Welcome back babes! Just incase you missed it, this is blog #2 of my “How to Start a Fashion Blog” series. Last week we talked about how to get your blog up and running and now, it’s time to have some fun creating quality content. There was so much information I wanted to put into this post so I decided to format it more like a list, so here are my top 10 tips for creating content for your fashion blog! In the meantime, there is one question I want you to be thinking about today, if there are new bloggers emerging everyday, how can you be the one that stands out?
1. DEFINE CONTENT GOALS THAT ALIGN WITH YOUR BRAND MESSAGE
Blogging is hard work so it’s really important to have a general direction or understanding of where you want to to go. Take a minute to write down all the reasons you want to start a blog and create a brand message or mission statement!
I want to cherish, inspire, and help others to have the confidence to go after what they want. By using fashion and lifestyle to connect with others, I hope to be a friend to anyone in need and encourage transparency at all times.
If this is my mission statement, my content needs to be a reflection of what my brand stands for. In other words, my content needs to be fashion-oriented, relatable, helpful, inspiring, and instill a sense of confidence.
Choose 3-4 adjectives that describe your brand and ask yourself ‘is this consistent with my brand messaging?’ before you post anything.
2. GATHER FASHION INSPIRATION PHOTOS FOR FASHION BLOG
Unless you have a clear idea of the photos you want to create then you’re going to struggle to get a result you’re happy with. My biggest tip is to gather inspiration, create a Pinterest board for images you love, scour magazines and rip out pictures you adore, ask your friends and family which pictures of you they like most. And then work out what it is about those images that you love. Is it the lighting, the composition, the sharpness, or proportions? Once you know what it is you want to create, it’ll be much easier to get the good shot.
3. CREATE HIGH-RES QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY
Guess what?! You don’t need a fancy camera when you start blogging but you DO need a photographer with a fancy camera. This can be your mom, dad, brother, boyfriend, or like me, start with the trusty ol’ tripod. I always told people my tripod was the best boyfriend I ever had. He never gave me attitude, he let me call the shots, he is super reliable, and I can take him anywhere. The only con to using a tripod is that it can’t give you feedback, takes a lot of work, and kind of gets lonely!
Nowadays, I schedule a photoshoot with a professional photographer once a week and shoot 3-5 outfits. This gives me the opportunity to shoot sponsored posts due in the following weeks and have enough content for my outfit posts. In order to take it to the next level, scheduling and planning out consistent shoots is really important.
HOW TO FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER. When searching for a photographer, it is important to find someone that understands the direction you are heading and wants to work with you for long-haul. Explain to your photographer that you will want to shoot multiple times a month and that you hope to carry on a longterm relationship. If they see it as a good fit, most of the time you can work out a deal.
Search hashtags on Instagram. I searched #Dallasphotographers and #DallasBloggers to find the Instagram accounts of local photographers.
Join Facebook groups. There are Facebook groups for anything and everything nowadays! I joined the Dallas Photographer’s Facebook group and wrote a post, asking people to e-mail me their portfolio/website.
Make a listing on Craigslist. I know, this can be sketchy but you may find a hidden gem! The first time I met a videographer I found from Craigslist, I had my mom come with me (and we took pepper spray lol). They ended up being an amazing photographer, so you never know!
Contact other blogger’s photographers. I started to follow Dallas fashion bloggers and reached out to the photographers they were giving photo credit to.
Contact your local college’s fine art or photography department.
IF YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR OWN PHOTOS. If you are interested in investing in your own camera, there are so many great options out there. I started with a Canon Rebel t3i, then upgraded to a Canon 6D, and now I use a Canon 5d Mark III. The two lenses I use are Canon 50mm and a Sigma 24-70mm zoom lens for wider shots.
It’s important to use high-res images on your blog. There are so many bloggers out there that your content image quality should be able to keep up and compete with the other thousands of them out there!
3. BOOST YOUR FASHION BLOG’S SEO
Although content is most important, you shouldn’t ignore SEO altogether.
Rename your image files. Did you know that the names of the photos that you upload to your blog are actually used by google? So! If your image says, IMG_7678, rename it to something that includes a keyword from your post. I use dashes (-) in between words. For example, IMG_How-To-Start-Fashion-Blog.
Use relevant words in hyperlinking other sites. When linking to another website on your blog post, use words relevant to that link, instead of “click here”. For example, if I want to link my most recent post, I would write, “Want to know what I have been working on all week? 5 Things I Wish A Sister Taught Me Growing Up.”
Use keywords in your title. It’s all about the keyword search. Try to be specific if you want to target a niche audience. So instead of titling your blog post “How to Get the Perfect Blow Out” try “How to Get the Perfect Blow Out for Curly Hair.”
Use Headings (h2, h3, etc. tags) with SEO keywords. With headings like h1, h2, h3, etc. (which correspond to different levels of headings in your posts), the HTML of your website orders the most important content. Regular text (or paragraph text) comes after the main headings of your site. So instead of increasing the size of your paragraph text, use headings and h1, h2, and h3 tags to give your messages hierarchy.
4. CREATE A THEME FOR YOUR BLOG
I try to write about fashion, lifestyle, travel, and self development. I like to create ‘series’ (like this one) and themes to abide by. That way I am not all over the place, writing about random blog posts every single day. You can create categories on WordPress to organize your posts.
