Top Five Blogging Rules and Etiquette Tips

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Top Five Blogging Rules and Etiquette Tips - Poor Little It GirlThis post has been sitting as a draft on my dashboard for months now. Every time I went to write a few things, it came out super snotty and to be frank…made me sound like a total blogger bitch. And that’s not what I want this post to do. I want it to be informative for beginning bloggers who may not know about certain issues, and, if they need it, a reminder to veteran digital publishers as well. So I admit, some points in here I get a little attitude out of pure frustration…and I apologize in advance if it’s too mean. But whatever, let’s do this.

The blogging industry is a tricky one. As a relatively new career path on the market, a lot of us are learning as we go, and aren’t sure what the do’s and don’ts of the industry really entail. Considering that being a blogger is a career that literally ANYONE can do, it’s common to see a lot of taboo tactics and unprofessionalism from your peers on the daily. But at the same time, you can’t blame them! There’s no handbook! A lot of blogger don’t research on what is considered an industry standard and what is just plain wrong. Basically, where’s the blogger etiquette? What are the rules?

So with about six and a half years of blogging under my belt (and a LOT of conversations with my blogging friends) I wanted to touch base on, what I consider to be, the top five blogging rules and etiquette tips for the industry. And we’re diving into the good, bad and down right ugly. As I mentioned before, I hope posts like this not only educate up and coming digital influencers, but I hope it also opens a dialogue for all bloggers so we can openly discuss how to make our industry the best it can be.

Be Professional In All Correspondence

Email can be a funny form of communication. But what’s the alternative…getting on the phone all day? No thanks! (I know I’m not the only one who hates talking on the phone, right?) Anyways, the issue with email is that there can be so much miscommunication with a simple message and unprofessionalism can be shown so easily. So skip the smiley faces, the “Hey Girl!” intros (I’ve had a brand say to me that they hate when bloggers they’ve never met do this…heads up!) and anything else that makes your voice sound aloof. (Here’s a great article on why you also need to stop saying “Hope all is well.” as email intros too!) My rule: I never respond to work emails from my  phone. I always wait till I’m at my computer so I can really sit down, proof, and be present while working. Brands and PR agencies want to work with bloggers that take their brands seriously and are mature in their correspondance, so simple email etiquette could be the difference between landing a collaboration or not.

Top Five Blogging Rules and Etiquette Tips - Poor Little It Girl

Be Supportive And Respectful Of Other Bloggers Work

If there’s an industry that needs to band together to be supportive of each other, it’s the blogging world. Let’s face it, a lot of us don’t know what the hell we’re doing so having the ability to bounce ideas and thoughts off other bloggers is so super helpful. Hello, that’s the whole reason Jessica and I started The Blog Societies – to create a network where bloggers could come together for this exact purpose.

So what does it mean to be supportive of another blogger? See a post they do that you love, like it/share it! Leave a comment showing you’re a fan! Share and SHOW that you care about what they’re doing. They notice, I promise, and are likely to do the same in return or at least acknowledge they appreciate your support. Insert warm fuzzy feeling. Bloggers loving bloggers…whoohoo!

Now on to the other half of this: respect. I think it was last year, we all had the big discussion on if asking another blogger (you’ve never met) “out for coffee” to “pick their brain” was acceptable behavior. Update: we settled that it really wasn’t. (Read a few great articles on why here and here). The next wave of things to not ask another blogger is “Can you send me your contact for (insert brand name here)?” No. I don’t know you. I don’t know how you work professionally. I’ve worked hard to research and cultivate my brand relationships and for you to think I’m just handing it off to a complete stranger is borderline absurd. It is, in fact, disrespectful to a blogger who has worked hard to build their brand to ask for a freebee or hand out. Google, use LinkedIn, call the company – you can find contacts yourself. I promise they’re out there…just do your own grunt work. You’ll earn the respect of the brand and you won’t disrespect your fellow blogger.

Top Five Blogging Rules and Etiquette Tips - Poor Little It Girl

Don’t Cheat!

