As well as the usual forecasting for SS19 and AW19, I enjoyed PURE London for its talks and seminars as much as anything. There was an overriding sustainability theme throughout the three day event and I was fascinated at the various talks and solution proposals from fashion’s finest as they acknowledged and lamented the massive pollution caused by the fashion and textiles industry.
This season however, I have chosen to concentrate on a talk which many visitors and small businesses - both indie retailers and small producers alike - found superbly helpful, and that was the talk by a panel of British bloggers and instagrammers who gave tips, tricks and their own personal experience on blogging, being online and how to harness a social presence into selling a brand or an image or working with a brand.
I caught up with two of the speakers, namely Dani Jade and Georgina Horne, afterwards, and we went through some of the key takeaways from their talk. I’ll list them here because I know a lot of my readers are in retail or they are fellow bloggers, so I’m hoping this will be helpful.
First up, Dani. Tell us your biggest piece of advice for anyone blogging or doing business online. “It’s really important to stay true to yourself. It's great to follow the latest trends and go to all the hot spot locations for Instagram - but if you don't feel like yourself and feel like you're cloning somebody else’s content, your audience won't connect with you. Showcase your personality, stay true to your style and you will soar because they'll think you stand out against the rest.”
Georgina: “My biggest pointer has to be that the most important people when it comes to having a blog and a social media audience are your followers. They are the ones who help you grow, who will follow and buy things that you recommend, who will pick you up when you feel down, and you just need to respect them and not try to do things just for the money or the exposure. They aren’t stupid, they don’t follow you to see you be glossy and impersonal like a lot of brands, so you need to be genuine and you need to appreciate them.”
I’ve heard about the niche thing. Is that strictly true or can you still be quite generic - I personally blog about mum stuff, but also about food, fitness, health, fashion and beauty products, does that make me a bit ‘meh’?
Dani: “It's great to have a variety of blog posts, but finding one category you particularly connect with helps to grow your audience. I focus my attention to fashion because that is what is most popular among my followers and what my passion is. It's great when your followers connect with you on the content you enjoy producing the most.”
Georgina: “Yes and speaking of others who share your passion, I think it’s really important to learn that in order to grow a following you need to be supportive of your fellow content creators. No one eats at one restaurant or reads one book, and the same is true when it comes to influencers, so encourage your audience to read and follow as many other people as possible - and hopefully other influencers will do the same to you. Don’t be fake or forced about it though. And don’t just tag or recommend the biggies so they’ll re-share, that’s so transparent. Be genuine and it will shine through!”
And what about content for money? How do you approach brands? How do they approach you? Do you always want to get paid?
Georgina: Brands approach content creators because they can give them something, and you really should appreciate and understand your own value in this exchange (and it is an exchange!) and stick to it. If you want to work for free and create content for no return, then that’s your prerogative. You have to have faith that your audience like and trust your content, and if you are genuinely promoting a brand that you like then what’s the harm in taking a fee because it takes time to create content and they get a return from it. It’s win-win!
Dani: A lot of brands approach me (and lots of bloggers), but it can happen both ways and I’d say, don't be afraid to pitch yourself out to brands. As the saying goes, if you don't ask you don't get so if you want to work with a brand, pitch yourself, sell yourself. Confidence is so important and if you believe in yourself then brands will.
On the other hand, you have to have faith in yourself and be strong enough to turn down collaborations which don't suit your audience. I personally wouldn't take money to promote something I don’t believe in or actually like. The money may be great but if you aren't thinking realistically about your audience and what’s of interest to them, you're more than likely to lose your audience in the long run… And that brings me back to our starting point - your readers and followers are everything!