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MessyCarla's Blogging Tips!

Hi everyone,

I can't believe it's been nearly a WEEK since I last posted.
Many apologies, you can tell it's deadline week. I'm completely swamped until April 26th, then I'm going to Edinburgh for a few days with my friend Megan to see Les Misérables.
But I WILL definately post on Saturday, because I'll be announcing the winner for the 100 Followers Giveaway.

One of the things I get a good few emails and comments asking, is how to make your blog more successful. This isn't one of the most successful ones (ie: I haven't been invited to events etc yet!) but I have been lucky enough to get some great opportunities that wouldn't have been possible if not for blogging. For example, working with some high street brands, going to London Fashion Week etc.

But the difficult thing is getting to know your way around the blogosophere. I've been personal blogging since I was 11 (Nearly TEN years now!), but only fashion blogging since October last year.
I don't pretend to know everything, and these definately aren't 'The Rules' set in stone. But these are just some helpful hints as to what has worked for me.

MessyCarla’s Tips For Running a Semi-Successful Fashion Blog:


1: Network.
I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Read lots of other blogs and get a feel for what sort of things work, and what don’t. Most bloggers invite readers to connect with them through Twitter, which is a great tool for getting to know people outside the immediate blogosphere. Guest posting for each other or doing interviews gives both your blogs exposure, and is brilliant fun!
Don’t be afraid to post your blog address around message boards etc, but don’t spam people.


2: Comments.
It’s a fine line between inviting readers to leave their constructive thoughts about the blog, and fishing for comments and compliments. Begging for comments, or whining that you don’t get enough simply comes across as desperate, and readers will pick up that you are clutching at straws.


3: Be more than JUST ‘a fashion blog.’
There’s literally thousands and thousands of fashion blogs out there, because anyone can set up a camera and snap a picture of their outfit. What else can you offer? Tell your readers what inspired you to wear the outfit – what event were you going to? Were you listening to a particular style of music whilst you were getting dressed that influenced you? Is there any other way you could accessorise to give yourself a different look?
Not only that, but it’s always nice to give a little taste of your life away from the fashion side of things – tell people what you’re up to (even if it’s just at school or if something funny happened at work!) as it will allow your readers to get to know you better, and make you more memorable.


4: Have nice clear photos.
I certainly don’t have an expensive camera – mine is a point-and-click I got for just over £100. But I make sure to pose for pictures in the brightest part of my room so that you guys can see everything as clearly as possible. Blurry webcam pictures for everything are a no-go, as are MySpace-esque shots taken from a height (it is simply impossible to see your full outfit from this angle!). Photoshop can be your friend if you have a naughty zit or two, but don’t overdo it.


5: Offer incentives.
Give your readers something interesting to keep coming back for – such as interviews with other bloggers (see Networking) or with other relatable figures (such as designers – do some searching around, a lot of small designers – especially students – will be glad to answer some questions for free exposure). Giveaways are also brilliant fun, and show your loyalty to what you do, and appreciation for your followers.


6: Don’t post too often or too little.
It’s important to get the balance right. It’s brilliant if you have lots of ideas for content – but lots of entries on the same day will clog up your follower’s reading list, and chances are they will get in the habit of scrolling past. Try to condense your ideas into a few brilliant blog entries throughout a few days of the week.
On the flip side, don’t expect your readers to stay interested if you post once in a blue moon – as there as so many other bloggers, chances are that you will be forgotten.


7: Be courteous.
For example, if you have bought an item because you saw it on another blog and would like to showcase/review it yourself, it’s always nice to link to the original source who recommended it to you in the first place. It also goes without saying (although I will…) that it is NEVER alright to blatantly copy another person’s idea in any medium!
Being courteous also covers avoiding getting into flame wars and not being rude to readers if they disagree with something you say (a simple ‘I’m sorry you disagree but I appreciate your feedback’ will suffice).
Remember: manners matter and nobody likes a drama llama.


8: Don’t swear.
Maybe this is just one of my personal preferences, but I am instantly turned off by fashion blogs that contain a lot of cursing. Which is ironic, as Silly Old Daniel will be the first to point out, I swear like a sailor in real life. But this is the internet, and not everyone may appreciate the same way of expressing yourself, and you usually just come across as unprofessional.


9: Don’t be disheartened.
Don’t worry if it seems you aren’t getting a lot of readers or followers within the first few months of your blog starting. Everybody has started from the beginning. Also, if you get negative criticism, don’t take it to heart – life would be boring if we all liked the same thing. Believe in what you do above all else.
Don’t feel bad if you feel like you are going through a dry patch where you are talking about the same old thing – it happens to us all. But the beauty of fashion is that it is ever changing, and there is always something to talk about which is fun and fresh! I have three necessities I take everywhere – a notepad and pen, and a digital camera, as I never know when I’ll be inspired for a blog post. (You know the picture of Hattie eating the cupcake? That’s when I got the inspiration for a candy themed post - and that was just during a break between classes!)


