Balancing a Lifestyle Blog

Today I am going to ramble a little about blogging, so if you care more about pretty pictures, fun adventures, or cute outfits, just scroll on through.

I’ve been keeping some kind of a blog since November 2010. It was before I had a husband, a dslr, or any idea this cyberworld existed. I shared my whole blogging journey over here (warning: its LONG), but what I’ve been struggling with lately is balance. I’m not talking about balancing blogging and real life (although I’m working on that too), but instead, balancing the content on this blog.

I call myself a lifestyle blogger, meaning that I share on a variety of topics, that all fit into my lifestyle. For me, that means personal style, recipes, fun adventures, and random thoughts. It means lots of pictures, the occasional craft, and a fitness post here and there.

I am constantly drafting editorial calendars in effort to come up with a standard posting schedule for Bella. You know, like on Monday I’ll share about our weekend, Tuesday I’ll share an outfit, on Wednesday I’ll write a long post on some topic that is important to me, on Thursday there will be a recipe, and on Friday I’ll share another outfit. That leaves me with only one “real life” post (a post featuring something Ben and I did) and two outfit posts. Is that too much personal style? Is it not enough “real life?” Should a recipe even count as a post for the day or should it be in addition to a regular post? What is the right balance of posts for this lifestyle blog?

Do my posts need to be a direct reflection of my life? Does the emphasis of certain topics indicate my priorities in life? If so, then clearly I should be posting more cookie recipes and less outfits. I should spend more late nights rambling to you about how much I love my husband and reading legal thrillers instead of my latest blouse or fun necklace.

And then you add sponsored content into the mix. I’ve been working really hard to find creative ways to incorporate sponsored content into this blog so it feels natural and genuine. If you like coming here to read my unpaid content, I want you to like the paid content just as much. Even so, is there a limit to the number of sponsored posts I should be working on at once? Probably, but how do you set that limit? For example, a really neat company came to me two weeks ago looking to collaborate for the holidays (they employ victims of human trafficking to made gorgeous jewelry pieces). I was swamped with collaborations and sponsored content for the next few weeks but I loved their story, their product, and the price point – and so I said yes. The result is that this week the blog was full of “courtesy of” items and “sponsored post” disclaimers. You’ll forgive me, right?

Conclusion: I still have a few things to figure out, but while I am doing so, please don’t mistake my love for personal style posts as a life centered around fashion. Don’t think that because most of the recipes I share are dessert, that we don’t eat full meals over here. Don’t think that our Saturday afternoons together are better than our Wednesday nights because it just happens to be the thing that gets photographed. This blog is where I share parts of life, and not an attempt to accurately portray every moment of it.

So I have a question – other bloggers, how do you balance this? 
Readers, what collaborations do you think have been done well? 
(by me or other blogs)

image via glitter guide, graphic by me

10 Comments

  1. I don't have any grand words of wisdom and goodness knows I'm trying to figure this out too (especially when it comes to sharing personal things that Jon would rather not be blogged about – my post yesterday was asking for help on that!) but when I read other lifestyle blogs I don't expect them to be diaries. I mean, I don't expect them to be centered on real life to the exclusion of other things. I think, given what blogging has turned into since 2010, everyone expects to see snippets of your life – some fashion here, some recipes there – and everyone recognizes that they're not indicative of your whole life. Like, just because you primarily post desserts doesn't mean you ONLY eat desserts.

    But the one thing I will say is that my favorite lifestyle blogs fold in those other things – fashion, recipes, home decor, whatever – into a larger narrative about their lives. So it's not just HERE ARE PRETTY PICTURES OF ME IN A REALLY CUTE DRESS, which is fine but sort of finite, if you know what I mean, it's HERE ARE PRETTY PICTURES OF ME IN A REALLY CUTE DRESS AND IT'S JUST LIKE A DRESS I WORE ON MY FIRST DATE WITH BEN AND SO IT MADE ME THINK ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF OUR RELATIONSHIP AND HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM AND ETC, which is both fashion and real life at the same time and can go in infinite directions.

    Does that make sense? I don't think you're guilty of the things you might be afraid of in your post, but that's my answer to your questions anyway šŸ™‚

  2. I think the best part about blogging is when the content is relates to readers' human nature. For instance, I love what you said about trying to find a balance with sponsorships on your blog and you just being you. Relatable. Even though planning is great, sometimes, I find, that it sets me up for failure because the words that I produce don't sound like me, and then I realize that I lose the genuine voice of my blog. Does that make sense? Just write what's real, and be Jennifer Lawrence about any situation šŸ˜‰ "Yeah, this is a sponsored post, but I wouldn't have taken it on if I knew YOU, my readers, wouldn't have loved it either. This is what I love about it… Browse around and tell my your favorites. Maybe you could win something…"

    Keep it real, lady. <3

  3. Just be your about the whole situation. I think the best blogs are those without that forced voice. I liked that you brought this "human nature" aspect to it–"I struggle with balancing this blog, but I want things to appeal to my readers."

