One thing I've become wary of in my time at IFB is how easy it can be to lose perspective. After you've been blogging for a while (3 years) and working in the field of helping fashion bloggers (about a year), it's easy to forget where and how it all started. I don't ever want to become jaded or too cynical, and hearing the stories of how so many of you have started and grown your blogs from the ground up is inspiring and fascinating.
Seeing the way our community is now, saturated with blogs and full of insanely talented and stylish people, the idea of getting in the game now has got to be daunting. Or does it? I caught up with a brand new personal style blogger, Megan O'Connor Mershon, who started her blog, Step-Brightly, about two months ago. She's used her experience in her professional life – which has nothing to do with the fashion or the web – to develop a successful growth strategy for her site.
The Power of Comparisons
“I do a lot of research comparisons for work, so when it came time to pick a blogging platform, I applied the same theory,” says Megan. She made classic lists of the pros and cons of WordPress and Blogger, then made a list of the blogs she liked, and which platforms they were using. “I'm a big fan of literary reviews,” she adds. Ultimately there were a few reasons she chose Blogger:
- She could rattle off a list of successful fashion bloggers using the platform
- The barrier to entry was lower than WordPress – she could get up and running more easily
- She felt confident she could move platforms later on, when she felt more at home with the technology
Cultivate Your “Repeat Customer”
In her professional life, Megan works hard to encourage people to become lifetime or repeat donors to the non-profit where she works. In building a readership for her site from scratch, she applied some of the same tactics. She wanted to find ways to reach her readers and keep them coming back.
- Cold calling and emailing translated to reaching out via email and social media to brands and bloggers.
- “Creating a repeat customer means getting them at a lot of touch points,” says Megan. She makes sure her readers can access her content in the way that works best for them: whether it's email subscription, RSS feed or social media.
It's All About Consistency
When she first started blogging, Megan noticed extreme spikes and dips in her traffic from day to day. Coming in with absolutely no experience, she had no idea when to post. She asked other bloggers when they typically published content, and compared their schedules with her traffic patterns. (Again, the power of comparisons!) From there, she developed a schedule (editorial calendar!) she could stick to that also worked for her readership (posting on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).
Ask For Help & Invest in the Community
Megan found that when she reached out to other bloggers with specific questions, she got the best responses. She found that just like in business, the more clear you are in what you need help with, the more able other are to help you.
“I’ve always worked in a job where I had to call or email people I didn't know in order to do business, but that can be a big hurdle to get over. It's part of human nature for us to help each other, and it's amazing who is willing to help if you just ask.”
She's also invested time in commenting on other fashion blogs, and found that it really does help develop relationships and build community. “I'm not hearing back from huge blogs that get hundreds of comments per post, but with smaller blogs more like mine it's been really rewarding.”