Hi Friends! Happy Wednesday!
I’m really excited about today’s post because I’m introducing a new series to the blog, called Content Creator Chats. I first came up with the idea when I wanted to explore the simple question of “Why did you start blogging?”
I think the Influencer / Content Creator / Blogger world can be a lot and it can seem very surface level. Between the affiliate links, sponsored posts, filtered & edited photos, Instagram stories sharing a person’s highlight reel, there’s a lot of backlash and eye rolls because it can come across as very vain. But, as a content creator myself and as someone who has met some amazing fellow content creators, I know that there is so much more than just what you see on Instagram. I know this space is filled with hard working people who have paved this relatively new industry into a successful business. And so I wanted to peel back the layers in a sense, get to know the person behind the pretty Instagram post or style blog post and just ask “Why did you start blogging?”
While my goal for this series is to interview my fellow content creators, I thought it would be fun to kick this series off with yours truly!! Moi! I shall be interviewing myself!
Content Creator Chats || Why Did You Start Blogging?
Q. Starting with the main question… Why did you start blogging?
A. Two main reasons. The first being, I was really enjoying getting dressed for work and styling different outfits to try and put my best foot forward. In college, I opted for a lot of leggings and Uggs and so it was exciting to have a reason to dress up and dress nice. My mom and I commuted together and so she would take photos of my outfits before we went our separate ways to work and it was just something fun we enjoyed doing together. And so, I wanted to have a platform where I could share my style and create images like the ones I loved on Pinterest. Sharing my outfits helped me step out of my comfort zone a bit and helped me play around with my style.
The second reason being, I was a recent college grad, I just moved back home to New York City, I was interning and trying to navigate being an adult and entering the “real world.” Being an intern and starting at the bottom of the totem pole in the fashion industry, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of control over anything. So, pretty much, I wanted an outlet that was all mine and that I could fully control. Also, I was drifting away from my college friends given the distance and newness of our adult lives and honestly I was a bit lonely and sad so being able to share my life helped me feel less alone.
Q. When did you start blogging?
A. I graduated college in May 2014, and so I started my blog in July of 2014, July 2nd to be exact! This was my very first post, look at how long my hair was!
Q. Who or what inspired you to start?
A. I discovered the world of blogging my sophomore year of college. I think Blair of Atlantic-Pacific was the first blogger I discovered and I was obsessed with her. I also started following Caitlin of Southern Curls & Pearls and closer to the time I started my blog, I really fell in love with Emily of Bows & Depos who unfortunately I don’t think blogs anymore. I was just following all these incredible women and I kind of asked myself “why not me?” Like what was stopping me from putting myself out there and starting my own platform and so I did just that.
Q. How did you come up with your brand name?
A. Okay, so my original blog name was L.A Style, N.Y Smile. Oh my god, I cringed just writing that out. I loved it at the time though. L.A stood for the initials of my first and middle name and then N.Y was obviously an ode to my hometown. I then moved on to my current blog name, Live Laugh Linda, which I thought was so catchy and loved. My best friend, Kyle came up with it as we were brainstorming and bouncing ideas. I still do love it, but I’ve been thinking about changing it and rebranding a bit, but I’m taking it slow and just making sure it’s something I want to do and something that I will love and will grow with me.
Q. Best part of blogging? And the worst part of blogging?
A. For me, I think the best part of blogging is just having a creative outlet that I can put my energy into. I really enjoy styling outfits, sharing my love of fashion and beauty and just sharing my life, who I am and my travels. I also love the process, like brainstorming ideas, being creative, trying to come up with new ideas and fun photo ideas. It’s a really great feeling to see your ideas and vision come to life.
As for the worst part of blogging, for me, it’s definitely the comparison game. Feeling like I’m not doing enough or my content is not good enough. And especially being a style blogger, at times feeling like I’m not skinny enough, pretty enough or I don’t look like everyone else. When you spend a lot of times taking pictures of yourself and looking at yourself, it’s hard not to get in your head! Especially in an industry that still champions a specific look.
But, I think we are moving into a new age where differences are being championed and where people are looking for more inclusivity, more diversity and more size diversity. I’m definitely just trying to stay in my own lane and focus on myself.
Q. Affiliate links & sponsored posts are not always met with a positive response from followers / readers. What is your POV on them and what do you wish your followers knew about them?
A. I used to be the person who rolled my eyes at affiliate links and sponsored posts. But honestly, I respect the hustle. A lot of people have turned this into a lucrative business and this is their bread and butter and I respect that. It’s like a retail sales associate, if they help you they get a commission at no cost to you. With blogging, creators are taking the time to share products and sales and how it fits and feels and I think it’s great that you get a commission for introducing a product and selling someone on it.
If I’m being honest, I personally struggle with affiliate links because I feel like I can never keep up. I don’t have a massive disposable income for shopping and so I don’t always have the newest products or the most items to share and link. And while it’s something I feel insecure about, I’ve used it as an opportunity to pivot and instead focus my brand on restyling pieces in your closet. So, not so much specific pieces like a certain jacket, but more so, just having a great go-to jacket in your wardrobe. While it’s not the most lucrative business and I’m certainly not making bank with affiliate links, it’s true to me and my style.
