Are Personal Style Bloggers Really More Successful?

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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]

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24 Responses

  1. Nikki

    Love this article.. I mostly identify myself as being a personal style blogger, but I’ve also been writing style guides for quite a while and sometimes feel like they get little to no attention compared to my personal style posts. People are more inclined to look at pretty pictures than read anything it seems haha

    http://www.cityofskirts.com

    Reply
    • Oksana Radionova

      @Nikki, I couldn’t agree more! It’s so frustrating when I pour my heart and soul into writing a personal piece and receive comments like, “Cute skirt” or “You’re pretty” or some other statement that lets me know that they didn’t read a word of what I wrote… I think it is simply part of our nature to be attracted to aesthetically pleasing images! I actually wrote a post about this topic recently. Check it out if you’d like: http://foxyoxiesupernova.blogspot.com/2013/08/milan-photo-diary-our-unhealthy.html

      Reply
    • Tali

      I have the feeling people who actually read the posts, rarely leave comments. I’ve been reading blogs since 2008 and I remember even back then I was surprised by the amount of “so cute” and “love your skirt” comments. I guess it’s the nature of fashion world – self reflection and self importance. But I have the feeling that good written useful posts do find their readers, who simply read the information and walk away. Usually informative posts have nothing to comment on – except of “great post”, unless you ask a question.

      Reply
  2. Daniel Dunt

    Unfortunately, the level of recognition personal style bloggers get for their work is what put me off blogging all to together – at least about fashion. Even though they may not always be more successful, I think recognition counts, and it really frustrated me that someone who snapped a picture of themselves in a designers piece could get more recognition than someone, in this case me, who had spent time putting together a good interview or article about a collection in its entity.

    I love personal style bloggers and towards the end of my fashion blogging days I did give it a go and thoroughly enjoyed it and the perks that came with it, but I think bloggers who don’t photograph themselves need more recognition. After all, in my opinion, a well-written article has a lot more merit.

    Reply
    • Tali

      What do you mean by “need more recognition”? Noone can make people read what they don’t want to read. I do write posts about trends, fitness and other stuff, but I can’t make anyone read them if they don’t want to. Brands go for bloggers who can bring them more sales, and if internet masses vote for personal style bloggers “with their clicks” so to speak, brands will recognize these bloggers as the source of income and not the ones who “put a lot of effort” in writing something that noone reads. Sad reality maybe, but that’s how it works. If you want to write and be successful, you have to improve till the point people start reading, I guess.

      Reply
  3. And Kate

    I really enjoyed this article, and I completely agree with all of the points being argued. I recently altered my blog to be concentrated more on photography and my lifestyle, which still encapsulates my passion for style and beauty. However I have, as stated in the article, grown and matured away from this obsession with fashion brands and beauty products as I’d much rather blog about other important things to me as well as fashion and what-not. And I have to say, I have continued to grow as a blog and receive high traffic both status-wise and comments daily. I have to admit though, I do still have a guilty pleasure for personal style blogs, yet they’re not my go to blogs on my bloglovin account – I much prefer a family/photography blog!
    Much Love,
    Kate xo

    http://www.and-kate.blogspot.com

    Reply
  4. Candy

    Then I have a more value as blogger because I do not only post my personal style, but also do beauty reviews, I’m movies and music journalist, I post DIY and I’m thinking of my blog as a fashion business, not just me. And my readers engagement is great, I’m very grateful for that. This is when I just don’t understand why the industry in Mexico does not value my work and prefers personal style bloggers for their campaigns when there is much more I can offer to them. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for the article! it was so helpful!

    Reply
  5. Joelle & Zeke

    To be listed on a site here for Canadian blogs, they wanted me to post more personal style than my Outfit Of The Week and get rid of my other content like Monday’s Meme, Friday’s Faux Paw, my reviews etc. I told them thanks but no thanks because I want to stick to my vision of what my blog is. I have followers that have come to depend on what I have to offer, and I will not compromise my content for anyone. As bloggers we need to be true to ourselves and honest with our readers about who we are. I don’t know about you, but I can spot when someone is being fake and phony on their blog and I become uninterested in their content. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a personal style blogger or not. I think it’s more of a FOMO issue when you think personal style bloggers are getting more attention than you. Just focus on being yourself and your content and you’ll most likely have me following you.