    Totally natural. If you have a sponsorship just be like, "You know I wouldn't have taken this on I didn't love it, too. This is what I love and why." Just maintain the youness with the whole thing, and you'll be gold.

    I also struggle with posting on a regular basis. Just keep doing what YOU love and don't try too much to think about what your readers will love… You'll attract what you put out there, ya? šŸ˜‰

  4. Hi there.
    I struggle with similar questions. I blog about my personal style only over at earnestyle.blogspot.com. But this doesn't mean fashion is at the center of my world. My family is, my loved ones, my career, my future. The outfits just add beauty and color to my sometimes monotonous days. I'm very proud of my blog, and if we were to travel back to 4 years ago I would be flabbergasted that I would be on this journey.

    Initially I wasn't really into sponsored content. Lots of reasons. For example, "Oh no, that's for the bigger blogs." But hey, I do A LOT of free advertising for companies that I love! We should be somewhat compensated for it right? So whatv I'm struggling with now is managing content and presenting it in a way that feela natural. It's always a work in progress.

    Mostly what I struggle with now is balancing my career my personal life, with my blog life. I work 1 job, two internships, & I take classes at night. Sundays are my only days off. And I just experienced a huge loss in late september. But my blog is one of the things that brings me joy, because it is my very own little creation. It's part of my self care.

    So I say this: keep on using sponsored content as you please. This is your space and you deserve to be compensated for all the hard work you put into it. Of course, I always make sure that whatever you're promoting is actually something you'd pay for and get for yourself. Post about the content that makes you happiest. Throw in some more details about your non-fashion life in your fashion posts, if you'd like to be more "real" (whatever that means right?").

    Sorry for the essay comment. But this post really spoke to me and a shorter comment could not have done it justice. Haha.

    Happy blogging!
    -Nathy @ Earnestyle

  5. So funny, this is EXACTLY where I am…..trying to balance all these things! It gets challenging, doesn't it? I'm still struggling with it a bit……do I limit sponsored posts? Only take certain types????

    Carly
    http://www.lipglossandcrayons.com

  6. wow this blog is exactly what i have been thinking…
    i'm a very new blogger…started the blog as a travel blog which was easy writing, now i'm turning it into a lifestyle blog and just trying to think of things to write about is nerve wracking as i think its interesting but is it interesting for others to read. i like the idea of standard postings for certain days of the week. i think i will give that a go until i'm a confident blogger šŸ˜‰
    http://michellelombard.wordpress.com/

  7. I have tried many times to come up with a weekly posting schedule, but I end up just like you. Only one day or so where I actually share "my life." Hmph. I enjoy working with brands and do not want to turn them away (and the $ is nice too!). Hopefully my readers understand the mishmash of posts. <3

  8. Hey Guys,

    Let me start by saying I'm a newbie blogger so this by no means is expert advice, it's just my opinion. That said, I think you can make any post (outfit, recipe, your thoughts, sponsored content etc) personal and "real life". Today I shared some Thanksgiving recipes, I put my own spin on it though based on my personal lifestyle (Thanksgiving recipes from the take-out queen) For an outfit post I try to tell a story about the event I attended or who I was with when I bought a special piece. By giving just a little more (a peek into your real true life) I think any post can be done right. You're right though, it's tricky business (especially the sponsored posts). I've had to stop reading a few of my favorite blogs because the sponsored content seemed so contrived. As long as it's from your heart, and honest, it's real life šŸ™‚

    Shannon
    http://www.brasshoney.blogspot.com

  9. I think balance is one of the hardest parts about blogging. I try to follow a few simple rules to not let sponsored content overtake my blog which are 1. No two sponsored posts in a row and 2. No more than two sponsored posts a week, preferably only one. I typically do 6-7 sponsored posts in a month. And when I say sponsored I mean anything that has to do with making money or promoting my blog- giveaways, guest posts, sponsored, etc. It does get really hard to manage, though. I need to figure out a way to get a bit more into the fashion thing but to be honest I like to dress nice but the thought of getting someone to take nice pictures of me in my clothes and pose and do it in nice sunlight and edit those pictures is so totally exhausting that I hardly even bother. Oh, and then linking up all my clothes to where I found them online SUCKS especially because online only has the clothes if you've bought them within the past three months and I never have…

    I understand your conundrum. It's definitely a tough one.

  10. I totally understand your struggle because it's something I struggle with as well. I think every blogger does. šŸ™‚ I enjoy having a "schedule" for my posts. It helps to keep me accountable and on task but it's loose enough that I can still be me.

    One thing that has helped me stay "real" is to write to a specific audience. I often think of my aunts who I know read my blog, or a few close friends and write to them specifically. It has helped me to stay focused with what I am writing and also be very personal. At least I hope so.

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