Y’all know where I’m going with this (it’s gonna get nasty!), so let’s just dive in: Stop with the loop giveaways! (Note: Yes, 2 years ago I did a loop before everyone else and was so stupid I thought it was post on my blog and not Instagram and had no clue what I was actually doing. There was only 10 normal bloggers in this group and I did this without doing my homework and before it became as mainstream and controversial as it does today. So before you blast me, I admit it and have clearly educated myself. Let’s continue.) Stop buying followers/likes on Instagram! Stop with the comment pods! Be genuine. Be honest. I can’t count how many bloggers (or wannabe Instagram-famous girls – because there is a difference between the two now) that I’ve unfollowed because their constant loops and fake numbers are so infuriating. Yes, loops are a form of paying for followers, so your “oh we’re just trying to say thank you to our readers with a prize” is such bull crap – you’re in a loop with a 50+ accounts you have no similarity to all over the world and you paid $25 to increase your numbers. You paid for your followers. Period. Who cares about how big your number are anyways? Honestly, it’s just you. Because brands and other bloggers see that you cheat, and no one likes a fraud. And paying for likes? We aren’t stupid. You have 3000 followers and get 1500 likes on a photo? Yeah. Not possible. Or what about these BIG bloggers who are guilty of doing this too…we see you. And when we look to see who “liked” your photos we know it’s all spam accounts because all of them have no profile picture and no posts. We also see the bloggers that host loop giveaways to hide the fact that they did a huge payout for followers. And yes, you paying systems like Twitter and/or Instagram bots to fake comment on pictures for you that use certain hashtags…that’s cheating too! Some shady shady shady shit going on. Hello! Have some self respect and stop. Just stop. Create content people actually want to follow/like/comment instead of paying for imposters to make you feel better. It’s pathetic. It’s not the new algorithm that’s hurting everyones Instagram engagement – it’s the cheaters who participate in these kinds of programs that are doing the damage. Don’t be one of them.

Work To Create Original Content And Find Your Own Niche

We all get inspired by other bloggers. it’s the nature of the industry. (I’m not the first person to flay lay a pair of sneakers or pose with flowers in front of my face!) I mean, who was the first person to ever take a picture of their outfit and post it on a blog? They deserve a fruit basket and a puppy – they created a movement! So while the umbrella we all work under has us creating similar content, be careful about specific content you take “inspiration” from. And while it’s hard, find a niche that’s your own so you can stand out in the crowd. For me here at Poor Little It Girl, I work hard to keep my looks affordable with a focus on petite styling. My outfit post titles are some of my favorite song lyrics and I like to have fun with my writing. That’s my angle and that’s what makes me different from every other blogger posting their daily #ootd’s. Basically when someone asks you “What is your blog about?” you need to have a confident, unique and concise answer. No mine is not breaking the mold, but it does help me create my own corner of content. Find your own corner, do YOU…not a clone of someone else.

I’ve had a few blogger friends share with me instances where another blogger has copied..sometimes word for word or shot for shot, their content. While they say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” I completely disagree. Someone that copies what your brand does/is exactly (we’re talking same outfit, same caption, same everything) is rude, tactless and is so unbelievably unprofessional…it blows my mind. The worst part, they think they’re getting away with it and no one notices. Bloggers are the most observant people on the planet! Come up with you own ideas. Be authentic. And if you do find inspiration from someone else and it’s clear that’s where you got it from, give them a shout out! It goes back to the idea of being supportive each other in this industry.

Top Five Blogging Rules and Etiquette Tips - Poor Little It Girl

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

This last point isn’t so much a rule, but more of a warning. So many bloggers today are so focused on building their Instagram page. And we’re not talking like they just love the platform a lot, we’re talking neglecting their other platforms, and even their blogs, just to curate a feed that is esthetically pleasing to followers and themselves. Don’t get me wrong, a great Instagram feed is crucial to building a great blog…but it’s not everything. When I see women who classify themselves as bloggers, and have 100K+ followers on Instagram. I’m proud! That’s awesome! But when I go to their blog and they haven’t posted in a week, and their Twitter feed and Facebook pages have less than 500 followers…I’m left confused. Why do people care so little about your brand outside of Instagram? Are you really just focused on an LTK post? Because that’s all it looks like. And then what? When Instagram becomes the next Vine, GLAM/MODE media or MySpace…where does your brand go after that? I guess no where because you haven’t actually built a solid foundation for your brand. Be smart and make sure you’re producing quality relationships with your readers across multiple platforms so that when one dies (because it WILL happen), or you don’t earn income from one anymore, you have a stable support system to hold you up still.

