Instagram, or better said Instagram users love beautiful images. They love cool, moody filters, interesting angles, unique typography, anything that’s not “the usual” boring shot. And by looking at some of the most popular Instagram accounts, you notice a few patterns that attract the most engagement.
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So you ask yourself, how do they come up with those filters? What apps do they use to saturate colors just the right amount? And how long does it take to get such interesting (and effective) images?
In most cases, it’s a mix of a few apps that do the trick. In this article, I’m going to share with you a few of these apps that will help you get amazing results.
Following is a list of steps and apps to help you take the shot, prettify it with cool edits & filters and add cool design elements and typography.
- First, take the shot.
Usually, the native camera app is pretty good on most smartphones, so you can use that for taking the picture. However, if you want to get some more advanced controls right from the beginning, you can use an app called VSCO.
VSCO is a comprehensive all-in-one camera app that allows you take the picture in DSLR-style (including manual focus) and make advanced edits, including light and color corrections, straightening and filters.
There are many ways you can use the VSCO app, from the basic editing features to the more advanced controls like adjusting the ISO, manually selecting the shutter speed, setting the white balance and manual focus, all of which allow greater flexibility than the native camera app.
You can continue to use VSCO to edit your image or use a different app called Snapseed (Android & iPhone). Snapseed offers slightly more advanced editing features (VSCO is particularly good at assisting you in taking the shot) that give you more creative freedom to play with (shadows, midtones and highlights controls), as well as color editing.
Plus, there’s the handy Histogram that assist you in getting the exposure right. Snapseed has another cool feature that lets you select various editing points and apply corrections only to certain portions of the image.
Snapseed is also useful in removing objects you don’t want in the picture. The tool is like an eraser that eliminates stuff that you don’t want in the shot, such as branches, wires, stains, etc.
You can do all your image editing in Snapseed or take a step further and mix it up a bit with another app called Afterlight. This app is known for its terrific textures, frames and filters. So after you’re done editing the light, color and exposure, you can turn over to Afterlight for more cool layers of filters and effects.
Another tweak you can make is perspective correction. It’s a fact that the wide lens on many of the smartphones is creating all kinds of perspective distortions that don’t look so cool. What you can do is use an app called SKRWT to easily correct those distortions and have a really good end result.
- Add typography and designs.
Depending on your niche, you can spice up your Instagram feed with a few quote images. They work great, people love them and they’re very effective in carrying various calls-to-action, asking questions, running polls and more.
The good news is you don’t have to use complicated software or even Canva to create these cool images. You can even use the ones you already have, make some tweaks, add some design elements and you’re done.
I’m going to share with you a few apps that are very easy to use right from your phone. You don’t need to have any kind of design knowledge, just use your creativity and mix things up to get the results you like.
Typorama is an iPhone app that lets you add different design elements to an image. Open the app and select a background from their library. Next, load the image into the app and double tap to add a text (quote, question, call to action, etc.).
You can prepare your text in advance by pasting it into a notepad document or just use Evernote. Either way, make sure you have the text ready when launching the app.
Once your text is pasted in the app, you can browse through their many fonts until you find one that works for you. When you’re done, you can either share the image on Instagram or save it in your phone’s gallery and make a few more tweaks.
I mentioned that Typorama is for iPhones, so here’s a similar app for Android users. It’s called Phonto and it does pretty much the same thing: adds nice typography to your images. Open the app, pick an image from your gallery, add your text and choose from their fonts library.
- Create a process for your Instagram workflow.
If you’re instagramming just for fun, then you don’t need to worry about posting fresh content on a consistent basis. But what do you do when you want to put up 3-5 images a day? You need a system, pretty much like an editorial calendar for your blog (you do have an editorial calendar for your blog, right?).
This is where Later (formerly known as Latergramme) comes in handy. This app lets you systematize and schedule your content in one sitting. Why you need that? First, because Instagram only allows images to be shared from your phone. You can’t share images like you would on Facebook, right from a desktop computer.
So what Later does is it lets you create a database of content ready to go live and all you need to do is select the images, add the tags, descriptions and set the date and time when you want them to be published.
When the time comes, the app will send you a pop-up message on your phone to remind you of the image that needs to go live. You simply press “Post” and you’re done. Just make sure you set the right time zone when you install the app on your device.
Another thing you can do is manage your audience (e.g. follow who follows you, unfollow unfollowers, add your competition’s fans, etc.). You can do all these things and more with an app called Crowdfire.
Building an Instagram presence is not so daunting, if you work smart, create a process, use simple tools and keep things simple. You can start experimenting with these tools, see how they work for you and you can add or remove some of them from your workflow, based on the results you’re looking for.
Blogging Is Not What You Are Doing But What You Are Being
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Think this one through.
Blogging is what you are being. Not doing.
Blogging is not mindlessly doing stuff. Oh shoot. You realized something, didn’t you? Blogging is not building an email list. Email lists do not give you success. Nope. Clear, confident, detached bloggers who have fun building email lists and who trust in the blogging process grow big, responsive, profitable lists….over time. What does this mean?
“Over time” means you do not panic, flip out or bail on blogging, if you calmly build a list and have fun doing it, for a long time, and see the appearances of little or no growth. This is BEING a successful blogger; having fun, trusting, being patient, taking the simple, easy route, even if it feels uncomfortable after blogging and list building for a bit and seeing the illusion of scant results.
