Fashion Bloggers, It’s Time to Step It Up!

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I was lying  on my couch Friday night, checking out my Facebook feed on my phone (as I always do when the Princess is having her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse time!) and I came across this article on IFB  – Why No One Wants to Hear About The Decline of Personal Style Blogging (Yet).  I checked out the Buzzfeed article it was responding to (which was a bit snarky for my taste but anyways!) and backtracked to Jeanine’s article about the fashion blogger bubble bursting.  I tweeted the post and ended up having a great convo with Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen (who has a great blog by the way! I read it all the time). It sent my writer mind into a tailspin! The same feelings I had in my last post about fashion blogging were confirmed and I started thinking about what we needed to do next.  You know we creative types can be all over the place and the more I thought about it, I found that the state of blogging affairs has come down to this:

We have to evolve.  We have to take our blogs to the next level.

Now I admit I’m not just a personal style blogger.  I didn’t start incorporating outfit posts until about a year after I started blogging.  Back then (we’re talking 2010 when I did my first outfit post), the idea of putting up what you’re wearing was really gathering steam.  I loved doing it and loved checking out other personal style bloggers because it was awesome to see fashion that wasn’t on a model.  It was a source of tangible inspiration, something I could easily try to do without breaking the bank.  It exposed me to new ways of wearing clothes and accessories while challenging me to be creative with what I already have (remember the 30 x 30 challenges?)

Now in 2013 we’re dealing with a gross oversaturation of new bloggers who are starting to look a lot alike.  I’m not seeing anything really new and creative. It’s because those top bloggers who made it have set an aesthetic standard that new bloggers are trying to attain.  I can’t blame them – they see this as the path to success in securing brand partnerships, major ad campaigns and a big readership.  Also, like the IFB article pointed out, companies are learning how to get the best bang for the buck when it comes to bloggers.  They are looking for more than just a fashionable girl with pretty pictures.

Bloggers who “make it” aren’t just cute anymore, they have business plans, niches, a specific purpose other than broadcasting their own vanity. – IFB

We gotta step it up people!  If you want to be in this fashion blogging world for the long haul, leave that day job and go pro, you have to up your game.  We have to go higher than what we used to.  It takes more than a good camera and a great fashion sense.  They are a million girls that have that.  It’s going to take something that isn’t as fun:

Business Sense.

We’re talking business plans, media kits, and business cards.  We’re talking analytics, editorial calendars, and target audiences.  It’s all about pitching, ROI’s, and branding. Your own sense of style doesn’t separate you from the pack anymore.  If you want to be a professional blogger you have to think like a business a person.

Before you write that next blog post or email a PR company for samples, these are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • What really makes you different from the gazillion fashion bloggers out there?
  • What value are you bringing to your readers?
  • Why should brands work with you?  What can you do for them and their brand?
  • What does your reader get from your blog that they can’t get anywhere else?

I know we are not feeling the negative vibe that being blogger has these days.  The stakes in this game have been raised and if we have to prepared to meet it if we want to be taken seriously.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!  What do you think we need to do to stay in the blogging game long term?

 

PS:  A great book that can help you answer some of those questions as well help you with a business plan is Fashion 2.0: Blogging Your Way to The Front Row by Yuli Ziv.  I can’t say enough good things about it!

 

17 thoughts on “Fashion Bloggers, It’s Time to Step It Up!

  1. You go girl! Wonderful post MJ! And congrats on making LALM!
    Though quite frankly I found myself exhausted just reading! Going pro is just not for me – I have two other day jobs I have to be a pro at and that drains most of my energy. But this is an inspirational post for those who want to take it to that level.

  2. Wonderful post. I often think about this, especially since some of us (me, you, and neighbouring bloggers) do monetise our blogs in some form. I agree with what Arash stated, “being able to adapt as well as making sure your content can still serve the brand as well as your readers,” I think the key is being selective, that’s what I do. Don’t just say yes to every sponsored post opportunity. For me, I enjoy blogging and even though I’ve had to scale back my posting due to life and work I am still in it for the same reasons–sharing my styling, inspiration and making people aware of worthy emerging talent. I appreciate good writing, and like when people highlight their area of expertise or have a unique viewpoint. When I started blogging I was a wardrobe stylist and menswear designer and tailor (so I can understand the concept of having your blog as a business), I came across so many designers and artists who needed a platform to be heard and given the spotlight, therefore I felt that I was already not the typical “fashion blogger,” amongst other reasons.

    Not too much has changed with my focal point, even with incorporating my outfit posts. I love sharing my inspiration behind an outfit, not just a sentence here visually reading, “look at me and my photos!” if that makes sense. :-) So, yes, really knowing your audience definitely helps with writing posts as well!

  3. Great post I saw the original article on IFB and it mirrors how I’ve been feeling for a while now. I although I blog myself, I don’t follow loads of fashion blogs as quite frankly a lot bore me. As far as 90% of them are literally a short paragraph and then outfit posts. What’s worse is that I’ve grown accustomed to being able to ‘sniff out’ sponsored posts. I don’t know if it’s the way certain bloggers write but some blogs are now nothing more than a giant advertisement and I tend to avoid those.

    I guess where do we go from here is the next question…

    There are plenty of ways of being different, I personally enjoy learning something from a blogger. But as more and more blogs monetize the trick is being able to adapt as well as making sure you’re content can still serve the brand as well as your readers.

  4. I really enjoyed this article and congratulations on your LALM win. I agree that there seems to be a degree of market saturation when it comes to personal style posts. Personally when I started my fashion blog I looked around to see what was missing in the current blogsphere and where that gap intersected with my personal interests. The result was the development of the curatorial (www.thecuratorial.com) that focuses more on the politics of fashion and in-depth designer profiles. I also include a lot of arts coverage as that is another passion of mine, and it seems to intersect well with my fashion coverage.

    Best,
    Rachel

    • That is a great way to approach in figuring out what to blog about. There aren’t too many blogs that cover that either so awesome job!

  5. I touched on this a bit yesterday in my blogpost. I think it’s important for bloggers to balance personal style blogging with useful tips to audiences. As bloggers, we’re first and foremost, writers. I also think it’s important to have some sort of niche – something you care about whether it’s ethical fashion, promoting positive body image, etc. Social causes never go out of style.

    • I agree. Your readers should come away with something useful after reading a blog post. That keeps them coming back!

  6. I have read Blogging Your Way to the Front Row! It is an awesome book. It gives some great insight on all the things you need to do to get noticed as a fashion blogger, and it really made me reevaluate how I approach writing posts and engaging my readers.
    I love this post! As a blogger who have a background in Fashion marketing and business in general, I definitely understand the importance of having a business mind about the blogging industry. I think another thing that is important and can help bloggers figure out a lot about their blog is doing a SWOT analysis. I hate leaving links in blog comments so I’ll just post the title and your readers can search it, but ProBlogger has a great post on how to ‘run a SWOT analysis on your blog.’

    • Isn’t it?? I love that book and it gave me a great way on how to approach my blog. I’m actually going to go back to it because I still think my blog needs work, especially now that I’m freelancing full time.

      A SWOT analysis is such a good idea! I’ve done that before when it came to my book work but never thought to do that with the blog! Love that.

  7. I am a fashion blogger, but I most more about other things or people that I think are fashionable. I have started sharing personal style posts, but very rarely. All personal style bloggers should evolve to keep their brand relevant. Also, I agree that blogs must have a business sense, and a sense of individuality. No one wants to see the same style being shown on different blogs.

    • I totally agree! It’s so important to set ourselves apart now more than ever. I’m even taking a step back from the few outfit posts I do to see how I can make mine different and unique.

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