Read more in my How To Be A Better Blogger Series!

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105 Comments

  1. Jess Zimlich

    I was really looking forward to this post after seeing your tweet and I couldn’t agree more with the points you made here. I’ve spent far too much time worrying about what others are doing (mostly on Instagram) over the past several months. I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers, people I really looked up to, cave to the pressures of not growing fast enough or not having the engagement they once had due to the algorithm changes and it’s incredibly discouraging. I won’t let myself anywhere near the “following” tab on Instagram anymore. Social media is meant to be social. Setting up a bot to like or comment on a random account who used a certain hashtag is the farthest thing from being social. I’ve also seen comments like “Nice shot” thumbs up emoji…and the caption is expressing some tragedy. It doesn’t look good. I would honestly rather see a loop giveaway because at least those people aren’t trying to hide anything (still don’t want to participate and have turned down a ridiculous number of them for people I’ve never interacted with online). It’s the people who are buying an extra 200 likes for their photos or who are slowing adding 200 new followers to their accounts a day that rubs me so wrong. I read this post recently and thought Ashley made some really great points: http://www.ashleysfreshfix.com/how-the-new-instagram-algorithm-is-hurting-the-honest-blogger/

    Lastly, I’m horrified that I often use the phrase, “I hope you are well” in emails. Never again. It clicked after reading that article – thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Yes I totally agree! Love that article from Ashley…such a great read! And can you believe that about the Hope All Is Well? I did that for YEARS and read that article a few months ago and was like, well crap! LOL Thanks for reading and sharing your feedback! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Exactly! They’re the ones hurting our engagement, not the algorithm. People are just lazy at this point…no one wants to put in actual hard work. xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  2. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    Cathy, I am obsessed with this post. You had shared. POST of mine via TBS recently so I ended up deep diving and got so sucked into your website…you are the real deal. I’ve been hyperattentive to big blogger on Instagram now after noticing a someone I respect creatively getting a HUGE influx of likes within 15 minutes…like 1500 likes in 15 minutes. Absurd. I did a few loops in the day, but it’s so obvious when followers aren’t I like with your brand. Most recently I teamed up with a few actual blogging FRIENDS to do an give back giveaway, but it was strategically handpicked and organized so we saw great success because we all had similar accounts – none of this 50 random people nonsense.

    Thank you for having the balls to write this. I’m shouting amen from the rooftops.

    Coming Up Roses

    Reply
  3. Britney

    Thank you for this! I’ve been slowly working on growing an engaged tribe of new friends on social media. It takes time and effort, and sometimes I wonder what the heck am I even doing? Is anyone listening? Does anyone care?
    It can be overwhelming. BUT, at least I know I’m on the right path. I’m blogging with integrity and putting in the effort up front. Maybe I’ll never reach 10K ‘followers’ on Instagram. Oh well. I blog because I enjoy the community and the creative outlet.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cathy! I enjoy coming to PLIG and following along on social media. :)

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      So glad you liked this post and took something from it! You’ll reach your goals with hard work and doing things the RIGHT way…you rock! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  4. Stacie

    I’ve just started blogging this year and felt like I was getting ridiculously unprofessional examples from other “big” bloggers, but this is so tasteful and written respectfully. I’m so glad I haven’t fallen into the “loop” trap. Thanks for great advice!

    Reply
  5. Jaime

    YESSSSS to all of this!!! Thank you for writing what so many people have been feeling. While I’m guilty of doing past loop giveaways, I quickly realized how ineffective and stupid they were…and it wasn’t the way I wanted to organically grow my following. I really wish more people would listen to your advice and STOP THE CHEATING! They are ruining this industry that we’ve worked so hard for. And the asking for contacts….well, that’s just annoying. So many people want this huge outcome without putting in any effort, and it sucks. I hate it!! On another more positive note, thanks for sharing the American Eagle FSU line!! #obsessed

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      YES! Who knew AEO did that big line of college gear…I want it ALL! LOL And So glad you loved the post and agreed on so many topics..THANK YOU! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  6. Kristyn

