Oh it is too hot but shorts or a tiny skirt just don’t feel right for meetings, so a jumpsuit that sticks to my thighs when I get up from sitting down was the best of my weather inappropriate workwear options. Working, sometimes I cannot believe this little corner of the internet is just that, my work. I know it’s a young industry, but I’ve been doing this full-time since I finished university, so young it does not feel to me. In the span of my lifetime, its been close to a Frassy decade, which is almost half of my life. And seeing as my 8th blog birthday just passed, I thought I’d offer some advice on blogging, it is a question I am emailed so often. I never really felt qualified to bestow wisdom because I rarely feel wise. In fact, I’m constantly peppering my own mind with questions and doubts – my work is brimming with ‘almost theres’ and ‘not quites’ – I am forever in awe of bloggers who wax lyrical on their success and sit behind work that to me, feels lacking. Does that sound bitchy? Probably. I don’t intend for it to sound catty, but really, so many people seem so easy pleased within their creative endeavours – efforts that I’d toss out rather than boast about. But each to their own journey, long ago I took to ignoring everyone else in this industry to concentrate solely on how I can be better. So I’m offering up my advice not from a ‘I’ve made it’ stance, I can’t stand that attitude – but rather, a friendly repertoire of what I’ve learnt in hopes you can skip a step and reach personal satisfaction quicker with your own blogging.
My photos were absolute trash for a long time. Even now, most of them look terrible to me. I cannot stress how important photo quality is. Do not take all your photos in your bedroom. Do not take all your photos in the same location. Be original, dedicate time to finding locations that correspond with your clothes. You wouldn’t wear shoes that didn’t match your dress, so why would you clash your ensemble to your surroundings? Climb hills, wake up at dawn to see the silent city streets, get up on roofs, bring a ladder for different perspectives. I don’t have a professional photographer or boyfriend to help me, I hire girls who do as I say, so its all down to me to decide how the photos will be taken. Forget mobile phone photos – skip shopping for a while and invest in a good quality DSLR. I’d suggest the Canon 7D with a 50 mm lense or if you’d like to know, I use the Canon 5D with a 50 1.4 mm lense for all of my photos. Learn how to use your camera in the same way you operate your iphone. Learn how to manipulate light and shutter speed and F. Stop – learning these things will make your photography endeavours so much easier. For so long I would become endlessly frustrated trying to shoot everything in automatic. Be diligent and patient, learn how to portray your life in all its facets through the photos you share. Invest in photography, invest, invest, invest! It astounds me how many bloggers will buy infinite designer shoes to then photograph them all on a 200 euro camera. I do not understand this nor do I advise it. The creativity and beauty in your photos is infinitely more valuable than the price of the clothes you are wearing in them. Readers will remember a beautiful photo for far longer than they will a pair of shoes they quite liked.
You have a life, a real life full of experiences and emotions that oscillate and flex in all kinds of ways. Your blog should be a reflection of this. It should not be an always happy, shopping obsessed front. That inevitably becomes dull. If you want to be a fashion or lifestyle blogger, share as much as you see fit, but be intimate in everyway you can. The blogging industry is brimming – it’s almost too full, leaving little room for newcomers. Claim your space by speaking candidly. Most blog readers have been reading long enough to spot a phony. It’s not so much the quantity of readers you have but the quality. If you truly want women to listen then you have to give them something they’d want to listen to. Content that starts with the shoes on your feet but ends on something deeper, build a friendship rather than a following. You are not better than your readers, your life isn’t more interesting than those of your readers – you are the same girl as all the girls that click on to read your blog. Superiority is for the magazine industry, blogging should be boast-free and humble. I don’t care how big your apartment is or how many chanel bags you have, you still cry on your period and a boy has most certainly broken your heart. We are all one in the same here, so stick to your personal truths and share them, please.