And as for sponsored posts, I really think they are amazing. To have the opportunity to work with a brand you love and believe in and be paid for it, to me, that is a dream. And I actually think they can be quite genuine. I think it’s something that should be embraced and celebrated rather than looked upon negatively. Whenever I see someone sharing a sponsored post, I try to make sure to support it!
Q. The blogging world is sometimes viewed as “just taking pictures of yourselves” or “self centered”. But, I think content creators wear a lot of hats and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Can you share what goes on behind your scenes and what goes into that perfect photo or that blog post?
A. I once heard someone say “it’s not hard work, but that doesn’t mean we don’t work hard” and I think that perfectly sums it up. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and it does take hard work. I once took blog photos with my friend Liz and even she was like “I had no idea it took this much work.”
For blog photos or Instagram photos, you have to plan out and style your outfit and you have to be intentional with what you pick out if you affiliate link. As for shooting outfits, you have to find the best locations and at times that includes getting up early to get empty backdrops, learning how to adjust your camera to get the best lightning and blurry backgrounds, it can also mean changing your clothes multiple times in weird locations to get the most out of your shoot days! And also shooting in freezing weather!! For me personally, my mom shoots my photos so I’ve had to teach myself how to edit them and work with Lightroom.
As for the actual blog posts, I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas and researching posts to make sure I’m sharing accurate information. You also always want to think ahead so I currently have my September content mapped out, I’m planning October content and brainstorming Holiday content. I take care of my own SEO so I spend time looking up keywords and then making sure the actual post is SEO approved. And then I also market my own posts so I design images on Canva and then work on promoting it across multiple social media platforms.
It’s definitely a lot of hats to wear and a lot to juggle and I’ve had to learn to focus on one thing at a time or else my mind wanders and I’m trying to do 100 things at once!
Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from blogging?
A. Just be yourself. I think this industry is really saturated, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think there is room for everyone at the table. But, it’s also easy to see someone succeed and think you need to do that exact thing to succeed or to see so many people have the same style or aesthetic and feel like you need to adopt that. I think it’s so important to just be yourself and I do believe it pays off. I honestly feel so much happier and creating content is just so much easier ever since I just started focusing on myself and sharing what I wanted to share and just being true to myself.
Q. How has your blog changed from when you started to now?
A. When I first started, I really only wanted to be a style blogger. I just wanted to share my outfits, share a little bit about my life and keep it pushing. Honestly, I feel like it was a carbon copy of every other style blog in 2014 because I just wanted to fit into that style blogging world. My blog has changed a lot over the years and I’ve had my fair share of trial and error and figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, but now I share more lifestyle content, personal posts and beauty content while also still maintaining style posts and I’m at a really good place with my blog where I’m proud of the content I put out.
Q. How has blogging changed you / your life?
A. I have thought about quitting quite a few times to be honest. There are times where I just feel like I’m failing or I’m speaking and no one is listening, but every time I stopped myself because I just could not imagine not having a platform to share my voice and a creative outlet to put my energy into. Blogging has changed me because it’s challenged me to be more creative, it’s forced me out of my comfort zone in terms of my style and it’s made me more confident in putting myself out there. It’s changed my life because I’ve made online friends that I probably otherwise wouldn’t. I’ve grown even closer with my mom because she shoots my photos and has been my biggest cheerleader since day one. And it’s given me an outlet and a safe space to turn to when I feel lost.
Q. What is your biggest blog goal?
A. Honestly, my biggest goal is establishing a strong & steady readership and community and increasing my page views. I would of course love to make this a lucrative business and have this blog be a source of income, but more than that, I just love writing and sharing my life and I just want to be heard.
Q. What do you hope readers / followers take away from your blog?
A. My blog content has evolved a lot over the past few years and I’ve definitely moved more into lifestyle content. I like sharing posts around my career experiences, my struggles with depression and anxiety, my efforts to become the best version of myself, life lessons I’ve learned, things I’m going through, etc.
There’s been a lot of moments in my life where I felt like I didn’t fit in or I felt like I was different or not seen or I felt like I was the only person going through something. And so, I want to provide that piece of advice or guidance I wish I had or I want to provide that post that shows you’re not alone that I wish I had when I was going through a tough time.
I’ve shared really personal posts, from landing my dream job at a magazine to why I left my dream job to then getting laid off, I really put it all out there. And so, my biggest takeaway for my blog is that I want my readers to be able to relate, I want my readers to feel seen and I want my readers to know that they are not alone in whatever they are going through.
Q. And finally, what advice would you give to your former “baby blogger” self?
A. Not to quote Nike and in my defense, my mother says this all the time, but just do it. Just put yourself out there, try everything, be shameless and don’t care what anyone thinks or says. I was really self conscious when I first started because I thought people I went to school with or my friends would judge me or make fun of me. And honestly, I look back and I just don’t care or even remember what anyone had to say. Even now, I sometimes stop myself from posting on Instagram because the algorithm is tough and I’m barely breaking 100 likes but my mom always pushes me and she always says “who cares, just post it” and if it makes me happy, who really cares, just do it.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post, even though I was just talking to myself and focusing on yours truly! I’m really excited about this new series and excited to answer the question of “Why did you start blogging?” with my fellow content creators. And I’m excited to see where this Content Creator Chats series takes me!
If you are interested, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale opens to public today. You can see what I picked up in this post & follow me on Instagram stories to see short try-on hauls!
Thank you so much for stopping by & reading!