    Cathy!! I appreciate this post. You hit many points on the head, especially when it comes to loop giveaways. I will say that I am apart of a few comment pods, and find them to be helpful if you use them in the right capacity. I am in two that are filled with friends, and like minded bloggers. I get so busy throughout the day/due to the new algorithm, I tend to miss a lot of my friend’s posts. Having the pods has helped me give love to my fellow blogger friends, and keep up with their content. I’ve also seen a large uptick in engagement and following since being apart of a few of them. I can see the opposite affect these pods can have, but I think if you use them in the right way, they can be beneficial. Just my two sense :) Xo

    Kristyn
    Primp and Proper

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Totally respect your view on them! And that’s great that they’re working for you! For me, I think the focus is more on non-friend readers to engage with my blog posts/social media posts rather than friends that I know are going to like them anyways. I think it’s working to reach a larger audience and not just going around in the same circle. Thanks for your feedback! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  7. Emily

    This is such a great post Cathy! I couldn’t agree more. I think if we focused on being genuine and actually helpful for our readers/followers instead of creating the perfect IG shot we would be giving so much more to the blogging world. And yes, Loop Giveaways drive me CRAZY. #AintNoBodyGotTimeForThat

    xox
    Emily
    http://thestylehuntblog.com/

    Reply
  8. lauren

    it’s weird you talk about being respectful to other bloggers when ALL you do on twitter is bash them and post passive aggressive tweets. people notice

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Pretty sure that’s not ALL I do! I talk about fashion, beauty, celebrities, food network, puppies, politics, etc. Anything I’ve said on Twitter about bloggers I’ve said in this post. Sorry you’re so upset Lauren @ AOL…you’re welcome to not follow me on Twitter anymore. xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  9. Madison McQuary

    I can’t tell you how encouraging, inspiring and helpful this post was Cathy! I whole heartedly agree with everything you said and definitely learned a lot also. Thanks for sharing:)
    -Madison
    http://www.minniemuseblog.com

    Reply
  10. Lacey

    Great post, Cathy! I love how much you care about our industry. I’ve always said in order to elevate our entire industry and to be taken seriously as publications, we have to start first by setting high standards for ourselves. Hopefully more people will start to realize this, but as you pointed out, a lot of people are just clueless! So, thank you for helping get the word out there!

    p.s. love the new site design!!

    xo Lacey

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Thank you for this comment, couldn’t have said it better! And thanks…I’m so happy with my new design White Oak did an awesome job! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  11. Maddy

    amen! all those loop giveaways drive me up a damn wall. And I’ll admit, its super frustrating when people have over 100K followers and I check out their blog and nothing is unique. I understand that there is a ton of money to be made off selling the same Nordstrom blanket scarf, but I wish people would give more on the content front. Don’t get me wrong, I love gorgeous photos and cool outfits, but the market (at least in my opinion) is saturated now, so you have to have something different. This year I’ve been focusing on being transparent with my readers about the ups & downs of life when you’re a recent (2-4) years post grad, and the good and bad about moving across the country. I’ve seen growth in my numbers, but nothing compared to some people. Currently trying to focus on me, and my writing and connecting with readers instead of the numbers game.

    Thanks for sharing the hope all is well article!

    -Maddy
    http://cassidylou.com/

    Reply
  12. Courtney

    Thanks so much for sharing this post. I love your blog in general (and just learned the words to Party In The USA the other day – who knew she was saying “cardigan” haha!) but I especially appreciated the link you provided about not using “Hope all is well” in emails. I am SUPER guilty of this and will now be more conscious of doing so (or rather of not doing so) in the future. I recently left my full-time job to focus on my freelance clients and am planning to relaunching my blog in the new year, so keep the How To Be A Blogger series coming!

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      First off, I had NO idea she was saying cardigan either! HAHAHAHA I was shocked when I looked up the lyrics. What was I saying all these years I have no idea. Ok, back to the topic: Yes, I just recently stopped the Hope All Is Well too after that article..it makes total sense though. And so glad yo love the series…thanks for stopping by! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  13. Alissa

    THANK YOU for writing this – especially about loop giveaways. I absolutely HATE seeing those and laugh at all the hoops people who fall for them have to jump through. I’m really trying to grown a genuine audience (of real humans) and these tips are so helpful! Absolutely love your blog and voice!

