Courtney Horan began blogging as a way to keep track of her daily fitness routines and meals. Her blog centers around living a healthy and active lifestyle, all while maintaining a positive outlook (with room for dessert). Courtney’s path was not always easy — after college, she struggled with relationship issues and allowed bad habits to take over her life. However, she was able to find her drive and ultimately achieve a healthy, balanced life.
In her interview feature, Courtney shares her life’s experience in the ever-changing blogging world, and how it has evolved into a veritable business platform connecting audiences with brands. Sweet Tooth Sweet Life “a love of food, fitness, and fashion” shares the latest on her pregnancy journey, recipes, workouts, meal planning, and more.
Read Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s interview to learn her views on the industry, candid advice for bloggers and brands alike, and her viral post, “The Twinkie Diet.”
How did you get started blogging?
I had been reading blogs for about a year and always thought, man, that seems really fun! Then while I was away one weekend with my husband, I told him that I wanted to start one of my own and he said, “Ok, then go for it!” So I started right then and there by taking a super dark and grainy picture of our truffle fries.
What was your first blog post?
I actually had to go back and re-read it because I had no idea! My very first post was basically two sentences saying “Hello!” to the world. But my first “real” post was a bit of a recap of that weekend that we were away in Burlington, VT. Sadly, I ended up deleting most of the pictures from my first few posts back in the day, because I had run out of storage space and had no idea what else to do. Rookie mistake…
What was your breakout moment?
Breakout moment? Eeeesh, that sounds weird…I’m not sure I’ve ever really had one particular moment that has been super successful (at least not that I’m aware of?). There had been a number of times where I’ve been featured on blogs of others that I truly admire, and I do believe that they helped to grow my audience a bit. Other than that, I think things have really just been smooth and steady, with some ups and downs along the way, of course.
Have you ever written anything that’s gone viral?
Way back in the day, within the first 6 months of starting my blog, I wrote a post about an article I had read about a Twinkie Diet. It ended up getting featured on the WordPress homepage and I got a TON of new traffic from that, which I thought was crazy as a newbie blogger! I’ve also had a few recipes do really well on Pinterest, such as my Easy Cheesy Spinach Pasta and Mini Turkey Apple Meatballs.
How has blogging changed since you got started?
I think one of the biggest things I’ve seen change in blogging, in terms of the blogs that I read personally, is that everyone is really starting to find their own rhythm. When I first started out, I felt like I had to mirror exactly what everyone else was doing. As a “healthy living blogger,” that meant blogging three times a day, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I did this, as did many others (and some still do!), for a good two years or so until I finally realized that I just couldn’t keep it up. And I see this with many others blogs as well. I think people are starting to feel comfortable blogging about whatever they want, rather than feel like they need to be trapped in a certain category.
Where do you see blogging evolving?
Just over the past year, I’ve been amazed to see just how much brands are starting to look to bloggers as a credible source of marketing and advertising. I mean, as a blog reader, I can’t even begin to tell you how many new things I’ve tried, simply because I read about it on a blog. And I think companies are seeing that value now, which is great! As a blogger though, I think it’s so important to keep your values in place though, and not get caught up in the numbers. Staying true to yourself and the brands/companies you truly enjoy is so important. You can’t take every opportunity that comes your way if it isn’t the right fit.
What’s on your list of daily reads?
After checking Instagram and Facebook, of course (and Twitter occasionally), I head to my BlogLovin’ feed, which is currently filled with about 30 different blogs with everything ranging from foodies, to fitness fanatics, hair and makeup DIY, and kid-friendly sites. I don’t get to reading all of them every day, but a couple of my favorites right now are Girl Meets Life, The Lunchbox Diaries, Peanut Butter Fingers, and Maskcara.
How do you keep up with social media?
Well, honestly, I don’t. If I tried to keep up with all of the social media outlets that I enjoy, I’d be stuck to my phone and computer 24/7! Once I had my son, I realized that I needed to scale back, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you’re “missing out” on things. So now I check up on my favorite social channels when I feel like it. In terms of blogging and social media, I’ve found that apps like CoSchedule make a world of difference when trying to schedule content without having to be stuck at the computer. It’s amazing!
If you had more time, what would you do more?
I would read more books. Nowadays, most of my extra time outside of my day job gets devoted to family, then blogging, then usually TV time (I’m a TV junkie, what can I say?). But I’d really like to try to carve out more time to sit and read a good book every now and then.
What advice would you give to a blogger just getting started?
Don’t pay attention to what the other bloggers out there are doing. Ultimately, you need to find your own voice, and that’s likely not going to mirror someone else who’s already been at it for a while. In addition to that, give yourself time. A lot of bloggers start off wanting a big audience, and that’s just not usually the case. It takes time to grow, and the best way to do that is to get your face out there! Be social, get on all of the social media channels to promote your content, comment on other blogs…the more people see you, the more likely they are to come check out your content.
What’s your advice to brands looking to build a campaign or partner with bloggers?
I really appreciate when a brand shows that they truly see the value in working with a blogger. When I’m asked to promote a brand/product in exchange for “free social shares” or product only, it’s a little bit of a turn off because that is likely not benefiting both parties equally (depending on what the product may be).
If a brand wants to reach out to a blogger to create a partnership, show some interest in them! Let them know that they’ve been watching them, they like what you see, and maybe give some ideas on how they can partner up. I absolutely love when brands are open to my ideas, because it allows us all to work collaboratively on something that is best for the brand and for the blogger and readers. It’s a win-win for all!