Let’s play a game. When I say “fashion blogger”, you say…
Try this one for size: hard-working professional writer.
Fashion bloggers have a bad rep lately. Industry veterans see us as an amateur trend that should’ve died already, while the average internet citizen thinks we’re all self-absorbed model-wannabes.
Having been a style blogger for more than four years, I can tell you that we’re not these shallow beings who take selfies all day (well… not all of us!). We’re stylists, photographers and, like you, writers.
Many of us have taken our “hobby” to the next level — launching businesses, opening boutiques, even starring in an ad or two. I started freelance writing and doing social media for small businesses when I figured out that I could build a career on my fashion blogging experience. Reading awesome blogs like this one, I realized that the fashion world and the freelancing arena aren’t all that different.
They’re both tough businesses that need tons of creativity, a relatable personality, quick thinking, and the courage to put yourself out there for the world to see.
Still not sure how fashion and writing work together? Here are my takeaways from fashionista land that you can use no matter what types of blogging you do.
Give Popular Topics Your Own Flair
Every time a new fashion trend comes out, everybody and their mom is wearing it (and telling you the same three reasons why it’s so fabulous).
How many times have you seen the same blogging tips rehashed over and over? Yeah, your eyes just gloss over them. And if your article reads the same way, your editors’ eyes will do the same thing.
That’s why you need an angle on that topic that only you can bring. Three ways you can do that are:
1. Incorporate your own experiences.
- Example: 7 Things I Learned About Freelance Blogging from Interviewing My Clients puts a unique spin on writing advice by getting tips from the author’s actual clients instead of other bloggers.
2. Talk about how your day job influences your writing life.
- Example: Heiddi Zalamar uses her experience as a mental health professional to discuss writer rejection in her post 6 Steps to Rise Above Rejection and Be a Better Writer.
3. Combine two topics and have a Tim Gunn “make it work” moment.
Every combination gives you a different angle, as in these examples:
- Spice Girls + Guest Blogging = 4 Guest Blogging Lessons You Can Learn from the Spice Girls
- Movies + Blog Pitching = Your Blogging Audition: How to Pitch Like a Movie Star
Be Your Awesome Self
Listen, anybody can take photos of their clothes and call themselves a fashion blogger. But no readers will care unless they relate to you as a person.
Beyond the Louis Vuitton bag, that blogger better have a story to tell — and not about how awesome she is because she can afford a Louis bag. Not interested!
She should be willing to share her not-so-fabulous moments that helped her learn the tips she recommends. That’s how we connect to our readers, showing them we’re human, trustworthy and likeable. Once you develop that kind of authentic relationship, people will read (and buy!) anything with your name on it.
On the freelance side of fashion blogging, editors are looking for traffic and reader engagement. They want the type of content that’ll have customers lining up on their site like it’s a Black Friday sale. And many editors judge you by your social media profiles as well as your writing portfolio.
OK, so how do you forge those genuine connections with readers?
- Share the experiences that relate to what you’re writing about. If you’re a business pro who had 12 failed start-ups before finding success, write about it. If you’re a mommy blogger whose kid’s public tantrums taught you to think on your feet, share the insights you gained from every embarrassing moment! People will readily take the advice of someone who’s been in their exact position.
- Use social media to share your personality as well as promote your expertise. Tweet an insight you learned today, share a picture of your cat on Facebook, or show off your cooking skills on Pinterest. Sharing personal info every so often lets people know you’re a real person and not a robot just posting promos.
Think (and Plan!) Ahead
Fashion moves at lightning speed. When the New Year starts, we’re already writing about swimsuits while watching fall coats on the runways. Staying up-to-date with industry trends is a must, because no one wants to read about yesterday’s news.
As a freelance blogger, you need timely and relevant article ideas, no matter what industry you’re writing for. You want to show editors that you’re in the know and are really passionate about your niche.
Plan ahead by:
- Getting a calendar or day planner and marking out special events, conferences, etc. in your area of expertise. Then set deadlines to pitch stories about those events way ahead of time. (Don’t scoff at the spring dresses you see on racks right after Christmas. Those stores have the right idea!)
- Reading influential blogs and sites in your niche on a daily basis. Sign up for email newsletters, subscribe to podcasts, or use a feed reader service that lets you read all your favorite blogs in the same place. As soon as big news breaks, you’ll be one of the first to know (and write about it!).
For fashion bloggers, taking pictures of our outfits has benefits besides gaining readers. We learn how to sell our style choices, and ultimately ourselves, so we can catch the attention of brands we want to work with.
Knowing what makes your work unique and valuable is important. Knowing how to sell it to potential clients is crucial. Just like a pair of shoes can make or break an outfit, your client’s first impression can make or break your career.
How can you put your best face forward?
- Make sure your professional website looks fabulous! It’s often the first thing editors see, so make sure it not only looks good, but highlights your services, best work, and ultimately the reasons why people should work with you.
- Take your time crafting your pitch letters. Do your research and figure out how your work and talent fits in with each individual publication.
- Show your skills on social media (it’s not the place to be shy!). Let people know you’re knowledgeable and the go-to person for what you do.
- If you’re a financial guru, flaunt your financial tips in daily tweets.
- Mommy bloggers can share their favorite baby products on Facebook.
- Pinterest is the perfect platform to show off creative arts and crafts, with a link back to your instructions.
However you choose to do it, let your unique style shine through. Then work it, baby!
Your turn: How have your non-writing work experiences helped you in your freelance writing career?