What I learned about Fashion Blogging in 2014
I constantly get asked by friends who are trying to start blogging to give them advice and pointers. What are some tips I would give them about blogging, what should they do how do they even get started? While there is a lot I could tell you (besides the obvious of opening up an account on blogger or WordPress) there are so many little things about blogging you don’t really know until you learn for yourself. If you have stuck by my side you might have noticed that my blog has been through a lot of changes, ups and downs and random trials and errors of which way I wanted to go. This year was the year I stopped just blogging for a hobby and wanted to actually make some money from doing what I love to do most. Truth is there’s so much to learn about blogging, but I really think you can only learn most of it after years of trial and error. Although there are many amazing blogs out there that help save you the time and effort by getting to the reality of blogging (something a lot of bloggers prefer to keep “hidden”) I hope today to be one of those bloggers that gets real and hope to help you out in one way or another. Here’s the dirt… blogging isn’t easy. Followers don’t just come to you because you have great content (wouldn’t that be awesome?). A strong readership comes only after mastering your niche, your audience, your work flow and networking (among many many other things). Fashion blogging especially is not exactly what you would think “blogging” to be.
Here are some things I learned this year about blogging:
1. Nothing is as it appears to be. Before I first started fashion blogging I thought girls just walked out of their house looking chic as hell and “oh hey… there happens to be a camera to capture this beautiful moment! How perfect everything is’. WRONG. Nothing is effortless. A lot of the bloggers you see out there take photos upon photos upon photos (let me over stress this part) to get that one “running out to get coffee” photo or the “oh my shoes just fell beautifully on my hard wood floor next to my purse with a flower arrangement next to it”. I’m guessing you already know this, but I want to emphasize how much it really is just appearances. I think it’s cool though and I admire bloggers who have this down to a T because I think it takes talent to look so effortless. I personally think it’s so interesting how people build a whole brand around themselves.
2. Treat it like a business. If it’s just a hobby I suppose you don’t have to “treat it like a business” but I strongly believe that you should be professional no matter what. By professional I mean, check and cite your sources, stick to what your blog is supposed to be about (for the most part) and don’t do social media under the influence of ANYTHING (you’ll feel really stupid when you wake up the next day and realize you miss spelt your favorite designers name.) If you are serious about your blog then it’s probably time to make a business plan, figure out your target market, write down your goals (long term and short term) and stick to the plan!
It’s crazy how I was kind of floating for so many years. I mean… it was just a hobby and something I loved for so long, but I realized if I wanted to really do this (I mean do this and get paid for what I loved) then it was important to know exactly what I stood for, who I was and what kind of people I wanted to follow me. ( PS, this is still a work in progress but I think just knowing you need to narrow yourself down helps a lot).
3. Know your niche!!! going along with treating it like a business… Every business has a niche. I seriously feel that I sometimes don’t know which way I want to go because I love everything. I feel inspired by something and I run with it. But in blogging (especially fashion blogging) , it’s so important to stick to your niche because it’s the only way to stand out in this sea of fashion bloggers. Everyone has photos of a cute tulle skirt in front of the Walt Disney Hall… but what are you going to do to make your photo stand out? I’m sure you’ve heard this one before but it seriously wasn’t until this year that I sat down and said.. ok… what the hell is your niche? … A bit late but better late than never right? This year I learnt not to just wander aimlessly but have a vision and a reason for doing what you are doing.
4. Make your brand fit your lifestyle not your lifestyle fit your brand. I have no idea where I saw this but it’s something that stuck with me. When you are looking for your niche and figuring out who you are in this sea of bloggers do what you know and what you are good at. Don’t go chasing after a dream of wearing Manolos and Prada if you can’t even afford Topshop. It’s just plain stupid. Instead work your creativity, rework your wardrobe, get to thrifting (ie, get crafty!). You’re much better off doing what you know and can attain than trying to endlessly reach something that is impossible. Not to mention you will undoubtedly be happier.