    Alissa
    http://www.naturallymeblog.com/

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Yes to ALL of this! Thank you for your support…you’re the best! Side note: love that check coat you’re wearing on your site…so perfect for the holiday season! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  14. Taylor

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve always thought loop giveaways were cheesy and annoying, but I never knew they were so looked down upon! In regards to “cheating,” another thing that drives me nuts is the good ol’ “follow/unfollow.” It makes me sad actually. I am very, very new to the blogging world, so I was excited when I saw someone with a large following started following me on Instagram. I followed her back and wrote her a really nice, genuine comment that took a couple minutes to compose, only to see I was unfollowed immediately. I don’t know…just from my first impressions of the blogging community, I sometimes feel like it is an exclusive club of “big bloggers.,” which I’m sure isn’t toootally the case. But it makes me sad when the big dogs don’t engage anymore, or only engage with other big dogs. If a little guy asks you a question in a blog comment, take the time to answer it because we look up to you! Or if someone gives a compliment, say thank you (or at least try to, we know you’re busy). Don’t forget where you came from! I don’t know, I could be totally wrong, and honestly I hope I am.

    xo, Taylor
    http://www.taylorashleyblog.com

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      YES! I totally forgot about that…when bloggers do that it’s the worst. And honestly, it’s all bots that do that too. Nothing is genuine anymore. It’s so sad. That’s why I wrote this post, I was just sick of all the shady crap that goes on behind the scenes. Don’t be discouraged, you’re doing great! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  15. Jenny Hall

    Thank you so much for writing this post! It is so frustrating working a full time job then going home at night and working long hard hours on my blog and seeing people “cheat” by buying followers and likes and copying other bloggers. This post motivates me to continue the hard work because its what I love doing. Thank you for putting this out there, I needed this read today!

    Reply
  16. Alicia

    Girlll….not gonna lie, I’m totally guilty of overusing the “I hope you’re well!” phrase in emails. And yup, I totally felt like a robot answering emails, hah! So happy I can vent to you about some of these issues, and thankful for the additional knowledge you dropped!

    xo, Alicia | AliciaTenise.com

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      YES! I was doing it All.The.Time….for YEARS!! Lesson learned and now really make an effort to leave it out! Glad you liked the post! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  17. Anna

    You are awesome! Thanks for being blunt and getting the truth out there. I’m not a blogger but I love following yours! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  18. Jackie

    Oh girrrrrl, this post was ON POINT!

    With the blogging world getting more and more saturated, these issues were bound to arise. I too am guilty of joining a loop a couple of years ago when they were new and I had no idea what it was. I think we were all entitled to make the mistake at some point, but anyone who does it now? I’m just like…WHY?!?!

    There’s some people I follow and know personally from blogging, who’ve had explosive growth in the last year or so, and THEY STILL DO LOOPS. Like, we’re talking over 100K followers. WTF. I don’t get it and never will.

    My growth has been slow and steady over the years, but I’m damn proud of it. I’ve also been trying to do something a bit different with Instagram, creating video content and Instagram Stories, so people can connect with ME (outside of the pretty photos). If they like me, great! If they don’t, well, they don’t need to follow.

    And….End comment ;)

    Jackie
    Something About That

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      YES!! I did a loop, like I said, 2 years ago it’s ok! We’ve all learned our lesson. Well, most of us. Cheers to you for growing your brand the RIGHT way! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  19. Geordian Garrett

    This was seriously the best post I have read in a long long long time!!! You nailed everything dead on. I appreciate your honesty & open opinions. Keep doin’ you, because you are rockin’ it!!

    xoxo
    Geordian
    adoremorewithgeor.com

    Reply
  20. Aurora Licht

    Great post! We have been following you for sometime and like your style a lot! One more thing on this topic of bloggers etiquette we have found to be extremely annoying and downright disrespectful is, the fact that some bloggers will like and follow you (IG – twitter) and as soon as you followed back they will unfollow you. We are very discouraged by this behavior of many out there, some with big followers and with some fame. What’s your take on this? What’s the idea behind this rude behavior?

