WHEW. Today’s post is going to be a long one. I’ve had TONS of people email me throughout the years about blogging but sometimes it can be hard to thoroughly respond to each email! I always like to be as detailed and helpful as possible, so I thought I’d create a post for those of you who specifically want to learn how to start a fashion blog.
Before I ever started fashion blogging, I had many questions. HOW do you “become” a fashion blogger? How do you go about working with brands? Can you make money off fashion blogging, and if so, how? How do you start this process? I’ll answer all these questions and MORE throughout this post! However, I do want to point out that this post is overall very vague. There is just SO MUCH that goes into style blogging. If you guys have any more specific questions on the topics I’ll be discussing, I can always write a follow-up post! Or perhaps turn this into a series? Just let me know in the comment section.
So, you’ve had a passion for fashion for as long as you can remember, and you think you’re ready to create your own style blog. First of all, congratulations!! Making the decision to start a blog is extremely exciting, yet incredibly scary and vulnerable! You are making the choice to put yourself out there for potentially anyone in the world to see. Not everyone can say that! So here’s to you and your new journey that you’re about to embark on.
So with that, let’s get started!
1.) First of all, create a blog.
OMG! I know, it’s so scary!!! But the first step towards creating anything great is starting! Now, I’m not a super techy person so if you’re looking for a more detailed guide on the technicalities of starting a blog, I would Google that. However, I can help you get your foot in the door!
To start off, you’re going to want to pick a blogging platform. I use WordPress, and I love it. With choosing to blog through WordPress, you have two options: to blog through WordPress.com, or through WordPress.org. So what’s the difference? If you’re committed to owning your blog and making an income off of it, WordPress.org is for you. WordPress.org is self-hosted, whereas wordpress.com is not. If you choose to blog through WordPress.com, you will never be able to implement advertising on your blog, and you technically don’t own your blog. WordPress does.
The last piece of advice I would give regarding creating a blog is to make it a pretty one! Consider hiring someone to design your blog so you have a crisp, clear design that is attractive to your future audience. Trust me when I say that the first thing people notice is aesthetic. If people get lost in the clutter on your blog or your site is not visually appealing, they will leave. Choose wisely!
2.) Choose web hosting service
But wait! What the heck exactly even is a web hosting service?! A web host service allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the internet. You can’t own a space without having a host service!
At the time, I currently use Bluehost, but I’ve had lots of issues with it lately. I’m thinking of making the switch to HostGator, which I’ve heard great things about.
Like any other hobby, starting a blog does require putting some money down in the beginning, but after the initial expenses, blogging itself is virtually a free gig. Where it gets expensive down the road is if you choose to advertise through Facebook, join giveaways, etc. to grow your blog.
3.) Pick a domain
Eek! This part can be super stressful, but exciting! It’s now time to pick a domain, or the name of your blog. Not to scare anyone off but picking a domain is HUGE and should require lots of thought before choosing so. Your domain is going to be the face of your blog. Choose wisely! I would suggest brainstorming, talking to others who know you well, and thinking about it for a while before creating one in the spur of the moment. In addition, because there are already thousands of blogs on the intrawebs, many domain names are already taken. It might take you awhile to find something that isn’t already being used by someone else. You can always change your domain down the road, but it can be a bit of a hassle. Luckily, after 2.5 years of blogging, I still love my blog domain of InspirationIndulgence.com!
4.) Find a photographer
Now that we got the technicalities out of the way, it’s time for the fun stuff – creating content! The truth is that fashion blogging is largely focused on images. Images are HUGE HUGE HUGE. I cannot stress this enough. My biggest piece of advice for new style bloggers is to invest in quality images to accompany your written content. Perhaps consider hiring a photographer or invest in trifold photography with a professional camera. Some bloggers have their husbands, sisters, friends, even mothers take their photos. Hey, if you have the resources, all the power to you! I didn’t want to burden my family with that responsibility so I decided to hire. Best decision I ever made!
