If you search IFB on articles about blogging, you’ll find a lot of useful information. How to improve your blog, how to deal with advertisements, how to deal with PR companies, and so on and so forth. Being a blogger myself, I’m always interested to read these kind of posts. A lot of us want to know more about the business side of blogging, but information about that tends to be limited. Why is that? Simply because “the blogging business” can not be easily defined. There are no simple success factors, it seems as if every blogger has a different story on how they got their blog to be successful. Therefore, I wanted to share the stories of some of Belgium’s most loved fashion and beauty bloggers. Read on to see how they made their blog successful and share some of their tips on how to blog.
“Fashionata is my fashion journal. I write daily posts about my style, fashion, beauty and inspiration. My visitors are still growing every month. One of the things I love most about blogging is the feedback I get from my readers, they give me the inspiration to try new things and push myself more”, Sofie tells me. “When I look back at the beginning of my blog I never would have expected to be where I am today. My job is amazing, my blog is still growing and I love the fact that I can work with fashion every day. I studied marketing so I expected to find a job in that field. The fact that I could turn my hobby into my job is simply amazing! It’s hard to say what made my blog successful, I’ve been featured in magazines several times, I’ve been on the radio; these things certainly helped me reach some recognition.”
Immi from Style for Guys is also one of the lucky few who has gotten a lot of attention because of his blog and style. “It started out as a hobby, a passion and a place for me to share my thoughts on style. This quickly turned into a possible work dream, as the amount of readers and my general knowledge increased. I have been very fortunate and have never had to reach out to anyone to get more well-known or recognized. I just sort of did my thing and after a while people kind of picked up on it and contacted me. I’ve been very blessed, I fully realize that.” The coolest things Immi has experienced? “I’ve been featured in and written for great magazines, worked for national radio and traveled abroad as a reporter. All of these lovely things happened because someone noticed my blog and thought it would be interesting to collaborate. After such collaborations, it’s easier to work together again on future projects.”
Tips & Tricks
How do I get people to notice my blog?
Sofie: Popularity is hard to define, but spreading the word of mouth plays an important part in getting noticed. People will talk about you, other people get curious and they’ll take a look at your blog to see what it’s about. I think it’s important to create a positive image. Do what you love doing, and you’ll get there is my motto.
How do I make the right contacts in the business?
Sofie: It’s important to be sincere in this business. If you are both sincere and honest, you’ll get to know people very fast and you’ll make some good contacts. It’s always very important to be professional, even when your blog isn’t that big yet. When you send an e-mail to a press agency, always introduce yourself and give them correct data (such as unique visitors, page views) about your blog. Don’t lie! The truth will always come out and lying is just very unprofessional.
Immi: Going to fashion events is quite crucial. Here, you can talk to people from the industry (it’s always better to make a real-life connection). If you’re kind, down-to-earth and sociable it can get you a long way. Be professional in your e-mails towards PR-agencies. I’ve met some amazing people in PR, it’s important to be respectful and grateful towards them. Don’t treat anyone like a subordinate who just has to give you goodie bags and invitations.
Sofie: First of all – don’t start blogging for the money! It usually takes a long time before your blog is big enough to make some money off of it, and it’s not simple. I have some advertorials or banners on my blog but I couldn’t live from that. It’s just a nice little extra. I believe that bloggers can live off there blog, but you have to be ultra famous for that :)
Immi: I don’t earn cash through ad revenues. My blog has landed me several freelance gigs for other media, which is my extra source of income. Again, I’ve been very fortunate to have been contacted myself regarding these freelance offers. If a company wants to advertise I always look at the products they offer and whether their vision correlates with mine or not. I’ve had some funny offers – ads for garden equipment and washing machines – I turn these down since they are irrelevant for my audience.
Sofie: Always be honest and professional. Don’t give up, even when you’re feeling down. Blog because it’s your passion, not because you want money or free products.
Immi: Choose quality over quantity – don’t make a post unless you’ve got something to say. Avoid being a Negative Nancy; if something isn’t up to par, just don’t post anything about it! Last but not least, stay true to your own aesthetic and vision. No one likes to read something they’ve already read elsewhere over and over again.
“I started my blog on a day when I was bored. I created an account on Blogspot, made up a name, et voila, Joliette was born! At first, writing and posting was harder than I would have expected it to be, but I told myself I at least had to try it for a week. This is my second year of blogging now (laughs).” Lisha from Joliette runs the blog together with her sister. She still considers her blog as a hobby, even though she writes a post every day. “When I look back at the beginning, I think it’s amazing to see where I am today!”
Petra is the woman behind the blog The sprinkles on a cupcake, she thinks of her blog as a wonderful hobby. “I love my blog and put a lot of time and effort in it. I would love to turn it into my job, but I’m not sure if that’s possible. My blog is about beauty, make-up, lifestyle and cupcakes. I love cupcakes, the decoration on it is what makes it complete. That’s also true for an outfit; the right accessories, shoes and make-up is what makes it complete.”
Do’s and Dont’s for Beauty Bloggers
Lisha: Make sure your pictures look amazing. Beauty is all about looks, a scruffy layout or blurry pictures are a no-go. Also don’t be afraid to write about other stuff than beauty sometimes. If you’re in the mood to write about purses or shoes, just go for it!
Don’t… make videos because everyone else does this.
Don’t… write a lot of text if you’re not good at this. I’d rather read three lines of fun text and a lot of beautiful pictures than one blurry picture and a lot of bad text.
Don’t… start a beauty blog at random. You’re not an expert when you put on lipstick for the first time and start a blog about that. Know your field, know what you write about. If you’re a beauty rookie, make sure to tell your readers.
Petra: Blog because you absolutely love it! Be honest and original. Do not “steal” articles from other people. Always mention the source of where you got the idea. Make sure your lay-out looks good. Strong, quality photos are important. Also, visit the blog of the people who visit yours and leave a comment, they’ll appreciate it. A very big don’t = do not blog only because you want free products.
Must-know general tips
Lisha: Just do your thing, honey! Blog because you like it, blog about a subject that is your passion and don’t think about goodie bags, free stuff or statistics. Make sure your blog looks spic & span and really represents you 100 per cent, it’s your business card after all. Also, don’t be afraid to do something unprofessional, you’re a blogger, so that’s you have the liberty to be personal. Relax, do your own thing. Que sera, sera.
Petra: Blogging takes a lot of time and effort. It’s important to realize this when you start, be sure you really love blogging otherwise it won’t last long. Try to blog every day and make sure you deliver quality content. Don’t expect to get free products from the moment you start blogging.