Welcome to the eighth part of our ‘What Bloggers Want’ interview series!
In this edition we spoke to Scarlett from the fabulous Scarlett London Blog.
If you missed our last interview, you can find it right here. Otherwise, to find out more about fahsion marketing, click here.
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging initially because as an aspiring journalist, I understood the importance of creating an online presence for yourself and thought that I might as well make a head start.
To be honest, when I started writing articles – I had absolutely no idea about the blogging community and all of the amazing opportunities bloggers are given, I never knew it existed.
But setting up my own platform and engaging with like-minded writers has really opened my eyes to all of the amazing things owning and running a blog throws your way.
What made you focus on the fashion & lifestyle market?
The fashion and lifestyle side of things is a very saturated market, so setting up a new platform when there’s already so many hundreds of brilliant ones is certainly a difficult task, especially if you want to stand out. But ultimately, you have to blog about what you love – as passion for the subject you write about is key.
It’s easy to tell when someone’s heart isn’t in something. I’ve always been interested in fashion and I think injecting personality into a blog is what sets it apart – which is where the lifestyle factor comes in.
How influential do you think blogs are within the industry? Will their influence increase or diminish over the next 5 years?
Hugely influential. I think some people underestimate how having the blogging community on board can boost your brand or your product by miles.
Blogging shouldn’t and isn’t about PR, it’s about creating a personal platform for you to engage with an audience – but of course, when you build up a loyal relationship with your readers, you do have a certain amount of influence.
It’s essentially an extension on word of mouth advertising. Just ten times more effective.
What approaches from brands and PR/Search marketing agencies annoy you and what makes you want to work with a brand or product?
I work with a tonne of amazing brands and PR/SEO agencies on a regular basis and I’m lucky enough to be able to bounce ideas off them and create really engaging, interesting and exciting content however I do – unfortunately quite regularly – come across some frustrating pitches which leave me (and other bloggers) feeling a little put out.
I believe in working as part of a mutually beneficial basis. You have spent your time building up your blog, connecting with your audience and pouring your heart and soul into your little space of the internet.
And as a result, you may have a loyal readership who tune into your content.
You’ve done the hard work, and you continue to work hard. But then you are approached, often quite rudely, by brands who would like to essentially ‘advertise’ on your blog but they mask it as an ‘exciting’ opportunity for you to create some great content.
I politely decline and explain the above however on many occasions things can turn quite nasty quite quickly – and not on my part.
However, as I said – the vast majority of brands and PRs I work with are amazing. The UK blogging community are very lucky to have a PR network who engage and understand what blogs are about and how we work.
What advice would you offer to brands and agencies approaching you?
Be genuine. If you really want to capture a bloggers attention, make sure you’ve done your research. Don’t approach a fashion blogger with a trial of nappy samples. Don’t claim you’ve read their blog (by posting a link to their latest post) if you haven’t, as it does show and it is frustrating.
If you’re looking to gain exposure on a product – say so. Bloggers can help you do so if they feel it fits with their target audience however you have to expect to provide an incentive, or payment in exchange for helping out.
With such vast advertising budgets, we know how much brands advertise commercially – so it would be unfair to expect nothing in return. Treat them how you would like to be treated.
Would you review any product or do you pick and choose?
No, I’ve rejected tonnes of products which either didn’t fit with the audience or didn’t appeal to me.
I don’t want to post for the sake of posting, so I always aim to produce content (or in this case, reviews) that I would personally read myself. If I don’t enjoy them, how will anyone else enjoy them?
>Do you use a variety of media on your blog (e.g. video, images)?
Yes, I haven’t ventured to the scary world of YouTube just yet as writing is my first passion, photography my second – and filming is at present, off the radar. I think it’s important to get a balance. I really enjoy blogs which have a real sense of personality – and voyeurism. You need words and pictures to do this.
What posts, or types of posts, have been most effective for you?
Really personal posts, touching upon subjects that are close to me have been really popular – like my recent IBS series, which was also featured on Patient.co.uk – a really big health forum/discussion site in the UK.
I hardly ever talk about the condition in person, because I’m so embarrassed but writing about it has been oddly therapeutic.
As social is a must for any blogger, what channels work best for you and do you plan to change your activity in the future?
Twitter is a must. It’s so easy to engage with other like-minded bloggers using hashtags. Also maintaining an Instagram feed, especially if fashion and beauty is a key theme for you – is essential. Producing content is no longer mono-platformed, it’s a 24/7 job. But a really great one!
If you could offer any advice to young up and coming bloggers, what would it be?
Keep posting! Being persistent and not getting too disheartened when the readers don’t flock to your site immediately is definitely key.
I blogged for months with about 5 readers. To be honest, 5 was a big number for me then – I hadn’t imagined anyone would read it, ever, which is silly considering the internet is such a vast place.
Blogging about anything and everything and building up a solid ‘portfolio’ if you like, of posts is great to do before you start promoting it on Twitter.
Make sure there’s lots of content for new readers to dig their teeth into. That way, they’re likely to come back for more.