“It's really just because Blogger was the only platform I knew about back in 2008/2009.”
Style blogger and influencer Cheryl van den Berg has been in the blogging game for a while now – almost nine years now, to be exact. When she first started posting content online, she wrote film reviews and chronicled her wedding preparations on her blog, Oh to Be a Muse. Eventually, she made the transition to fashion and beauty blogger. Nowadays, running “The Muse,” along with managing collaborations and sponsorships, is van den Berg’s full-time job.
But does this successful style blogger have any plans to change up her blogging platform in the near future?
“I thought about switching to WordPress at one point, but I felt like I knew how to get the most out of Blogger so there was no need,” she explains, on her decision to keep publishing on her current platform. “I've heard from others that WordPress is pretty straightforward, so if you're new to the blogging world then it's a good place to start.”
Van den Berg took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions on how she manages Oh to Be a Muse, so read on if you’re curious to learn about how she earns her keep running the blog and why teaming up with her husband makes for excellent #ootd photography.
Oh to Be a Muse’s Cheryl van den Berg at a glance:
Name: Cheryl van den Berg
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Profession: Style Blogger
Van den Berg has been featured in a number of notable publications (both in print and digital format) including – but certainly not limited to – InStyle Magazine, Redbook Magazine, glamour.com, luckymag.com and popsugar.com. You will also find images of her trending on Nasty Gal’s social media accounts, along with MTV Style online and Chictopia.
On Running ‘Oh to Be a Muse'
When it comes to maximizing efficiency, how do you budget your time?
I use a hand-written notebook. It's much easier for me to actually write things down because I really feel accomplished when I can cross out each task.
Generally, I post two to three times a week on the blog and about five times a week on Instagram, so I like to be at least one week ahead or a month ahead, if possible. Sprout Social is a wonderful app for managing social accounts.
Were there any key tools or pieces of equipment that you invested in that you would recommend to other fashion bloggers starting out (aside from a computer and smartphone)?
A DSLR camera, of course!
When I first started out I took all my photos on my phone – and usually indoors. But investing in a quality DSLR (I used to use a Canon and now I use a Sony) is totally the way to go. Having bold, crisp images can make your blog stand out from the rest. I also wouldn't hesitate in buying a quality web template as well.
Joining forces with your spouse can be a good idea.
Your husband helps out with the photography for the blog – how is working with your spouse?
He's the person I'm most comfortable with, which is why he's my photographer. We both learned the ins and outs of good photography together. If he doesn't take the photo, then I do it myself. [In the future] I'd like to branch out and start working with more local talent.
I do all the editing myself using Adobe Lightroom, which I was introduced to by one of my friends who is a Photoshop wiz.
In terms of the technical aspects in running the blog, are you self-taught or do you seek external support when you need guidance on a particular issue?
For the most part I'm self-taught. What I don't know, I ask my husband. And what he doesn't know, I ask Google. It would be nice to have an assistant who could take care of the backend, but that requires a bigger budget.
Looking to monetize your blog? Work with networks–and act fast!
What advice would you give to fashion bloggers looking to monetize their blogs?
Start early! Eight years ago, I didn't think blogging was going to be as popular as it is now. But hindsight is 20/20, so I definitely wished that I had started monetizing years ago. I think it took a few years before my site started generating revenue via sidebar ads. Now I also implement working with various agencies, which is my primary source of income.
Are you part of a blogger network that helps to land you campaigns, collaborations and press?
Yes, I'm a member of a few blogger networks. They are quite helpful and have really had a positive impact on my blogging career in the past year. They're great for meeting like-minded individuals and perfect for finding the best collaborations in my niche.
My main tip would be not to be afraid of asking your fellow bloggers. If you're not in a network now, then ask around and find a way to join one. And when you enter that network, ask for advice and share your opinions. It's always good to build each other up.