When I first starting blogging, my images were HORRIBLE. I mean, they were God-awful. I hope you guys don’t ever creep back to my beginning posts, LOL. I didn’t know WHAT I was doing with my camera. I edited my photos so extreme to the point where it looked like my skin was orange. LOL. I’ve come to realize throughout the years that although I enjoy photography, I’d rather not do it myself, which is why I decided to hire out. It was a personal decision I decided to make and I’ve never looked back. It truly helped take my blog to the next level.
My tips for finding a photographer: Find someone that you can be yourself around. Don’t be afraid to be silly! Your photographer should be someone that you are able to communicate your creative vision with, try new things, and just experiment.
5.) Practice your poses
This sounds silly, but practice posing in the mirror before you shoot. Or else you can use your iphone’s self-timer. With a little practice in front of the camera, you’ll eventually nail down your “signature poses” and find which angles are your favorites to shoot. What I mean by that is that you’ll soon find what poses work for you, and which poses don’t! For example, I’ve found that the poses I’m most comfortable to shoot in front of the camera include looking down or over my shoulder, and natural “on the go” walking shots. I struggle with the “laughing” poses, and any pose where I have to smile, LOL. You’ll soon discover your own personal “shooting” style!
6.) Create quality content & plan accordingly
I cannot stress this enough- quality content is EVERYTHING! I’m pretty sure every blogger you will ever talk to can vouch that they are embarrassed by their early content. The truth is, they shouldn’t be embarrassed, because blogging is a learning process! But to save yourself the headache, be mindful of how you are creating your content. So what exactly makes “quality” content? I believe well-thought out ideas, crisp images, and proofread posts (which I’ll admit, is my biggest weakness because I’m always in a rush. Oops).
A huge brainstorming session is usually how I go about beginning content creation process. I always am taking notes via the little notepad on my iPhone when ideas come to mind. You never know when inspiration will strike! I swear, I think of my best ideas in the shower, lol. Once I get those ideas out on paper, I begin to schedule post ideas to my editorial calendar. Keeping an editorial calendar will be your lifesaver. Why? It will help you plan your photography, outfits, sponsored deadlines, and everything else you need to prepare for the post.
6.) Market yourself through social media, especially Instagram
Once you have started to create quality content, it’s time to market yourself. I swear, 95% of my time working goes into marketing my brand through social media. I cannot express how important social media is a factor in building your style presence, particularly Instagram. Although I’m sure you already knew this, because social media has been around for a while now. 😉 Of course, Instagram is probably the most important platform for style bloggers because it is image-centered.
I could literally write hundreds of blog posts on networking through social media, but I’ll try to keep this short and simple for those of you who are new to style blogging. Mostly, I choose to focus on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Pinterest is where 85% of my blog traffic comes from, and Instagram is how I find 90% of my brand collaborations. I use Facebook to share my posts because I personally enjoy Facebook, but I know many bloggers who don’t utilize Facebook (which I think is silly.) I also have a Twitter account, but I don’t focus as much attention to Twitter. (There’s only so much one person can do! ) Lastly, I use Snapchat to share fun behind the scenes and my day-to-day outfits. I use it more as a tool to share my personal life and as a mechanism to bond with my readers more. Snapchat is also nice because it feels like a smaller community!
7.) Work with brands
By now you have your blog up and running, you’ve been working on building your platform, and you think you’e reading to start working with brands. Alright guys, hears the deal. Working with brands is another thing that I could write a hundred blog posts on, and then some. The first thing I would like to point out is that figuring out how to work with brands is not an overnight thing. Or even something I could possibly describe in a few paragraphs. It took me YEARS to learn how to consistently collaborate and earn an income through working with brands. Particularly, the fashion industry can be a harsh, because a lot of brands want to do swapsies; i.e. “We’ll send you a pair of earrings in exchange for a blog post and social media exposure.” While it is initially very exciting to receive free product, it gets tiresome after you’ve become a seasoned blogger, and soon enough you’ll get to the next stage of your blogging career where you will desire payment instead (which you should!!)