5. USE A CONTENT CALENDAR
CoSchedule, a WordPress plugin, was a game changer for me.
CoSchedule, essentially, creates a calendar for you to organize your posts on the backend of WordPress. You can achieve the same concept by using a monthly paper planner, but I like this plugin because it’s built into my WordPress site, so I can easily edit my calendar online and then begin writing posts straight from the calendar. My process typically looks like this: if I get a sponsored campaign, I mark it down in my calendar immediately. It syncs up to WordPress, and when you put a blog post in CoSchedule, it will automatically make a draft for you in WordPress. Pretty cool, huh? You can set the time you want the post to go live, as well as the categories the post should fall under right on the CoSchedule’s website as well!
6. CREATE SHARE-WORTHY CONTENT
Use Real Props. Flowers, coffee, and accessories give outfit photos so much more personality! Try to use them as often as possible! My go-to options are flowers, desserts, coffee, jewelry, sunnies, bicycle, or something that relates to the season.
Scout Out Backgrounds. Every time I am out and about I keep an eye out for buildings, walls, alleys, parks, or spots around town that inspire me. I usually drop a pin or put the address down in the notes of my phone so I can remember the next time I need to shoot an outfit.
Find Your Best Angels. Take a day to try a bunch of poses. A photo taken from above will make you appear “smaller”. A photo taken from below can make you appear taller. Sometimes it may feel weird to pose a certain way but it doesn’t look awkward on camera!
Create Timely Photos. What does your audience needs right now? Give people what they want per season! During the summer, I start to take more pics in the sun, outside, traveling, at the pool, eating ice cream, etc.
7. USE INSTAGRAM TO BE DISCOVERED
Instagram has been an amazing tool for fashion bloggers in terms of discovery, engagement, and growing a dedicated following. It’s okay to mix your DSLR photos with phone photos! Here are some of the tools I use to edit photos and create content for Instagram. If you want to learn how to grow your following, you’ll have to tune into next week’s blog post!
Use Iconosquare to understand your analytics, schedule content, manage comments, find peak times to post, follower’s locations, and best performing hashtags. Iconosquare will also email weekly reports of your follower growth.
Preview is a free app I use to organize my photos on a grid before I upload them on instagram. Upload you photos to Preview then drag and drop to create an aesthetic you like.
Use the Facetune app to smooth out wrinkles you have in your clothes.
Try to maintain a consistent schedule so people can expect when you are going to post.
The Clips by Apple app allows you to edit video for instagram. Add text, music, stickers, frames, and color correction, all from your iphone. *Only available to iphone users*
8. UPLOAD CONSISTENTLY
The biggest step for me in growing my blog, YouTube channel, and Instagram is when I started to be consistent with my content and created a content upload schedule. I use Google Calendar to color coordinate the times set aside for content creation whether it’s shooting a flat-lay, taking an Instagram, filming a YouTube video, or meeting a photographer for an outfit photoshoot.
9. SHOOT IN NATURAL LIGHTING
It doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone or a fancy DSLR, your photos will always turn out better if you shoot in good, natural daylight. This means avoiding a few things like taking photo with at night or directly in the bright sunshine. Instead, try to stand next to a window indoors during the day or if you’re outside on a bright day, try standing in the shade.
10. ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Challenge yourself. Set a goal to take out your camera more. Learn to use the settings on your camera. Take a class. Whatever you do, keep asking for feedback and learning!
Q & A
What advice would you give to an aspiring Youtuber? @isfuen
I would say the best advice I could give someone that is starting a Youtube channel is to be creative and consistent. Asking people for feedback is KEY. Give the people what they want!
Also, collabing with other Youtubers gives you the opportunity to learn from someone else, grow your channel, and create a sense of community on Youtube.
How do you find time to curate content while still in college or working full time? @linzeeeee
Oh, I didn’t find time girl. In fact, I pretty much took a year off after graduation and got a normal job because I ran myself sick into the ground in college. Bloggers and Youtubers work the longest hours of any job I know, that’s because it never turns off. There is always more you can be doing to grow and if you are competitive in nature, you know what I am talking about.
I think the best thing to do is set a schedule. For example, I film videos on Wednesdays and Saturdays and then I upload on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That leaves me time in between those days to edit and work on managing everything else. When I had a job outside of blogging and youtube, I only uploaded once a week. So I would take a look at your schedule and find a time each week that you KNOW you will be filming and editing. Stay consistent.
Also, outsource what you can! I outsource all kinds of things. I have a personal assistant that comes over once a week to help me link the outfits from Reward Style, to my blog. She also takes all of my instagrams, helps me keep track of my sponsored deadlines, and helps me manage my content calendar. I don’t think hiring someone is essential to be successful but it was essential for me to maintain my sanity. She holds me accountable. Besides, working alone all day can drive someone crazy!
How do you inspire yourself to fall back in love with blogging when it gets tiresome or when life gets in the way and you don’t have motivation to work on it? @linzeeeee
As soon as that happens I start asking my followers what they want to see or how I can help them. Hints why I am writing this series. I was actually really unmotivated and didn’t just want to create another “fashion” post so I like to ask how my followers are doing and try to create something that may help them!