When I first started blogging, I had so many questions on how to get started. What is a good platform? How do I distinguish myself amongst so many amazing, influential and inspiring bloggers out there? I luckily knew the perfect person to reach out to who has, after almost three years, established herself as a go-to fashion and lifestyle blogger in Chicago. As past coworkers, I was so glad to grab coffee and catch up with the editor of Bright and Beautiful, Laura Platt.

Laura and I sit down at Soho House Chicago’s The Allis to talk shop, B&B and helpful tips for new bloggers.

What influenced you to start blogging? I started my blog as a creative outlet dedicated to personal style, beauty and home décor — and to celebrate the everyday things that inspire me along the way. Aside from the blogging world, my professional background is in Public Relations. Between my experience in PR and personal interest in writing, photography and style, creating a blog was a natural (and fun!) progression for me.

What is an average day like? Every day is a little different, but I like to keep some sort of daily structure. I wake up by 7a and scroll through email and social media, while making a cup of coffee. I’ll then work through the afternoon, answering emails, drafting posts, editing photos, pitching potential partners, and coordinating campaigns and sponsored opportunities with brands. I’ll then break for lunch late-afternoon and run an errand or two, then it’s back to work until my content is complete and scheduled for the upcoming week. I’ll also attend a variety of events, meetings and press invites on any given day. I think it’s easy for people to see the shiny finished product on a blog, or a pretty Instagram picture, and be unaware of the effort and intent behind each post. There’s often more work and forethought behind-the-scenes than people might think.

Where do you find inspiration for posts? I follow a loose editorial calendar, to keep myself on track and so my readers know what to expect. While I keep a general editorial calendar of upcoming posts and collaborations, I adjust timing and re-arrange posts as needed, if a timely topic or post idea pops up. As far as inspiration: it’s everywhere! I often turn to art, music, travel, history, nature and the city to find inspiration. I also think about the posts I myself enjoy reading on others’ blogs, which helps to brainstorm new content and topic ideas.

What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog? Connecting with others has been one of the most effective ways to grow. There are so many talented people in the blogging, fashion, PR and design world! Those relationships are key to help support and grow your network. Social media makes it easy to connect with others these days, but it’s also important to connect face-to-face at events, coffee dates, conferences, etc. I also recommend learning as much as possible about SEO to help drive traffic to your site.

What do you find the most difficult aspect of blogging? I’d say: putting yourself out there! While it can feel scary at first, it’s empowering to push your own boundaries, continually learn, and challenge yourself.

What camera/how do you edit the posts? I use a Nikon D3100 with a 50mm f/1.8D lens and edit in Lightroom.

What’s in store for the future of B&B?/ Do you have any specific goals for the rest of this year? This year, I’m focusing on continued original content, improving my photography, and proactively pitching brands I admire directly.

What would you recommend to new bloggers (like me!)? It’s important to remember what makes your blog unique and wonderful is YOU. Keep your own voice and try not to compare yourself to others. It takes time, dedication and patience to grow. As long as you’re true to yourself, you can’t go wrong. (I also think you might find this post helpful! 15 Tips for New Bloggers)

Have more questions about how to launch a blog? Leave a comment below! And to keep up with all the lovely that is Laura, make sure to head to Bright and Beautiful!