers. From our blogs, to Instagram, to Pinterest we are snapping our most beautiful moments to share. When you snap make sure none of the things listed below are in your photos

  • Identifiable information like addresses
  • Credit cards
  • License
  • Passports
  • Plane tickets 
  • Checks
  • Work IDs

4. Have Squad Goals


When I went to college, my parents could not stress to me enough not to go anywhere alone if I didn't have to. Can we say stranger danger?! My best friend and roommate at the time literally took that to heart. You rarely saw us and our group of friends without each other. If you're headed to an event in a new town, or a new location to shoot, invite your friends to come along. The stronger, the better. In a group you all can look out for each other and help keep each other safe. There's power in numbers! 

5. Check In on those Social Media Settings


Security in social media isn't always as secure as we'd like to believe. Be aware of changes in privacy settings when new social media changes are implemented. More importantly, make sure your location is not on especially when you are at home. Get really familiar with who can see what and when. 

6. Ring the Alarm


If you find that you have to go someplace alone to capture content or to an unfamiliar location, make sure you carry something to protect yourself. When I left home, my mom gave me the loud horn that looked like a can of mace. It was to be used if someone grabbed me to throw them off. Sure it sounds ridiculous, but anything that gives you a chance to get away, if needed, is worth it.  Mace is also an option. Make sure you know the rules for any events you're attending and if you'll be able to bring these types of items in. There are also apps like SafeTrek and Companion to help keep you safe. You can even call ahead, if it's an event, to find out what safety measures are in place.  If you have to attend an event alone or got to a new location alone I also suggest making someone you know aware of your schedule, where you'll be, what you're wearing, and when they should expect to hear from you.

7. Know the Blueprint


I hope that you'll take a chance to consider your safety after reading this. Even if you never use it, it's so worth it to create your very own safety plan. Your safety plan may include contacts, apps, exit routes, and whatever else you deem necessary to keep yourself safe.  Use the tips from above to get started. Remember, it's always better to be proactive because you can instead of reactive because you have to be!

Now go share this with your blogger bestie and use it to help keep you both safe - and tell me what safety measures do you take when blogging?