*This month, IFB is very excited to collaborate with the talented Alina Dinh, who is the Founder of DreamyPresets.com. Her creative brand helps bloggers from all around the world achieve their dreams of monetizing their blogs in an easy, stress-free way. This month, Alina will be walking us through her business secrets to having a successful fashion blog. Don't forget to check out her blogger shop at the end!
There’s a good chance your fashion blog, like mine, was created out of passion. You started it as a fun side-hobby and it quickly took on a life of its own. You’ve scored your first collaboration with a brand and the dizzying exhilaration of it has left you wanting more.
What if this blogging hobby of yours could be a full-time business? What if you could spend your days doing what you love and getting paid for it? Monetizing your passion is every blogger’s dream, and it’s entirely possible.
So if you're looking to make the leap from free gifts to paid projects, it’s worth knowing exactly what brands look for and how to get their attention. As both a blogger and a brand I have a perspective from both sides — and I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned about the business side of being a fashion blogger. Hint: It's best to come off as professional in every aspect of your blog, stand out from the crowd, and get on top of your blogging game!
If you're ready to take that next leap with your fashion blog from being a side-hobby to full-time business, here are three crucial pointers:
First impressions are everything. Ok, so it’s an overused cliché but that’s with good reason. A brand will look at your blog and social media and in a few quick seconds they’ll make a decision about whether they want to work with you.
As a fashion blogger, having beautiful photography is crucial to your success. Just look at any successful blogger’s Instagram account and you’ll see it’s filled with stunning, professional photography. It’s what the audience wants to see, and what brands want to associate themselves with.
If you’re not blessed with having a pro photographer bestie/significant other or the funds to consistently hire someone, developing your own photo editing skills will be your saving grace. It also means that the creative control — the crafting of your story and your brand — is completely in your hands.
One of the best tools for photo editing is Adobe Lightroom because it’s highly professional and yet simple enough to use once you’ve gotten past that initial learning curve that comes with any new software. You can also make life even easier by applying pre-made Lightroom filters (called presets) that take your shots to the next level (think dreamy, editorial-style shoots!).
Part of our goal at Dreamy Presets is taking the stress out of photo editing by creating Lightroom Presets exclusively for bloggers and photographers that resonate aesthetically with brands and audiences. We’ve already done the research, tried and tested what works, so all you have to do is choose the aesthetic that best represents your brand. Maybe it’s a look that’s bright & airy, maybe rich & vivid, whatever your style you can find a click-and-go preset collection that makes the editing process painless and fun. Because who wants to spend their time endlessly editing photos when they could be out there creating amazing new content?!
2. GET A MEDIA KIT READY
Your media kit is your biggest weapon in your marketing arsenal. If you’re reaching out to a brand, or if they reach out to you, you’ll want to have one ready to send over. Your media kit must be organized, professional, and positioned to make you shine. Don’t forget that it should also follow the same aesthetics and branding as your blog and social media. That includes color palette, mood, design: every element you put forwards should form a coherent brand.
If you’ve never created a media kit, here are the most important things to include:
About You – A quick introduction to you and your blog. If you have a special interest or niche, highlight it here. What makes your blog different? Where are you based? Include any interesting tidbits, let your personality show through, and keep it short and sweet.
Contact Details – Include your website address, social media handles and email address.
Traffic Stats – A summary of your blog traffic, up-to-date within the last 6 months. Try to include:
- Unique Visitors
- Demographics of your audience
- A summary of your main traffic sources
Social Media Stats – Social media has become increasingly important to brands. They’re looking for influence, so highlight your most successful platform first. Consider:
Features / Awards – This is your place to shine. Maybe you’ve been featured in an editorial, had one of your posts featured somewhere exciting, or won a blogging-related award. If so, talk about it here! Keep to 3-6 of your best features.
Past Collaborations – Brands love to see what you can do for them so showcase your best examples and link them to the actual posts on your blog or social media.
List of Services – This is where to highlight ways in which you can work with brands. It’s important not just because it shows the range of what you can do, but also because it prompts the brand to recognize opportunities or have ideas on how they might work with you. Examples of services might be Sponsored Blog Posts, Social Media Promotions, Event Hosting, Giveaways, Guest Blogging, and so on.
If you choose to include pricing when approaching a brand, I’d suggest that you tailor this section based on what you know about them. Do research. Find out their price points, who they collaborate with, what kind of projects they invest in. Come up with a number you’re comfortable with but that won’t scare them off. As a rule of thumb, unless asked, I’d recommend bloggers to leave out pricing details in the first instance, to increase your chances of having an open negotiation with the brand.
If you never created a media kit before or looking to refresh an existing one, here are some our favorite templates. These are ones you can edit right away, so you’ll have your marketing secret weapon ready in a snap.
3. WRITE AMAZING PITCHES
Selling yourself to brands can feel pretty strange at first; but when you nail the art of it, you’ll have conquered one of blogging’s biggest challenges! You might send a pitch to get a free product or for a paid feature, and either way, what matters most is how you approach it.
Now, there will be times when no matter how amazing your pitch is, a brand chooses not to work with you based on incompatibilities beyond your control. It happens, and the only thing to do is move on and keep pitching.
All of the best pitches I’ve received in the past share a few key qualities. Namely:
Be Direct – Brands are short on time so cut to the chase. Introduce yourself and tell them exactly what you want — and what you can do for them — from the get-go.
Personalization – No-one likes a generic email. Be sincere, and make it clear that you’ve created this pitch specifically with their brand in mind. Tell them why you like their brand or how you fit with it. Research them to find out their target demographics, current campaigns and marketing goals, then propose a way in which you can be a driver for them. In essence, your pitch should be about them and how you can help them reach their goals. Make it easy for them! A well-thought-out and well-presented proposal means they don’t have to do any thinking — and if it’s a no-brainer they’re far more likely to just say yes!
Finally, support your case by emphasizing your reach and influence and highlighting successful past collaborations.
Be Open – Think of your pitch as the start of a conversation, not a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Close with an invitation to discuss it further. If a brand is keen to work with you, they’ll respond, putting the ball back in your court. If you do choose to detail pricing right off the bat, be sure to state that it’s open for negotiation if you want to increase your chances of getting a response.
Pitching is an art in and of itself, and it’s one that can take years of practice to truly master. If you want to leap ahead, we’ve channeled all our experience into a Collaboration Toolkit you can download and start using straight away. The Toolkit was designed to help bloggers at every level increase their chances of landing collaborations and campaigns, and includes pre-written, tried and tested pitches for the most common pitching scenarios.
A clear aesthetic, a coherent brand and beautiful content are all important when it comes to making a business of fashion blogging. But there’s one other thing that tops the list — persistence. If a collaboration doesn’t go as planned or a pitch gets rejected, don’t see it as a failure but as an opportunity to learn and grow. With passion, persistence, and the right tools up your sleeve, you’ll be well on your way to making your blogging dream a reality.