March 30, 2016

How to Run a Successful Blog While in College.




     Those of you who follow me on Snapchat (@miss_alk) might have seen the little spiel that I posted about upcoming blog content on Saturday night. With the next month bringing me little time to myself between final projects, papers and exams galore (including turning in my Capstone paper for my major!), Greek Week and other end of the year sorority commitments, Senior Week at school, and of course moving into my new apartment, I realized that I might not have as much time for planning and writing my weekly fashion posts in the coming weeks as I usually do. My goal is to still have 1-2 fashion posts a week on the blog during the month of April, but if things don't turn out exactly like that, I'm going to give myself grace! My final month of college will only come once in my life, and I know that the schoolwork and upcoming events that I have need to take priority. 

     But with this exciting transition phase in my life fast approaching, I have had lots of ideas for lifestyle post content for the blog! I shared some of these ideas on my Snapchat over the weekend, and it got great feedback from many of you. One of my post ideas was this one: sharing my tips and tricks for maintaining a successful blog while also being a full-time student. I started Southern Belle in Training on my 18th birthday, which was just two weeks after my freshman year of college began! Many aspects of my life have changed greatly since the start of my freshman year, but blogging is one thing that I've only increased my consistency in, and with that has come more and more success. I am certainly not the "biggest" blogger out there, and I will not lie to any of you and tell you that I have become successful enough to make blogging my full-time career at this point in my life (although that is a goal for someday!). However, I did file for taxes for 2015 income that I made off of my website, and that process made me realize that if I had started something in college and grown it large enough to file taxes on it, than I must have been fairly dedicated enough during my college years to keeping it going. So alas- the inspiration for this post! 

     Below are my best tips, tricks and suggestions after the past few years for how to successfully balance blogging and college:



Treat your blog as a job

     I've now been blogging for three and a half years on Southern Belle in Training, but I don't think that my website has really "taken off" until maybe the last year! That is because it wasn't until around this time last year (around the time that I rebranded) that I started thinking of my blog as my job, and not just a hobby that I did in my spare time. I realized that in order to keep my page views and followers consistent, I needed to have new content and posts on a regular basis, and work even harder to schedule that around school. Sometimes treating my blog as a job means that I get less sleep on a certain night when finishing a post, or pass up on certain social opportunities to catch up on other aspects of my blog. Blogging doesn't have to be a job that takes over your whole life, but it should be treated seriously, and doing that will pay off. For example, consistency in posting helped me greatly with sponsored post opportunities and collaborations with companies! 


Utilize a blog planner


 This is something that I only started doing this past year, but I wish I had started doing much earlier! Having an agenda for school each year helps greatly with writing down homework assignments and test dates, as well as other school activities such as work schedules, on-campus events, and sorority events. I use my blog planner very similarly, and pretty much for all aspects of of my blog! Each week I write down the posts that I have planned for that week, and I use various colored gel pens to differentiate which posts are my own content, and which are sponsored. I also keep a paper record in my blog planner of the income that I make each month through blogging. I mainly keep track of income on my computer, but it's always good to have a paper copy with back-up! And lastly, my planner is great for writing down ideas as they come to me throughout the week, and to remind myself of other things that I need to do for my blog, like special social media posts, emails I need to respond to, or which days I'm shooting on that week. I personally think that's very useful to have two separate agendas: one for school (or work), and one for your blog!


Don't be shy to recruit your friends

My blog's success over the past few years would not have been possible without the help of various friends! Many of my friends between both of my colleges have generously volunteered to help with the photography for Southern Belle in Training through the years, and without photographers, a fashion blog wouldn't be possible! Some of my friends have really taken a liking to helping with my blog photos, and it has been fun to watch their interest in photography grow with time. I also have friends who have come and supported my website in other ways, such as attending the first blogging event that I co-hosted last fall, or entering giveaways that I host here on my blog. If your real-life friends don't understand what your blog is or why you spend so much time on it, explain it to them! The more they know, the more they will understand, and probably want to get involved if they can! 


Set goals for yourself

I think that setting goals for growing your blog is an excellent way to motivate yourself to stay on track as a blogger, especially while in college! It can be easy sometimes to want to put blogging on the back burner of your life when schoolwork or personal commitments are overwhelming your time (which is so often the case in college), but if you have broader goals that you are reaching for, it will encourage you to stay consistent with your website. Be sure to make goals that get you excited about blogging! Whether they are increasing your Instagram followers, blogging 5x weekly for a month, attending a blogging conference, collaborating with your favorite brand, or finally getting into rewardStyle (my goal for 2+ years- which finally happened this past February!), anything is possible with hard work, patience, and confidence! 