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      YES! I had someone mention this in a comment earlier and totally forgot to include but you’re SO right. This is all an Instagram bot too…it tracks once you’ve followed them back and automatically does it. So freaking SHADY!!! Women just lower their morals so much for the sake of a freaking follower…it’s disgusting. xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  21. Kelly

    Fortunately I live in a little bubble that isn’t bombarded with loop giveaways, but I know several bloggers who have recommended I do this and receive emails to join ALL the time. To me, I ask myself one question: would I be annoyed by this as a follower? Yes. If it would annoy me, I’m certainly not going to do it and I would hope others had the decency not to as well. Sure enough, people are massively buying followers and exploiting every resource to “get ahead” faster. I think in the long run, it will fizzle. Longevity is built on work. I think some day it will catch up to them, somehow. Right?

    Anywho – I adore your blog and have been a reader for ages. You should definitely be proud of the way you have worked hard and honestly to make Poor Little It Girl as lovely as it is.

    xoxo – Kelly
    http://www.dreaminlace.com

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Let’s hope that it fizzles out…so over these women getting ahead simply because they’re paying to cheat. It says a lot about a persons character if you ask me! And thank you for your kind works about PLIG! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  22. Amber

    I love this post. I have seen so many other bloggers with fake bot followers, that magically appeared overnight. It is very shady. I am definitely guilty of the “I hope you are well” in emails, not good! Definitely need to stop that.
    Also, I have done loop giveaways, that’s the only part of this article that I would disagree with slightly. I think you can definitely gain some followers that are interested in your content not only on your Instagram, but your blog and other social media platforms as well. But, you do have to make sure you are marketing your blog on your Instagram AND other social media platforms as well to drive followers to your blog and gain some quality readers that are genuinely interested in your content. Also your point about bloggers reaching out to you about your contacts for brands is very shady and lazy of them. I had my first collaboration with a big company recently that I reached out to and did the hard work to get in touch with and another new blogger that saw my collaboration post reached out to me to see who I worked with there and it really offended me. Great post and I love your blog!

    Xoxo Amber

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      I was using ‘Hope all is well’ for so long till I read that article and then I was like, whoops! Never again, ha! But I completely disagree (as you read in the post) on your standpoint on loops. Its just a form of paying for followers and is considered, by many, to be frowned upon as the lazy and easy way to earn a quick roundup of followers. The reason that numbers always drop after a loop is because those followers don’t actually care about your page. I just don’t see why you’d want to grow your number of followers with people who will never engage with your content or care about your brand. Not to mention the HUGE ramifications from brands seeing a blogger is a “Loop-er” and them not wanting to work with you based on that decision alone. I respect your view and know my post certainly won’t stop people from participating in loops but, like I said, I have to completely disagree. There’s ways to genuinely earn followers and engagement outside these controversial methods. And that’s the route I prefer to go. xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  23. Taylor - Lights Camera Catwalk

    Cathy –

    I recently did a post on this topic too (http://bit.ly/2fk76Nh) because I was downright APPALLED when another blogger asked me how much I made on a specific campaign. (LIKE WHAT?!) And to that point, I even heard this asked at TBScon in your Founders workshop. My draw dropped then.

    I completely agree with all of your points and think that they are very important for everyone to know! I will say though, Instagram “pods” have been great for me. I don’t think it’s cheating per say, since the algorithm came along and messed up all of the hard work that so many of us had put in. But that’s just my opinion. I learned my lesson with Loop giveaways and definitely don’t think about entering anything with over 5 people in it. When it’s curated and well done, that’s a different story in my opinion. (Like your Jack Rogers one awhile ago!)

    My last thing that I’ll say, I think it’s important to say that copying goes with blog design too! I’m so sick of seeing even huge bloggers completely rip off other’s site design.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      YES!!! I didn’t do the Jack Rogers one a while ago though (I was the only one in the group that opted out b/c I hate them so much) but I’m just a big fan of no loops at all. It’s not worth it for how other followers and brands see this as a “cheating” system. In regards to pods, I respect your view, but I have to disagree. I want people to come to my blog/Instagram account and engage and interact with it b/c they like what they see, not because I’m next up on their list. I want readers who are actually fans, not just friends, coming to my site b/c of my work and what they take away from it. It increases engagement, but with whom? Not people who are going to purchase and really invest in your content. xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  24. Jae

    Certainly not a pro, but I agree with a lot of things you mentioned here. Although I beg to disagree about the “Hope you’re well” article (and live for the three comments in that post), I certainly get you about the “coffee + pick your brain” part. I’ve sensed this with some bloggers, which I certainly find uncomfortable to a certain extent. Thank goodness I don’t have a problem with saying NO. Hehehe!

