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Frankly Ray is celebrating it’s TWO YEAR anniversary as a lifestyle blog. I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, I didn’t have anything exciting for the launch or the first year, but I’ve put a lot more work into it within the last year and there’s nothing wrong with eating a little cake (and donuts). Jenna from Jayfbabby was here to help celebrate.

It’s been within the last year that I have really established a voice, a brand and solidified by passion for blogging. I have lots of people email me asking about how to start a blog, any tips and tricks to gain followers, and how to guarantee it’s success. The humble side of me comes out first and says I don’t know anything about how to do it; is Frankly Ray successful? Depends what you’re end goals are. But when I sit down and think about what I have learned about blogging over the past two years, I realize that I actually do have bits of advice to give out. This two year blogiversary is dedicated to what I’ve learned about blogging.

1. It’s a COMMITMENT. First and foremost, you can’t half-ass it. Blogs are built on consistency and loyalty, and floating in and out of commitment can make it harder to grow. My blog has become part of my goals and just like any other career or life goal, the commitment needs to be there if you want to achieve it.

2. It takes PASSION and TIME. Committing is one thing, finding time is another. I think when people go to start a blog they think it will just happen over night; which is easy to think if you look at all the blogs that overwhelm the internet. Planning photoshoots, writing and editing content, up keeping social platforms – they all take time. I have only been able to set aside time for it because this is what I love to do. I have the passion and drive to keep creating new content.

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3. It is EXPENSIVE. And not just the clothes. There are other costs that I wouldn’t have thought of before I started like web hosting fees, themes and plugins, photographers and keeping up with the latest coffee shops, restaurants and events. It is not all necessary but to really get up to the level of your favourite blog, it does take extra cash. No one really wants to see the same pair of jeans in every outfit you wear (even if that’s real life). I’m not complaining, I went out for brunch and bought new clothes before I had a blog, but it’s just something that has become more apparent.

4. PHOTOS make or break it. Investing in a good photographer is key; iPhone photos only get you so far. I am super lucky to have amazing photographers as family and friends but finding someone who understands your style and brand will up your visual appeal. I have also learned that it takes practice to model, I have more photos with a stupid face than not. I’ve learned the poses that look the best, and I always have those as go-tos just so I know I will end up with some good photos – eyes down, hand in hair 😉

5. COLLABORATIONS are the bomb. My absolute favourite part of blogging has been meeting so many cool, creative and talented people that I probably wouldn’t have met if I wasn’t blogging. #SupportLocal is my fave thing to do and use my platform to share the smaller businesses that Calgary is full of. The community around entrepreneurs and local brands is strong in Calgary and the energy is contagious.

6. Instagram is an ART. I love working on my grid; planning out the photos and hashtags, engaging with other people, finding inspiration on it. I get sucked into it just like everyone else, but I find it one of the best tools to establish who I am and share my blog. I’m super into building out a beautiful grid right now, and am focusing more on the overall look than each individual photo. Also, Instagram stories have become my life (sorry snapchat), I think it’s a super fun way to show a more intimate and creative side to what goes on Instagram.

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7. Personal BRANDS take time. It’s taken me two years to really understand what my personal brand is about and how to show that through Frankly Ray and @almostffamous. I’ve learned that I can’t be everything; being a fashion blogger that develops recipes, and travels, and hand makes Christmas decorations every year is just too much for me. I’ve narrowed it down to what I really enjoy so I’m not just creating content for the sake of content.

8. It’s about the JOURNEY. I find the blogging process and seeing the blog grow and evolve so cool. I’ve never finished a post, or a collaboration and thought “that was such a good idea, that’s all I’ve got.” I’m always jotting new ideas down, tweaking my website, and reading other people’s blogs for inspiration. Even though it’s a side hustle, I always looking forward to that hour or two a day that I get to spend working on Frankly Ray.

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We had so much fun doing this shoot, the props were gorgeous and the cement was a great contrasting back drop. (PS sorry for uploading so many but they were too pretty to make more cuts!) I take so many photos in that staircase that I knew it was the perfect place to celebrate how far Frankly Ray has come. AND let’s talk about these treats for a second. The cake is triple coconut and the donuts are cotton candy (!) made by the lovely Vicki at Pretty Sweet (follow her on instagram). Like anyone else would do, we did a little taste test after enough photos had been taken. Someone pointed out to me that I have donuts all over my insta feed so I figured I should include them in this milestone post so we are defining my brand.

I have never been more excited about the future of this blog and I appreciate everyone that takes the time to read with it and send me messages. I talked a bit about what’s coming up for me and Frankly Ray in my last post which is one of the new projects. Jenna from jayfbabby and I are starting a monthly brunch series (#BasicBrunch) where we will talk about blogging, instagram, fashion, marketing and everything else we love. The series will launch on my NEW YouTube channel and also as articles on our blogs. I am posting a new video on the channel every week that takes you through my life – the events, photoshoots and everything else in between. I also have a few more collaborations in the works with local brands as well as some travel planned (NYC look out). Looking forward to sharing it all with you!

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NORDSTROM: LEITH Print Ruffle Back Dress

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Photos by Jenna Matthews & Kolby Meyers

xx Ray  

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