Currently they represent some of the most powerful voices in the world - but what exactly does it take to set up a successful blog? Gemma Carey shares her eight steps to becoming a blogger
Some are paid to sit on the front row of shows wearing free designer clothes in return for tweets; others command an audience of millions of viewers - or get the opportunity to work with the biggest brands and names in the world. These days, when it comes to making it big in business it seems to be the new generation of bloggers who have all the power.
The problem however, is that discovering how to successfully build and project yourself to this level of influence and prowess is no mean feat. A lack of funding, long, unsocial hours and a need to constantly be on the cultural pulse are just a few of the tricky obstacles that can stand between you making it big and having a truly rough ride.
So, where do you start? To help give us some insight we sat down with fashion stylist and beauty blogger of four years, Gemma Carey , to get her top tips on how best to break into the barmy world of blogging.
Find your niche
“The first step to creating a beauty blog is coming up with an idea that is unique to you,” says Gemma. “With so many beauty blogs on the market now, it's difficult to find something that hasn't been done. Think about what you like most about yourself in terms of beauty (but not in a vain way!). Perhaps you have long hair that is easy to work with, so you could specialise in hair tutorials. Or maybe you have nice nails, so you could focus on posting nail tutorials. Or, if your passion lies with cosmetics, that's okay too, but try and make it different somehow.
“You also have to think about your backdrop/location/layout in your photography. Look at other blogs and find something that you could do differently. It's all about making your blog unique to you.”
Choose your audience
“Next, you need to think about who you want your blog to be aimed at, which will in turn help determine the content of your blog. For example, if you want to inspire teenagers you're looking to write about affordable brands such as Rimmel and Natural Collection. However, if you're aiming at women aged 25+, you need to look more at skincare and anti-ageing products from brands such as Rodial and Dermalogica.
“You also need to be constantly aware of considering your audience when choosing your style of writing, layout and the general vibe of your blog. If teenagers read your blog, keep your writing chatty, your layout girly and pink! For an older audience, keep it clean and simple.”
Understand that it takes time and commitment
“Blogging looks easy and glamorous. Well I tell you it's not easy and mostly not glamorous either! Becoming an appreciated blogger with lots of followers takes commitment and certainly doesn't happen overnight. Compiling and writing quality posts can also take hours sometimes. So, make sure you have some time available on evenings or weekends between studying or a full-time job. You won't be able to quit your job and become a full-time blogger straight away, so spend the spare time you have working on your blog until you reach your desired goal.
“There will also be times when you feel demotivated and don't know what to write about. This happens to bloggers. What I do is read other blogs and search for inspiration on Instagram - it soon motivates me to start writing again!”
“There isn't much investing you need to do to become a blogger, but it's always a great idea to own a good camera. Don't worry if you can't afford one though, you could always consider collaborating with a photographer. Often, student photographers are happy to work together in exchange for a credit on your blog (e.g. Photography by xxx). This is a good way to have good quality photos without you having to fork out lots of money. The only disadvantage to this is that you have to work around each other's schedules, which means you can't always work when you want to.
“If you are working on the photography yourself, ensure you have plenty of space with good light. There's nothing more unprofessional than awful photos on a blog when you're trying to sell a product!”
Quality, not quantity
“It's really important to remember that quality is so much more important than quantity. Posting a really insightful article with beautiful images once a fortnight is much better than posting a quick, half-hearted review every day.”
The technical side
“Choose a blogger platform to work from - Blogger.com or Wordpress.com are the most popular and are both super easy to use. Also for a blogger to be taken more seriously, it's important to have your own personalised domain. For example, www.beauty.com - not www.beauty.blogspot.com . It isn't expensive - mine only cost me £7 for the year from Godaddy.com.
“Another way for bloggers to make money is advertising. There are various ways to sell advertising space - you can simply put tweets out and sell them directly yourself, or you can use platforms such as Passion Fruit Apps , sign up to Google AdSense or join a blogging network called EtailPR . These not only allow you to display ads on your blog, but they also work alongside many brands who you can request samples from for you to keep and write about.”
“There are a few different ways to collaborate with brands. They can send you products to review, you can write a sponsored post where they will pay you to write about them, brand ambassadorship or via an affiliate programme. The most popular is gifting bloggers, which of course is a great perk to the job! But don't be disheartened if some brands reject you - you have to remember that they get inundated with blogger requests and have to be quite picky on who they work with.
“Brand ambassadorship can bring you a monthly wage but only really works for bloggers who have thousands of followers. An affiliate programme is a good way to earn some money at any stage of your blogging - this is when you feature a product and if someone purchases it from clicking on your blog, you receive a percentage for what is sold.”
“Networking is so important and is the main way to gain followers and readers. Make sure you have at least two social media sites - Twitter and Instagram being the most important. Comment on and favourite other bloggers' tweets - have conversations and discuss your favourite products. By doing this you're building relationships with fellow bloggers and gaining followers. You can also join blogging networks such as Bloglovin' and EtailPR. Attending blogger events is also a great way to network.
“Soon enough you'll be invited to them, but at first I'd suggest getting in touch with PRs, introducing yourself and asking them to let you know when they have an event on. At the events you can mingle with fellow bloggers and build relationships with PRs - those are the people that are going to help you build your brand. Also, try and comment on other blogs with a link to yours - they will most likely comment back and leaving a link to your blog increases your brand exposure.”