As 2018 is drawing to a close and I have more time than I care to admit to contemplate the year, my thoughts turn towards this blog, my brand, and the effects of attempting to make this my business. There;sJSF
(Well then. That was my roommates’ cat, Moosie, saying hello while simultaneously headbutting me for pets. There’s a reason his nickname is Admiral Rib-splitter.)
During the break between filming seasons, I dedicated myself to The Lady Nerd brand to try to accomplish my aim of turning this into my job. So, I started writing this particular post thinking I’d do two different sections: The Good and The Bad. But upon writing, I realized that for every success, there was a setback. For every failure, there was something learned that I very much needed to know to succeed in the future. Hard to put that into two distinct categories, eh? So I’m going to try one of those catchy “5 Things I Learned About Blogging Professionally in 2018” and like science, throw it at the wall and see what sticks (brownie points to whomever gets that reference)!
1. Figuring out the Dreaded Instagram Algorithim
We all hate it. We all covet it.
The elusive high-rolling number game on social media. The magic key that supposedly opens the door to paid sponsorships and a glamorous life as full-time Blogger Boss. The numbers talk like money; the more followers you have, the more legitimate you appear, the more desirable you become. If I weren’t trying to make TLN my business, I could care less about the popularity contest of numbers. Alas, that integer is everything for the moneymakers. I’ve had an Instagram account for three years and just now, as of today, hit 5K followers. I don’t know if I would consider my methods successful considering most business won’t even look at you for sponsorship if you have under 10K, sometimes 50K. I tried the 3-in-a-row Instagram aesthetic (as professional folks making a lot more than me say that it’s not a smart business move to not have a signature, consistent aesthetic). I’m way too diverse for that! I’d like to think that one of the beauties of my content is you never know what I’m going to post. It could be a sleek, magazine-level urban editorial right after a derptastic wolf hood shoot or a job diary. Whether this has actually been good for social media engagement is an entire other story. (It makes my OCD so happy though!) But I wanted to keep up one specific habit for TLN for a whole year (mainly to prove to myself that I could keep up a habit (any habit!) for a whole year). Et voila! I did it! Debating continuing though….
Then there was intentional Audience Engagement (duh, that’s the polite thing to do anyways. Now sometimes I can’t manage more than a <3 due to disabilities zapping my energy or being too busy. But even though it hasn’t helped my numbers, it’s the nice thing to do). And then Everliker, a Google Chrome app that likes into the hundreds range of particular hashtags you put in. I like the concept as due to my wrist injury (and let’s be real, busyness), I can’t like everything I want to out there. However, it’s not increased my followership any. So I don’t know how helpful it is in the end. But I have to focus on the positive of upward momentum.
2. Sponsorship Struggles
2018 started off with a bang as I scored my very first sponsor ever! After posting my Bride of Frankenstein photoshoot, PinupGirl Clothing contacted me about doing some photoshoots for them in exchange for their lovely clothing. As I own a few of their pieces, I was excited to accept and raced off to do the first post.
But the sponsorship had an unexpected consequence, one that I dearly need to figure out how to correct (or at least streamline) in hopes of future prospects. I don’t do regular outfit shoots, as is common with most lifestyle bloggers. A lot more goes into my shoots – from planning each specific clothing item and accessory to fit the character or fandom in the particular style I design for it, find a photographer to fit the style photoshoot I want, and then finally a location that fits it all. Sometimes that can happen quickly, but a lot of times that can take months to bring together. That can be due to things like me being too poor to afford said clothing (medical bills are such a joy….) to schedule conflicts. I honestly don’t know how other bloggers do it. But I’m determined to figure it out.
3. Blog Writing Rollercoaster
An odd thing I discovered this year was just how bland my writing has become if I don’t have a specific story to tell. Writing stories comes easily (although sometimes laborious). Writing blogs to go with photoshoots with no story = much harder. I think I write too much and then not enough other times. I have not figured out a balance yet. But it is something I need to master ASAP as it’s led to me not posting blogs for weeks or months. This year I’ve been trying my best to write more blogs and more consistently. I don’t know how much it’s helped, but baby steps!
4. Trying to Master the Content Schedule
I’m so very glad that I made myself a schedule this year, despite the fact that I barely stuck to half of it. Oops. But boy, the times when I posted on the day I had something scheduled, man it felt good! Being a geek, I based my schedule around various fandom premieres and anniversaries. But in reference to earlier subheadings, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with all of it. I honestly don’t know how other bloggers and Instagrammers seem to hit every holiday, premiere, and anniversary. But I’m learning! I’m better at it than I was last year. I plan on doing another Content Schedule this coming year, knowing full well I won’t accomplish a fraction of it. But seeing it more like a guideline than a rule book I think should help tremendously. Less stress is a good thing!
Blogging is a full time job. Vlogging is a full time job. Heck, even social media management can be a full time job. And when someone has a brand like this, you have to do all of the above and more. Hustle in the name of the game. And hustling requires energy. My #1 downfall. Of EVERYTHING. A lot of this is due to my disabilities. The rest is due to learned bad habits due to said disabilities. But it keeps me from hustling, from doing all the things needed to make this my job. I’m rather convinced at this point that if I had more energy, I could accomplish so much! On days where my body and mind decide to cooperate, I get SO much done! So, I’m doing my best to better my health to accomplish this goal.
Photographs: Diego Gonzalez