Apply Business Tactics To Your Blog – Right From The Beginning

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.”

Can you related to Megan's experiences? What were your first few months of blogging like? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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25 Responses

  1. Lauren Haber

    I can totally relate to Megan! I started my blog about 4 months ago and have loved every minute of it. I am still working on the traffic consistency issue, and have found that it isn’t so much the days that I post but content that gets different reactions. Some posts will be incredibly popular while others not as much. Still haven’t figured out the pattern yet!

    Regarding reaching out to other bloggers, I have found such support with that and am so thrilled the community has become as saturated as it has. It only allows for more friendships to form and greater collaboration!

    Great post Taylor and Megan!

  2. Elissa

    I can definitely relate. By day I do everything from research, SEO, marketing, customer relations, reporting, web analytics, etc at my finance day job so when it came to blogging I started with a business plan, my core customer in mind and lots of research. It’s certainly helped when I’m confused about a direction or post.

  3. today for jane

    this was such a great article – thank you. As a new blogger, I sometimes feel like everyone is already at the next level so it was good to get some advice for people who are at the very, very beginning.

  4. Margo

    This is some great advice! I’m really inspired by how driven and smart Megan is with not being hesitant and really working her business know-how into creating her brand. I definitely have a lot of catching up to do with B&B!

  5. Sadaf Zarrar

    Wow, great tips for someone struggling with traffic especially since moving blogging platforms. For my previous platform, commenting on similar blogs was how I initially got the traffic going. I guess it’s back to the basics 🙂

    When posts about Kate Moss don’t get you traffic, you know you have to reach out and do it the more detailed way 🙂

  6. MonicaP

    I enjoyed reading a new bloggers perspective. I’m also a new blogger .. just started this month – November and the learning curve has been steep!

    I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s blogs and seeing their blog style. I can see things that I like and don’t like .. as far as posting style goes.

    One step at a time, I guess.


  7. Emma

    I loved this article! I went and looked at Megan’s blog and it is lovely, I am so happy to be following it!

    Starting blogging for me was weird! I didn’t expect there to be this much competition! I have been following blogs for almost 5 years now and I only started my blog this month.

    What I love about blogging myself is getting involved with other bloggers and talking to people all over the world. I had got in a rut of what blogs I followed and they were just the popular ones, I am so happy to be following smaller ones that are in my opinion better!

    Thanks for this post!

    Emma x

  8. Barbara

    Commenting on other blogs has definitely helped me a lot as I get to meet more bloggers, see their style and how it relates to me as a person and even make friends.
    If I had all this info when I started blogging….. it would have been the best thing ever.
    Thanks for sharing Megan.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  9. Samantha @ Sam ipsa loquitur

    I just started a few months ago as well, and I feel like I’m still trying to get used to doing this every day – let alone concentrating on the businessy things! I’ve worked up to having a posting schedule and a quasi-organized editorial calendar, but that’s it. Serious props to her for being so in-depth, so soon!

    Samantha @ Sam ipsa loquitur

  10. Melanie Fontaine

    I am only just really getting started with blogging, so this was a great and helpful post! Because the blogging market is very saturated already, it is encouraging to see other people that have only gotten started as well – blogging really sometimes makes me feel like I am the only newbie!
    For now, I am definitely going to take the advice on comparisons with other blogs that I admire.

  11. SoarThumb

    Great article. With so much compitetion out there, the learning curve is definitely getting smaller! But, after starting, demolishing and restarting my blog, I now see how important it is to get these things in order. Traffic, tagging, SEO, and social media are all super important things to work into your daily maintenance of aq blog. Great advice ladies!

  12. Sarah

    Thanks for this post, I really do believe more encouragement should be given to beginner bloggers.

    I’ve always been a fan for commenting on other blogs, its a great way to network with smaller bloggers who are just as valuable to me as the big bloggers.

