Blogging & where the hell did Cleaneatznz come from!?
It’s kind of weird to be called a blogger, it’s not something I ever aspired to be but that is the label of my current profession. What does being a blogger mean for me? I suppose for me my social media channels and website are a community of like minded people to engage with, and a space for me to share with you things that have worked or not worked for me on my health journey. For me my journey it’s a mental, emotional and physical one that I can constantly improve on, and being able to share that with others feels really good for me.
So how did it start for me?
I started considering my wellness when my dad was sick, around that time I started following Rapid Fitness; who were a group of people offering an eating & training program based around the ketogenic diet. I ended up getting really into it, I enjoyed the style of eating and I’ve always enjoyed pushing my body with a trainer.
I didn’t have a blog or anything, but I got really into taking photos of my meals and posting them all pic-collaged together on my personal Facebook.
I was so excited and proud of this step in a healthy new direction, my friends were not impressed, my partner at the time told me I had to stop, no one wanted to see food on Facebook, and it was obvious no one was liking my pictures but I didn’t care I was posting for me, it was my online food diary.
So, I kept on posting and one day after a little argument with my partner he sort of pushed/tricked me into making an Instagram account for all these boring food images I was oversharing.
I chose the name cleaneatznz because it wasn’t my name, I wanted to be anonymous I didn’t want people to follow because it was me, but I wanted people to be interested in the food and I just started like that. After a year and a halve I also added a Facebook page and shortly after that I decided to have my website made.
Posting my meals every day, ideas I had, tips and workouts I was doing, it was so simple to do, just snap lunch that I had slapped on a plate, upload it, write a two-word caption, maybe throw in a hashtag or 10 and done for the day. Maybe I would spend tops 2 minutes on a post…. oh, how things have changed….
Anyway, slowly I started getting followers, and I think at some stage after a year people figured out it was me and my “blog” became more personal; I could post selfies, and talk about products I like, and in turn brands started sharing my images too, i was like ok this is a thing i have a blog, and this is when brands started contacting me.
Usually this is how it happens you get a few followers; brands start contacting you to send you product, or you get on a few PR lists and marketing companies start sending you promotional packages and information.
This can all be very exciting and it was! Wow I couldn’t believe how cool all the stuff I was getting sent was, it was crazy. But It made me feel obligated to these companies, now I had so much more things to try and write about and how would I tell someone if I didn’t like their product?! It was very overwhelming but also so exciting as you can imagine.
That’s not a bad thing if you are a blogger with a head and you can sift through which companies work well with your brand and which do not. And it’s a cool way to learn about new products and launches of things that are new to the market.
This was also around the time that I decide that if I was sent a product to trial and I didn’t like it I simply wouldn’t talk about it, I didn’t want to do negative reviews in any way.
So, if you ever see me speaking about getting something on snapchat and then you never see it again you can guess it didn’t really like something but that’s the only slight indication that I didn’t like a product.
My advice to someone who is starting out with a small personal blog on Instagram, Facebook or WordPress, whichever platform you choose, make a brainstorm, what are you goals around your blog, what are your passions, what do you think you have a unique voice for?
And then once you’ve built your following and brands start to approach you can feel more capable to decide what types of brands you want to align yourself with. For me when I finally sat down and decided what my brand ethos was, it made it very easy for me to explain to brands without feeling bad that "I’m sorry I can’t work with you because you test on animals" for example.
The hardest part comes when you want to turn your blog into a business, my father always told me “Be proud of the things you put your time into, don’t ever half ass anything and always know your worth.”
So, you now want to put a value on your hard work and time that you put into creating this awesome platform, and these great informative posts and recipes, but how!?
In general, I get very nervous to speak about money, it’s just how I was raised and the whole subject of putting a dollar value on my work was super hard for me and I know many other bloggers experience this too.
How do you, after doing your work for free or for product turn around and say sorry but now my time is worth X amount? It freaked me out!
But knowing your worth as a blogger is hugely important, it can be a job just like any other, but you need to be realistic about your worth and your ethos.
If your taking time to trial products, recipe test, research, write articles, photograph items and so on then you are working, yes it may be your passion and you might love it so much but don’t undervalue yourself.
Essentially companies want to use bloggers platforms as ad space, as word of mouth is a great way to sell, and you will see this a lot on social media.
So you need to be very sure about what companies you will and won’t work with and why. And you need to make sure if you’re willing to work 8 hours for a company regardless if you love love love their products that’s still 8 hours worked. You can’t pay your rent with a juicer, or a box of avocados.
I figured out there are a few things I needed to do to be able to approach company that I wanted to work with in a way that would be beneficial for both parties.
- Create a media kit, this is a CV of sorts that gives your social media reach and numbers on social media channels that you have, it’s a short bio about yourself your passions and topics you enjoy blogging about, and then you can even include companies you have worked with before. This gives brands and idea about you and your blog.
- You should figure out what you want to pay yourself an hour. For example, if a company wants me to make a recipe for them with their product (something that aligns with the ethos of my blog) I will let them know a list of extra ingredients I need to complete the recipe and the time it will take me and then figure it out like that.
- You can forfeit both of the above and get in touch with a social media manager, I believe there are a few companies in Auckland who provide a management service like “Johnson & Laid”, odd.co.nz and Bloggers Club.
I think that people in general think blogging is such an easy job, you get free stuff and you get to take pretty pictures and got to cool events, but if it’s something you love and you’re putting a lot of time and effort into, it’s a lot of work, there is a huge pressure on bloggers after all they are putting themselves out there on social media to be judged and I think that’s brave for anyone.
On average, I spend at least 4-5 hours a day 7 days a week on my blog but some days I’m working all day recipe testing or writing. I try to give myself a weekend or some days to just not look at my computer but I’m constantly checking comments, replying to people, answering emails, researching subjects and companies.
Its forced me to become very organised, at the start I wasn’t I have no idea how I even did anything back then, but now I have a planner and I stay on top of my commitments. I found it hard after my dad and Connor passed because I was depressed I couldn’t work, be organised or even study (I ended up dropping out of homeopathy school due to depression) and only in the past year have a felt slowly to get back onto of it again.
Because my blog is so tied to my life, everything I see I’m thinking of ways I can share it or ways I can help my following and I think that’s why it was so important for me so make sure when I decide to make my blog a job that I really put a lot of worth on what I was doing.
I started my blog because I was on a journey and I needed someplace for myself to document and keep myself accountable, I wanted to find people who related to me who could read a blog post of mine and say wow that’s helpfully I’ll try that. It's grown into the most amazing community, over the past years blogging I’ve experienced so much warmth and kindness from the people who follow me, my blog is a huge part of my life and it’s so so special for me.
If you are passionate about something and your excited to talk about it and you enjoy interacting with people then start a small Instagram page and start documenting your journey, you never know where it can take you.