I was speaking on the phone to a blogger who does not post outfit photos very often. She was concerned that brands were only interested in partnerships with personal style bloggers, since a great majority of partnerships we see are with personal style bloggers. Even as a professional blogger who has received coverage in places like the Wall Street Journal blog and several fashion magazines, she felt there were places to be explored within her blogging career.
In reality, personal style bloggers generally do not break into the “most successful” financially or traffic wise. The Style 99 list only has one personal style blogger in the top 10. So where do we get the idea that personal style bloggers get all the glory when it comes to blogging success?
Why Personal Style Bloggers Appear to Be More Successful:
You know their face and names.
More often than not, you can identify a personal style blogger by name, location and definitely by their face. They make themselves the product as they are the spokesperson and the essence of their brand. When they do a brand partnership, you make the association that they are partnering with the brand, where a more behind the scenes blogger may have a partnership that's more about the readers than the blogger. For example with a personal style blogger a brand may include them in a digital campaign and ask them to document the experience and post on their blog, while a non-personal style blogger (there are many different types of bloggers) would do a campaign that asks their readers to participate in a campaign. Of course there are times when it overlaps, these are just examples, but it's easier to identify who is doing brand partnerships when the spotlight is on them.
Personal Style Bloggers are more obvious with gifting.
Brands tend to send personal style bloggers gifts in hopes of coverage. They do to every kind of blogger, but with personal style bloggers it's more obvious because of the nature of their sites. Original photography, outfit posts, and Instagraming gifts are common fodder with personal style bloggers. Other types of bloggers tend to write reviews, use press photos and the type of posting does not overtly say “gifts,” regardless of how obvious the disclosures are.
It's easier to project ideas of success onto one person than onto an entity.
The reason why personal style bloggers are so successful is because it's easier to project our experiences on them. A good personal style blogger is easy to relate to; a great personal style blogger makes you feel like you're visiting a friend while you're reading the blog. On the flip-side, it's easier to compare your success to the bloggers, and where there is a rift, it feels more personal. Whereas “they” get this and that, “they” do this or that, their success is attached to their brand which happens to be a person. A blogger who works behind the scenes may have the same level of success, but that is sort of expected, and it is directed at the site and not the person.
Why Personal Style Bloggers May Have Limited Success:
Their content is not scalable.
Scalability in the personal style business isn't easy. Personal style bloggers can't bring on contributors so easily. If all the sudden another blogger starts outfit posting, it's just strange. As a personal brand, they have to be the ones who execute all of the content. It makes it difficult to grow a business, being limited to spend time on development, whether it be business or technological. It also puts a lot of stress on a single person.
Their brand is linked to a particular lifestyle.
What happens when a blogger who is in college starts working in the corporate world? Their style and their needs for fashion change. Or the blogger who lives in the city, moves to the suburbs and has children. Life happens, we all grow and change, our needs change, but when a brand is locked in with a particular lifestyle, changing that without losing your readers is not so easy.
The success of their style is subject to popular trends.
For those of you who have been around, you've probably seen waves of popular bloggers based on trends. Avant garde, vintage, that baby doll trend (was it called Lula-ism?), preppy, spikey, whatever… there's always a moment in fashion and that moment always passes, some just take a while to pass. Being a personal style blogger, it's difficult to stay on top of the trends without being a slave to them. How do you maintain your identity? How do you stay relevant? It's a fine line to walk.
All bloggers have pluses and minuses
The truth is, there is no magical blogger who has it all easy all the time. No matter what your niche is, or how you execute it, the real test is how you can connect with your readers. Connecting with your readers is by far the most important competent or measure of success whether you put your face on it or not.
[Image source: Shutterstock.com]