7 Things I've Learned in One Year as a Fitness Blogger
Today I celebrate my one-year blogiversary! Technically I've been logging my fitness journey on Insta for a little over 2 years now, but this time last year I decided that some people actually might want to hear me blab a bit more. 🤔
So I’ve spent 3 hours every week for the past 12 months blogging about my races, my favorite activewear finds, and my trials in the kitchen. Sure, you might be scratching your head at why I would voluntarily sign-up to write 500-word essays every week, but guys, I can’t tell you how much this little fitness diary has done for me. I've become more outgoing in my community, more ambitious in my athletic pursuits, and most importantly, I've opened so many doors for myself that would have otherwise been locked shut. Exhibit A: being featured in Oxygen Magazine, teaming up with ASICS, and modeling for a national mattress campaign! 😱
But I don’t want to make this post a stroll down memory lane. Instead, I want to tribute it to anyone else who is interested in starting a blog of their own. Therefore, I’m sharing 7 tips that I wish I had known when I put my pen to the paper this time last year. Hopefully at least one of these tidbits of advice helps guide you in your blogging journey!
1. It ain't for the faint of heart.
Many people might not realize this, but blogging takes a TON of work. And I'm not just talking about the writing part. You’ve also gotta factor in researching post ideas, planning content calendars, networking within your industry, and strategizing for growth. Basically all of the behind-the-scenes action that mostly goes unnoticed. Because as much as I would like to let the world think that I just sit down for 30 minutes every Sunday and take a big ol’ brain dump, the truth is that this blog has become somewhat of a part-time job for me. It’s time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming, but also very addictive and empowering.
2. It takes a village to raise a blogger.
Like I said earlier, I’m supa' shy. And that’s why it took me about 6 months of blogging to realize that to write about the fitness community, I had to get out and actually experience it. Sticking to my solo running schedule and blogging about my favorite shoes wasn’t going to cut it, so I stepped out and started attending fitness events around Charlotte. I met some familiar Instagram faces and created genuine friendships with people who shared the same passions as me. Not only did this make working out a lot more fun, but it also opened up doors for my blog.
Moral of the story: stay active in your community. Go to local events. Meet people. Build a network with these people and bounce ideas off of each other. Get to know the big players in your city, because they’re the folks who are going to open doors for you. And pay attention to the small players too, because they’ve got unique perspectives to share.
3. Have no shame in your selfie game.
Believe it or not, I’m ridiculously shy. But you’d never guess by my shameless selfies plastered all over my Instagram page. (Isn’t it funny how social media has a funny way of bringing out the Kim Kardashian in all of us?)
Well somehow in the past 2 years, my fear of being in front of a camera has morphed into me becoming something of a fitness model. I’m finally comfortable prancing around in a sports bra and I can strike a mean Blue Steel at a moments notice. I attribute that to becoming a blogger.
And after spending too many hours studying my social media analytics, I’ve learned that people actually WANT to see your pretty face and not your fluffy pup. I mean, would you want to engage with a faceless Instagram account? No, that's creepy!
So give the people what they want and get comfortable taking pictures of yourself in public. Since there is nothing more awkward than faking a sprint in front of a tripod on self-timer, go into this knowing that you’re gonna get some weird looks and even weirder comments. (One noisy dude once asked me if I had a foot fetish when I snapped pics of my new running shoes…😖) Just remind yourself: you’re probably never going to see those folks again, so who cares what they think!
4. Bloggin’ might cost you a pretty penny.
Domain names, website hosting, a fancy camera, oh my! These are just a few of the purchases you’ll make to launch a proper blog. But instead of freaking out about the hole your new project is digging in your pocket, consider these expenses an investment in building your brand.
When I first started blogging, I felt the need to wear a shiny new ensemble in practically every post. Sure my checking account took a nosedive in the beginning, but eventually, by tagging all the brands I wore in my posts, I caught the eyes of local photographers and other brands that wanted to promote their products as well. Before I knew it, my earnings from these photo shoots and collaborations recouped my original costs and actually put me in the green. I’m not saying swipe away at Lululemon, but instead, rest assured that smart investments in your project will pay off in the long run.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
When you were a kid, if you wanted a beanie baby, you would demand a beanie baby (I hope I'm not aging myself here). So, if your heart beats for a fly pair of Adidas FlyKnits, and you’re willing to put in some work, why not be bold enough to ask for them too?
To be honest, it took me awhile to learn and feel comfortable with reaching out to brands. But when I finally discovered that my voice has value to them, the game changed for me. I felt confident enough to ask for what I want, and a lot of times, I would get what I asked for (if the collaboration was mutually beneficial for both of us).
Never forget: before you reach out to a brand, do your homework. Plan on what you can bring to the table, and present a strong argument as to why you’re the right fit for them. Have your media kit polished and ready to send, and most importantly, be confident in yourself!
6. Always know your worth.
From my experience, putting a price tag on your posts is one of the most daunting tasks you will have to face. No one wants to lose a potential partnership because they priced their rates too high, and you certainly won’t want to lose earnings because you undervalued your worth.
So take the time to scour the web, hunt down the rates of other bloggers in your field with similar followings, and price yourself according to what you think you deserve for the amount of time, sweat, and love you put into your posts. And once you’ve determined your dollar sign, stamp it proudly on your media kit, and don’t waver when anyone tries to talk you down.
7. Freebies are just a part of the gig.
Who would’ve ever guessed that brands would want to send you protein bars, sports bras, and sneakers just in hopes that you share a shout-out?
As your readership grows, you’ll get all kinds of swag in the mail. Sometimes brands will expect some kind of reciprocation for their gifts, such as a social media post or a simple tag, but most of the time, it’s complimentary with absolutely no strings attached.
That being said, I always try to give a shout-out on my Insta story for any gratis I receive (unless the product is something I totally don’t stand for). But always know that by no means are you required to, unless you committed to before they sent the product to you. So sit back, check your mailbox every once in awhile, and watch your hard work pay off!
All images by JJosue Photography.