Samantha Lim knows quite a bit about the business of blogging. She's helped spearhead the transition FashionIndie.com, now a go-to site for those wanting a the scoop on trends and news in the industry, from a blog that was originally founded by Daniel Saynt (who now runs Socialyte.co). She's not the only one who has had the foresight to go from blog to a bigger digital publication. In just the past few months, Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller was quoted saying she wanted to take her personal style blog into a “Vogue meets Jezebel” territory, Nick Axelrod left Elle to help Emily Weiss turn her beauty blog into an Into the Gloss digital publication, and Tavi Gevinson went from Style Rookie to Rookie Mag, the website. The point being? Expansion is the next step for many top tier bloggers.
To stay ahead of the game, we talked to Lim to give us some insight into the business behind going from blog to digital publication.
How did you work your way into the position of editor in chief of FashionIndie?
I was the editor of Lookbooks.com when Lookbooks Media Agency acquired FashionIndie from Daniel Saynt who now runs Socialyte.co. I became the editor in chief of FashionIndie so that we could redesign, revamp, and completely overhaul and restructure the content.
Why did Lookbooks decide to take over FashionIndie? What about the blog was appealing?
FashionIndie was full of great content and had the potential to grow into other verticals in the fashion space — men's style, beauty, accessories — and it had a great community. It was ready to expand, and just needed the resources.
How did you change the site from a blog to a digital publication?
We did a LOT. We changed the logo, the layout of the site, and revamped to content to fit a structured editorial calendar. We took the staff in house, and planned events series and increased our branded partnerships to really become a consumer focused site. We replanned our social media outreach, launched a behind the scenes Tumblr and a slew of social media accounts, and started reintroducing the site to higher level brands.
How do think the business of blogging has changed over the last 5 years or so?
I think it has changed a lot! There are more bloggers than ever and the amount of revenue bloggers can make working with brands has grown exponentially. It's amazing to see how much business can be generated over a blog — they have become the newest experts in product quality and truly engaged brand ambassadors. It's amazing how much potential there is out there to discover these style stars.
How does FashionIndie handle dealing with advertisements, sponsored content, and giveaways?
Regarding brands, we like to seek out those that are special, different, rare, cool, and undiscovered, and bring them to our readers. To drive consumer awareness, we try to think of innovative ways to tell a story. Our business runs on an advertising based model, so the more clicks and visits, the more revenue we generate. We sell our sponsored content posts but make it clear that it is a sponsored post. We never just copy and paste information though, we always take time to give an honest review and really use the product we are advertising.
Why might it be beneficial for a blogger to sell their site to a bigger company?
Resources, resources, resources! When you're a part of a bigger company, you have help. You have the resources to build a team, and the space and legitimacy to be a real business. You can grow your brand in a more socially conscious way, take advantage of new technologies, and bridge the gaps between consumers and brands in a more targeted, business focused way.
What are the pitfalls?
I wouldn't call it a pitfall, but you definitely have less time to make your own schedule. Being a part of a company means growth and growth means a lot more responsibility. People are counting on you in lots of ways, and you are counting on them. You need to be there a lot more and learn to communicate and work with others well.
How do you mold a voice and brand that is already established?
Being authentic and true to our brand heritage and identity. We are here to inform, to entertain, and to help make this world a more stylish place. Ultimately, we aim to push the boundaries of how people feel every day when they get dressed and participate in the fashion world. Through keeping a strong sense of wit, charm, and a clever perspective, our editors can have free range in expressing themselves through the site, but not feel restricted from straying too far from our original voice.
[Image from Facebook]