Fashion blogs are all the rage, but what do you need to know to get started? Today, I’m sharing with you my interview of two bloggers who have worked with fashion brands.
Carly Walko is the owner of Thirty Something Fashion. This former NFL cheerleader for the Redskins and Eagles is also a personal shopper who started her journey 15 years ago as a personal stylist with Bloomingdales. She went on to work in many facets of the industry with powerhouse retailers like Neiman Marcus, Chopard and Nicole Miller. With these brands, she truly has “done it all” including styling high profile clients and producing live runway shows. Today, she also manages TSF Box Services, where she curates style boxes for clients.
Jo-Lynne Shane writes a personal lifestyle blog where she shares wearable fashion solutions for moms, accessible real food recipes and meal plans, and family travel tips and reviews. Named one of Nielsen’s 50 Most Influential Women in Social Media, Jo-Lynne has been featured in numerous online and print publications such as Cosmopolitan Magazine and Elle.com. She has been a brand ambassador for Ross Dress for Less and Kohl’s, and has made appearances for Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus.
Q1: I think that images and video may be the most important part of a fashion blog. Can you share how you use these to drive traffic?
Armed with great visual content, you can use those images and/or video on all of your social media channels to drive traffic to your site. What I have found personally successful is “teasing” on my social channels with a well thought out image. [This] peaks the curiosity of my readers, driving them to my site for the full story or brand feature.
It’s critical for aspiring fashion bloggers to have a decent camera that takes high quality shots [and] also quality software to edit them. PicMonkey, for example, is very good. I hired a photo editor for my own shots, but you need to start with a very good shot in a well-lit setting. I use my front yard on sunny days and have my husband take the photos as I model outfits. Other than your camera, it’s easy to start blogging without too much financial investment.
Q2: What are some best practices for creating a style post or taking style photos?
First and foremost, you must stay true to who YOU are. There are some wildly successful fashion bloggers that almost look as though they are on mini-magazine shoots for every style post. As a mom of two small children, that is just not possible or realistic for me. I knew I wanted high quality inspirational style photos, but I also wanted them to be authentic. Every single style post I create is something I am truly wearing to an event, dinner, wedding or just running around with my children. I know this shines through. Real honest imagery will gain an authentic audience. So, be YOU!
Equally important is high quality images in good lighting. Think about zooming in on the details of your look. For example, if you are wearing a great necklace, go ahead and showcase it close up. Your dress has amazing ruching detail? Zoom in and show the readers what makes your outfit special.
I use a personal, conversational tone on my blog and in my style posts. This depends on your audience. I write for the less confident mom, but if you are writing for high society, your tone would be very different and less chatty.
I also like to provide my audience [with] details on how to put an outfit together and how you would build it. I also shoot the back of the outfit and try to find nice angles for showcasing it.
Q3: How can a new fashion blogger connect with fashion brands and other fashion bloggers? Any “must follow” sites or bloggers?
Strength in numbers applies to fashion blogging as well. I find a great way to grow my readership is to partner and/or connect with like-minded fashion bloggers. For example, coordinating a style post with other bloggers. Visiting other blogs serves as inspiration and you will be surprised at the lasting friendships you make.
I wish I could say you “must follow this blog”, but the truth is, you should follow who you feel connected to or inspired by.
I don’t have a “must follow” recommendation but I think getting involved in very active fashion linky’s is one of the best ways to connect with fellow fashion bloggers.
As far as connecting with brands, most of my clients reach out to me via TapInfluence, but there are some great programs that get you started with brands through affiliate marketing. This is one of the easiest way to get stats so that you can provide brands with that information. I use Commission Junction, which now offers sponsored posts – which means you can “double dip” using the affiliate link and sponsored post.
Another great source to apply to is Reward Style, which is an affiliate program for fashion bloggers. They have brands like Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, J. Crew.
Q4: What are the best ways to keep up with fashion trends and celebrity fashion news/events?
I am still a HUGE believer in fashion magazines. Some say print is dead but I still read all the fashion magazines, tear out pages that inspire and learn so much about brands through reading them. Fashion magazines, in my opinion, should be a fashion blogger’s bible.
I love print magazines. I subscribe to InStyle and People Style Watch. Also, follow the other fashion bloggers in your niche, especially on Instagram, which is the must-have social media in the fashion community.
Q5: What are the top events or conferences that aspiring fashion bloggers should attend?
If you are just starting out and looking to build a readership and make connections, I would suggest attending any and all events that you are invited to. Most brands realize the power that fashion bloggers have in connecting their readers to products and are actively looking for bloggers to attend their events.
I would suggest reaching out to a local PR company to get on their “invite list” as a great way to break into the scene. Aside from networking, the added bonus is your readers will love sharing in these event experiences with you. Be sure to take great photos for your blog and social channels.
I will be candid in saying, I have not personally attended many blogging conferences. I am attending Getting Gorgeous for the first time this July, as my schedule finally permits! I have heard great reviews from other bloggers about these three:
I haven’t been, but I have heard good things about the Reward Style Conference in Dallas, [which] is an affiliate marketing conference just for fashion bloggers.
Q6: Do you have any other tips to share with fashion bloggers?
Be YOU and don’t try to copy others’ success. It’s also important to note that connecting to readers and building a following takes time. Best of luck to all you starting out!
The affiliate program Reward Style has a “Like to Know It” app is a must-have when you have grown big enough. It is a way to monetize Instagram. However, it is only available for the iPhone, so if you are choosing a smart phone, using an iPhone is key. And, just get started!
Thank you ladies for all this great information to help fashion bloggers get up and running.
Do you have any great tips for fashion bloggers? Share your insight with us in the comments section below.