Most Bloggers Fail Because They Screw It Up
Most bloggers buy into a lie; doing specific things makes you successful. Nope. If this were the case, everybody who builds a list would be billionaires. Because they built a list, lists breed success, right? Nope. Even if you follow steps robotic-like, your energy, your emotions, your feelings, all make up your BEING. The 6 and 7 and 8 figure earners who happily take this journey are being the 6, 7 and 8 figure earners energetically, calm and confident, after having fun creating content and connecting, and seeing $4 in blogging profits after 6 months of being the person. Every other blogger panics after 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, stop being the millionaire success, do dumb stuff, begin being a broke person, and see struggle and failure until they decide to be the successful blogger again.
The Core Elements of Being a Success
- for fun
- taking the easy but uncomfortable path; do what feels natural to you, even when you slam into fear of wasting your time, fear of being criticized, fear of mental blocks, etc
- with a complete trust in yourself
- with a complete trust in the blogging process
- with a complete trust in sound, proven advice from successful bloggers
Very few bloggers be these energies persistently. Very few bloggers happily earn a pretty penny over time. Few bloggers be success. Most bloggers try to do their way to success but since they act without giving any thought to their intent, their driver, their energy, almost all of these bloggers are being broke, poor, struggling and failing.
Blogging is not robotic. If blogging was robotic, every blogger who did specific things in a certain way would succeed. But this is not true. Blogging is energy. Top bloggers use all types of different approaches to reach the top. This indicates blogging is primarily energy, your energy coloring your actions and results.
Imagine if you feel like a failure. I advise you to write a guest post for me. You tell me you are lazy, have no ideas, cannot do it, need to take a few months off, etc. I offer you an opportunity to promote your success but since you are BEING a failure and feeling like a failure you are blind to the DOINGs (generous guest posting) of a successful blogger. See what I mean? Plus, if you seize the guest posting opportunity while feeling like a complete failure, either the post quality stinks or you write a masterpiece by the odd chance, that nobody reads. Nobody read it because you are feeling/being a failure, so, you see failure results.
100% of the time, blogging is energy. Being a success means blogging your fun, doing what feels easy and natural to you, trusting in self and the process, and feeling uncomfortable along the way.
Why Does Blogging Seem Hard?
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The question of blogging questions.
Why does blogging seem hard?
Blogging in and of itself is not hard. Blogging is a concept. A blog is an inanimate object. It is neutral. It is not hard, tough or easy.
Human beings label their feelings with emotions. THIS is why blogging seems hard.
Doing the neutral activity of blogging feels scary, meaning you unearth and either resist or feel fears. Feeling the fears feels highly unpleasant. Especially if said fears feel deep, strong, and terrifying, depressing or anger-inducing.
But if you resist these deep fears, and refuse to feel them, and blog mainly from a dominant vibe of fear, you fully experience the feeling of blogging being super hard. Blogging is actually neutral but you refuse to feel deep fears that blogging has unearthed. You resisting fear leads to prolonged blogging failure, aka, not seeing much money and traffic, aka, blogging being really hard.
Real World Example
A few moments ago, I scanned one of my daily blogging income streams. I made a little less than I had been making for 1 of a billion reasons. 1 such reason may have been the internet crashing here last night. We experienced a few big, powerful thunderstorms.
Anyway, I noted the dollar amount being lower and felt fear arise in my body. Rather than resist the fear, I felt the anxiety, and my mind hurriedly racing ahead to next month’s paycheck, and then, after breathing deeply for a few moments and fully embracing the fear, I released it. I did not resist it. I felt it. The fear disappeared. I then blog from an abundant, relaxed, detached, generous energy, which helps me become more and more successful.
But the old me – and most bloggers – see a lesser dollar amount for daily earnings, feel an intense fear arise, panic, bury the fear versus feeling it, and run around like mad men and mad women with that DEEP FEAR DRIVING THEM, desperate and greedy, resisting the fear, being driven by fear, and of course, they do stupid stuff with a dominant fear energy guaranteeing their blogging failure. Then, these humans who refuse to face, embrace and feel fears, proclaim blogging to be hard. This is a lie. Blogging is neutral. But you refuse to face, embrace and release your fears, so blogging *feels* hard.
Feel fears when fears arise. Cry it out. Shout it out. Feel depressed or deflated. Do not resist fear. Then, after feeling fears, you will feel good, detached, relaxed and trusting. Feeling these dominant abundant energies, you will create, connect, trust, persist and blog from a relaxed, chill energy. Blogging from this calm, trusting, generous energy makes blogging easier and easier and easier. Money flows in easy. Traffic flows in easy.
Blogging went from hard to easy because you faced fears, felt fears, and progressively blogged from an abundant, generous, calm, detached vibe.
Tip for Feeling Fear
Engage in some energy management ritual that expands your awareness. I do deep yin yoga and power walk daily. Prayer and/or meditation may help. Breathing deeply helps. Do anything that expands your awareness so you can observe and feel fear versus resisting this destructive energy.
Some humans bury fear with busy-ness and jobs they hate. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to bury fears. All of these folks are unhappy and depressed because you cannot feel good, abundant, relaxed and successful with oodles of fear buried deep inside of you.
Be with your fears. Be gentle with yourself. The blogger who feels and releases fear soon learns blogging gets easier and easier.
Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?
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One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.
Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.
Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.
Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.
Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.
Think Scale Not Small Time
WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.
One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.
Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.
You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.
People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.
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