    Reply
  25. Anita

    Wow, as a journalist who just recently started her blog as a personal platform to showcase her passions outside of work, this was really honest, heartfelt, and helpful! Thank you so much for laying it out straight. We need more authentic voices out there! I’ve always been inspired by your work, and this genuine post solidifies that. Keep doing what you do!

    Reply
  26. Ivete

    Cathy, I loved reading this post and a lot of your points really resonated with me. I will admit, I’ve done a couple of loop giveaways (against my better judgement) and regret doing so, as it felt exactly as how you described it. I would never want to pay anyone to “like” me or my content. It totally IS cheating. Live and learn is the name of the game. I have taken a bit of a break from blogging (I’m a member of TBS and met you this summer at the conference in Charleston- you ladies did a great job, btw!) because it all just got so overwhelming. Lately I was feeling the urge to start back up again, and after reading this post, I am convinced that I should. Thank you so much for being so real and candid. You mentioned that there is no book or rule book for bloggers… um, maybe YOU need to write one?! #justsayin’

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Thank you so much for this amazing content! So happy this post really resonated with you and you’re going to pick blogging back up! (The conference will be in a new city this year…we’d love to have you back!) And Yes, maybe I do need to write the blogging book, hahaha! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  27. Kat

    I love this so much!! Thank you so much for sharing and this series of articles. There may not be a handbook (yet) but this is a wonderful start.

    Reply
  28. Colleen Clancy

    Oh my… so this is one reason why I love your feed and follow you!!! Thank you so much for calling out bots!! I have had one blogger follow and unfollow me four times in six weeks (I know it’s a bot cuz it involves the same time frame every time!). This post just made me (someone just starting out and with only a few followers) feel immensely better and kinda vindicated that someone like you notices and is strong enough to call it out. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  29. Kimberli Simon

    I am so new to blogging I did not even know you could buy followers! I’m all about organic growth while staying true to my vision. It is a slow and at times frustrating yet ultimately rewarding experience.

    Reply
  30. Brittany

    What a great article! I still consider myself a beginner in the blogger universe and wholeheartedly appreciate any honest, true advice! There is so, so much focus on Instagram right now, I find myself stressed some days as other girls I’ve reached out to keep pushing for giveaways, etc. But, I’ve found sticking to what I feel is true to myself and only posting photos I feel 100% good about has lead to more followers than anything. It’s overloaded, and hard to reach people, but being true to yourself and your brand is truly the only way to go. Thanks for the honest article!

    Reply
  31. rachel moore

    hi!
    so happy to connect! I found your IG through my friend Christina (ohsoglam). i agree that the followers and such are a fraud to businesses because those bloggers cannot perform their end of the ROI when they make deals with brands. at the end of the day – the numbers don’t lie – and hopefully brands will be able to see (through platforms like RS who can make connections) who really is making sales and connecting with their audience.
    I think it’s a tough industry and you have to thicken your skin if you want to stay in it, right? I’m not even a year in yet.
    I love your style btw but being 5’11” I’m not sure I’d ever look so cute in anything but your accessories :)
    enjoy your day!
    rachel
    http://www.pinterestingplans.com

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      Yes yes! I commented on your post today, thanks for making your way over to my blog after! In regards to your comment here, I think the issue I’m addressing is that numbers DO lie. With bots/comment pods/follow and unfollow programs/etc a blogger can have a TON of followers and apparent “engagement” according to numbers, but logically behind the scenes it’s not true. And not sure the issues I’m addressing here have anything to do with “thick skin” as more of this post being about ethical and professional standards in an industry where we’re already looked at for being lazy and stupid…bloggers need to hold themselves to a higher standard across their blog and social platforms in order for the industry as a whole to grow. Also, many of the pieces I feature on my blog, while I may purchase them petite, come in regular and tall lengths too! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  32. Kristin

    Hi! I just stumbled onto your site from Pinterest and I wanted to say that I am absolutely in love with your blog. Especially since I stand at the 4′ 10″ mark, too. You are so pretty and your site is gorgeous. I’m definitely going to be following you on like everything now.

