The fashion community has been talking about the launch of NOWMANIFEST — an aggregate site combining the posts, comments, & tweets of Rumi Neely/Fashiontoast, BryanBoy, Industrie Magazine and Elin Kling/Style By Kling. Super bloggers in their own right, you can now find all of each one's content on one site. NOWMANIFEST's mission states:
Gathering the world’s most renowned bloggers in fashion under the NOWMANIFEST name, we aim to inspire and guide readers around the world. Our bloggers are handpicked due to their strong sense of trends and great impact on their readers. NOWMANIFEST addresses the modern consumer with an eye for fashion and style, and the ones seeking to be fashion-forward.
Throughout history, fashion is known to reflect trends in modern society. NOWMANIFEST should therefor[e] not only enlighten readers alike all over the world, but also act as a diving-board into the aspiring world of fashion today.It all happens right here, right NOW.
This merger is an interesting one , both as a strategic business move for those bloggers, as well as for what it means for the fashion community. There's no doubt in my mind that to some degree, many fashion bloggers look up to Rumi Neely or Bryan Boy (along with people like Gala Darling, Susie Bubble, Jane Aldridge, etc.) as an example of what can be accomplished and how limitless opportunities can be.
Increased Traffic, Audience, & Engagement
By aggregating content, ebloggers can say, “if you like my content, you will like this other blogger's content.” On NOWMANIFEST, each page has banner ads suggesting you visit another blogger's “site” (not the original site but, rather, a blog.nowmanifest.com version of the site). If you like Bryan Boy's tweets, you may come upon a tweet by Elin– and be persuaded to follow her as well. Aggregating their content works similarly to the time honored tradition of guest posting. It's a great means of introducing similarly-minded bloggers to your audience, with the same end goals–increasing traffic, audience, and engagement.
While aggregate sites are nothing new in the blogging world, they are relatively new within the fashion niche. Recently, Google began to penalize sites that were “content farms,” meaning sites that duplicated content (such as websites that scrap content from other sites, in order to increase their own page ranking) would start losing page rank.
Can aggregating content work against bloggers who utilize this strategy to reach their goals? Will the new algorithms work against their goals, even if it's a consensual, niche-driven aggregated site?
Increased Potential For Revenue
Size matters in selling ads. The more traffic you have, the more you can sell your ads for. Even large blogs, who may receive a million pageviews a month, still fall short in traffic to sell ads. When you're competing with sites like Amazon for advertisers, 1 million pageviews suddenly isn't a lot.
Ad networks can do the work of sharing ads across multiple network. According to the NOWMANIFEST media kit, the site receives an estimated 20 million pageviews a month. If bloggers can syndicate their content in to one place, they have higher traffic to leverage themselves for advertorials, banner ads, and more. The combined traffic of the sites could eliminate the need for a middle man and increase revenue for them individually.
Advertising Brought to a New Level
The media group engaging NOWMANIFEST, Fashion Networks out of Scandanavia, shows an example of the integrated advertising the group can do on the site. In seeing the wallpaper advertisements, the first thing that comes to mind is “This is not your typical banner ad or affiliate ad.”
A full on wallpaper ad on a site brings a new, heightened level of advertising to the fashion blog–one that competes with sites like IMDB (one of the few sites I've seen to integrate full-on wallpaper advertising, here to promote film releases). No longer is it a gift “courtesy of” in a post, banners in a side bar, or a few paid for text links– the site itself has now become a full time advertisement for the luxury brand willing to pay the price. For the traffic gained by aggregating these sites, it means 20 million sets of eyes who can't avoid that advertisement.
Do you think this “in your face” advertising may become more commonplace? Will we soon see Modcloth, JC Penney, or Steve Madden ads dominating the background of our favorite blogs? If you were approached by a company–whether your small favorite indie boutique or a large luxury company– and they asked to utilize your background space for an advertisement, how would you respond?
What a Fashion Blogger Can Learn (and Use) From This:
Based on this move from the super bloggers, what shifts could the fashion community begin to see? Are more bloggers going to align their sites in a way to increase traffic and the potential for revenue?
While we all might not be ready to jump off to network ourselves to others, and it may not be a sustainable move for these bloggers, there are things we can learn from this move:
- Partnerships MATTER. From guest posting, to re-tweeting each others posts, the relationships we build with other bloggers helps us along our own journeys. Opportunities, ideas, and exploration come from genuine relationships and respect built between bloggers.
- Always think about your next step. For those bloggers wanting to write professionally, you've got to think about where the next paycheck is coming from, what the next opportunity is, and who you'll build your next relationship with.
- Don't be afraid to try something new–even if it's only new within a niche. This is a slightly new form for fashion bloggers– many of us launch online magazines, start personal style consulting, or develop relationships with brands. It's okay to try and pursue models that work outside the fashion niche– and modify them to work within the niche.
- You don't need a media group to make change happen. When (and if!) you become a super blogger, it does become only natural for you to seek out help–whether outsourcing design or finding a manager. That doesn't mean that you can't do things NOW. You can create a tight network of bloggers to work with and see if you can't leverage your sites for advertising means. You can outsource the stuff you don't know how to do or don't have time to do (there is always someone looking to learn and accept pay at almost any level!).