5. Everyone copies everyone. This sucks. Ugh. But it’s pretty much a reality I have had to come to terms with. When I first started blogging in the competitive field I got so pissed when someone would copy my outfits and re-post as if they were their own creative ideas. As months have gone by I have come to realize copy cats are inevitable. If someone copied me I would get so pissed off when I soon realized I was only hurting myself and wasting energy on something that didn’t help me at all and only gave that copycat more power. Now I just let it slide and continue to do what I am naturally drawn to… after all, if people are copying then it must be good right? I think this goes for all bloggers out there no matter what they are doing and ties into number 2 and 3: If you just stick to what you know, keep doing “you” and work your magic it wont matter if someone else is ripping your ideas because in the end it’s all very transparent and you keep making magic right? Let’s just tell ourselves we are making magic because positivity really does go a long way. Even if we are tooting our own horns.
6. Don’t compare! One the note of “Everyone copies everyone”… DON’T.GET. SUCKED.IN!!! Be yourself. It’s so important because no one wants to see an exact clone of someone else and believe me.. people will notice. Plus why try to be like everyone else when you were born to stand out? I for one am still working on myself and trying to let the real ME always shine. Sometimes I tend to have a wall up in fear that I am showing “too much” but really… I have to get over this because I am in the public eye and that just defeats the whole purpose. Let your freak flags fly!! I mean… why do you think Cara is this huge and an internationally famous model? Girls got personality flying out of her arse (I love when I can use that word in opportune moments). This year I have learned not to follow any girls that make me compare myself to them. Why? because it distracts me from keeping on my path and doing what I do and instead makes me want to compete. This year I learned that a little competition is good but it’s better when its because of inspiration and not because of ego.
7. Plan Plan Plan!! Years ago I would just do everything as it got thrown at me. Emails, posts, instagrams, photo sessions… it seems so simple if you don’t blog, but if you do then you know how time consuming this can all be! The number one thing I have learned is to PLAN AHEAD… Plan everything ahead and then some just in case. This has made my life much easier. This year I have made it my mission to be organized. Drafts of posts prepared since before (that doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous when I want), instagram photos set up for when I don’t have time to take them and lists of backup post ideas in case I need them. Whenever I see an instagram to capture or have an idea I snap away and save all the photos on my phone for a better time to post. This makes it easy for me to post something even when I am doing something completely different and irrelevant. With outfit posts I have learned to shoot more than one look in one day. This has been a life savor because sometimes outfits just don’t look as good in the photos or maybe the light just wasn’t right. The more photos I have the less stress. Sometimes I shoot them all on the weekend and have the rest of the week to write, edit, send emails, instagram and work on my photography business I recently started. I am still learning to plan ahead. I by no means am a master at this but this is all stuff I have learned that I think is beneficial.
8. Nobody likes perfect. I think when I first started blogging I pretty much just posted whatever the hell I felt like posting. I would post anything that inspired me… mood boards, outfit collages, editorials or just random photos of my weekend. As the competition in the fashion blogging world grew in the past two years I started to really turn into a perfectionist. It really wasn’t the best because I started to worry about all the simple little things that were not necessarily bad, but it sometimes put up a wall between me and my readers because it was just too perfect. I’ve had to learn to chill out and realize people don’t want to see perfect! They want to relate to a normal person full of flaws and imperfections. So now I try to just go back to how I used to post while still applying all the new things I have learned. Also it’s so much more fun and dynamic this way. I say no matter what stick to what inspires you always, not what you think people want to see and your first instinct is always the best.
9. Networking in person is important. Guys, face to face networking was so terrifying for me! Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty social and love making friends but I don’t particularly like to make myself vulnerable. I wouldn’t say I am horrible (don’t want to put that out there in the universe) but I definitely don’t enjoy talking myself up to complete strangers. I always feel so fake and I still feel awkward talking about fashion blogging even though it’s more known then it used to be. This year I have been invited to many events where other bloggers and people in the fashion industry were present and it’s amazing the connects I’ve made! I used to not go because I was scared to go alone but you know what? A lot of other people go alone and most likely it will force you to have to talk to people and make friends. Networking in person and not through the internet forms deeper bonds. People remember your name and if they like you they might want to introduce you to others like minded people. Your personality will even come through a lot more in person than it would through the internet. One thing I have learned, don’t ditch the events because you are lazy or scared to go alone… you never know what opportunities could arise from making one new friend.
Ok, this was a long one and trust me it could be longer! I just feel every year I learn something new. I think I rambled a bit but I thought it would be fun to get the 411 from a fashion bloggers perspective. What do you think? Are there any things you have learned from blogging this year that you never knew before? Would love to hear!