One of my favorite life quotes is: “Start where you are with what you have.” This very quote is what got me started on my blogger journey with nothing but a website domain and a passion to share my voice. Although I didn’t have everything I thought I needed at the time, I started with what I had, and that’s gotten me to where I am today. Three years into my blogging journey, I’ve made several investments that have helped to elevate my brand and grow my blogging business. The five investments below have allowed me to position myself in front of brands and start landing paid partnerships.
A Website & Domain
Having a website and domain is one of the most important investments you will need to make for your brand. While Instagram is one of the best platforms to monetize, you do not own Instagram. Having your own website gives you the freedom to control your content and work on your own terms. Many content creators have already experienced the wrath of Instagram’s ever changing algorithm, resulting in a decline in engagement across the board. Instagram is where many influencers generate the majority of their income, so it is frustrating when you feel like your income is not in your control. Here’s the reality: if all of your eggs are in the Instagram basket, then your income is not in your control. You need to diversify your platforms, starting with one that you own: a website and domain. Think of Instagram as an apartment you rent. Think of your website as a house you own. If Instagram shut down tomorrow, you should still be able to generate income. For most websites, you’ll need a webhost and a blogging platform. You do not have to use the options below, these are merely suggestions.
Webhosts: Siteground, Bluehost, Go Daddy
Blogging platforms: WordPress, Wix, Squarespace
Professional Camera & Equipment
When I first started out, like many other beginner influencers, my iPhone was my camera. As sophisticated as smart phones are in this day and age, they can certainly produce great pictures. However, as your platform grows, the quality of your content must also be elevated. When you are able to make the investment, purchase a professional camera and equipment. The quality and clarity of pictures on a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) is unmatched. Just as important as the camera are the type of lenses that you use. You should check Amazon first for camera + accessory bundles to get more out of your investment. See below.
You can shop my Amazon store directly for all the equipment I use. Click here.
- Affordable Beginner Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6 or Canon M50
- Affordable Vlogging Camera: Canon G7X
- Intermediate Camera: Sony A7
- Must-Have Lenses: 50mm and 85mm
- Ring Light
Media Kit & Rate Card
Your media kit is a document that outlines key statistics about your social platforms. It is equivalent to a resume for your brand and is essential to pitching and landing deals. Your media kit should include the following information:
- Short bio
- # of followers
- Engagement rate
- Your best statistics (i.e., weekly impressions, average likes, average comments, click rate, rate of growth, etc.)
- Audience demographics
- Services offered (or “deliverables”: in feed post, story upload, IGTV, blog post, Pinterest pin, Facebook post, etc.)
- Brands you’ve worked with
- Some of your best imagery
Your rate card is essentially an electronic business card that stores your rates. Your rate card should always include “starting at” or a range of prices, so you don’t force yourself into a set rate. Different brands have different budgets, and a brand may be willing to pay for more than what you asked for. Rate cards should only be sent upon request. Below is a sample media kit. This is a very general idea of what type of information your media kit should have. Feel free to customize it to make it unique to you, and ensure it is in line with your brand aesthetic.
Periodic Branding Photoshoots
While it is not necessary to hire a photographer for all of your content, it is absolutely necessary to hire a professional photographer for your branding photoshoots. Your branding photoshoots should embody what your brand is about. The hero shot should be a clear and crisp photo of you to be used on your media kit and any other corresponding branding documents. You should aim to schedule a branding photoshoot at least twice a year. If you are able to schedule a branding shoot once a quarter, that would be ideal.
Free game: Hire a professional photographer for content creation at least once a month. Mixing professionally shot photos in with your personally shot photos gives a nice balance to your feed and gives the illusion that all of your photos are professionally shot. I recently hired a photographer on retainer and I shoot 3-4 times a month. The imagery on my page has been elevated to new levels and I feel confident asking for what I feel I’m worth as a content creator. Being intentional about my shoots and using a consistent preset has given my feed the facelift that it needed.
Influencer Coaching Course
Booking an influencer coaching course is a great way to get first-hand knowledge and experience. It’s also an opportunity to get trained eyes on your content and an in-depth brand audit. You can ask the questions you need answered and really get a better understanding of how you can continue moving forward. Be sure to work with coaches that you follow and trust. Most importantly, work with coaches who show and prove they have the knowledge and expertise to help you on your journey. I will be launching my social media influencer ebook, Turn Influence to Income, at the end of the month. This ebook can be purchased a la carte, or coupled with a 1 on 1 coaching session. If you are ready to take the leap and invest in your brand, make sure you schedule a coaching session!
Let me know below if this was helpful. Also, make sure you check out my previous blog 5 Things I Did to Triple my Blog Income. If I can do it, you can do it, too. Let’s level up together!
Xo, Consuella ♥
Courtney this is soooo amazing!!! I cannot wait to purchase the ebook. Thanks for sharing!
Kelia Williams says
Just checked out this blog post! I wrote everything down in my blogging journal to-do list. Thank you so much! If you could look at my website and DM/email some feedback, that would be nice! I plan on signing up for a 1 on 1 coaching call after I get my camera!
Atlantis McNeil says
This was so very helpful. Thanks for the free game. Copping the ebook neeeeeooooowwww!