When I first started blogging, I greedily clutched at all the freebies I could get my hands on. I was a poor student with next-to-no disposable income so the idea of brands sending me gifts was irresistible. I loved it. 5 years later and I rarely accept them. If a brand wants to showcase here, I must be compensated. My content is my career and it takes time and money to create. I feel perfectly reasonable in politely asking for money and I have absolutely no shame in telling you girls that. Design a media kit and a rate card – and graciously attach them to your PR email responses. The PR who contacted you isn’t working for free so it seems unfair for them to expect you to. Don’t ever cop an attitude or be demanding, always, always be polite. PR girls are actually my favourite part of blogging because typically they have vivacious, charismatic personalities and are such fun to work with. Cultivate relationships with them in the same way you do your readers – when it comes to deciding budgets for next season’s campaigns, who are they likely to choose? The bitchy blogger who made their work life needlessly hard or the blogger who drank a glass of wine with them & divulged their latest dating disaster? Be personal but truly, be a friend. I have been working with some of the same PRs for years now and we have become real friends. Relationships like these are incredibly rewarding, I get to see them for fun when we happen to be in the same city but also, I am given almost total creative freedom with the work we collaborate on.
Social Media is a big huge sigh for me. I dislike it, instagram is annoying but sadly, so important. Twitter is far more fun & facebook, for me peronally, is an afterthought. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to snapchat or periscope or whatever other new fad pops up. I’d rather read a book or go out and take some photos than sit on my sofa and talk about some shoes in 15 second intervals all day long. I resisted social media for so long, too long and it was a mistake. I had twitter and instagram but used them infrequently and consequentely, my following on neither is very impressive. I am no expert on this side of blogging, in fact, I am rather clueless. All I can offer you is this: post everyday on at least 2 outlets (I’d suggest instagram and twitter) – make your content aesthetically pleasing and be personable. Don’t ever use more than 4 hashtags and contribute captions that exceed ‘love my new shoes’ or ‘what i wore today for a fabulous meeting’. Written content on instagram is typically so dull, so pour your heart out every once and a while. Followers respond far better to intimate or inspiring captions rather than a reel of emojis.
full time blogging
If full time blogging feels like a viable career for you, than by all means go for it. Just keep in mind, payments take 30 days from publishing date and usually much much longer. Any freelance work requires financial discipline, a skill I lacked for so long. I’d find myself desperately chasing payments in fear I wouldn’t be able to make rent or feed myself. I have gotten much better but at times it can still be hard. Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself to brands, advertising and production agencies do this and as a blogger it is totally acceptable for you to do the same. Some of the best projects I’ve landed have come from personally introducing myself to a brand, perhaps producing some content for free to then secure a long term collaboration. Selling yourself can so often feel boastful or at worst, arrogant; so be sure to show enthusiasm for the brand as well as your readers. This, I have found works better than reeling off your press credentials or number of instagram followers – if the PR is interested, they will look into these themselves. The brands I work with hire with me because of the quality of my work. I pride myself on this, in the long run this is what will provide you with longer-term paid opportunities. Don’t be afraid to turn projects down, I know my readers and I know what they will and won’t respond well to. I am in fact fairly picky and always refuse work that doesn’t come from a personal place, ie. photos I didn’t take myself as well as absolutely always refusing written content that I didn’t type myself. They might turn some cash over for you in the short-term but in the long run, they will act as a disservice to your personal brand. And above all, remember blogging is personal. You don’t run a magazine, readers want to hear about you and that expands past the clothes you are wearing. Aim to be relatable, honest and fun – welcome readers into your world in a way that makes them feel valued, this will ensure they stick around. Don’t ever take your readers for granted, there are dozens of great blogs they could read instead and if they especially like yours, that is the biggest honour, don’t ever lose sight of that. Don’t ever approach them in a way that might make them dislike you. You are not their everything but as a blogger, they are your everything; your gateway to paid opportunities and really the essential component to a blog that generates money. Treat them like the best friends they are.