The term “blog” can mean different things for different people. It can be a meticulously formatted assignment for a class or a WordPress site made abroad that was soon abandoned. But for Loyola senior Meredith Rice, junior Molly Tullis and sophomores Megan Rogers-Reilly and Samantha Saliba, the term “blog” refers to their most time-consuming extracurricular.
A 21-year-old Ad/PR major, Tullis compared running her blog (hautetempered.com) to having another class or a full-time job. She spends at least three hours a day creating content ranging from health and fitness articles to product reviews and “outfit of the day” posts.
“I wanted to set myself apart from the bloggers who just do outfit postings,” said Tullis. “I set out to make sure I had really strong content.”
Her blog started as an assignment, but it now reaches thousands of daily page views. And with a growing fan base came a larger blogging team — she now runs a team of six other women, including Loyola students Maddie Scott, Samantha Dickow, Jessica Ciesielski and Addie Whelan.
For Rice, a 22-year-old senior also majoring in Ad/PR, blogging started off as a personal pursuit.
“This year I was looking for jobs and couldn’t really find any websites that pertained to what I wanted to do,” said Rice. “I was like, ‘Why don’t I just make one?’ and so I started writing a blog.”
The initial blog was career-oriented, with posts about graphic design and digital marketing. But after it was hacked earlier in the year and wiped clean of all past content, Rice decided to make the most of the loss and create something more lifestyle-focused. She now uses chicagobymeredith.com to share the food she tries, places she visits and fashion advice.
“For me it’s a way to deal with anxiety about graduation,” Rice said. “I can just get distracted in writing and
Similar to Rice, 20-year-old communication studies major Rogers-Reilly started her fashion and lifestyle blog, bowtifullife.com, for personal reasons.
After she encountered some health problems her junior year of high school, Rogers-Reilly was forced to quit her competitive dance team and found an abundance of free time.
“I decided that during that period of time I needed something to keep me busy,” she said.
Saliba, a 20-year-old Ad/PR major, started her blogging career while studying abroad in Italy this past summer. But her blog (ambitiouslifeofacitygirl.com) has had success beyond her travels.
“It’s more of a lifestyle blog now, dealing with style, beauty and traveling,” said Saliba. “And pretty much anything I want to share with my friends and readers.”
Learning how to create a prosperous blog is a process in and of itself — complete with trial and error. But the four bloggers agreed that creating a schedule seems to lead to success.
“I have a playbook, basically; it’s an Excel file and it’s actually like my baby,” Rice said. “I have social media goals every single month, and I have a content calendar for the next six months.”
Saliba agrees that organization is key.
“It’s important to make a commitment to your blog so that you don’t let your readers down,” she said. “So setting a schedule helps.”
But it’s not all work and no play with blogging. With success comes rewards: sponsors and freebies.
Once a blogger receives enough followers and a fanbase, companies can reach out to bloggers to review and try out new products or attend events.
“I think about 50 percent of my cosmetic products right now were giftings,” Tullis said.
Another perk of becoming a successful young blogger is being able to meet your inspirations. Rogers-Reilly recently met Carly Heitlinger, the creator of College Prepster and the inspiration for her blog.
“It was a really cool experience to come full circle and to chat with her about blogging,” Rogers-Reilly said.
Though Saliba’s blog is still relatively young, she too is experiencing the fruits of her hard work.
“I’ve gotten a lot of interest from people and brands that want to collaborate, which is really cool,” she said.
Networking with other bloggers and companies is a great opportunity that comes from blogging, and it’s helpful when trying to get ahead in the communication industry.
“I’ve made numerous professional connections because of this blog,” Tullis said. “I’ve really hammered out a strong brand for myself.”
Blogs also act as personal portfolios when it comes to looking for internships and jobs.
“I’ve had job offers, and they ask you if you know WordPress or Blogger or how to blog. If you mention that you have a blog, they will look at it,” Rice said. “They will pull it right up in front of me.”
However, blogging exists in the world of social media and that means there are people who will be negative and sometimes cruel.
“I tweeted something really sarcastic about Zayn Malik leaving One Direction,” Tullis said. “A 12-year-old told me I was Satan.”
Despite the occasional negativity, the bloggers are determined to remain positive and continue their blogging journeys.
“It’s really cool right now, especially how fast that it’s taking off,” Rice said. “I’m hoping to continue it for a year then I’ll re-evaluate my whole strategy.”
For Rogers-Reilly, a career in blogging would be ideal.
“If I could turn my blog into a profitable, full-time job, I would definitely love to be able to do that,” she said.
Though their specific plans differ, these students all share a passion for what they do, a passion that their loyal readers can see — and that keeps them coming back for more.