*This post has been edited, refined, and republished. Originally published in August 2014. Blogging has effectively changed my life in the best way possible. Starting a blog completely changed the trajectory of my path in the best way possible. Since starting a blog over three years ago I’ve had so many doors opened to me, from landing my dream job as a content marketer at a tech startup in New York City to being flown around the country for press events. And the crazy thing? Anyone can do it. When I started blogging I was a freshman in college and my posts were bad. Like, really bad. But time and practice helped me develop and ultimately I was able to establish a voice and content style that drew in readers, turning this blog into something bigger than I could ever imagine. Every week I get dozens of emails from people asking for blogging advice and wondering how they can start a blog in 2017 and I wanted to create the most thorough walkthrough possible to help anyone who is ready to get started on what may just be the greatest adventure of your life. Isn’t starting a blog hard? Nope, not at all! You… View Post

I interrupt your usual June travel–related programming to share an exciting update… I was interviewed on Live TV today! Locally, we have a talk show called Paula Sands Live that I grew up watching after school. Paula is as much of a Quad Cities staple as John Deere Headquarters or the Mississippi River is, so when I was invited to be on the show I had to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Paula Sands Lives features local people, events, charities, businesses, and everything in between and gives them a platform to talk about whatever it is that they do. Blogging isn’t as much of a thing in the Midwest as it is on the coasts, and so the team was interested in hearing about my blog, how I got started, and how I grew. If you’re interested in watching the segment, it’s only a few minutes long and not nearly as awkward as I feared it’d be: Now, if I were to have to describe my weak points, they’d be that I can tend to be a bit socially awkward and soft spoken, so this was waaaay out of my comfort zone. In fact, my stomach was in knots for days leading… View Post

This post was originally published on my second blog. I am merging the two blogs over the coming weeks. When it comes to blogging – I’m an open book. I am more than happy to share just about anything with y’all because when I was a new blogger I obsessed over income reports and traffic analysis because it’s how I learned not only what was possible, but how I might be able to achieve it myself. Transparent bloggers helped me learn the strategies I needed to see growth, and I’ve gotten to the point where I can consistently predict my stats and income. I’ve been blogging for almost three years now and have had my share of viral months (reaching over 500k page views in some months). I foolishly thought that traffic would be lasting and that it existed due to my superior blogging strategy rather than dumb luck. Now I realize that dramatic spikes in traffic are generally brought on more so by the internet powers that be rather than strategy, and that growing your page views is a slow and steady race. Huge spikes generally will fall back down to some degree. With that said, there are some slow and steady methods… View Post

Established bloggers make it look easy. They are bouncing emails back and forth with 10 different companies who are dying to work with them all while sipping an #InstaWorthy matcha latte and admiring their perfect gel manicure. A lot of bloggers are lost, though, when it comes to working with brands. They see other people doing paid collabs with brands that they could only dream of, but figuring out how to land those collaborations, how much to charge, and how to build a positive relationship with brands is where things get tricky. Luckily for you, I’ve been doing brand collaborations for well over two years now and have learned a thing or two in that time. The images in this post are all pulled from prior brand partnerships. (And to cover my legal bases, I may have received some items you see in the photos fo’ free.) Before you get started. So I’m going to be a bit blunt here: If you haven’t established a following you shouldn’t try to work with brands. You don’t have to have a huge following or get hundreds of thousands of views a month, but you do need to be influential. I usually say when… View Post

  Whether you’re working in a creative field or you’re just passionate about something creative, sometimes it can feel a little bit isolating. When I started blogging I was the only blogger I knew and when I told people about it, I tended to feel a little uncomfortable. It wasn’t that I was embarrassed or ashamed, I just knew that people who don’t get it won’t get it. Not only was I the only blogger I knew, but I was one of the only creatives (for lack of a better word) I knew in general. None of my friends were photographers or artists, and I knew only a few people who would consider themselves musicians. I felt like it wasn’t possible to meet like-minded people because I was from a corn town in the middle of the Midwest. There was a little baby music scene, but the tight-knitedness of the show goers initially intimidated me. For a long time, I quietly creatived in private, making friends with other bloggers who lived thousands of miles away through Facebook communities and Instagram. There were a few blogging events I made the 3 hour trip to Chicago to take part in, but still… View Post