What does it take to be a professional blogger? Do you need to be famous? Young? Do you need a dedicated boyfriend taking your photos? And endless wardrobe? Crazy shoes? Does everyone need to be a Tavi or a Susie Bubble to make a good living as a blogger? The answer to all those questions: No. The thing about the fashion blog industry is that the media focuses on the same five bloggers as the most successful, but success comes in all shapes and forms. You don't need to have the most traffic, you don't need to have the best photos, or even go to the fashion shows. There are all kinds of ways to make a living with blogging and IFB wants to bring those bloggers to you. Blogger Spotlight has changed to Professional Blogger Spotlight to get those professional bloggers a chance to share with you how they made their dream to blog for a living come true.
First up is Rachel Yeomans from TheWorkingWardrobe. What caught my attention about her was that she used other monetization strategies other than advertising model to get her start as a professional blogger. She chose a niche and stuck with it in a clear way, and through careful planning she was able to blog professionally within a year. It's pretty amazing actually.
Tell us a little bit about TheWorkingWardrobe.
TheWorkingWardrobe is a blog I started in June of 2009 discussing men's and women's fashions in the workplace. It features a mix between regularly-themed posts along with original content – for example every Tuesday I feature a Polyvore collection of a fashion-forward work look centered around a trend or item dubbed ‘Toast to Tuesday'. Every Thursday is ‘Business Casual Superstar' written by a contributing writer, and I just brought on another writer who will contribute weekly content on Wednesdays on men's fashions at the office! Also on Thursdays I publish a photograph submitted by a reader – I dub that series ‘What I Wear to Work'. It's a fun way to bring the reader into my brand and make my concept more of a conversation more so than just me talking. I try to incorporate that concept of an ongoing discussion with my readers also through my Facebook fan page, Twitter handle, and LinkedIn group. Every industry/region/personal style is different so I love hearing what others have to say about their work styles!
How did you monetize TheWorkingWardrobe?
I started with advertising through affiliate networks and Google advertising. Then in the fall of 2009 I decided to launch a consulting side to the business and started working with clients on dressing for work. It was a fantastic experience, however I found that it took away from what I loved about TheWorkingWardrobe, which was writing! So I made the business decision in the spring of 2010 to stop consulting and concentrate on other aspects blogging and playing with the concepts of social media and fashion in general. I since launched another blog and now receive a profit from guest speaking/lecturing and writing for other publications. I also just started the process of setting up a podcast and I'll have a pricing plan around that as well.
How has blogging affected your career?
Blogging completely changed my career path! And to think I started TheWorkingWardrobe as a mere outlet from my corporate job! Growing up, my single career goal was to love my job as much as my fathers loves his, and I quickly discovered that was a very difficult goal to reach. I was in an industry that I didn't relate to, however I didn't hate the job, but it just wasn't ‘me'. I was very niched into it and I had no idea how to get out of that box. TheWorkingWardrobe apparently provided the box cutters I was looking for! I now work in an industry I absolutely love and even though it is ‘work', I now know what that feeling is like to continuously love and be excited about what I do and what new things are around the bend. It was a great lesson for me on the importance of going with your gut and working your butt off and not ignoring creative impulses. It's hard to fight routine but when you push back on it even a bit, you'll be very surprised about the rewards that may follow.
What are you working on now?
As I mentioned earlier, I just started a new blog on how the fashion industry is using social media in different ways as I'm loving the advances that social has made as a whole, and it's fun capturing the different ways fashion is taking advantage of this crazy concept of ‘social'. I also am working on finalizing concepts for creating a ‘hub' of fashion podcasts. I am personally obsessed with podcasts and I listen to several produced by twit.tv (my favorite being Tech News Today), which is a site that houses multiple podcasts centered around the concept of technology. I love how it's organized and laid out, so I thought, why not do that with fashion podcasts? I have several partners lined up who are interested in producing material focused on their own genre (i.e. men's fashion, emerging fashion, and of course – work fashion!), so it will be a fantastic mix of information and content once everything's put in place! I'm planning for a launch by the end of 2010 so stay tuned!
What is the most important piece advice would you give aspiring bloggers?
Have a plan (and make it realistic). Before you buy a domain name and start rapidly typing away, think about what message you want to be giving your readers. Are you informational? Fun? Who are you talking to and why? Are you trying to turn this into a business and if so, what's your business plan? Will you have a Facebook page and/or Twitter account and if so, how will they support your blog? Ask yourself a million questions and ask others in the industry just as many. Read articles and join communities. Then when you know what you want to do, then go for it! I'm not saying you have to have an encyclopedia of a business plan, but if you don't have a strong stance on your plan behind your blog, then the likelihood of your blog becoming inactive becomes much greater. And in regards to making sure your plan is realistic, I mean exactly that. Don't set unattainable goals; and if you don't have the time to do something, don't do it! If you start with writing three posts a day and then all of a sudden only write three a week because you don't have time to keep up, your readership will start to wonder…and maybe even wander away. Start small and realistic, and you'll see yourself growing bigger in no time!
Visit Rachel at TheWorkingWardrobe.com
If you are a professional blogger or know someone who is email jennine (at) heartifb.com with a blurb describing the site and a little about how they made their career as a blogger.