    Reply
  6. Rebeca Muñoz López

    Honestly I do not like posting pictures of me every day, there is the sense that I want to give to my blog, where I like to write of those things I like, fashion, decor, DIY, collections, food and also my personal style, I think that my readers like variety of topics are however post personal style who manage more comments most times.

    http://www.urbanikamoda.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. RIch Girl

    Great article. I never put my personal style photos and still get a lot of traffic and followers. I am even recognised by people when they see me on the street or at the parties, not always, but it happens 🙂 So, I really like bloggers who can and have energy to post personal style photos, I am just another kind of blogger 🙂

    Reply
  8. Ana

    I try to mix a diversity of topics in my posts. I post personal style posts as well. The results? people comment more when I post my pictures, the thing is, sometimes those posts are not the ones with more views, is just, the real readers of my blog, the readers of other articles, are sometimes anonymous, i mean, the people who usually comment in my blog are other bloggers who want visits, but my ideal readers are just that; readers.

    http://www.lazycatstyle.blogspot.com

    Reply
  9. Donna

    This is good to hear! I’ve never had a good place for taking outfit photos, so my blog is mostly about beauty products. I know there are some successful beauty blogs, but I always thought that the style ones were more popular when it came to collars and other paid posts. I never thought about the limitations of them. Thanks!
    Donna
    http://www.prettysparklythings.blogspot.com

    Reply
  10. Jeanine Marie

    I think different formulas work for different people. It’s not so cut and dry. Personally I want to do a style blog but coming off a long illness has left me not in the “cover-girl” shape. So for now I just post about what interests me. As I start to re-create myself I hope people will be interested in following my progress.

    Reply
  11. Mary King

    I have a mix of things on my blog. I do occasional personal style posts, but also posts that focus on trends, outfit ideas (not using photos of myself, but rather sets I create with pieces I love), and others. I did have two brands recently contact me as a result of my personal style posts…which I found interesting because not only are those posts my lowest traffic hitters, but they are also infrequent in comparison to my other posts. So it definitely shows me, at least, that personal style blogs/posts are going to see more brand recognition. And I can understand that…they want to reach out to bloggers that are going to show their product in use. They want readers to not just see a standard picture of the product on some sort of display, but it actually in use. Readers are way more likely to identify with the product if they see it in “action.” I will be working with one of the brands that contacted me and will be making a personal style/review post. But it doesn’t compel me to suddenly inundate my blog with personal style posts. I like to discuss several aspects of fashion…not just the aspects that focus on me. I know I limit myself in terms of how many brands will contact me in comparison to personal style blogs, but that is ok. I’d much rather have an occasional contact but be happy with my blog, then have contact after contact but be terribly bored with discussing the same thing day in and day out.

    Reply
  12. Polly

    This is an especially interesting post for me as I am not a personal style blogger, but recently I have relaunched my blog and have been thinking about incorporating outfits into my posts as a way to connect with my readers! It’s reassuring to know that this isn’t a necessity, though it’s something I’ll definitely still consider as I think it would add another dimension to my blog!

    http://www.polway.eu

    Reply
  13. Erica

    This article and the feedback was so inspiring!!! As a new comer, I struggle with whether or not to post personal style pics. Taking pictutres of myself is not really my thing but I know that audiences love the personal touch. I see a lot of bloggers with a really strong following, most of which have personal style photos. I definitely appreciate hearing everyone’s experience on this topic. Now it’s even more clear to me to do what feels right for me.

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  14. Asia Mays

    That’s it! Its finding your niche and understanding your network and following. This was a great breakdown and read. Highly encouraging.

    Reply
  15. Kylie

    I have experimented with all sorts of posts on my blog. Although personal style posts are the comment pullers and instant traffic generators. They do not stand the test of time. Unless of course they are a ‘how to wear’ post. I didn’t think my fashion week posts were that popular… and they are not first of all and don’t get many comments, but looking back over posts for a 6 month period they actually have a higher traffic overall. People search on Google and if you do your own photos from a unique perspective they get pinned. People are really not interested in events or press days unless celebs are involved. I go to them for networking mostly.

    I can imagine the DIY blogs and celeb based ones get the most traffic.

    Reply
  16. Tenysiah

    I really liked this post … I haven’t got a blog yet.. but I’m doing all the research I can before jumping in. And this site has been incredibly resourceful.

    Reply