Don’t Wait for Brands to Notice Your Blog
By: Jennine Jacob

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Recently I met with a few different bloggers working on going pro. One of their frustrations was that brands always looked to work with the same bloggers, and they were still in the beginning stages of blogging. This is a common problem particularly amongst style bloggers. There is a trend that brands are working with a few bloggers on the top, and they are doing quite well with their careers. However, there are bloggers who’ve figured out a way to go pro without the use of brands.

Waiting for brands to get in touch with you is a bit like waiting to be “discovered.” How bloggers are selected often ends up being a mix between relationships with brands, connections with other bloggers, a certain look and feel that works for the brand, and influence. Having a lot of influence does not always equate with brand partnerships, nor do having all the right connections… sometimes it’s so random, that a brand just likes the way a blogger looks.  Being as we’re all human, yes even the brands… these types of partnerships evolve for subjective reasons. They may work out in the long run, but often times it’s not something to count on.

One of the things I noticed was that bloggers who developed their own products and used their blog to sell them fared out better in the log run than bloggers who relied on brand partnerships. Of course there are the few superstars, but for the most part the majority of professional full time bloggers offer some type of service and have a consistent business plan that they work off of.

Start your own store

Selling vintage clothes sounds easy, but it’s hard work, and takes a while to build up. But bloggers like Fashion Toast and Gary Pepper both started off selling vintage clothing and using their blog to promote their shops. This enabled the bloggers to get started, and thinking about their blogs as a business. Eventually their blog personalities surpassed their shops, but I have to wonder if they would have been as successful if they didn’t have that branding early in their careers.

Design your own collections

If you’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer, or you are working in the fashion industry and want to go on your own, blogging can be the perfect marketing tool for your blog. More than a number of bloggers have created their collections and maintained their blogs side-by-side. The Glamourai used to design jewelry, but some other bloggers have taken a more moderate approach focusing more on their collections. Zana Bayne’s Garbage Dress helped launch her line of leather harnesses, Stacy Lomman used her blog network to launch her own line via Kickstarter with the help of Wendy Brandes, jewelry designer who has been using her blog to market her jewelry for several years.

Provide a service

The most striking example was when I was talking with a blogger about how things were going since she launched six months earlier, within six months she was able to start a personal shopping service for professional women through her blog. It was brilliant, as she said she was making a good living from this in a relatively short amount of time. Many bloggers offer styling services, Style and Pepper, Dean Street Society, My Style Pill are just a few.

Use affiliate marketing strategically

Affiliate marketing is a long-haul business… links and audiences build over time, as does you affiliate income. Some of the longest running bloggers have used this strategy from the beginning and have reaped the rewards, by building an audience that buys. Bloggers like Bag Snob and Grechen’s Closet both have very distinctive blogs as you go there just to figure out what you should be buying.

Create a product

Maybe you’re not into retail sales, or a great designer…and your content isn’t affiliate heavy. Creating your own product is a great alternative. The downside is it takes a lot of experimenting, but it can be beneficial in the long run. IFB runs the IFB Conference. Gala Darling has the Blogcademy now, but she’s also done podcasts in the past. Signature9 does the Style99 where she sells a more robust list for a fee. There are a number of different courses, reports, and even ebooks that you can sell to bring the income in.

 

Since there are several ways to build your own customers, partnering with brands can always be a nice option, but not the only one.

What are your plans for becoming a professional blogger?

 

Waiting girl image by Shutterstock.com

 

 

Comments

  1. Juliana says:

    I’m starting a women’s portal for beauty lovers to convene, network and share their beauty experiences!

  2. Avatar of Sarah Loves
    Sarah Loves says:

    Thanks for these great tips.

    I’ve been thinking about setting up my own collection lately but I’ve been considering keeping it entirely separate from my blog. I guess I’m still going to have to weight up the pros & cons of this but after reading this having a collection connected to my blog seems like a good idea.

    Sarah x
    sarahloves.co.uk

  3. These are great tips. I’ve built a blog with the intention of going pro, but I still have yet to attract any brands. I monetize through affiliates and adsense, and definitely notice progress as my traffic grows. However, I am still not at a professional level. I’m going to take your tips and keep them in mind so that I can hopefully progress from amateur to pro.

  4. Avatar of Karina
    Karina says:

    Thanks so much for this article. These types of articles are encouraging because they show that there are ways.
    Same as Sarah, I’ve been thinking about developing my own collection.
    Do you have any suggested reading on what goes into this process and maybe how to land a collaboration with a label? (I’d imagine the last one is mostly for very influential bloggers as well)

  5. Travelle says:

    Definitely can’t wait to open up my own online shop, curating brands for a niche audience I am trying to capture.

  6. Ashly says:

    Hi this is a really interesting blog. Something that I hadn’t thought about too much before but in fact I do have both an online retail business http://www.coocoochoo.com and a blog http://www.ashlylondon.blogspot.com xxx

  7. Akaleistar says:

    Great ideas! I enjoy selling vintage clothes and need to incorporate my store into my blog.

