Blogger of the Week: Sarah Dewald
Blogger of the Week: Sarah Dewald
Sarah Dewald, the voice behind blog Lovings by Sarah Dewald, was kind enough to answer a few questions I had for her. Let me start by saying—this gal is quite possibly the most adorable and eloquent young person that I’ve ever come across, especially in the blogging atmosphere. Her photos are beautiful and her content is lovely—it’s a wonderful blog to read if you’ve got some spare time. I first came across her existence as a human being through CollegeFashionista. For a couple months now, they’ve been featuring some of their writers on snapchat for what they call “#CFLive.” Sarah is a weekly participant in this, and even her presence on this perfectly captures her sweet personality that exudes from her blog. Take a peek below at what she had to say to my questions, and check out her blog at https://www.sarahdewald.com/.
Maniac Magazine: How did you get into blogging and when did you start your own blog?
Sarah Dewald: I always had a passion for fashion and intellectually driven writing, and blogging marries the two. Furthermore, at the time I had recently stopped dancing – something I had been practicing (and loving) for nearly 20 years. The highly aesthetic nature of blogging exercises that creative muscle that I felt I lacked post involvement in dance. With that being said, I came from (extremely) humble beginnings. I was freshly 20 years old,and my blogging life was kept very quiet. At that point, it was something that was not nearly as common as it is now, and I was not sure how it would be received. I vividly remember propping my phone up on a stool on campus, and taking videos while I awkwardly posed in my hipster-focused attire (my style has changed dramatically). I would then screenshot my favorite moments in the video, and post them alongside an unfocused collection of pancake recipes, workouts, and more thoughtful, textual-based content. Needless to say, I’ve fine-tuned my approach to exude a bit more professionalism. There’s a beauty in the process though. Reflecting over that sort of growth encourages further self-development – pushing me to constantly deliver something ‘better.’
MM: You’ve got such a cute personality and style, but that doesn’t necessarily make for blog popularity. How do you think your blog became so popular—I think I read you’ve got 10k Instagram followers and 7000 blog followers!?
SD: This, for me, is so difficult to answer. There is no step-by- step guide or secret to driving engagement on social media. People either feel connected to your brand or they don’t. I like to think (hope?) that my personality shines through within my content, and that’s why I’ve found the successes that I have. Realistically though, I think quite a lot of luck and timing play into it. Blogging is a highly saturated market. There – most definitely – are individuals who are just as hard-working, driven, and creatively affluent as I aim to be, yet something doesn’t align, and their work is not as widely celebrated.
I feel incredibly privileged, and I treat it as such.
MM: At what point did the collaborations with brands start? Did these brands reach out to you or was it you that catalyzed the collaborations?
SD: Blogging at its core relays value – in any form – to those who follow along. How that translates for me? I aim to provide the most genuine suggestions to those who place trust in my opinion. Carefully aligning collaborations with your own understanding of value is strategic. Anything less cheapens your brand, lessening this value that drives readers’ interest. So, yes! I receive quite a lot of requests for collaborations. In fact, I started receiving communications of that variety fairly early (something I was certainly not expecting). I turn down the vast majority. No amount of money or free product is worth tarnishing your credibility, and authenticity is something that readers’ appreciate within these advertorial messages. That being said, there are incredible – and brand aligned – companies that I’ve worked with. I’m astounded that these power-packed, nationally established retailers reach out to me requesting a partnership. It all comes down to one reality: I’m extraordinarily fortunate. I hope that I convey my gratitude for holding the (growingly) expansive platform that I do. Capturing that in its entirety is a challenge.
MM: What I love about your blog is your voice—you’re so young, but your writing style is sophisticated and mature, which seems to be rare for young people these days. Is this a style you developed over time, or have you always had a “mature” voice in your everyday life?
SD: Well let me start, by exchanging an enormous, ‘Thank You!’. That is easily the best compliment you could give. I think my ‘maturity’ in communicative powers is perhaps instilled by both nature and nurture. Personality-wise, I have always been labeled as the token ‘old soul.’ I take an intellectual approach to communication – whether written or verbal – and I try to capture a sort of elegance in tone. Experientially, my writing has been – and still is – shaped quite dramatically by my Dad. My last few years in high school, he relocated to Argentina full time (and still lives there now!). At that time, he had developed a private blog, shared only with me and my sister. To this day, I read and reread it. The content, still, expands my thinking, and the writing style has pushed me to try to share my own ideas in an equally eloquent manner. I’m so fortunate to have been exposed to such thoughtful text. Even now, most of our communications are in written form. I’m constantly being encouraged and inspired to grow.
MM: I only just started a blog, and I’m struggling with wondering if people will even care to read what I write and what to write. Is this something you’ve struggled with, and do you still find a lack of inspiration at times?
SD: Oh, of course! Blogging, at its core, is the action of constantly putting yourself out there to provoke audience response, and it can have an intense paralytic pressure at times – not knowing what to post or if it’s ‘good enough’. I think it’s human nature to have those moments of overwhelming self-doubt – forcing you to wonder, “What will people think?”. However, that sort of energy can be harnessed and then translated into a smarter approach to the blogging game. It forces you to get more creative – more resourceful – more intentional – with everything that you publish. The pressure to deliver either cripples you or empowers you. I believe it’s purely a matter of mindset.
MM: Though you are a public relations major and may pursue a job in that field, do you ever think of blogging as a full-time gig after graduating? It does seem to have public relations aspects to it, though you create and execute all of your own collaborations.
SD: I get this question all the time! While I consider blogging a passion of mine, academia is equally as important to me. Of course there are overlaps. I’m constantly incorporating marketing/public relations strategy learned from school into my blogging endeavors. For now, I characterize blogging as a hobby. If the opportunity presents itself to transition, it’s an added bonus! The lifestyle of a successful blogger is (without a doubt) luxurious, but I feel that one of my defining characteristics within the industry is my fascination with approaching everything from a business-focused angle. A full time position in a corporate firm post graduation would certainly bode well for any endeavors I may have online long-term!
MM: Is there any advice you’d give to those wanting to start their own blog?
SD: Blogging has been, and will continue to be one of the most rewarding investments I’ve made in my time. You have the freedom to do whatever you want, unapologetically. As a once shy and overly timid person, it has allowed me to develop a powerful voice and instill quite a bit of confidence in the execution of my ideas. There is a great deal of work that remains unseen to those examining from purely a social media standpoint, but it makes it that much more special. The best advice I could give – GO FOR IT. Just pick a point and start there. There’s no right answer or specific path to success. It’s really just a mess of things that constantly need to be done and tackling them one by one. The reward, for me personally, has been incalculable.