The Power of Mid-Range Fashion Bloggers

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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):

*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.
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22 Responses

  1. Cate

    I get that IFB’s purpose is to act as a launch pad for people who wish to blog professionally, but the overemphasis on going pro is really beginning to alienate people like me, who prefer to blog as a hobby. There is nothing wrong with blogging professionally, obviously, but the fact that 90% of IFB’s post do not even acknowledge the existence of hobby bloggers who are oftentimes just as dedicated to their craft, well… it’s getting a little old.

    Reply
  2. Sharon

    Well, if the purpose of IFB is to help bloggers looking to monetize and/or go pro . . . why would their posts not reflect that? I would expect tips on pro blogging to fill the pages. That is the purpose/mission of the site. (Promiscuous Lola)

    Sorry, I do under stand what she is saying, but at the same time I just found that comment odd.

    Anyway, I am working on my networking. It has not been something I really have done much with. Thankfully, since I begin teaching blogging classes at my local community college it will help me meet bloggers in my own area. I think that has been my biggest mistake. . . not networking with those in my own backyard.

    On the positive side, I am very supportive of others especially, those who support me. That has proven to be a valuable asset.

    Reply
    • Cate

      At no point did I say that the site shouldn’t reflect that. What I AM saying is if IFB intends to position itself as also welcoming of hobby bloggers, it would be nice to acknowledge that we do in fact, exist. I’m not asking for a refocused site. I’m asking for the occasional article that also includes advice that is not specific to monetization. Is all.

      Reply
  3. Kholá

    Informational in that ‘mid range blogger’ is defined. Interesting.

    Reply
  4. Grace - Stripes & Sequins

    You know, IFB… it’s very funny because about a year ago, I never would have even remotely dreamed that my blog would end up on a list with so many blogs that I admired (and still do.) It’s proof that getting to this place is very attainable. Speaking from personal experience, it definitely takes a LOT of work — but if you keep on plowing ahead, completely doable. Thanks for including me in the mix with all of these amazing ladies – it’s an honor!

    Reply
  5. A Girl, A Style

    I completely agree with Grace; a year ago I won my first major blog award, and was just completely blown away and honoured. Last year, a few more awards followed, and I just felt like my blog really found its voice and grew.
    Now I’m consistently being told I’m a top UK blog (admittedly, the competition is a lot lower here than in the US where there is an abundance of super-bloggers and fantastic mid-range blogs), and still sometimes struggle to connect my blog’s (relative) success to the fact it’s my passion project alongside my day job (in politics, of all things!).
    I think what I’m getting at is that if you’re dedicated, and vigilant about quality, then this middle tier really is relatively attainable, and brings with it an enormous wealth of opportunities (in the past year I’ve collaborated with some of my favourite brands; Mulberry, Jimmy Choo, Chanel and Louboutin amongst others).
    Briony x

    Reply
    • Glitters

      Yay! You are from the UK, that’s good to know. You are absolutely right about the fashion blogging community in the UK considering London is one of the top fashion cities in the world. Anyway that’s beside the point… :)) x

      Reply
    • LouLouLoves

      wowzers Briony, that is amazing! I thought Chanel didn’t do commercial collabs with bloggers! Can you let us in on what the project was? That’s really impressive that you have paid work with all those A list brands!

      Reply
  6. Jade

    Wow after seeing my Alexa rating, I’m going to try a bit harder to boost more traffic and links to my blog! Kind of depressing actually 🙁

    Reply
  7. Heather

    Great article. I especially find the Alexa rankings and twitter following interesting because it gives me a solid benchmark to work towards, though I’m very far away from that.
    On the other hand I would be careful about reaching out to these bloggers. I know for personal experience that many do not reciprocate. If you like a blog certainly leave a comment, but don’t expect a response. If you do you might find yourself very frustrated.

    Reply
  8. stef uy

    i’m not even a mid-range blogger just yet but I WILL GET THERE! 🙂

    xoxoandrea.com

    Reply
  9. faye

    According to this article i’m well on my way 🙂 with an alexa in the uk of 58k and almost 2000 twitter followers i’m getting there 🙂

    Reply
  10. TrendHungry

    I totally agree with all this. Right now, I’m not quite a mid tier by your set standards, but I’m a heck of a lot closer than I was a year ago. Since starting the blog two years ago, I now look at it as a biz. I ask myself, why would I give away my following to a brand for free? I’ve worked too hard to get an audience and I’m still striving every day to keep it growing and keep readers coming back. I’m rethinking site design, the kind of content, and utilizing social media to get my skinny-budget style tips out there. This is one biz that the more you put into it, the more you will get out. That being said, you’ve also got to educate yourself, learn from other bloggers (and blog communities 🙂 ) to better your odds of success.

    I love my site more and more. It’s my baby, and like a parent, we all question if we’re doing it right and how we can improve. I’m grateful to be a part of a community and seeing so many blogging success stories keeps me focused. I think that’s why people enjoy blogs. Bloggers are real people and they show anything from success to style is attainable.

    Reply
  11. zoobia

    I live in Canada, which is far less competitive in the fashion and style blogging niche. While the lack of competition means it may be easier to rise to the top, it also means that there are fewer bloggers to network with (at least in my city).
    I’m not a mid-range blogger just yet, but this article makes me want to look up my Alexa rating.

    Reply
  12. Jadore-Fashion

    I love this site and the informations. I totally agree that constant hard work bring results. In the past months, I have seen big changes in my ratings and I continue to work to improve it. It is not always easy being a graduate student, full time job, and blogger. It is all about determination and love for fashion and blogging.

    Thanks for the information. I love those sites mentioned. I have ‘This Time Tomorrow’ and ‘Late Afternoon’ on my blogroll. Also love, ‘Stripes and Sequins.’

    Reply
  13. Hannah

    Hi I work for a fashion photographer called Charles Lane and the photo you have used in this article (sorry I dont know what you would call this.. blog?) well the image that has the girl on and the writing ‘The power of mid- range fashion) well my boss has that image in the studio and says that its his image he took of a girl named Amy, now i have been working for him for a a few months now and would like to know the truth about him… i sent him a picture from my phone of this image on this website but he said he has sold the image to people before but i was wondering if you know anything about this or could let me know just anything at all you do know about the picture…?
    would be so grateful, thank you very much

    Hannah x

    Reply