Christie Osborne—bride blogger at Mountainside Bride and marketing consultant for wedding professionals at Mountainside Media—talks about how today’s bloggers are banding together to make a living.
Blogging has changed significantly over the past seven years. Algorithms and banner ads rose and fell. Blogs grew from personal journals into serious business, as bloggers and brands learned how to work together.
Christie Osborne has been blogging about weddings since 2010, first with Hindsight Bride, then transforming that into Mountainside Bride and her marketing consultancy, Mountainside Media. She’s also been on the other side of the blogging world as the media director for Visit Mammoth.
Image Source: Mountainside Bride
In blogging, as in much of the tech world, seven years is a lifetime. In wedding blogging, where most bride bloggers last for one or two years before finding they have nothing left to say, you can count Christie’s tenure in dog years.
To say she has a valuable perspective to offer on building a sustainable blogging business is an understatement. She’s got it on lock.
And the secret to successful, income-generating blogging isn’t at all what you’d think.
“Everyone thinks blogging is about the content. Great content just gives you parity. Publishing your content on social media just gives you parity.
“What’s the X factor that allows some people to grow really quickly? In my experience, as a small niche blog and a consultant who quit her job a year ago and got work immediately – it wasn’t my blog. My blog was there as a testament to what I could do, to build authority, to be there at the review phase, but I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business so quickly without people referring me.
‘Yes you need SEO, a great website, to blog regularly and be on social media. Yes you need to be a real person in your email marketing. But unless you have a posse in 2017, you don’t exist.”
Did I mention that Christie is blunt? She’s blunt.
But that’s why she gives such good advice.
Bride blogging has come a long way
Christie started Hindsight Bride (now Mountainside Bride) in 2010, after planning her own mountain wedding. She felt alone, without resources. And mountain weddings can be unexpectedly difficult. Vendors can be unreliable, and if you’re stuck halfway up a mountain without port-a-potties, you’re not just up a mountain, you’re up a creek.
“Back then there was neither information nor inspiration for mountain couples. So I dove in to help people like me to learn from my mistakes, and to find the resources and information that are so specific to mountain weddings.”
From the beginning, her bride blog was “all about The Pretty,” but supported by information.
“I run between 25 to 40 images per real wedding and often support my advice posts with 5 to 10 images.”
Source: Mountainside Bride
In the early days, she says growth was easy – and exponential.
“It was easy because there was no one else in that particular space. And you feel like that’s never going to end. But when you stick through the slumps and plateaus, you find that your audience (and it’s a little easier with weddings – our audience changes every 6 to 12 months) gets burnt out. And your message after two or three years doesn’t seem shiny, new or exciting. Not for you, not for anyone.”
Part of Christie’s success in growing her blog into not just one, but two businesses, is sheer staying power and professional drive.
“If you’re going to be a blogger for more than 2-3 years, you’re going to have to get used to the fact that you won’t always be that special internet snowflake and a huge part of your audience will churn. You have to understand that you’ll have to drum up new businesses, and you won’t feel like it, and it won’t be as easy as it was in the beginning.
“That’s when your huge plateaus happen.”
That’s a natural hurdle any blogger, in any industry, comes across sooner or later. But there were other obstacles that came clear out of nowhere that hit the bride blogging industry especially hard.