10: Have FUN!
The whole point of the fashion blog (and I would argue more so more the fatshionistas/plus-sized bloggers) is that it gives ‘the everyday girl’ a platform for talking about fashion away from the usual judgement we get from the magazine and print journalism world where there are so many rules and regulations restricting us. So use your blog as a way to have fun with what you do – would you really be able to show off your clunky but comfy shoes you’ve had for years, or the dried-up old nail polish you can’t bear to throw away in Vogue or Elle?
Having fun with what you do is the forefront of running a successful blog, and it comes across if you are passionate about what you are writing about.


How about you guys - do you guys stick to a certain form when you're blogging, or do you like to mix it up? Do you have any 'rules' that you stick to?

Muchos love,
MessyCarla.

15 comments:

  1. Nice tips, Carla. I'll definitely bookmark this for me. :)

    http://bonjourgazel.blogspot.com

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  2. I am quite completely jealous you're going to see the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Tour. It is my most favourite musical ever :D.

    And your tips are very very helpful :).

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  3. Gazel: Cool, I'm glad they're of some help :)

    Nattie: Probably mine too. I've seen it once in the west-end, an amateur production and we did it at school for a 5-night run. I was one of the 'Lovely Ladies' (despite being COMPLETELY tone deaf), and my friend Daniel (http://sillyolddaniel.blogspot.com) was Marius. Do you watch BBC'S Over The Rainbow? Emilie was Little Cosette.
    Talk about celebrity spotting, eh? :)

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  4. Brilliant tips Carla! Very useful too :) I think it's so easy to get disheartened when you are starting out and everyone else seems to be doing so well. I think networking is important too, it's one of the reasons I started blogging :)

    Maria xxx

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  5. I would LOVE to see Les Miserables - very jealous!

    This is an interesting post - I saw someone else do a 'rules' for a successful blog post recently & it makes for good reading :)

    I don't think I really follow any rules - I'm certainly not aware of doing so anyway. Ooh apart from no.6 - I quite often 'save' things so I can do a post all together, rather than lots of little posts - & you're right, that is annoying on your reading list! I know quite a few people who post ALL the time, but it's like, one photo - & that's it. What's the point!?

    Anyway.. going off on a tangent there, so think it's time I left!

    www.heart-shaped-bruise.blogspot.com

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  6. Great tips :P I love your blog :)

    Nicola-x
    http://cosmeticsmile-x.blogspot.com

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  7. Hey, I nominated you for a blog award here :)

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  8. Thanks for all the tips Carla they were really helpful! :)

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  9. I'm sticking to neither sad nor hatred post in doing blog thing.

    Good post Carla.

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  10. Ello :D

    Nominated for a Blog Award :)

    and I tagged you ;
    100 things you love

    Annoying tag, but its fun!

    x

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  11. hi carla,
    i enjoyed reading this post, i think those are useful tips.
    keep up the good work with your blog,
    love from the netherlands,

    sarah

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  12. Hey Carla, just recently discovered your blog, it's great. I love the tips about having a successful blog, I just started mine a couple months ago, so I'm just getting the hang of it. lol, think I may be guilty of the too many posts thing, I'll have to watch that.
    http://thepaleandpallorprincess.blogspot.com/

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  13. MARIA: Definately, I've met some lovely people over the net through doing this :) [present company included! ;)]

    heartshapedbruise: I just think it works best - makes for more interesting content and keeps folk interested. I LOVE Les Mis so so much too :)

    Nicola: You are very welcome, and thank you very much! :) xxxx

    Laura: Thank you very much, that is so kind of you!! :DD

    Shanis Navas: You're welcome :)

    p49it: Always a good way to be :)

    Amii-Louise: Thank you so much! xxxx

    Sarah: I'm glad you found it useful, and am so happy you enjoy reading. I LOVE The Netherlands, it's such a beautiful country! I once stayed just outside Amsterdam, and the neighbourhood was a cross between Desperate Housewives and Tim Burton - totally stunning!

    The Pale and Pallor Princess: You're SO gorgeous, I love your look. It can be hard when you have so many ideas - but just try to condense them into a few full and fabulous entries throughout the week :) But your content is GREAT! xx

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  14. Hey, Ive just stumbled across your blog, i only started blogging a few months ago and am still finding my feet so to speak. Thanks for the great tips and a wonderful blog :)

    Lizzie x

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  15. Aww you're very welcome and I hope the tips are of some help :) Remember, everyone has to start somewhere - and I'm following you :) xxx

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