December 14, 2013

Fashion Blogging: Look at 7 hard realities before you jump

It goes without saying that if you want to succeed as a blogger - whether in beauty or fashion or other niches - you will need to act professionally and take blogging as business rather than hobby. It is also expected that you are choosing the fashion niche for blogging because you are passionate about fashion, you love looking beautiful and you keep yourself  updated on fashion trends.

Though blogging into beauty and fashion looks easy - especially to beautiful ladies - fashion blogging poses many challenges born out of very high competition form brands, retailers, fashion magazines and websites, and established bloggers. 

fashion photo
Too commonplace? Think afresh.
It is not that you cannot succeed if you are starting a fashion blog now. You can indeed succeed very well. However, for that you should take the right steps and also be aware of the challenges so that you can tackle them effectively. This post is devoted to these challenges and how to overcome them.

1. You'll need to be one step ahead of competition by being up-to-date on new fashion and lifestyle trends, new products, changing consumer preferences and so on.

Just browsing the net does not take you too far because all fashion bloggers do that. If you want to be one step ahead of them, you must regularly visit fashion events and product launches, read fashion magazines and develop the art to catch early signals from everywhere. Of course, make it a habit of regularly browsing prominent fashion websites. Go to Google and subscribe to Alerts so that you get a regular dose of posts on your email. 

You can safely ignore this advice if your blog is on fashion in ancient Egypt or India!

2. Fashion by its very nature needs celebrity endorsement. Do you have celebrities in your pocket?

The celebrity could be a socialite, a film personality, a brand ambassador, a top model or a top fashion designer herself. 

As a fashion blogger, you must have connections with celebrities. It greatly helps when you get a quote from them, are able to interview them, get a preview of their next appearance, and get a back-link to your blog from their websites/ blogs. 

3. Are you a known expert or celebrity in your niche? 

fashion blogging examples
Do you have the required passion for a fashion blog?
If not, you are at a disadvantage as compared to celebrities who are keen to occupy social media space themselves. 

Moreover, if you are not an established face in the fashion industry, people will ignore you and not take your content on face value.

If you intend to offer advice, do you have a degree / certificate in that area?

Writing well
and networking are not sufficient for beating the competition in the long run because you will always have to be on your toes to come to the level of the established ones. You must get a label of expert as soon as you can, so that you have a minimum level of traffic and following from people wanting to hear you. 

Being a real expert in your field is of paramount importance. If you do not have a degree that is valued in your branch of fashion, grab that. If you can confidently put your view on something big, or able to predict future trends correctly, such things give a big boost to your image. When you give honest opinions on products and services, people start trusting and following you.

Since you are in a show business, you also need to be seen as an expert. So, showcase your greatest achievements. Be seen in a big action, e.g. participating in a big event, becoming a brand ambassador or being on a jury, people take you as an important person.

4. There are advantages of having a good domain and hosting it on an independent web host. But top domain names are already taken and good web hosting costs money. 

Do not be satisfied with a domain name that does not represent your passion and your strengths. Do not go for one that will become restrictive when the blog has grown to a higher level. 

After you have taken the domain name, give the blog a very attractive title. This is totally in your hand, and can compensate for a not-so-good domain name.

The other challenge is to spend money on web hosting even when the blog has not started earning. Yes, that is the reality. If you go for a poor web host, you may suffer later. So, go for a good web host; initially buy a shared plan and when the blog starts getting traffic and you want to introduce new features on the blog, upgrade to a more premium plan. 
 
fashion picture
Fashion has no boundaries!
5. Like it or not, you will need to invest on technology and SEO.

Blogging with the goal of earning money needs solid technical base and search engine optimization. Many bloggers ignore them. On the other hand, some bloggers go overboard and fall into the trap of unethical techies or fake professionals promising the moon.

Have a solid website, created on Wordpress or some other CMS. Consider design as an important aspect of the blog. Apply an appealing, modern and optimized theme. Make the blog responsive to mobile browsing.

However good a blog may be, it needs to be served before people. SEO and social media are two prime ways we attract traffic to the blog. If search engine optimization and technology are too much bother for you, hire a techie who is down to earth and not too experimental. But ask him to take only ethical actions. 

You may like to visit this ITB post: how to create a beauty/ fashion blog [and make it fantastic!]

6. You must be good at social media management. Most bloggers fail at it even if they have amassed a large number of followers [by mutual follow-unfollow or outright purchase]. For many, social networking and sharing end up draining their energies and time.

Choose the social network carefully. Go for just one or two. Instagram and Pinterest suit fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogging more than other platforms. Have a plan and a strategy to make the best use of these platforms. Apportion time to social networking and sharing. Use automation software to post on social networks. Frequently analyze how well or badly a particular platform is sending traffic to your blog and resulting in useful engagement.

7. Patience is the biggest asset to have, but is is in short supply among bloggers, especially when things do not happen as planned.    

New fashion bloggers often turn impatient when they do not earn money, more so when they started the blog with a bang and spent a lot of money on making the blog, buying equipment etc. 

Keep working according to a well-thought-after plan. If that does not seem to work, analyze and change the weak areas. Take advice from fellow bloggers and experts, and apply that carefully. 

Patience is required even when things work fine, because the niche is too crowded. Technological developments or change in policies by different platforms sometimes create havoc (Remember Google Panda algorithm and Facebook page-view changes?). Also because people's opinions might change suddenly and what you had been advocating might go out of fashion. 

These challenges are not posted here to frighten you. These are like good friends that caution you against pitfalls. You should visit them now and then, take corrective actions and move forward.

All the best!
updated in October 2018