I was inspired to write this post because of the negative comments we received on a recent post about upcoming bloggers. I believe these comments were justified – to a degree. We usually see the same sort of feedback on posts about bloggers on Who What Wear and Refinery 29 – why aren’t bloggers with smaller ‘followings’ being showcased??? Well as it happens, being a successful blogger is more than just being an early adopter and having large numbers. Most of these girls are self-made, they’re tenacious, and they’re carving out their own path. I come across new bloggers often that have great sites and are well made – cool style, nice photos – but unfortunately, it’s got to have so much more. A je ne sais quoi that can’t be imitated.
You don’t need a lot of money to create a memorable blog, but you absolutely need to have a great creative mind.
So why is no one reading your blog? Why aren’t you given a head start, being supported by the big players? Why isn’t your traffic growing? Here are my thoughts.
Mistake 1: Content for content’s sake.
A good blogger posts everyday – right? WRONG. It’s like that famous saying, “The words you choose to say something are just as important as the decision to speak.” Not many people can create engaging content out of what they wore to work on a Tuesday or what they had for breakfast. If you haven’t got something original, exciting, engaging, or emotional to show, then maybe don’t put anything up at all! If it’s not something you’d be happy to sign your name on, then it shouldn’t go on your site. That said, don’t be too ruthless – you have to choose where to hold your standard so your blog can survive. Imagine someone brand new arrives at your site, if they aren’t hooked right away they probably won’t come back – EVER.
The best examples I can give of amazing sporadic content are from 4th and Bleeker and Strange Ambition. Both of these blogs have been discontinued due to the writers having new opportunities presented to them. Who knows what kind of traffic they ever got – all I know is that the content was so original and wonderful, it opened doors. I wish they were both still running! Now that’s impact.
Mistake 2: Being a pale shadow of someone else.
There’s a formula. We all know it. Flatlays, legs on the bed, breakfasts, #fromwhereIstand, #armparty, photos on graffiti walls, sunsets, desserts, flowers, macarons…these styles were first adopted by Instagram heavyweights like Jules Sariñana and Aimee Song, who’ve used these tried and true #likebombs to build a huge following. Instagram has possibly become the most powerful tool to gain an audience for your blog and it’s great because it’s totally democratic (unless you bought followers – in that case, you’ve failed).
If you’re creating beautiful and original content, people will pay attention. Unfortunately these days, the formula is being adopted so much that it just becomes noise. What does posting a bunch of roses with a couple flower emojis say about you? Sharing your avocado toast #grateful? What’s original about your Stan Smith’s photographed on floorboards? If you’re afraid to stand out from the crowd, you’re just a lesser version of those who did it first.
I’m not saying abandon all clichés because a cute picture will always be a cute picture and I’m totally guilty of following certain trends too. You just gotta push yourself and give a little more, tell a story.
Mistake 3: No heart, no conviction.
This one is something I really struggle with and I believe it’s one of the most important ones when it comes to engaging an audience. Obviously it’s VERY important to have great pictures to complement your posts, but the text is where you put your real heart since not all of us can be Mario Sorrenti (but I’m trying haha!).
As I mentioned in my first point, often your blog will only get one chance to make an impression. A new reader lands on your site and finds great style, beautiful curation, but no story…not good. If you’re talking about a new purchase, shoes, or maybe a beauty product – extend yourself further than saying ‘I love this! I’m going to wear it to a cafe!’. We can’t all be incredible writers like the Man Repeller team, but putting just a little more thought behind what you write can make all the difference.
I often struggle with writer’s block…in a sense. I can comfortably write a few paragraphs of texts but mindlessly listing facts instead of telling a story or sharing something I’ve learnt isn’t meaningful. I find it best to leave the writing for times when I’m in a good headspace. You don’t need to be verbose, sometimes saying less is more valuable – just be aware of your words.
Not everyone out there wants to ‘make it’ as a fashion blogger and that’s fine. Simply having a blog puts you in a like-minded community. When I started, we really only had this (and each other) and it was wonderful to be a part of it. I write these comments just because I know there are bloggers out there working really hard and not seeing the results they are hoping for – and it could be for one of these reasons. Of course I’m guilty of making these mistakes – even today, but I’ve had 7 years to figure them out. Identifying them is the first step.
Hope this can help some of you push yourselves harder! I actually have 3 more ‘ways’ coming in second post since this one turned out so long! A great percentage of people don’t read posts that are much longer than 400-600 words…that’s just science so thanks if you got this far!