all photos courtsey of McKennaBleu.com
Ciao from Italia!!
Currently in Florence, Italy writing up this amazing interview with McKenna Bleu on blogging, branding, and her killer Instagram.
Italy is so fun, especially because I studied abroad here three years ago, so it’s like coming home again. To a place that, sadly, has terrible wifi. I took like 5 whole days off from blogging, which is like monumental because I’ve been going full steam ahead on it for the past 5 months.
I see a lot of questions on building an Instagram aesthetic and how to turn a blog into a full-time biz. McKenna is an old pro (not really old) at the blogging game and she was one of the OG people who I started paying attention to when an “Instagam aesthetic” was kind of becoming a thing.
Check out her blog here.
How You Started McKenna Bleu
I’ve followed your Insta for a longggg time now, and you were one of the first people who really started developing a unique and beautiful aesthetic on Instagram. And that’s how I found your blog! For all those who don’t know you, how did you get started blogging?
Thanks girl, really appreciate your support! I’ve always been more of the creative mindset so this blogging thing just came naturally to me. I worked as a color specialist for Aveda for a long time before blogging. I was always the one to find a way to incorporate pops of color to my all black uniform so I think most of my inspiration started with that job.
Your branding really speaks to me because I love the mix of color and bright white. That’s kind of what I go for, too. How do you create such a cohesive brand across Instagram, Twitter, McKennaBleu.com, etc?
I’m all about anything bright and white! I get addicted to how amazing the colors pop off of a clean white wall. My eyes are always on the lookout for those cool fun colorful walls or doorways whever ever I go!
Was there a turning point when things started to take off for you? How did you capitalize on that?
When I decided to take McKenna Bleu full-time that was really a big turning point for me. Having the full focus to put 100% of my energy into something I truly loved was a dream come true. I put in long hours and when your life is social media, you don’t really get a day off so I think the biggest thing for me was finding the balance of building a brand but also staying present in life was so important.
There are SO many fashion bloggers out there now. But what I’ve always loved about you is the consistency and the voice behind your blogs and photos. But I also know that’s a lot easier said than done. What tips do you have for keeping one voice across all your platforms?
Be genuine, be nice, be real. As much as social media can be staged, fake or misleading I think it’s important to build a relationship with you readers. At the end of the day I get to do what I love everyday because of them. I read each and every comment and make it a point to thank at least a handful of people everyday. For someone to take the time and energy out of their day to say something kind to me is never overlooked on my end. I may not share everything about my life, but I try to cut the bullshit. I want my readers to see and know, I’m a tell it like it is kind of girl. If you like me for that, awesome! if not, that’s ok too…eff off…jk 😉
I adore this post here, 5 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Game. There is a lot of posts out here like this, but I remember being so impressed by all that you need tips you gave, like figuring out one pose and one location that works really well for you so you could knock out pictures really quick. (guys, read this post, it’s full of no BS strategies)
I loved writing that post, thanks for your kind words on that! I wanted to share this with my readers because over anything else I hope people can kick ass in the IG game but also live their best life by being present at the same time. This is my main focus these days and one it took me a while to figure out. I truly want my best memories made without having to share every minute convincing social media I’m having a good time. If you truly know me, you know I’m a good time and I’m having the best time no matter where I’m at, whether I snap about it or not!
A lot of people are talking about Instagram engagement being so down. What is your unique secret for boosting engagement?
Drinking. Ha! I mean the struggle is real but it’s not my personality to really overthink it, it’s out of my control. I stick to what I’ve always kept my focus on and that’s sharing quality content that hopefully responds well with my readers. Other than that, yea, drinking is always an option.
We obviously have to talk Instagram because yours is flawless. What are some photo taking secrets? Like any posing tips?
I found I get better engagement when sharing iphone images over professional ones. Makes sense, it’s more relatable and in the moment, so I’m trying to offer more options like that.
Favorite editing apps??
Facetune and PicTapGo are my go-to’s when it comes to editing!
Working with Brands
You’ve been blogging for a while, so I know the game was different a few years ago. How did you first start seeing brands come to you to work together?
I’ve never been good at pitching myself to brands, still currently on my list of things to do. As I was working on building my following the emails just started coming in, I filter through for ones that would be a great fit for my brand and go from there.
How do you pick your collaborations now?
There is no real system on that, I do read every email myself and decide if it’s a good fit or not. A few other factors do come into play but I’m focusing more on things that I love and right now I’m heavy in the home decor game, I just love it so much!
What’s your most unique tip for building a long-term relationships?
Communicate. Ask how you can be helpful in the collaboration process, let them know you received the product and how much you like it, update them on a timeline, stick to that timeline, share your content and follow up on the success from it.
If someone is just starting to get offers from brands, what tips do you have for them?
Introduce yourself! You don’t need to play the game, “what can you do for me” because their inbox if full of that bs already. Just say Hey, I dig your brand, this is who I am and one day I hope we can create magic, the end.
I hear a lot that bloggers are nervous to reach out to brands themselves because they don’t have as many followers as some people. What would your advice be for someone with a smaller but loyal following on Instagram or their blog?
What’s that cheese ball line, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Thanks Dad, needed that pep talk… 😉 But really, at the end of the day no matter what your number is, it’s a value. You are holding an audience that a brand may never be able to reach and if that’s 3 thousand or 250 thousand that is worth something! Confidence is the best thing you can give yourself, you have to know your value before you can convince anyone else it exists!
Also… I feel like you’re one of those beautiful girls that is also super down-to-earth and funny and cool. That’s like the best of both worlds. What are some things you love??
You’re hired, can you just say nice things to me all the time and also keep an unlimited supply of bagel bites in my freezer for me, k thanks! I don’t take myself too seriously, I don’t even like to mention my blog to new people I meet. I want real friends, not someone who’s trying to figure out the way of life via IG-feels like a forced friendship, I’m not down for that. I like real. I like to drink, I like to laugh, spend my time with my people, go to every concert I can and live out of my suitcase and fill my passports with stamps. Now accepting invitations for friendship!
Time for my selfish question…how do you keep your hair so cool blonde?? I struggle with brassiness.
Haha I think this is my most asked question actually! And I get it girl, aint no body got time for Blorange hair…please! My hair is pretty light naturally so my blonde lifts easy to that pale light ash blonde shade. I also tone my hair with a silver tone to cut any brassy tones out as well as use a purple shampoo once a week. My favorite shampoo is the Dry Bar one!
So as you guys can see, McKenna is bomb. And a hugeeeee thank you to her for answering my 9 million questions with such awesome advice!
For more lovely bloggers on blogging, check out the interviews below.
Erica at Fashionlush on Micro Influencers, Instagram Editing, and Valuing Readers > Everything –> here
Kat Gaskin Talks Turning Instagram into a Full-Time Career + Brand –> here