One of the most unique and rewarding things about blogging is that once you get to a certain point in your blog career, people begin to value your knowledge and want to know more. I was shocked and excited to hear that Florida Bloggers Collective was relaunching their website last week and wanted to launch their Blogger Spotlight series with me—cue my routine disbelief. When it comes to blogging, I’ve never thought I was ahead of the game by any means or experienced enough to share tricks of the trade. What I did know when starting Cup of Charisma, was that I needed some X factor to make this more than just a fashion blog.
I took Florida Bloggers Collective up on their offer and answered ten questions to help readers know my tips, inspiration and the niche X factor that’s helped land friendships and partnerships alike. Enjoy!
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
I’m a 26-year-old living between Miami, Florida, and Houston, Texas. I love writing, traveling, drinking far too much coffee and exercising my creativity through Cup of Charisma. Cup of Charisma is a lifestyle blog that focuses on socially conscious brands that give back, fashion and life’s little lessons.
How did you first get into blogging?
I always have this urge that tells me I “have” to write—it’s proven to be essential to my happiness as odd as that sounds. My first job out of college was PR; while I loved the job, I found that while writing in my client’s voice, I was beginning to lose my own. I began Cup of Charisma as a way to feed the fire I had, spread positive ideas and share causes that mattered to me. I’ve used my blog to ignite a love of social good in my readers and to write through my own challenges. I use it as a medium to write about my lessons in body confidence, relationships, finding independence and setting goals, in hopes that my experience will help my readers.
How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Is coffee an acceptable answer? I struggled with consistency in the beginning of last year while going through a few life changes, but I’ve realized that I have a duty to my readers to keep active. I block off time on my weekends to blog and break things down into manageable chunks. Typically, I’ll take photos on a Saturday, then edit and write on Sundays. Sometimes I’ll plan to wake up a few hours before my day job to work on posts. I’ve heard that mornings are the best hours for creatives—I don’t know if I believe that, but I do believe that I’m keeping Starbucks in business.
What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?
I am constantly looking for creative groups to join in my area, local blogging events, national conferences and anything else that might get Cup of Charisma in front of my demographic. By simply putting myself out there and stepping away from my computer screen, I’ve gained readers and established sponsorship opportunities. My biggest advice to bloggers is to not just engrain yourself in your online community, but your surrounding community. My best and most engaged readers are people I’ve met through networking events. In fact, many of my closest friends are those I’ve met through blogging.
What do you do when you’re not working on your blog?
Outside of blogging, I work at a marketing agency managing social media for some really fun clients. I also write for the shopping section of Miami Herald and Miami.com, where I’ve had the chance to interview some of my favorite fashion designers. Writing doesn’t take up ALL of my time. I enjoy reading, traveling, and Netflix marathons with my boyfriend and our corgi.
Name some of the bloggers you look up to and why.
I firmly believe in surrounding yourself with people who exhibit the life you aspire to lead. One of my biggest influencers has been Maria Tettamanti of The Wordy Girl, my mentor and editor at Miami.com. Maria has given me advice, confidence, feedback and lessons that I’m lucky to have learned. I cannot picture where I’d be without her guidance. Miami-based author and blogger, Nikki Novo, has also been a major influence for me. She’s developed a whole impressive series of writing tools on NikkiNovo.com to help people like me find their passion and spread their message.
If I had to choose a blogger crush, it would be Ashley LeMieux of The Shine Project. The Shine Project is now a full-on brand that helps provide jobs and scholarships to underprivileged youth. Her blog complements the brand, but really gives a peek into Ashley’s motives to help others make positive changes in the world. I aspire to have Cup of Charisma develop into a similar model.
How do you keep coming up with different material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts.
This used to feel like rocket science to me. Up until a few months ago, I tried to tie every element of my blog to some greater life lesson. This was completely unrealistic because I wasn’t figuring out the meaning of life three times a week, let alone ever. I’ve since created a content calendar and narrowed down topics to shorter, more focused pieces. The calendar really helps me figure out what’s timely and should be planned for in advance. I still leave room for life lessons, but my content is more structured. I also recommend looking up the editorial calendars for magazines to get a sense of what themes major publications will be talking about.
Who takes a majority of your photos? What camera & lens do you use?
I’m thankful to have a boyfriend who doesn’t mind getting behind the camera to capture my looks. Surprisingly enough, he does a great job! We use a Nikon D7100 with an 18-55mm lens and a 50mm prime lens. The 50mm is the newest to join my lens collection and it was beyond worth it. I don’t think it’s necessary to pay a professional to take your photos—if your friends or loved ones are willing to chip in, save your money for other blogging investments.
A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
I don’t think blogging is an easy way to make money online by any means—it’s a lot of work, but oh so fulfilling. I think your blog has to be built on passion first and then the money will come after. If you’re writing to make an income from the start, your readers will sense this and be turned off. Authenticity and consistency are the keys to monetizing your blog. I recommend posting on the same days each week to build a steady audience, creating every post with quality, and engaging with your audience on social media. When you’re a reliable and consistent blogger with proven results, brands will be knocking at your door. Another major tip is to create a media kit to give brands a glimpse at how amazing you are. Making an introduction to your favorite brands can end up generating some great partnerships.
Where is your favorite place to blog?
My home office is my favorite place to blog. In our somewhat tiny apartment, I’ve created a little workspace in my living room. There’s nothing better than throwing on a record, brewing a cup of coffee and curling up with a blanket in my comfy chair to churn out a post. I spend hours at that desk each day, so I’ve of course added personal touches to make it my “happy place.” Occasionally, I’ll break away to a coffee shop for an hour or two, but there’s nothing like home.
See the interview here.
P.S. The items worn in the photos are sold out, but the makeup isn’t! See the products that helped me get my look.