Blog for Saks! Enter here for your chance to win a spot on Saks Fifth Avenue’s freelance writing team. This is the second in a series of four posts brought to you by SaksPOV , designed to give bloggers the information, tools and opportunity to explore the journalistic potential of fashion blogging.
Working Brands Into Your Content Gracefully
If you talked to any professional journalist, you’d find that maintaining their editorial integrity is usually their top priority when reporting a story.
While a blog is not always treated as a news source, it can be. Whether or not you are sharing breaking stories in fashion, covering runway shows (in person or from afar) or posting your personal take on style – your readers trust you. When you make the decision to become a media outlet, you take on a level of responsibility and accountability with your content.
When you start to mention brands, retailers, products, and designers on your blog (which is often right away), it’s important to have a clear approach. Even before you’re receiving gifted items, posting sponsored content or hosting advertising on your blog, you can establish your editorial approach (and at the same time, your credibility) right out of the gate.
Brands in Outfit Posts
Writing about an outfit you love is one of the easiest ways to start talking about fashion. You’ve already invested your money and trust with a brand, so tell your audience why. If you’re loyal to a particular brand of jeans, explain why the fit works for you, if they stretch, etc. Let your readers know where they can get a pair by linking out to a e-commerce site. Affiliate links or not, your readers will value your advice and opinion – especially if it comes from an honest, “I’ve got nothing to gain here” place.
As a blogger, you are running your own small business, much like a local boutique or shop. Building a community can happen offline as much as it happens online, so creating a relationship with a brick-and-mortar shop near you can be mutually beneficial. Pitch your idea to come into the store, take some photos and perhaps interview the owners, buyers or stylists (you might do this over the phone). Share with your readers what’s great about this shop, what you can buy and why you like to shop there.
Another way to get a company (and yourself) excited about this kind of project is to think outside the box a little. Consider the products and pieces available and how you could creatively weave them into your content. Could you do a styling session with three different black dresses and take photos? Could you do a video interview? How about a make-up tutorial? You never know what’s possible until you ask. For an example of this kind of post, check out this make up post from The Coveted that includes product reviews and a tutorial video.
When A Brand Reaches Out First
When you’re still establishing yourself as a blogger, proving your talents and being open and willing to try and to do things for free will benefit you greatly. If you’re approached by a brand or a PR agency to talk about a product, event, or launch, don’t ask for money right away. You’re setting up the foundation of a relationship with that company that may become more fruitful and beneficial to you down the line. See how it goes at first, note the response from the brand and your readers. Keep the lines of communication open for a different conversation down the line, one where you can request compensation.
As with just about any ambition you hope to achieve in life, it’s all about starting from the bottom and working your way up. The mere fact of having a blog doesn’t entitle you to handouts from day one. Blogging should start from a passion to share and discuss what you love with others because it’s interesting and fun, not because you hope to gain something.
Let the business and perks come naturally – by taking your passion seriously. Taking a thoughtful approach to speaking about brands that’s smart, honest and complimentary (when it applies) will set a professional precedent sure to earn you respect – and future opportunities.