One of the many gems I mined from Gala Darling at the IFB Conference on Thursday was that “How To” posts garner a lot of attention. That explains the title of today’s post. I also wanted to share with readers what I learned and to assure you that it is OK to be ambitious about your blog. Mattias Swenson of Bloglovin answered an audience question on how you measure success: you know you are successful when you MAKE MONEY, he said with certainty. With that out of the way, here are some concrete steps to help you increase readership to your blog:
1. Be Yourself
All of the successful bloggers who shared their insights at the Hudson Hotel in New York on Thursday began writing for themselves, to fulfill a passion. Bryanboy’s blogging career began as a travel journal in 2004 and he has sinced amassed his gargantuan following simply by sharing his life with them, whether it’s “putting on a big blond wig or riding in a wheelchair to the mall”.
Susie Lau began Style Bubble in London in 2006 as a self-indulgence and it has grown steadily to 25,000 unique hits per day. She credits the Fashion Spot with supporting her obsessive hobby of style-pondering and she has logged over 5,000 comments on the popular community site. She was among the first bloggers to post pictures of herself experiencing fashion.
Gala Darling is one of the world’s ten most influential bloggers and happily confesses that she could live very well off the proceeds from her podcasts alone. She has made a career out of being fearlessly authentic and encouraging her readers to do the same.
“If you feel as though you need to be liked it can dilute your message and prevent you from gaining a passionate audience,” she advises.
2. Be Nice
Yuri Lee of Lookbook.nu is a firm believer in the “do less and do good” model of marketing your blog. She says being nice will provide unexpected opportunities and can be as simple as reading and responding to feedback. It helps you create an engaged and passionate readership and build those positive relationships that can open doors for you later on. She advises bloggers to resist the impulse to “be annoying” by posting your link when you comment on other blogs as it will get you labelled a spammer.
3. Be patient
Phil Oh of Streetpeeper.com has been blogging for four years and it is only recently that he has been able to call himself a full-time blogger. All of the bloggers at the conference said their readership grew “organically” and there was no real turning point when their numbers all of a sudden spiked. It just took time. That’s why it’s important to blog about something on which you are truly passionate and that you would write even if no one paid your for it. Because at first no one will!
4. Be original
Yuri Lee, co-founder of Lookbook.nu advises “do one thing better than anyone else.” You have to give readers a reason to visit you and that means providing valuable content. Take your own pictures wherever possible, invest in a decent camera if you can, and provide fresh, new content every time you post. Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere says natural light is important for photographs and encourages shooting during the “magic hour” right before dusk sets in.
You can write about things that have already been covered, just offer a fresh perspective. Amy Odell writes New York Magazine’s fashion blog “The Cut“. She says you have to cover the news “because it’s the news” and you can approach it from a different angle or, better yet, be the first to write about it. She refreshes her feed every 20 minutes to make sure she is up to the minute on fashion goings-on. Humour is another effective approach to almost any topic as Amy proves on a daily basis.
5. Be Clear About What You Want
Gala Darling says “work out what success means to you and then go out and get it.” To Gala success comes in the form of fan emails, comments on her blog, and readers buying her podcasts. For you it might mean something else. It’s also very “law of attraction”: you must envision what you desire before you can manifest it.
Now that we’ve covered the how-tos of gaining a healthy following, let’s look at a couple of myths and misconceptions:
So many bloggers spend, hours, days, weeks racking their brains to come up with a catchy blog name. Rumi Neely started her blog Fashion Toast as an ebay store. She confesses to putting no thought whatever into the name of her blog which is “why the name is so ridiculous” (I’m paraphrasing). Rumi has racked up a staggering 75,000 unique hits per day.
2. Press matters
Most of the bloggers at the conference said press mentions were great for their egos and provided lots of excitement among themselves, family and friends, and it was wonderful to sit front row at Fashion Week. In terms of traffic, however, press mentions provided no marked increase in followers. Yuri of Lookbook.nu says “press is overrated” and collaborating with other bloggers provides better opportunities for growth. Phil Oh of Streetpeeper.com concurs and advises teaming up with other bloggers to benefit from larger combined numbers.
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