    Good luck in the future Megan with Step-Brightly! You obviously have a lot of potential 🙂

    Sarah x

  13. Kate Hostetler

    I totally agree with everything she said! I started my blog about 3 months ago and it’s been a rough start! I’ve been posting a lot and adding a lot of solid content, but it’s hard to gain a following! I’m not really sure how to “get noticed”. There’s been a lot of really really helpful people, especially on IFB, but unfortunately there’s also been some unhelpful bloggers that were only full of criticism and negativity. That was really a shock when I experienced it because everyone else I’ve come across in the blogging world has been incredibly nice and willing to network!
    Please check out my links, and Like/Follow. I’d be MORE than happy to do the same for you!

    xo, Kate

  14. sharmana Lynn

    I am experiencing the traffic issue as well. I am working hard try and get people to join my site. I am also working on getting people to comment on my blog. I try and blog about four times a week. I am going to join more social sites and comment more on other blogs. My blog is I would really appreciate if you could check it out and give me some pointers. I also purchase a domain name through blogger but it’s not working.

  15. Rachelle Porsenna

    we do a lot of the same things, the only thing I have not done is reaching out to other bloggers as I fear this would be perceived as spamming. The market may be saturated but I believe that we can each build our own following.

  16. Brenna Smith

    I am just going through my first months of blogging and I am an absolute mess! thank you for this article. it helped a ton!

  17. Catherine Queenly Tan

    I totally can relate to Megan. I am also new in this blogging stuff for two months now. And at first, yes I really don’t know what to post, what should I post, what to share to future precious readers. All I know is back then is I want to blog, I want to share my stuffs, specifically my personal style. And as time passes by, I enjoy blogging every now and then, thinking what to post next everyday. Blogging is really a progressive work if you will only live up to it and be yourself. Now, my blog is quite on its improvement stage I guess 😀 for a beginner blogger like me yes it has improved a little bit though it’s still small. I’m just enjoying every post I make and hoping that readers would like them, and could get new information from ’em. 🙂


  18. Alexandra

    I can totally relate to Megan’s experience. When I first started my blog, I naively assumed that people would just find it and want to be involved. But over time I came to see that new readers (and their comments) are priceless and have to be sought after. Once I realized how powerful reader comments were, I started posting more of my own. It’s a wonderful way to connect (and to make people aware of your blog).

    All the best to you, Megan!

  19. Anastasia Goenawan

    I started blogging around 2009 and it’s not about fashion. I just share my personal thought and some social issues. Later on the end of 2010, i accidentally open some fashion blog and i remember how i really like art and fashion since i was a little kid. After read some awesome local fashion blog, i tried to post about my personal style too, but not much. I was pretty shy and i really want to share my thought to the world. At beginning my reader was only my best friends and some of my university friends.

    On 2011, i began to focus on my personal style, places i went to, food and my drawing practice. I still talked a lot about my personal thought back then, but the statistic go up and up eventually, the same goes with my readers. I also visit a lot of blog, not only fashion blog and thanks to that, i know a lot of blogger and became pretty friendly with few.

    I agree with her, bloggers who have high traffic into their blog (almost) never give news or maybe they came to my blog as a silent reader or if i said visit me if they have time (yes, out of politeness).

    After i saw that most of my readers only comment about how good i look on those outfit, i began to lose the motivation to write too long. I started to only share outfit photos in Oct-Nov 2012. Not like some famous fashion blogger who often post a short outfit post with only the detail of the look, mine was a big failure. The traffic decreased so much and one of my best friends said that there’re no meaning post on my blog lately.

    It was a big shock to me but i’m really grateful to have such a nice bestfriend who came and told me the truth, or else i wouldn’t realize my mistake. I came to conclusion that the quick outfit posts are so not me. I like to tell story, to tell what’s on my mind eventhough it’s not related to the outfit. I change back to the previous style and somehow my reader came back. I realize that some of my silent readers came to my blog to read what’s on my mind and most of the commenters came only to see what i wear.

    After this accident, i realized i lost my characteristic once and i don’t want that to happen twice. My personal thought was one of my blog characteristic. If i lost it, my blog will become a no-meaning blog. The commenters are important, but the silent readers are more important. That means, people who follow my blog, read what i wrote and left comment are the most important. They’re the one who i have to approach and get to know more..:) They’re more than followers, they’re friends. 🙂

    As for now, i tried my best to say anything in my brain, to share not only my fashion style, but also my drawing skill, my interest in nailart and some social issues. Tagging a brand in socmed is a huge help to attract traffic too. I always did it when i wear a product of some brands.

    I hope it helps others so they won’t do the same mistake as mine. Finding own blog characteristic is important to attract traffic into the blog. People won’t like a copycat blog or blog with no meaning/life inside. 🙂 To get the characteristic, we would make mistakes, but it’s okay as long as we realized our mistakes and learn from them!