By Justin Livingston of Scout Sixteen
Whoever said, “It’s a man’s world,” was clearly not referring to fashion blogs. As a men’s personal style blogger in a sea of womenswear aficionados, I understand first-hand the difficulties of being a guy in this industry. For any guy interested in starting a blog, this story is for you.
Starting my blog Scout Sixteen was a challenge. The menswear blogs I had seen were all focused on the dapper lifestyle – three piece suits, shiny brogues and vintage tie pins. Needless to say, this wasn’t my style. (The last time I wore a blazer was maybe… never.) I was nervous that my personal style wouldn’t translate in a menswear audience looking for swagger. Instead, there were so many others like me – searching for a different perspective in fashion. I gained a strong readership that was seeking content like mine.
A blog can be a creative and personalized outlet for those needing it. If you have a passion for style – whether your aesthetic is dapper dandy, hipster grunge or haute fashionisto – a fashion blog is a great forum for discussing your opinions. With millions of topics at your fingertips, you’re able to craft something special in your own way. Discovery is just the first step; claim your niche and the readers will come.
The way you brand yourself is of utmost importance, especially as a guy discussing topics in a female-dominated outlet. We don’t have the upper hand in this industry – but that doesn’t mean you can’t come out on top. Find your strengths and use them to their full advantage. By combining my love of writing with my passion for style – I found a successful formula for my site. Are you a budding photographer? Maybe you’re an expert on vintage shoes? Whatever your specialty is – build upon it.
Every element counts. You may have the greatest style advice ever, but if the experience you’re crafting for your readers is sub-par – you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your blog layout, writing and/or photos should be your secret weapons. Bring out the ‘big guns’ and you’ll surely find success.
Don’t expect overnight success. Menswear bloggers have a smaller piece of the readership pie in general, so you may not see eye-popping results in the beginning. Stick with it, work hard and you’ll see amazing results. It took me a year and a lot of late nights to get where I am now – nothing comes without a fight!
By nature, guys are much more reactive to their network. We sit back and let the interactions come to us. In fashion blogging, you have to learn from the ladies. Be a proactive member of your network – leave comments on blogs you admire, organize meet-ups with local bloggers or make suggestions for cross-blog collaborations.
Take yourself out of your comfort zone and be an active partner in your community. The best part about this industry is that we all understand each other. We’ve all been “there” at some point, wherever “there” may be for you. Find like-minded bloggers and start bi-weekly coffee dates. Through all the frustrations and difficulties, remember that you have a built-in network only a click away!
Working With Brands
I started working with brands, it was a small venture. Here and there, a brand would reach out to collaborate but it was rare. Menswear brands tend to have smaller marketing budgets and haven’t quite jumped on the ‘blogger train.' Don’t fret – these brands are slowly realizing the infinite power of the blogger: a network of online style stars that open a brand’s wares to new, untapped markets.
If there is brand you’re dying to work with, approach them with realistic propositions. You may not have a substantial readership (yet!) but every brand loves a ‘good angle.' Brainstorm some unique, creative ways you could work with them and pitch it. I recently began working with menswear behemoth Salvatore Ferragamo after crafting a unique pitch (“Ferragamo Fridays”) for the brand that engaged my readership.
The bottom line is to be creative. Male bloggers are swimming against the current – the only way to the top is through strong creativity and a dedication to your readers.
For any blogger – male or female – it’s important to adapt to the changing digital landscape. In the year that I’ve been blogging, I’ve noticed that many personal style bloggers have begun incorporating lifestyle interests into their sites. We’re becoming “life-casters” with all of our interests being engaged (and requested) by our readers.
Be perceptive and keep tabs on how the industry is altering. If your eyes aren’t open to your community, your site won’t survive the changing tastes of your readers. Stay strong and keep your content fresh. It’s survival of the fittest and – from one guy to another – our story is only just beginning.
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[Photo via Scout 16]