I'm super excited to welcome my second Featured Blogger, Tieka from Selective Potential! This was one of the first blogs I found, and it really inspired me to start my own! Tieka is the queen of fun adventurous locations, feminine outfits, cute smiles and great hair. But she also has some tips on making it in the blogging world, and she was awesome enough to share those with me! Please welcome Tieka!
Name, age, and location?
Tieka, 27, Michigan.
What is the story behind your blog title?
I wanted something I could grow with, whether my blog was fashion, personal, travel or someday included a family. I love the word potential and feel like everyone has it... and is able to live up to theirs. Selective Potential to me means selecting your true potential and living up to it.
I've been blogging for 5 years this upcoming September. So much has changed! When I started, Instagram wasn't really a thing and you were a blogger, not an "influencer" like today. Back then, if you posted everyday on your blog... you could gain an audience. Now I feel like you have to be well-rounded on all sorts of social media platforms, be a public speaker, a business owner, and so much more. It's exciting to see how many of my fellow bloggers have turned their blogs into full-time jobs, where back then... I started my blog just to learn what my 'personal style' was!
Do you feel that there is pressure to create a "persona" on a blog different from oneself? How would you advise bloggers to be themselves?
I definitely think there's a pressure to create a 'persona' on a blog. I've been pressured to feel that way at times. I know it's cliche, but you just have to stay true to what you love. If you love something and want to blog about it, blog about it - even if it's maybe not the 'most trendy' thing or people give you slack about it. I've had so many people complain about things I've posted - travel posts, bad outfits, or whatever - but it's me! Not everyone is on their "A" game all the time, so you can't expect your blog to be the same way. I just want my space online to be a personal reflection of me - the ups and the downs. Because that's real! Don't strive to be "perfect" - just strive to show your true self.
What advice would you give to new bloggers on staying dedicated, branching out, and making their blog grow?
As a new blogger, especially starting today, you have to be passionate. When I started my blog, I would post 25+ posts a month, was constantly online responding to comments, answering emails, reading other blogs, and checking out online fashion communities. You could definitely say I was obsessed. But I was SO dedicated and as that dedication continued to grow the more successful I became. And if I hadn't branched out and made connections with fellow bloggers, I never would have grown like I had. Connecting with the community is essential to helping your blog grow.
Has having a blog helped/influenced your career, helped you get a job, or gotten you contacts with people?
My blog has definitely helped in SO many ways. I started my blog when I was a senior in college, and it helped me land the 'excellence award' for my major and also helped me land my career. When I was hired into my company (as a graphic designer), they said one of the reasons they hired me was because they liked my 'entrepreneurial spirit'. Plus, not only was I a graphic designer... from my blog they saw I had skills in photography, photo-editing, web-design, social media skills, branding, networking, the list goes on. As a blogger, you gain so many skills and make so many contacts. It's a serious win-win all around, even if your blog doesn't make it "huge".
How do you deal with criticism and negativity about you or your blog (if any)?
You honestly just have to 'deal' with it. Most of the time I ignore criticism and negativity, unless it's constructive and coming from someone who is not "anonymous". There are always going to be mean, anonymous comments and people out there that don't like you. And that's totally okay. I found a quote once that totally hit home for me, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches." Just be yourself, stay away from the negativity, and surround yourself who people who lift you up... not bring you down. And if you stumble across a mean comment... and it's anonymous and not constructive, delete it and move on. If it's a concerned friend or reader, take it with a grain of salt. Nobody knows why you make the decisions you do. And feel free to defend yourself to anyone, but don't defend yourself to anyone online who is anonymous. I learned that lesson the hard way.
Who takes your photos, or do you take them yourself? Any tips for capturing that perfect moment?
My boyfriend, Eric, usually takes my photos! Sometimes I'll take them myself with a tripod if he's busy, or I'm traveling without him. Just a few photography tips would be... to invest in a DSLR camera. It doesn't have to be crazily expensive, we actually use a lower-end Canon compared to most other bloggers. But we always shoot on manual, and you get the best results that way. So if you're interested, I'd say learn how to use your manual settings! It's worth it. We always like to shoot at the "golden hour" to get that beautiful light. Usually it's an hour after sunrise, or an hour before sunset. And just make a Pinterest or inspiration board of your favorite photos and try to recreate them in your own way. Practice makes perfect.
Any tips on writing good content that will catch a reader's interest?
It all depends on what kind of blogger you want to be. I'd honestly see what other bloggers are doing in your genre and put your own spin on it. If you're doing a lot of reviews, or want to really focus on your writing... I'd say find what you enjoy reading and try to bring that into your own style. If you like humor, try your hand at that. If you like bloggers who are more down-to-earth, incorporate that. I'm not necessarily a writer. I've always considered my blog more of a journal, or a casual reflection of my thoughts. I like to tell little stories with my writing whenever I can, to go along with a theme of a post. But it's all up to you. Some of the most successful bloggers out there don't even include writing in their posts!
What is the best part and the worst part (be honest!) about blogging?
The best part about blogging for me is that you have an ongoing documentation of all of the good things in your life. I can look back and see what I was up to, where I was traveling to, what I was wearing 5 years ago. Plus, I've made so many amazing connections and friends all around the world. And of course, not to mention, I've had some amazing travel opportunities and it's a lucrative hobby, for sure! The worst part is the negativity on the internet. You're just out there doing your own thing... and people are jealous, or hateful, and feel like they need to tear you down. I won't lie, I've let it affect me too many times and I've finally started to learn to not read it, ignore it, and completely shut it out of my life. The other negative thing about blogging (and working full-time) is that you're busy all. the. time. Catching up on emails during your lunch break, spending your weekends catching up and taking photos, writing content, etc. I'm always busy, but I love it, so it doesn't seem like work all the time. But sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to just go home after work and have nothing to do. Haha! ;)