The term blogging is often an ambiguous one. For photographers it means posting and updating their most recent and relevant works plus a small description of text. For ambitious Fashionistas it means sharing their wardrobe to the world in a ‘what I wore today’ setting at the mere click of a button. For emerging journalists like myself however, it can be the foundation for a window into the world of high fashion, events management and luxury fashion styling.
I graduated with honours back in 2010 and following a rather disappointing internship in Capetown, I created my own blog. The Fly’s Eye. A fly on the wall in the world of all of the things I enjoyed. Music. Film. Fashion. I always remembered that saying ‘write what you know’. So I did.
In the beginning I rarely posted or updated, but I soon hit it hard and began a healthy rhythm. Fast forward to early 2K13 and the Fly’s Eye has earned over half a million hits. Enabling me to use it as one of the best online portfolios a brother could ask for. I started the very first NI men’s fashion website Beyond Man, work freelance for various online fashion publications and work alongside the OENI team as their press contact for all their major fashion events. And of course, I manage their recently launched blog. You can take the boy out of blogging but you can’t take the blogging out of the boy.
Being one of the very first bloggers to emerge in Belfast, there are now a great deal more popping up on a monthly basis, which surprisingly is not a bad thing. It means the pool of talent is growing. Naturally there are of course certain rules one should adhere to when creating a blog to call their own.
1. Find a niche. Don’t blog about what everyone else is blogging about. But if you must, blog about it in your own unique way. Blogs are easily accessible today. Everyone can have one. Why should we read yours?
A perfect example of how a noteworthy theme or objective is attractive is the recently created blog of Laurina Kennedy entitled Fashion Fasting focusing on one whole year of abstaining from buying a single item of clothing. So far Laurina has garnered the attention of Grazia landing herself as blogger of the week, has been named British Style Blogger of the month and more recently a nomination for a Company Style Blogger Award in the category of Best Fashion Blogger (Newcomer).
What exactly makes it stand out from the rest you ask? Laurina believes it contains a strong connection to ‘real life’ women in comparison to other big name blogs. “I think that people can easily emphasize with it. Everyone has said at one point that they have nothing to wear while staring at a full wardrobe. I think comparing it to the so called “Big blogs”, it is more relatable to real life because you do see me wear the same thing twice and it is more down to earth. The larger fashion bloggists are celebrities in themselves while I am just a girl who has bought too much stuff and needs to learn how not to be lazy with what I wear. Which I think a lot of people find themselves in the same situation.”
Laurina also gives this little piece of advice to hopeful bloggers, “Don’t be afraid; Just write about what you love and what you find interesting. I still feel like an eejit taking photos of myself but it has to be done!”
2. Find your voice. Let your personality shine. A blog generally does not have an Editor or a set of strict guidelines for you to follow. Your opinion sets you apart and makes your blog personal with both purpose and character.
Take Louise Vance for example. Aka the Real Elle Woods. With a background in legal matters, a love of Karen Millen and having sat FROW at more fashion shows than she has had hot dinners (I’ve heard her say this…twice) the often style spotted lady of leisure mixes business with pleasure in her own fashion blog. Combining her legal academic expertise with the world of fashion.
“A few of my friends kept saying to me with all the fashion related events I attend, along with my obsession with fashion I really should be putting pen to paper so to speak and documenting my experiences and thoughts on fashion! Finally at the beginning of September I wrote my first blog post and I haven’t looked back since!” Continuing, “for me the best fashion blogs are the ones where the writer’s personality comes through, the ones written from the heart! When I read a blog, I want to hear the excitement in the bloggers words when they talk about their latest must have items! A good fashion blog is one that truly reflects a bloggers sense of style, and zest for fashion!”
3. Get involved. Be creative. Set yourself weekly, if not daily challenges and goals. Attend local events. Enter competitions. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your posts.
For Gemma-Louise Bond, her life became her blog. The Champagne Lifestyle Student Budget which she created as a distraction in 2010 to take her mind of an operation. Now in 2013, Gemma-Louise is all grown up and is now known as That Belfast Girl.
“I knew that come June of this year I wasn’t going to be a student anymore as I graduate from QUB with a BA in politics. I also felt like I had grown so much as a person doing CLSB and I needed a new grown up start. I also felt that CLSB had become too focused on beauty and fashion and wanted it to be a lifestyle blog.”
Gemma-Louise also makes note of the perks of blogging. “I’ll not lie- freebies are good! But the biggest perk is interaction with new people.” She also stresses the need to stay true to yourself and to reach out to the blogging community. “I’m a size 14 and 5ft10 but I’m in no way apologetic for not being a skinny fashion blogger! Also mix with other bloggers- they can become a great support system and great to seek for advice.”
Finally, rule number 4. Be thorough. For a lot of people a blog is just a hobby. For me, I started with the main idea of getting more work in journalism. Using it as an online body of work. For that to happen, all content had to be written to industry standard. It must be perfect and it must contain zero mistakes. Research and fact check everything. Be clear and concise. But for the most part make sure you have fun doing it.
So there you have it, my go-to-guide on the basics of blogging. Hopefully it hasn’t put you all off completely and we will in fact be seeing more niche driven, goal orientated, opinionated and well written blogs in the near future. Peace.
Written by Lewis Cameron
(Editor of www.beyondman.co.uk)