After a phone conversation with a social media advertising agency’s founder, I realized how much our world has changed. Back in the day – which was 10 years ago – bloggers from various industries were emerging from anywhere and everywhere in Montreal. (I was one of them)… Before we hung up, we both agreed that online audiences between the age of 34-44 years old and under are most likely to engage watching videos rather than reading online. Is blogging dead? Can you still make money being a blogger?
Learn 5 things from founder of Petite and Blog, Josiane Konaté, did to build a successful blog.
It’s All About Faith and Passion
Tell us about where you come from, your academic/professional background, when you started blogging and what propelled you to start a blog?
I’m from Burkina Faso. I have been living in Canada since 2003 and I’m a proud Canadian as well. I hold a Master in International Affairs. 2012 was the year I started blogging. I needed a creative outlet. Fast forward to September 2015 when I rebranded to Petite and Bold. A truer reflection of my personality: style and substance.
2 years later, I launched Maison Petite + Bold; a compilation of minimal art and vibrant ethnic goods. Through Maison Petite + Bold, I strive to build strong partnerships with talented artisans and vendors to share my culture and support fair trade at the same time. All that while being a mom.
5 Things Josiane Did To Become A Successful Blogger.
We often see the picture perfect photos or random insta stories showing a glimpse of your world. What does your workflow in the week look like? (From concept, prospecting, production to deployment)
No two weeks are ever the same and that’s definitely something I like about being my own boss and having a blog. When I’m not in town for meetings or to attend a few events and product launches, I’m usually home wearing comfy clothes, sipping some tea and working on a few things such as reading and signing contracts, replying to e-mails, keeping up with my editorial calendar, and editing pictures, etc.
When I work on larger contracts, I like to come up with a concept first: a mood board to present to the brand. This ensures that we are on the same page. Then Jacques (my husband who takes most of my photos) and I do a little brainstorming on the mood we want to set, the best location for the photo shoot, etc. Then we decide on a day to shoot. The photoshoot can last 15 minutes or way more sometimes. We never really know.
For the blog posts, I’m, of course, totally in charge. I often ask my sister to proofread my posts; she has been a blessing.
Oh and big buzz… you also happen to be featured on my blog HERE!
To anyone who wishes to start a blog today, what are the main technical elements they must learn?
Learn how to use the platform you’re on. There are so many tools, online courses, infinite resources. I remember when I switched to WordPress from Blogger, the first few days were so hard. It took me many days to be comfortable with how it works, and up to today, I still need to learn a lot. I’m not a web designer, so of course, I bought a template from Etsy that I had customized to my aesthetic. The web designer from whom I bought the template was offering installation services. I did not even think twice before handing over this part of the work to her. I’m good at writing, taking pictures, being creative… but not at coding.
S.E.O: read as much as you can about search engine optimization. What I like about WordPress, is that I actually installed a plugin which helps me maximize my SEO for each post. I could not live without it.
I also use some apps, software and productivity tools to help me on a day to day basis. Below I’m mentioning a few:
Canva: I love Canva. It’s what I use to create graphics for my blog, Youtube, Instagram, and many others.
Lightroom: it’s my go-to editing software. I have shared more about how I edit on the blog.
Google docs: so good to share documents and editorial planning.
If there’s any advice I can give is to not put all your eggs in the one basket. Instagram is fun, but there are other platforms that can help drive traffic back to your blog such as Pinterest – I’m a huge fan and it’s amazing!
Also, what are your go-to online sources for new knowledge? (podcast, favorite marketing guru, etc.)
Podcasts have helped me so much on a personal and professional level. I love listening to podcasts about personal development, entrepreneurship, content creation, personal finance and interviews with people who share incredible success stories. I love SUPER SOUL hosted by the one and only Oprah; she talks a lot about faith with her guests and faith has been essential to my growth so this is definitely one of my fav podcasts. There’s also FOHR CASTS (great insights and advice on the blogger industry), THE CLEVER GIRLS KNOW PODCAST (love Bola’s podcast about finance, getting out of debt and building wealth), REALIZATION PODCAST, PASSING THROUGH, ME MY SEXE AND I.
What are some of the obstacles you’ve encountered since launching Petite and Bold?
The main thing I struggled with – and still do to be honest – is to know my worth. As they say in this industry you need to “know your worth and add tax”. Contrary to what many people think, creating content takes a lot of work and you have to be compensated for it. You need to realize that you do have a seat at the table, that your work is valuable to brands.
The other thing that really bothered me a lot when I started to be invited to product launches and events was the lack of diversity. We are currently witnessing a shift in the industry. It’s becoming more inclusive and diverse and it is so needed!
I also have to constantly figure out how to keep growing, evolving and staying creative in such a dynamic and competitive industry. Most importantly, I learn to compare myself less to others. Staying in your lane is essential and comparing yourself to others – if it’s not to improve yourself – will do serious damage to your self-esteem and mental health.
We all know, should you wish to turn your blog into a business, you cannot blog to blog. What is the common business model used by fashion and lifestyle bloggers to sustain themselves?
Content creators make a living from their work via many routes. The most common is, of course, the sponsored content. Basically, you are compensated to promote a product or service to your audience. There’s also Affiliate Marketing. You can earn a commission ( the percentage of commissions varies of course ) for each sale you make via an affiliate link you share.
Hosting events / Speakers: Yes, you can be paid to host events for brands, attend store openings or to be a speaker at a conference for example.
Launching your own line of products: this is something we see more and more often. I think it’s something that does not happen overnight. For this to work, in my opinion, the blogger must have established herself as an expert/connoisseur in the field. For example, Marianna Hewitt launched her skincare line with one of her friends and it has been a huge success. Not surprising at all! She has been talking about skincare on her blog and Youtube channel for so many years. Her community trusts her opinion and recommendations. Depending on the experience you have, you could also offer coaching sessions to help others start their projects, achieve their goals, etc.
What are your top 3 best practices to land a blogger’s deal with a company?
Authentic and genuine fit. Instagram is about engaging with like-minded people and creating a community you trust and vice versa. Remaining authentic is important to me, therefore I will only agree to promote products or services that I would purchase myself.
Write in your own voice. One thing I don’t compromise on is to tell the story in my own voice. Usually, brands will let you know the essential points they want to highlight. They give examples of sentences and you certainly do not have to copy and paste. Scratch that, DO NOT COPY PASTE. Come up with a fun way to talk about the product or service, maybe start with a story.
Once you land a contract, be professional and honest. You have deadlines to meet, please do so. If you have a concern, it is your responsibility to reach out to clear things up.
Bonus questions (Yup I cheated) Many get easily discouraged by the amount of work behind building a blog. How do you #GrindResponsibly? How do you stay motivated being a mom and wife?
I try to remember that there are good days and not so good days. On those not so good days, I take a break to focus on my well being; worry less about what’s happening on social media, pray for guidance, spend more time with my family.
I don’t get discouraged by the amount of work but probably more overwhelmed. When it happens, I take a step back and tell myself: Josie you gotta work smarter not harder. I have learned to seek help when I feel the need to do so. I can’t be excellent in everything my work requires, but I know people who get my vision and can help me be better by using their talents.
What a blast we had getting to know Petite + Bold founder Josiane Konaté.
Here’s where you can find her 👇🏽