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The past 2 months I’ve been hitting it hard and learning as much as humanly possible about blogging and Pinterest. I take every spare moment during nap times, and after my kids’ bedtimes to either write new blog posts, make new Pinterest pins, or work on one of the blogging courses I’m taking.

Starting my Blog

If you missed my first few posts about starting a blog, here’s the rundown. In July, I signed up for self-hosting through Siteground, which you can do right here! I researched and almost chose Bluehost because everyone was saying they use them. But when I dug a little deeper I found out everybody says to use them because they are affiliates and bloggers that blog about blogging make a lot of money off of the Bluehost affiliate program. When I dug deeper in blogger forums everyone was complaining about Bluehost, saying they wanted to switch to Siteground. Because of this, I decided upon Siteground and so far it’s been great! The monthly cost is low but you have to pay up front for 12 or more months so this is an expense you need to be prepared for, just FYI.

I downloaded WordPress and used one of the free courses out there to get it all set up. For 2 months I floundered around trying to figure out what I was doing. I finally realized I was getting NOWHERE on my own and that I would have to invest in this new endeavor if I wanted to make money.

Choosing a Beginner Course

I researched so many courses and decided on the Launch Your Blog Course by Create and Go (Here is my in-depth review of this course. Check it out if you need direction for starting a blog or if you already started your blog and you feel lost or overwhelmed!)

I redesigned my blog as I worked through the Launch Your Blog Course and bought a paid theme. My blog looks 1000% more professional now and I fixed a lot of the nitty-gritty, yet vital aspects of my blog that I had no idea about before the course. Even if I had been able to google some of the information and figure it out I realized there were many things I just didn’t know I needed to do. You don’t know what you don’t know.

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Now my blog was set up, designed, and I had quality blog posts ready to go. I had started using Pinterest to drive some traffic but as I told you it was very sporadic and I had no idea how I was supposed to monetize that traffic once it came to my site.

Making Money

I decided to pick a course that would help me make money. I enjoyed Create and Go so much that I decided to purchase their next course, Make Money Blogging for Beginners. I’m still working through this course because there are many action steps. I haven’t written an in-depth review because I am still working through it. While monetizing my site I realized that I needed to learn a bit more about getting traffic because without traffic I wouldn’t be able to make money.

I started getting emails from a bunch of bloggers talking about the Genius Bloggers Toolkit from Ultimate bundles. At first, I thought I was done making purchases until I made money off of my blog but something in me told me that THIS was the purchase to make. I couldn’t deny that there was a TON of information in this bundle. So I decided, hey, I can learn from these courses and ebooks for the next year and there are SO many different and important topics in this bundle.

I already knew I’d spend at least $100 on a Pinterest course. This bundle had several different Pinterest resources among MANY other courses and ebooks. I did it. I bought it! And I’m not sad about it.

Beginner Blogging Update_ How I Got my First Sponsored Product-min

Affiliate Marketing

Before I purchased the bundle, I knew the first few courses and ebooks I wanted to download. I immediately started the Holiday Blogging Bootcamp eCourse by Caroline Vencil because it’s October and the Holidays are FAST approaching. I want to get in on the holiday action! After the first 2 sections of this course, I went back through all of my top blog posts and revamped them with affiliate links that fit the topic! This eCourse has taken the guesswork out of how to do affiliate marketing specifically during the holidays but I also know I will use this information all year long to make money on my blog! I’m so so grateful for this course!

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How to Work with Brands

I also downloaded How to Work with Brands (and Make Money) by Jessie on a Journey because I knew I wanted to work with brands but my traffic isn’t super great yet so I wanted some advice! (spoiler alert: it worked and I got my first brand sponsorship!!!).

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th products I downloaded were Pinterest and Tailwind products but I haven’t gotten very far yet!

Getting Traffic

My views are increasing and becoming more consistent! This is huge for me. My page views used to go up and down. Some days I’d get barely 4 views and every so often I’d get close to 100 views in one day. Right now my views are almost the same every day and my goal is to double my daily page views for the month of November. I contribute this consistent traffic to learning more about Pinterest strategies and utilizing the Tailwind scheduling tool. I finally started using Pinterest group boards and Tailwind tribes! Pinterest and group boards are free and you can try Tailwind for free!

My plan is to double my traffic next month by using Tailwind Tribes and just learning more about Pinterest as I am in the middle of several Pinterest strategy resources.

I also plan on trying some different Pin designs on Canva and I am still using Unsplash for free stock photos!

Getting my First Sponsored Product!!how I scored my first sponsored product - beginner blogging update

I have a list of companies and products that I would love have sent to me for review. I thought for sure I would have to wait until I had more page views to receive products. I’ve been rejected a few times already but I decided to keep trying.

I utilized the information I learned from How to Work with Brands (& Make Money) by Jessie on a Journey to contact a brand I wanted to work with and I was shocked when they replied with a YES! I won’t spoil it for you, but I am writing a post where I talk about the product they sent me and I can’t wait to publish it! Yes, I have under 1000 page views per month and landed my first sponsored product!

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My Top 3 Tips

I can’t even begin to share all of the help I received from Jessie, but my top 3 tips for how you can score your first sponsored product are…

  1. Be authentic, genuine, and trustworthy. Don’t be shady, at all, ever, not one bit. Just be someone that people go to for advice because they know you’ll be straightforward and honest. Brands will see this about you and want you to share their product because you love it and they will know that your readers trust your word. This is SO important.
  2. Find products you LOVE and pursue them. Make a list of brands and products you want to work with, some will be for the future, but start giving those companies some love and they will eventually recognize you. Don’t give up, keep pursuing them even if it’s a no at first. This company didn’t e-mail me back the first time I e-mailed them. But once I took Jessie’s course I tried e-mailing again and changed the e-mail, making it more personable and less robotic.
  3. Be yourself and be personable when you e-mail a company. Don’t copy and paste templates. Don’t write “to whom it may concern.” Put your heart, soul, and personality into your e-mails. Find the name of the person you need to e-mail. Be a real person when you send your e-mails. Add a warm headshot that shows your personality, so they see your face and they will feel more drawn to you.

Moving Forward

I have SO much to learn from the courses in my Genius Blogger Bundle. They only put this out a few times a year so if you get the chance to snag one, do it! I’m finishing my Create and Go Course Make Money Blogging for Beginners.

I’m learning Pinterest and Tailwind and I’m slowly learning more about building my email list and how to engage with my subscribers. Finally, of course, I’m writing, writing, writing!

Thanks for following my journey, friends! I’ll always be honest and genuine with you about this process!