On the first day of my first job as an editorial assistant in New York, my first assignment was covering an event on energy conservation. “You’ll need to research all of the laws, tax restrictions, and costs of installation for these buildings,” my editor said, like it was no big deal.
That first job—at a small business magazine that has since folded—wasn’t what I imagined when I made the move from North Carolina to NYC at 21 years old. At that point, I had interned at women’s magazines, so my experience with 401(k)s and 1099s was incredibly minimal.
To give my true interests a place to live, I created a personal blog called Confessions of a Love Addict. The goal? To write every single day for a year about developing self-love (and to stop myself from going crazy when a man doesn’t text back).
Much to my surprise, the blog took off—and I even got a book agent out of it! Here’s how I made my blog a success:
I wrote consistently.
As much as we hate them, being a writer means being able to stick to deadlines. I set a daily deadline for myself to write. I didn’t know it then, but having a set time that you publish each day helps build readership. Because my readers knew I would post something new—a dating story, something I learned, a big ‘ol rant—at 9 a.m., they came back consistently. This also helps you get noticed by big publications because they can see that you churn out content pretty quickly, and you have more than a handful of clips to share.
Two months after I started the blog, I was featured on the homepage of WordPress. There’s no rhyme or reason to why one blogger gets on the homepage and another doesn’t, but they search for content by going through popular tags. I consistently tagged my posts with words like “self-love” and “dating,” so when they combed through one morning, they found mine and featured it. And that’s when things really started taking off.
I partnered with other bloggers and websites.
Being part of a blogging community like BlogHer or the HerCampus blogger networks are a great way to gain traction and traffic. I started following and commenting on posts by other dating bloggers and they did the same for my blog. We’d promote each other on Twitter and Facebook too. (I even met up with a few of them in real life over the past few years!)
After my blog was established, I started pitching myself as a writer to sites like YourTango and Bustle. My big selling point? Whenever I wrote for them, I would also post a teaser on my own blog, meaning we’d both get the traffic. It was a win-win!
I stayed true to who I am.
The main message I wanted women to take away from my blog is that you don’t have to settle to be in a relationship. And that to be in a healthy one, you need to learn how to stand on your own and build a big life before you pair it with someone else’s. I also never wanted to be an “expert.” Instead, I’m just another girl going through the same things as everyone else. When advertisers approached me from porn sites (ick!) or a book agent wanted me to write a self-help book, I politely declined. And ya know what? I got better advertisers—like Match.com—and an amazing book agent (who found me on Twitter) who believed in my real girl perspective. (The book hasn’t sold yet, but we’ve had a few bites!)
The best part though? I started writing my blog because I needed to write. Not to earn money. Not to be famous. Not to get a book deal. I knew that I wasn’t the only girl to struggle with being single, wondering when her love life would work itself out. And so, I wrote about it. The rest has built not only my career, but my confidence and my life as well.
Lindsay Tigar is a writer and editor in New York. She’s currently the editorial director for the lifestyle company, ClassPass, where she manages their blog, The Warm Up. She also writes for AskMen, YourTango, Bustle, FitPregnancy, REDBOOK, Prevention, eHarmony’s blog and more. When she’s not thinking of new ideas, she can be found booking last-minute plane tickets when the mood strikes, drinking red wine, trying new recipes or going on long walks with her cute pup, Lucy. For a full collection of her work, visit LindsayTigar.com.