When it comes to the in’s and out’s of blogging, there’s much that goes into each and every post. Though it may look and feel effortless, a lot of planning, organizing and thought goes into the content a blogger produces. Since taking my blog full-time nearly two years ago, you’ve seen that I have not been alone in this transition. With the help of my mom and Austin, they have helped make this dream of mine into an actual job and career.
Though Austin helps with a lot of the business, photography and technical aspects of The Teacher Diva, my mom is very much present in helping me prepare for shoots, stay organized, and brainstorm new content. She’s my go-to gal when I’m looking for creative advice on content, but more importantly, advice for life in general.
Ever since I was a little girl she has been encouraging me to follow my dreams. She has empowered me from day one to get an education, work hard and never stop pursuing my goals. Whether that be in the classroom or in the fashion industry, she has taught me what it means to be ethical both in and out of the work place and live a life for Christ. She is truly the best. Having both of my parents support over the years has made a huge impact on my life and it only seemed fitting that my mom continues to help me in this new chapter in my career.
In this career, I often get asked questions about the blogging process. Many readers and other bloggers are genuinely curious about what happens behind the scenes. Most often, those questions are: How do I start a blog? What is your day like? How do you come up with posts? Those questions are commonly covered. Today, I want to share some more practical advice about the process of creating a blog post and the preparation for the photo shoot. It may not be the most glamorous part of my job, but it can sometimes be a fun experience, especially with the help of my mom.
1. BRAINSTORM & GATHER INSPIRATION
The first piece of this puzzle starts with brainstorming. When I was teaching, I always encouraged my first graders to brainstorm. We would pull out our Writer’s Journal and start jotting down ideas. But what does that look like? How do you teach someone to brainstorm? These may seem like silly questions to adults, but any writer out there knows that writer’s block is a real thing. Sometimes, it’s just hard to come up with ideas. That’s when my mom (and Austin) come in. We make a list and start openly sharing different ideas from style, beauty, travel and life. We keep it simple and unfiltered, then dive in to deeper and more specific topics. We open our editorial calendar and start plugging in our favorites that stood out to us the most and plan from there!
2. SHOOT PREPERATION
Once we’ve finalized our topic, I start looking for the key pieces or products for the post. My mom is great at helping me finalize these decisions or help me step out of my comfort zone. These Sole Society Sandals are going to be one of the main features in the shoot we are prepping for. We selected these based on my style, current trends and feedback I receive from my readers. Plus, they look super easy to walk in with the block heel.
Once we get the products, we begin styling and prepping for the photo shoot. My mom is the queen of organizing. (Unfortunately, that gene was not passed on.) Together, we get the products ready for our shoot. Whether that’s steaming, unboxing, or last minute alterations, I am thankful she is there to lend a helping hand.
3. TALK WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Good communication with my photographer is a requirement for success. For each photoshoot, we set up a shoot list and share the theme or concept for each look. We also include a short detail about each outfit letting my photographer know the color or “story line” for the outfit. Little details like that help her find the perfect location. Typically, I only shoot 3-4 looks at a time. Narrowing the number of looks helps keep a manageable and easier shoot. Else, you will be overloaded with too many different products.
4. REVIEW CONTRACTS OR CONTENT GOALS
When we have sponsored collaborations or campaigns, it’s essential to review your contracts. Read your contracts multiple times, then have someone else read it. Discuss the requirements and pour over each detail. As a blogger, it’s important to meet all the obligations of the contract and convey the look, feel, and message of the campaign. Doing this will keep your sponsors happy. We always review a few days before the shoot in case we have to pick up some last minute items that may have gotten over looked.
Communication with your sponsor is also important. Discuss the content goals with the sponsor and communication what you like and what you don’t about the campaign. Brands are often open to your ideas and want you to be creative.
And remember, your readers (that’s you!) are the most important. If a contract or sponsor does not feel like it fits with your brand or does not interest your readers, then don’t accept it. Accepting every contract or sponsorship is one of the most common mistakes new bloggers make. Each sponsor and campaign on The Teacher Diva is carefully reviewed and screened.
Lastly, be true to your brand. People come to your blog because the value your style. Remember that when defining your content goals.
5. DRAFT, EDIT & PUBLISH
Sometime after we finish the photoshoot, we start the drafting process. This can be tricky. If you need inspiration, carefully review your photos and zero in on the look and feel of the post. That will help you put pen to paper. Sometimes, I start my drafts soon after a photoshoot (if I’m really on top of things). This helps me stay organized and ahead of my post schedule. Though I don’t have the photos back from my photographer, coming fresh off a shoot can be inspirational in its own way.
While I’m working on the copy, my mom helps me find the products online, search for similar pieces and help with email management. When writers block kicks in she is the first to help. After all, she did teacher English/Language Arts for 10 years! She says it takes her back to her teaching days. Her advice on drafting starts with a simple process of brainstorming and outlining the post into headings and bullet points. From there, take the bullet points and expand your raw thoughts onto paper. It may look like a mess at first, but simply go back and clean up your thoughts into organized sentences.
After the draft is finished, I try to have at least one other person look at each blog post before pushing. It’s nice to have another set of eyes review your final piece.
It’s truly a joy to get to work with my mom. I am thankful we live near each other and have the flexibility to make time for one another both in and out of the office. It was an honor to partner with Sole Society on this exciting campaign to support National Women’s Month. Here’s to all the women in our lives that encourage us and inspire us to be our best self!
OUTFIT & PRODUCT DETAILS:
ON ASHLEY: Storets Mauve Ruffle Blouse (fit: true to size) | Raw Hem Denim | Sole Society Elise Sandals c/o | Shein Blue Striped Blouse (fit: true to size) | Shein White Tweed Dress (fit: this runs small, I suggest sizing up!) Sole Society Roe Crossbody c/o | Sole Society Bracelet, “A” initial necklace + Crossover Ring, Statement Necklace c/o | Lipstick: “Canvas” (read my lipstick review over this brand here)
ON YVETTE: Black Cold Shoulder Top (true to size, see my review here) | Sole Society Joesy Elastic Sandal c/o | Sole Society Zyla Tote in Latte (I might have to borrow this from my Mom!) c/o | Sole Society Dainty Bar Pendant Necklace + Mykonos Statement Earrings c/o
This post is created in partnership with Sole Society. All opinions and selections are my own.
images by Beckley Co