    Reply
  33. Sarah

    Great post. Thank you so much for sharing and being upfront and honest about each one of these topics. GREAT! <3

    Reply
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  36. Caitlin

    this was a really great post. I’m a digital marketer, and i’ve been blogging for years for OTHERS…but finally had the opportunity to focus on myself. And I will say, it’s been a transition, developing my own style. But you’re correct in the fact that original content is the best way to go…

    Thanks for the advice and the tips!
    http://www.luellapearl.com

    Reply
  37. Seppy

    What a useful blogpost! I don’t think you sounded like a b*tch at all..!! You’re just being factual..

    From your point 2 – how do you feel about contacting another blogger that you genuinely think you’d get along with and just want to meet and chit chat and see a potential friendship forming? I haven’t done it yet but have thought of it, because it’s not to get information or use their resources, but to network and meet other bloggers in my area.

    Also – what do you think about leaving your blog URL when leaving a comment on someone’s blog post? I try to leave meaningful comments and when I do, I also leave my URL, but now I’m wondering, is that bad etiquette?!

    Thank you for an informative blogpost!!

    http://www.elleisforlove.com

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      I think it’s a personal preference on reaching out to bloggers you’ve never met just to become friends. You should do what feels natural to you. And Yes, leaving your blog URL in a comment is totally fine! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
  38. Michelle

    I realise I’m resurrecting an old post here, but just came across this one. Very well written but I take issue with the notion that brands want to work with bloggers who take their blog seriously and are mature in their correspondence. As an outsider who is just a consumer of blogs, it seems to me that the most successful bloggers have content that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. Many bloggers are also quite rude to followers who ask simple questions. I realise that it’s all about the almighty click for payment, but sometimes, someone just wants to know what brand something is. They don’t want to go through the machinations of finding the post on the blog to have to click the link. Again, this is as someone who is just a blog-reader and not a blogger. I really wish bloggers were more transparent about their content as well. This goes a long way for someone like me in terms of trust and respect. I also wish more bloggers were selective about sponsorships. It’s really hard to take a recommendation seriously when it’s one face wash one week and then just a week later, something else is a “new fave” or “holy grail.” While I love reading blogs, I am disheartened at the direction the industry as a whole has taken. But again, I’m just an outsider.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Anderson Post author

      I agree with a lot of what you’ve said! In regards to professionalism, I was referring to email correspondence between bloggers and brands. Thank you for reading! xoxo Cathy

      Reply
      1. Michelle

        Fair point. I just have to wonder if a blogger has trouble articulating their thoughts on their blog, are they that much better with direct communication with brands? Is it safe to assume that many of these bloggers use “go betweens” or agents who connect them with brands, thus negating their need to be able to form coherent, grammatically correct thoughts? I should also add that I am a high school English teacher and SO MANY girls in my class have blogging aspirations. And you know what they say? “You don’t have to be smart or know how to spell or even know the basic rules of grammar.” It makes me truly sad.

        Reply
        1. Cathy Anderson Post author

          Sorry to hear that, hopefully you’re teaching them that many bloggers, like myself, are college educated and have had many years of professional experience before launching our brands. Thanks for your feedback! xoxo Cathy

          Reply
          1. Michelle

            Well we try, but when a lot of the evidence suggests otherwise, it’s a difficult sell. Similarly, trying to convince them that these bloggers don’t really look like that either is another story. Thanks for engaging. : )

  39. Sara

    Wow somehow landed on this page as I’m reading your blogging tips and it helped me feel so much more encouraged! I just started a blog as a creative outlet and am learning it can be SO much more! Hence, why I’m reading 500 tips and attempting to improve my pictures/articles/etc. I have all of 70 followers on Instagram and see other people who launched a blog yesterday it seems and have 1700. This really encourages me to keep going and do my own creative thing and stop comparing (because there may be more to it than meets the eye). Thank you!!!

    Reply
  40. Jennifer

    I’m so happy that I found your post on Pinterest. Your tips and advice is very helpful. I respect the honesty and truth about the blogging world. Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind. :)

    Reply