The most innovative fashionistas and beauty junkies out there (women like Aimee Song, Leandra Medine and Emily Weiss) always seem to know what we want and they deliver it to us in efficient and visually pleasing ways.
But what you don’t know about these ladies, is that they are also crazy smart about their strategies. They didn’t just buy cameras and a URL and gain instant success: It takes a business-savvy, independent spirit to be able to work completely solo, stay focused, and build a network. It takes a great writer who’s not afraid of a little risk and a lot of hard work. It takes someone who has the ability to motivate and generate content for their market. Basically, it takes someone who’s learned a thing or two about the biz.
Now I’ve only been in the blogging world for a couple of years, but I’ve been learning a lot along the way, thanks in large part to the smart women who’ve gone before me. So this week, I thought I’d let you in on some of the best kept secrets of a beauty blogger.
1. First impressions are everything and in this digital age, that includes your website
Every successful beauty blogger understands the need for a responsive, professional, and clean website. Before anyone emails you for a partnership opportunity, to buy a service or to just ask a question, you can assume they’ve combed through most of your website to learn about your brand and what you do. It truly is your first impression to the world, so just like you’d dress up for a first date, make sure your website (and your business cards and twitter account) reflect how you want to be seen.
2. Always show your appreciation to followers and partners
A beauty blog is just a website if it doesn’t have a loyal following. A well-liked blogger understands the importance of connecting with readers and followers and always letting them know they are appreciated. Unlike high school, popularity as a blogger can build much quicker on positivity and empowerment. A great blogger sends thank-you cards to networking partners, does frequent giveaways and interacts with their followers on Twitter and Facebook.
3. Speaking of social media, use it for more than just sharing envious beach pics or promoting
The bloggers with the most followers on social media have a trick up their sleeve: they treat you like just another girlfriend, letting you into their life journey. Especially on Twitter and Instagram, they share photos of hair disasters from middle school and their trip home for Christmas and in a lot of ways, it makes them seem more approachable and likable. No snarkiness, no shameless self promotion, just the feeling that they want you to be in on what’s going on in their life.
4. Read, read, and then read some more!
Invest in some great books that will keep you up to date on the ever-changing industry or that just generally inspire you to keep growing. I try to spend every morning reading for thirty minutes out of something inspirational or business-related to keep me motivated throughout my day. And I started doing that because someone who is more successful than me told me to. It’s really made a world of difference in staying positive and focused.
5. Be you, even if that means being a “work in progress”
Part of what makes a successful blog successful is the voice behind the writing. Every bit of content should be informative, entertaining and engaging, but above all, it should be authentic. It should ooze with your personality and readers should be able to feel that they know you from your words. Good, bad or otherwise, just be you: nobody likes a faker.
6. Accept that you don’t know it all. . . and ask for help
The world of beauty blogging is still so new in a lot of ways, but there are definitely pioneers of the industry. I think it’s important to reach out to someone who is more senior than you or sometimes even more specialized in order to continue learning. And because this industry is so positive and empowering, a simple email will get a response from someone even if you have to try a few different people. I still have contacts that I met at the beginning of my blogging journey who I can email with questions and that kind of network is invaluable for advice.
7. Invest in what you need, but don’t spend money you don’t have
I have never spent more money than I’ve made through my blogging and that piece of advice has worked out well in my favor. My next big purchase will be a nice camera and I’m in the process of figuring out what tablet to buy now that I’ve saved for that. I have an audience every month of around 10,000 and though that’s not much compared to other sites, I’m so grateful that following was built on creativity and not debt.
8. It all comes down to passion
You can’t be a beauty blogger if you don’t love beauty. It really is that simple. I mean, could you imagine Carrie trying to write about cooking instead of sex? If you don’t live for a new product in your fave hair-care brand coming out and being the first to know the latest eye-liner trick from the fall runway shows, you won’t want to keep going at midnight when you still need to crank out a new post. Just like in the best relationships, a simple desire to be in that relationship can keep you there even when the ickiness of life gets in. Deadlines, meetings, and shooting videos. . .you’ll be over it so quickly if you don’t love what you’re talking about every day.
9. Always write, even if it won’t be published
A beauty blogger always needs to post content, so even if you might not love your ideas, write them down and come back to them later. Just a few simple tweaks can take a post from mediocre to inspiring if the content is there, and it’s certainly okay if every post isn’t professor-approved. When an idea strikes you, write it down. If you really hate it, throw it out, but about 90 percent of the time I’ve done this, I’ve ended up with great posts that I might not have had otherwise.
10. Allow your blogging to feed your income in creative ways
Almost every successful beauty blog is run by someone who has a day job or works in the beauty industry and that’s because their blog feeds their income stream. If it didn’t, they couldn’t justify spending so much time on it. I’m a hairdresser and I allow my hair blog to feed new clients into my chair. I know a lot of fashion bloggers are also personal shoppers and use their blogs to showcase their styling talent. Get creative and find out how to make money with your extra time on the blog!
11. Take time to unplug
On my vacations, and in the quiet times I pencil into my calendar during the week, are when I always get the most inspiration and the most creative ideas for my site. I always want to be innovative and adding to my industry, not copying, so this time that I get to recharge is always essential. And also, spending less time with a bra on is probably scientifically proven to be better for us. . .somehow.
12. Confidence, in the face of fear
It takes a hell of a lot of confidence to start a blog. I remember the fear of exposing this new piece of my heart to my friends and just praying that nobody told me it was stupid. And even to this day, dealing with comment hate sometimes takes me back to those fears and insecurities of sharing my thoughts and words with the world and being judged. But you know what? Even Beyoncé has haters and I’m pretty sure she’s about to take over the world, so whatever! You are out there living your dream while they are simply commenting on it, so stay focused and positive!
Featured image via Shutterstock