Here I go again… This blog has been a long time coming, and is in fact my second attempt at tackling the blogging world.
So let me start at the beginning
Like many 20-something females, I love most things fashion and style related. A compulsive shopper (although my bank balance wishes I wasn’t), I often enjoy hours browsing the shops both online and brick-and-mortar. So it seemed like a natural conclusion to start a fashion blog.
At the time a close friend of mine worked in retail, where as I worked in marketing – so we teamed up to start our own fashion blog together. Inspired by Lookbook and Chictopia alike, we started by putting together looks on Polyvore and blogging about the trends we liked based on our personal styles.
The one factor neither of us had considered… Time! Starting a blog and keeping it updated took a lot of time! Another factor I didn’t consider was that you can’t really expect people to be on the same wavelength as yourself (friends, colleagues or other). Working in marketing, I knew what needed to be done in order to make the blog successful, and needed the people on board to know this too. This made it difficult for me to rely on someone else, and ultimately was the main factor in why it failed.
Needless to say, I haven’t been disheartened and am giving it another go. So what’s different now? There are a few things that I’ve learnt from that experience as well as what I have learnt from the current state of the bloggersphere. A few points include:
- Bloggers are on every platform now
- Find a niche
- Tune your frequency
- Define your “brand”
There are many different platforms for bloggers, and this goes beyond the ongoing battle of WordPress vs Blogger. In reality bloggers and/or vloggers, have the choice of specialising in any one platform or for the successful few, can build an audience on multiple platforms. It ultimately comes down to your preference, are you a photographer/creative who likes to blog mainly in image format? Then Tumblr, Instagram and gallery-based wordpress blogs are for you. On the other hand if you enjoy writing and talking about things, then a wordpress editorial style blog would work also.
For the vlogger crew, many have stuck to the staple you-tube channel and have managed to build a strong audience. And have catered to that audience successfully through their regular video blogs. An easy transition for vloggers would be to extend this towards Vine/Snapchat or even photo-based platforms like Instagram. A great example of this is one of my favourite vloggers – SoothingSista. She’s got a great following on her you-tube channel and has also developed an audience on Instagram. So does she need an editorial style blog too? No. And the reason is because she keeps her You-Tube audience engaged by providing regular content.
The lesson learned here is that you don’t need to be everything for everyone. You just need to do what works best for you and everything else will fall into place. This leads me nicely into my next point.
Finding your niche
One thing to ensure you have thought about when starting (or restarting a blog like in my case), is finding a niche. You need to set yourself apart from the other blogs and keep your audience engaged. In reality there are probably hundreds or thousands of other blogs talking about the same thing you are. This is definitely the case for fashion and lifestyle blogs, where the environment is so saturated with bloggers and vloggers all targeting the same audience. So finding your niche is not necessarily to say “you will be a fashion blogger, that specifically blogs only about [insert trend here]”, but for you to bring something different to the topic so that it makes a one-off reader convert into a true fan.
In my case, I didn’t want to just go back into blogging about fashion and lifestyle. Whilst I love fashion and enjoy travel, food, shopping, culture, etc. I had to ask myself, what would make someone actually want to read this? What would make me want to read this? I don’t work in fashion so can’t really be seen as a master on the topic.
So like all good bloggers, I stick to what I know. I love my job (full disclaimer I work in Marketing/Social Media). I love my work and am passionate about developing a successful career, and have found that many people tend to ask my advice on career choices, business questions, university advice, etc. (another full disclaimer, I’ve been developing a business model idea on a professional development consultancy targeted for women). So it made sense for me to blog about work and career advice. That’s my niche! And whilst I will blog about fashion and things I like to do, I’ll also do my best to share my knowledge on all things marketing, social media and career related.
What about frequency? How often should I post? When should I post?
There are many different answers to these questions. Ultimately it comes down to keeping your audience engaged. To do that you need to keep your content fresh. People today go through life constantly connected, either through their mobile phone, tablet or computer. Social media is such an everyday part of life; you have to make sure you get your content to your audience so they stay engaged. This may get difficult, take twitter for example, on average a tweet will only reach around 20% of its target audience.
So what can you do?
The only way to answer this question best is to test it. That’s what we do in marketing. Everything we do is based on testing. Test what time you post your blog, based on posting on a weekday vs weekend. How many views did it get in comparison? Test alternate times and see what works best for your audience.
Lastly but definitely not least, is perfecting your brand. A brand doesn’t mean a logo, or the theme you pick for your wordpress blog. This translates into everything about YOU! You are your brand. A successful blog is the one that has a personality to it, your personality to be exact.
So what if you don’t want to let people know too much about you? The other part of your brand, is your content. This is still part of your personality and style, but doesn’t necessary have to have your face or voice on it. For the camera-shy types, who prefer to either write or be behind the camera, you still have to show your personality when it comes to your content. In order to be truly engaging and build a strong audience, people have to be able to relate to you.
So that’s it for my first post. Please feel free to leave me a comment below, or connect with me via email [firstname.lastname@example.org] or tweet me @arcasela.