As a style blogger, you’ll most likely be making an income through affiliate marketing and sponsored posts. Affiliate marketing is making a commission by promoting another company’s products. You may notice the advertisements on my sidebar. That is affiliate marketing. In addition, I make a commission off of posting my outfits to RewardStyle, the most popular platform for fashion bloggers to earn a commission through.
Making an income through sponsored posts happens when a brand is willing to pay you for blog and/or social media exposure. For example, my recent collaboration with Dove is an example of a sponsored post. So how do you go about scoring these opportunities? It truly takes time. My best piece of advice is to build your content up, particularly on Instagram, and brands will eventually take notice. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands! The other way I communicate with brands is through contacting the PR rep of the brand directly myself. I look up their contact information (sometimes this can be the biggest challenge of them all), send them my Media Kit, and follow up when I haven’t heard back within 3-5 days.
Working with brands is a whole beast in itself. I want to summarize this section by stating that the most important thing you can do to attract brand collaborations is to create quality content, build your brand, and not sell yourself short. You shouldn’t EVER be expected to work for free. At first, it can be very exciting to receive free product, but you are also providing a service to that brand, and you deserve to be compensated for the hard work you put in.
8.) Hustle….but don’t be so hard on yourself
There is a sense of urgency that also accompanies style blogging. Perhaps because styles are always changing, clothing items go in and out of stock, and there is a need for content to be updated regularly. I would argue that style blogging is the most difficult niche in the blogosphere because there is just so much to it. From images, to keeping up with the industry, to social media, there is always something to be done! It can get easy to burn out in a field that is so image-focused. I’ve been there, done that.
Hustle hard, but be sure to take care of yourself in the process! Remember that when you’re first starting out, your blog is not going to turn into Aimee Song overnight. So give yourself permission to be imperfect! We’re only human. As the saying goes, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” When you feel yourself getting burnt out, remind yourself of why you started in the first place…because you love fashion and you want to share that passion with others! Whether you have one million people following your blog or two people, I think that’s pretty awesome. You’re influencing others through your voice and creativity.
To me, that is such an INCREDIBLE gift.
Photos by Capture Life Moments | Top: Livin Freely Shop | Shorts: American Eagle | Satchel: Apricot Lane | Shoe: Charlotte Russe | Scarf: American Eagle (out of stock) | Sunnies: Ray-Ban
It is my firm belief that ANYONE can be a fashion blogger, no matter where you live, what you look like, what your lifestyle is like, or who you are. I’m from a small town in Northern Wisconsin and when I first started style blogging, I’m pretty sure everyone around here thought I was nuts. I was afraid to hide who I was. Now, I have no shame. I’ll stop to take an outfit photo on Main Street in front of a crowd of people whereas before it would take a couple glasses of wine before I let my fiancé take a photo of me. The difference is that I now have a platform to show for myself and I’m making an income, so yes, this is part of my job. But I didn’t get to this point overnight. It took a strong sense of belief in myself and assurance that this is what I wanted to do. I want to encourage you BBs to not be afraid to put yourself out there! You may surprise yourself and find a new passion.
I was very excited to share this post with you, now I’d LOVE to hear your feedback. Is there anything else I missed that you guys would like to know? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
P.S. SURPISE! There’s a GIVEAWAY! I have teamed up with some amazing bloggers to bring you a $200 Target gift card! Who couldn’t use a $200 gift card to Target?!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To enter, complete as many tasks as you can in the Rafflecopter form. All entries will be verified before a winner is chosen. US only. No giveaway accounts allowed – they’re automatically disqualified. This giveaway is not sponsored by Target. Giveaway runs from 7/27 – 8/3. The winner will be chosen and contacted by 8/4.
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