Popular media has taken a particular shining to fashion and personal style blogs of late. Publications like The New York Times, AdWeek, Women's Wear Daily have touted our community as “the next big thing” and a viable career option for fashion-inclined, entrepreneurial spirits.
One thing that can be highly frustrating about these articles (at least from an insider perspective) is the very limited scope of the fashion blogosphere that's presented. It's only natural that a large publication should feature the most popular and visible style blogs to illustrate their points (The Sartorialist, Into The Gloss, The Man Repeller, The Glamourai, etc.), but this leaves out a core demographic of our community, and one that's establishing our status as an industry – and that's the mid-range fashion blogger.
So how do we define a mid-range blogger? Well truly, there is no exact science, but for our understanding, lets use these qualities:
- An Alexa traffic rating in your home country between 100,000 and 30,000.
- A significant following on social media channels (more than 3,000 followers on Twitter, for example)
- The blogger is monetizing through brand projects, ad sales and/or affiliate links
- The blogger is posting consistently (3 to 7+ times per week)
To give you an idea of the kind of blogs we mean, here are a few examples and stats (as of 7/18/12):
- This Time Tomorrow (traffic ranking: 60, 647 – Twitter followers: 4,400)
- 9 to 5 Chic (traffic ranking: 41,696 – Twitter followers: 5,700)
- KeikoLynn (traffic ranking: 36, 719 – Twitter followers: 14,203)
- Cheetah Is The New Black (traffic ranking: 90, 611 – Twitter followers: 4,247)
- Stripes and Sequins (traffic ranking: 54,595 – Twitter followers: 4,216)
- Eat, Sleep, Wear (traffic ranking: 93,086 – Twitter followers: 9,542)
- Late Afternoon (traffic ranking: 93,627 – Twitter followers: 10,593)
*To put these numbers in perspective, The Sartorialist has an Alexa ranking in the US of just over 6,600, as does vogue.com. The Man Repeller comes in at 14,427 and Atlantic-Pacific ranks number 18,831.)
What makes mid-range blogs so powerful? First of all, there are a lot of them. There's not much room at the very pinnacle of the blogger success mountain, but in the foothills below there's land a-plenty and resources abound. Many bloggers at this level are making a full-time career out of their site without all the flash and fashion weeks and guest-styling of department store windows.
In a way, you can think of mid-range bloggers in the same way you might think of contemporary fashion brands (Tibi, Theory, Alexander Wang). They're not as highly visible (or as expensive) as their designer counterparts (Prada, Celine, Ralph Lauren), but they're able to put elements of luxury and high-quality at an accessible level.
This range of bloggers is appealing to brands because they appeal to the right kind of customers. Sure, many, many people are looking at the gorgeous Miu Miu booties and Louboutin pumps, but they're probably more apt buy the Rag & Bone skinny jeans or the Kate Spade New York handbag. Retailers and companies are clamoring to establish relationships and reach new audiences through mid-tier bloggers.
A quick browse of these blogs reveals projects and collaborations with brands ranging from Sunglasses Hut, Rebecca Minkoff, and HauteLook to Joie, Revlon and Benefit Cosmetics.
And what about the rest of us? Big whoop, right? Semi-big bloggers make semi-big money and work with lots of fashion brands and that's terrific for them and does nothing for you. Not exactly! As an up-and-comer or lower-tier blogger, it's true that you've got to work twice as hard (or more?) to get exposure and build your audience and your business. That's where networking comes in.
Use social media and good-old-fashion email to pay your favorite bloggers a compliment, say hello and or start a conversation. Offer to take them out to coffee and and pick their brain or shop or just hang out. A shout out via social media or an addition to a blogroll can do wonders for your exposure and traffic (not to mention you'll make friends). Nurture relationships with your peers as well as well as those you admire to foster growth and camaraderie.