I never started my blog or Instagram (@claireguentz) with the intention of becoming a blogger or influencer. I actually started both platforms separately for different reasons. I started my blog originally because I wanted to just share information on beauty products, personal style, and recipes. I started my IG later on as a tool to help keep me motivated and accountable on my fitness journey.
Well, a little over two years later (my first IG post was March 2015) and here we are! I will say that while I never expected my Instagram or blog to develop into what it has, I genuinely love it. I love connecting with you guys and being able to share my life with you all. And obviously, if it wasn’t for you guys I wouldn’t be able to do any of this. SO, THANK YOU 🙂
On that topic though, I recently asked you guys what you wanted me to blog about and a lot of you said things along the lines of — how you started your IG/blog, working with brands, how do you decide what to sponsor, etc. I have a feeling that this topic will turn into multiple posts but for today I’ll try to cover some basics.
For those who asked how I got started and built my brand (calling it a brand sounds weird, but you are branding yourself). As I mentioned, when I first started my IG I had no intention of building a brand so to speak. I made it to help keep me accountable and motivated regarding my workouts and eating healthier. IMO, the main contributing factor was that I was a part of the fitness group BBG (Bikini Body Guide). Kayla Itsines workout plan was more in the beginning stages (only BBG 1 was out), and I connected with a lot of other BBG girls. I would say that starting my account to about 50K is where I really grew from the support and connections that I made through this fitness platform. Point is, in order to grow, it helps to connect and be interactive with likeminded people. This way you are able to engage in their content and share yours simultaneously!
My account started to grow fairly steadily. I would post daily mostly sharing my progress with the BBG program, how my workouts were, things I ate. The content of my account was pretty much 100% fitness related. After all, I created the account to solely share my fitness journey and follow other fitness journeys. As you can see now my account is much more lifestyle based. I would still say that one of the main pillars of my content surrounds fitness but its more diverse now. In terms of figuring out what kind of content to post, I think that is a different blog post entirely. But I will say that consistency is key. If you want to built your account, share your life, engage with others, you have to share and interact with others on pretty much a daily basis.
After about 6 months from when I started my IG, a workout apparel brand (Public Myth) reached out to me via an IG DM. They said that they loved my page and felt that my lifestyle aligned well with their brand. They wanted to send me an outfit of my choosing to share on my page. I think you will always remember the first brand that reaches out to you because you are like “Oh my god this is so cool! A brand wants to send me free shit?!” Lol. But really, it’s exciting!
When you first start your account, most of your collaborations with brands will be posts in exchange for products. Just like my first collaboration with Public Myth, they sent me a product in order for me to share on my feed. If you’re starting an IG or blog just for fun, to keep you motivated, keep you accountable, to share your life…then free stuff is just a nice perk and gives you more content to share! If you’re creating your account and/or blog with the intention of building a brand and making it a business, then it’s a little different. Of course free product is nice, but that’s not the end game. Obviously the end game is to do all of this while earning an income. Let’s face it, endless workout apparel or beauty products won’t pay the bills 😉 But for starting out, most of your collaborations will be in exchange for product, and possibly commission. Many brands have affiliate programs or brand ambassadors where you can earn commission (brand ambassadors doesn’t always imply only commission; the term is flexible and depends on the brand). But in these cases, you will probably be given a discount code to share in order to earn commission.
So as you can see, things certainly don’t happen overnight. Patience is definitely a virtue, especially when it comes to building a presence on (social) media. It is very easy to look at other accounts and wonder why you aren’t “there.” I am still guilty of doing this, but then I take a step back and remind myself that I need to be patient and remember why I love doing what I do. If you genuinely don’t love it then I wouldn’t recommend trying to make a living from being an influencer and/or blogger because it is very time consuming and requires a lot of patience and dedication.
I think (or hope) this gives you guys a fairly good idea of how I got started and what to expect in the beginning with brands when you first start. The more I get into this blog post though, the more I want to dive into other parts of this topic, BUT I don’t want it to get too convoluted. If you guys enjoyed this topic/thought this post was helpful, let me know in the comments! This way I will know to continue writing on it. I’m thinking other topics will be how to reach out to brands, how to decide what brands/sponsors to choose, how to decide what content to share…what else do you guys want to know?! xx
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