Our Mini Family: Getting Started with Sponsored Posts, Social Media Strategy, and Food Styling Tips for Dummies

Apr 8, 2015

Getting Started with Sponsored Posts, Social Media Strategy, and Food Styling Tips for Dummies

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Today, I wanted to share some of my takeaways with you and talk about some fun we had at a recent Collective Bias event! Please note, this post does contain affiliate links and I did receive the selfie stick in exchange for my honest and unbiased review on Amazon. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Social Fabric University On the Road event here in Phoenix. It was such a blast, and I learned a lot of really great information that will make me a stronger blogger. 

During the event, we had different topics we covered such as how to get started with sponsored posts, excelling at campaigns and sponsored posts, having a social media strategy, and even talked about food styling and photography! Here are my major takeaways from these topics:

Starting out with Sponsored Posts
The first activity we were tasked with was to choose a table; each table had a label on top listing topics ranging from SEO to Monetization, from Storytelling to Sponsored Posts, etc! I sat at the Sponsored Posts table and we had a lovely conversation about some best practices for both starting out and tenured sponsored posts bloggers. One piece of advice that stood out most to me was that it's crucial to find and pick campaigns that are natural to your blog's niche! If you've never been accepted into a sponsored post from a company or blogger network, it's a good idea to follow up on your pitch after 2 weeks of not hearing back; this will allow you to get some constructive feedback, which you can then apply to your future campaign applications! When you apply for a sponsored post or campaign, treat your application like a job interview. 

Excelling at Sponsored Posts
The key to a successful sponsored post is a combination of its storytelling, the representation of the brand, and stunner photographs. Since there are so many bloggers out there pursuing campaigns, it's important to remember that your post should not only be unique, but also that it should focus on an experience rather than just talking openly about a product. 

When it comes to succeeding with getting chosen for more posts, it's a great idea to always ask the campaign leader/contact with your brand how you did! Having feedback is only going to make you a stronger blogger, and it will enable you to grow so that you can ultimately be chosen for more opportunities in the future. Also, it's a good idea to remember that even after your post has gone live on your site, the brand(s) still want to see you promoting/sharing it even after the deadline. Using a system to organize your list of ongoing campaigns will help you with going back and remembering to promote older posts. 

Social Media Strategy and Having an Editorial Calendar

Aliza Sherman was our guest speaker, and she spoke with us in-depth about harnessing our social media strategy (coupled with the importance of having and maintaining an editorial calendar). Her decades of experience shined through, as she explained many skills she developed through trial and error. There are so many takeaways I can get into which Aliza spoke of, but I want to focus in on a few specifically. 

First and foremost, it's crucial to know your blog's audience and your overall community (including social media following). When you are creating content, ask yourself if this is something that applies to your brand or not; focus on your storytelling first and make that your priority, and don't write content for your audience, but rather, write TO your audience directly. Doing so will only strengthen your blog and social media community, and by doing so then you can begin to focus on the bigger picture.

When it comes to having a social media strategy, you should know that not every plan works for all bloggers! Find what is best suited to your needs, and the needs of your followers. Utilizing online resources for scheduling social media blasts (e.g. Buffer [which is free], Co-Schedule, Hootsuite, etc) will aid you in finding a balance for sharing your content without overwhelming your audience. Another added resource to consider building on is having your own, personal editorial calendar. 

An editorial calendar consists of a document which you use to keep track of what content you are posting, when you are posting it, when you are sharing it, etc. It helps you follow up on what could be paid campaigns or personal goals; it keeps you in check when you start wondering, "what am I forgetting?" This can be as simple as a to-do list on your computer or in your planner, or be as in-depth as a recurring Numbers/Excel spreadsheet. 

Food Styling for Dummies
There are a number of things to consider when it comes to food styling tips, but here are a few "no brainers" that everyone should hear at least once:

  • Don't have a food color that pops out too much from the whole plate
  • When styling a soup, place some of the ingredients used on the side
  • Add food coloring to dull-looking drinks to bring it to life
  • Invest in a heat gun (for uses like browning/burning cheese on pizza or warming up button on pancakes) 
  • Think of a salad as a floral arrangement
  • Invest in ramekins, measuring cups/spoons, and antique forks/spoons/knives
  • Cast the props you want to use depending on what kind of story you want to tell about your food
  • Invest in some fake ice cubes for drink photography 
  • Use solid-colored fabric to accent as a kitchen cloth

And there was even more selfie fun after the event, too!

P.S. if you haven't tried a selfie stick yet, you are missing out! Being that I'm a blogger, I attend a lot of in-person networking events and make quite a few friends along the way. This selfie stick proved itself a hilariously awesome accessory to my blogger bag of goodies I brought, and since I've had it I have brought it to a few events to have some selfie fun. It was really easy to use and setup, too. My blogger buddy, Melissa, over at This Brunette Blogs and I took some fabulous selfies last week! And I always look forward to the next blogger event, and I hope to continue to share my takeaways here with all of you in the future as well!

What blogging topics would you like more information on?


  1. Wish i saw this when i started! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are more than welcome! Hope you can find some takeaways from my post!

  2. I really need blogging for (I don't like to say dummies) the special people like me :)

    1. I know exactly what you mean! I was thinking more like the "for Dummies" franchise spinoff, rather than actually calling everyone reading this a "dummy" per say :P I definitely don't think anyone who wants to take the time to read this is a real dummy!

  3. If you aren't comfortable using a sponsored post on your blog, don't be afraid to say no. While it is nice to make money, there is no reason to trash your blog with junk content. Thank you for sharing, I am trying to work on my photography skills. ;)

    1. Exactly! I have turned down many a PR rep just because what they wanted me to post about did not fit my blog niche! You are so right, Christy! You're welcome, and hope you enjoy your learning process with your photography skills! Just know that no one ever gets perfect!

  4. Thank you for sharing. That sounds like a great event. The food tips were interesting.

    1. Of course--glad you found the information interesting!


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