  8. Avatar of Lauren - Slowburn Fastburn

    Great ideas! I’ve been designing and have my own Etsy shop before I started my blog and have been using it to market. I mainly just enjoy sharing the inspiration that helps keep me going!

    x laur
    http://www.slowburnfastburn.com

  9. Avatar of Denysia Yu
    Denysia Yu says:

    Thanks for the tips. I don’t plan on opening a store any time soon, but I will keep some of the points of your post in mind.

  10. Avatar of Carol C
    Carol C says:

    I needed to read this article! I think in the long run establishing your own business will enable you to have more control over your future and grow a loyal following, rather than winning projects with brands, you do not know how long that would last for. I think readers will appreciate the hard work your putting into your blog and products (which are picked by you, so you’re staying true to yourself) rather than seeing loads of c/o on your blog!

    I’m actually merging my jewellery site http://www.diamondpetal.co.uk with my blog this week, so this post has just given me that extra push!

    Carol x
    fashion-bells.blogspot.co.uk

  11. Avatar of Yazmina from Girl with a Banjo

    I am planning on designing -and creating- my own collection and posting about every single step of it. I don’t expect to have an economical benefit in the short term as I’ll be taking it as an experiment. But maybe it’ll end up as something cool in the end!
    I loved this BUSINESS post. I need more like this one!

  12. Avatar of TheAsiaMonique

    Another great read that gets the wheels turning. Was debating if I was going to create a collection of my own as it would look great for the blog and allow me to explore other means of my own creativity. Again great post!

  13. Avatar of Kimberly Mango

    Thanks for sharing! This was incredibly helpful; I’ll be using this advice for my blog!
    Thanks again!

    xoxo
    Kim

    http://www.fashionlovesdetroit.com

  14. Avatar of Krista
    Krista says:

    Thank you,

    kristamariaa.blogspot.com

  15. Avatar of Onianwah
    Barbara says:

    I am planning on helping other bloggers design their blogs and assist them with the start up knowledge and information on blogging along with helping others become more makeup and style savvy.

    Barbara
    http://barbsiesmusings.blogspot.com/
    Lagos, Nigeria

  16. Stephanie says:

    On the topic of not waiting to be discovered by brands – I cannot agree more! I’ve reached out to several major brands in my time as a blogger and have had great success that way. However, in order for a brand to continue to want to work with you on a monthly basis- they have to see traffic and sales from your blog. At the time that I partnered with these brands my blog really wasn’t big enough to generate what they were looking for, and they eventually discontinued the partnership. So what I’m trying to say is – reach out, but it might be smart to wait until you gain a larger following. Your “look” might get you in, but it won’t necessarily keep you there! I am lucky to have been able to work with some great brands, but sad that they didn’t keep me on – and that they might not look at me again when I’m actually ready.

  17. Avatar of Hilary Rushford & Dean Street Society

    Great post, Jennine! Such fab points & examples. Offering services was absolutely instrumental in making my first year financially viable & establishing my brand as fully formed. Honored to be included in the list!

    with grace & gumption, Hilary

  18. Avatar of Vicky
    Vicky says:

    Decisions which change the course of your life are always tough to take but if you have the passion and the determination then success is just a matter of time. Go Pro!

  19. Avatar of Jamie Collyer

    Such a GREAT post! Just the inspirational reminder that I needed!

    Thank you!!

    Jamie
    http://www.fashionistamusings.com/

  20. Avatar of Agi Titus-Karsai

    I started by blog so that whenever I will learn how to make clothes I can advertise them there :) You need to get clever with that kind of stuff nowadays :D

  21. Lisa says:

    Very interesting viewpoint, Jennine, and your observation about how working with brands may not be very long-lasting is spot on. In my experience, all sorts of things can disrupt a brand partnership: a change in marketing budget or scope, staff changeovers (the replacement may decide he/she doesn’t want to work with you), the decision to go from an external PR to in-house or vice versa. They’re great while they last and they are definitely a privilege to have, but they’re not forever.

  22. Jessica says:

    This is the article that I’ve been waiting for! Great one. However is there an article that gives you a “how to” on reaching out to brands?

    Stay fab,
    Jessica

    Tinyredshoes.com

  23. Avatar of tiffany
    tiffany says:

    I have been wondering how to get out there and this article provided me with some information. Although the only site I can think of is etsy.com and stelladot.com. How can I set up an online store on my blog? Is that even possible? thanks xx TBT

    ritusTBT.blogspot.com

  24. Avatar of Kiley Schroeder

    My blog is a fashion and lifestyle blog. Ultimately I would like to help new designers build their brands through affiliate marketing. This article is great! If anyone knows or is looking for a partnering fashion/lifestyle blog contact me!
    http://gypsoul.wordpress.com

  25. bayann says:

    Thanks for this post! I recently started my own store with my blog, and it’s doing pretty well. I am now just trying to grow it and gain more traffic! this was helpful

  26. Avatar of War Julian
    War Julian says:

    You’re always giving us expert and valuable advice Jenine. Thanks!

    This makes me want to create my own clothing designs. Exciting times….

    http://www.warjulian.com

  27. GlamThings says:

    Great post!
    On my blog I added a service where I do online color analysis. So far, it helped me to generate some business. But iI am planning on adding a product, maybe an e-book.

    Best Regards,
    Yelena
    http://www.glamthings.com/

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