Sometimes school does come first

Even though taking blogging seriously is important to have a successful blog, the truth is that when you're in college, you are a student first and foremost! That means that during some weeks (*cough cough* Midterms and Finals weeks, I'm looking at you especially), your blog will have to come second to schoolwork or school commitments. You only get once chance to do well each semester in college, and your grades count for life! No one wants to have a bad GPA because they spent all of their free time blogging. The same can be applied to bloggers who are out of college and have full time careers. There will always be busier weeks at work where sometimes your full-time job has to come first! You don't want to do poorly as an employee and lose employment because of your blog. 
There is a solution for this though: and it's preparing content in advance for the crazy weeks of the semester! I actually have one coming up next week, as it's Greek Week at my school, plus Spring Initiation week for my sorority! I also know that I have a lot of school assignments due. This week I am planning to pre-write at least two blog posts for next week, because I know that if I don't do them well in advance, my blog won't have new content next week! So it's very important to know the flow of your schedule, and to plan ahead for busy times. 



     Those are my best five tips for managing a blog while being in school! Do any of your fellow collegiate bloggers (or bloggers who started their blogs while in college) have any tips that I missed? Do share!


     xoxo Miss ALK

20 comments:

  1. I've been waiting for this post since I saw your list on snapchat!! I LOVED this and it was so helpful! It's been great seeing your blog grown and I'm so happy I stumbled upon your blog over the summer! I wish you all the success with your blog hope we get to meet soon!
    xoxo
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

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  2. Congrats on all your blogging successes! As a fellow student + blogger, these were great tips to read. I still need to work on getting myself a blog planner.
    -Anna | www.fivefootandfabulous.com

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  3. Cute & impressive tips!-I am adoring your Fashion Blogger Tee!
    Katelyn
    Theyellowspectacles.com

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  4. I think it's really important to learn how to balance. School does come first! I like to set apart work hours so I have time to dedicate to the blog! I'll go to a coffee shop and only do blog work.
    Shaguna
    gold&hearts

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  5. This is such a great post! I didn't blog when I was in college but I am a blogger in grad school (as you know) so I feel like a lot of your points relate to grad school + blogging life as well :)

    xoxo, Jenny

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  6. Love this! Most people find it so hard to keep up with when really it's just like a job!
    www.kayleighskloset.com

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  7. As someone who blogged in college and now blogs while holding down a full-time job, your tips are still applicable to me! It's hard balancing a blog with my job (and back when I worked 2 jobs!) but I love it!

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  8. I definitely wasn't as dedicated to blogging in college (when I started my blog) as I am now. I definitely think treating your blog like a part time (or full time) job is a key to success! Enjoy your last bit of college!

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  9. Great tips! I started my youtube channel in college and it was deff a struggle with classes!

    www.LauraWears.com

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  10. These are great tips that I wish I had when I was in college! I've been blogging for a long time, but recently started taking it more seriously in the past year or so. It definitely takes a lot of dedication and planning with a full time job!

    xo Ashley

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  11. Oh my gosh where has this post been the last 4 years?! Such great tips. I have had a hard time juggling school and the blog, it can be a challenge!!

    Carley @ preppylane.blogspot.com

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  12. I agree with sometimes school has to come first. I am finding that out as exams approach starting next week. I enlist lots of help and will be scaling back. I haven't even been blogging a year, so it is great to read this. :) Love your blog!

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  13. Such great tips to college students! Nice post!
    Xoxo,
    Love from www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

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  14. these are all such amazing tips! keeping up with blogging while attending college is pretty tough. I think I need to start thinking that my blog is a job rather than a hobby like you said! x, kenz http://sincerelykenz.com

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  15. Oh my gosh, thanks for sharing this Annaliese! I will definitely hang onto this for when I head off to college!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

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  16. I am always amazed how students in college are able to run successful blogs with all the reading, writing, and social fun college brings. I am glad your are able to manage and figure out how to do something you love.
    Marly
    www.GirlyLove.org

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  17. I started my blog after college but commend you and others that are able to do it while in school!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  18. This post came to me at a good time. I'm choosing to grow my blog and while being in college, I found your tips super helpful.

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  19. These are great tips! I'm in graduate school and it is so hard to manage everything. I honestly can't imagine blogging in undergrad - I was always super busy and I don't know that I would have been able to balance everything.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

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  20. I've really been struggling to set goals and make plans, which are two areas that I'm really working on. Thanks for the tips! You do such a great job balancing everything out.

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