Monday, 7 September 2015

How To: Turn Your Blog Into A Brand.

When I first started documenting my outfits for the internet it was about nine years ago, I was fourteen years old. I loved styling things, photographing the outfits and creating a distinctive look. It's funny to think that my hobby back then would one day turn into my passion and my job. For quite a few years I believed it was photography that I wanted to work in, so much so that I studied it at university for three years. Soon after that my interest in styling took over and I considered becoming a stylist. Throughout this process I began to really become involved in posting my outfits online and writing, something that not only interested me but drove my motivation to get up in the morning. It became apparent that I could combine all of these passions into a career in not only blogging, but marketing and social media managing. The relief I felt to actually have my nine year 'hobby' finally have a job title was immense and with that, here I am today, blogging away and completing my masters.

Enough about me. I want to talk about how to turn your blog (or your instagram) into a brand. 

1. Most importantly (and incredibly cheesy I know) be true to yourself.

When I first started collaborating with companies and brands I promised myself I would never accept a collaboration for a product I would never buy for myself with my own money. Each and every item I have ever been gifted by a company has been chosen out by me as though I was trawling through Asos on a rainy night looking for the next best thing in my wardrobe. I don't want to endorse something I do not like and I don't want to lie to not only my audience but myself. Sure it may be exciting to have brands email you all the time offering you a pr package of items, but you should not be accepting them all. I turn down now around 70-90% of the collaborations that are offered to me. I know exactly what my style is, what I would buy with my own money and also what I want to endorse on my blog. Do not get excited by the idea of 'free things' and simply accept all collaborations, you are now a business and you have to make the smart decision to only accept what truly works for your brand on both an aesthetic and ethical level. 

2. Invest both time and money into your brand.

View your brand as a company and put money towards the things that make you money. This means you should invest in a good quality camera, a tripod, reflectors and a good working space. I also think it's important to spend the money and time investing in a good designated indoor photo area for rainy days or shoots you may want to do inside. When it comes to having a successful blog you need to spend time, and a lot of it, researching, communicating with companies, networking, planning your posts ahead of time and just being on the internet (a lot). I can spend upwards of six or seven hours a day on my days off researching, communicating with brands and planning posts.

3. Network, network, network.

One of the best ways to get your blog off the ground is to create strong relationships with the brands and companies who sell what you are featuring on your blog. I've spoken to some incredibly inspiring people about their visions, their inspirations and how they work. I've discovered so many beautiful pieces and designs that get me so excited to post about. Communicate with the companies and the designers of the pieces that you are passionate about. Whenever I find a company that really draws in my eye, I often send them an email telling them what I do and how much I appreciate what their company is all about. A lot of the time it ends in a collaboration and a connection made. These connections are vital to you widening your audience and creating new connections. Years ago I despised the idea of networking until I became a blogger who spent a lot of time communicating back and forth with companies and brands. It's exciting and thrilling to uncover what other people are creating, how you could in some way become a part of it and how you can both work off each other. Creating strong bonds with companies I admire has been one of the biggest and best things i've done for my brand.

4. Know what you're selling and who you're selling to.

This is really important when it comes to having a successful brand. Just like any other company you need to decide exactly what your selling, what your branding looks like, what you are wanting to achieve and who you are selling to. Do you have a certain kind of aesthetic that can be easily summed up into one sentence? If you can't do this then maybe it's time for a revisit to what you are hoping to achieve with your brand. Think of some key words and this might help you. When I think of my own brand I think of minimalism, monochromatic, pale, clean, chic and gothic. I know exactly how I want to present my images, my writing and who I am talking to. My main audience is women between the ages of 15-30. Knowing who you are communicating with is vital as it allows you to properly visualize who you are talking to and how to talk to them.

 But most of all have fun, stay passionate and always be true to yourself.

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