Next up in my Blogging Advice series is something that I’ve been asked so many times, and I’m sure a lot of people who don’t fully understand, are wondering exactly the same thing. What does a fashion blogger actually do? There’s quite a few misconceptions actually when it comes to fashion blogging and that’s that we don’t really do much except for write a couple of blog posts and then jet off around the world to exotic locations, buy designer goods, then laze around on a beach or by the pool. While some of the top fashion bloggers do get to live lives like that now, it wasn’t like that in the beginning.
So what skills do you need to know in order to be a fashion blogger?
Essentially, if you’re a fashion blogger, you’re running your own online version of a fashion magazine. As you probably know, at a magazine there are countless writers, an art department, a photography department, ad sales, interns, PR… The list is endless, but for someone like me, I have to manage all of that on my own, for multiple blogs. So it really is a full time job. So lets see what skills myself and other fashion bloggers have had to learn in order to be a fashion blogger that’s self employed and doing it professionally.
Writing – Lucky for me, writing is something that does come naturally to me since I have done it since I was a child. I would think that if you can’t write at all and don’t enjoy it, you wont find being a blogger inspiring or food for your soul like some of us do. The first thing a fashion blogger needs to do is be able to write and make sure it’s enticing and readable. Without gripping text, it’s dull.
Editing – I will admit in the beginning when I started at around 18 years old, my spelling and punctuation wasn’t at its best and I wouldn’t proof read my articles either, so I had to quickly learn to brush up on those skills and make sure I proof read everything. Now I actually do feel like I’m a great editor and have been editing writing for years now, even spotting issues and mistakes in actual books or magazines, to the point that I can’t read anything without analysing it while doing so. But this skill is something that I need to be good at, especially since I run many blogs on a professional level and people need to see it as something they can trust. Spelling mistakes and errors always lead to the article looking sloppy, so fashion bloggers need to learn to edit and correct.
Modeling/Styling – For me, this wasn’t something that came naturally. I was very awkward, stiff, and always had a rabbit in the headlights expression in my poses. They looked strained and staged, so it took me quite a while to get a lot more comfortable with people watching, and learning how to pose. It’s easy to get stuck in doing the same poses over and over again because they’re good, but trust me, bloggers have to learn to do as many different poses as they possibly can, and learning to do natural, candid ones works even better. When you’re a personal style blogger, modeling is something that has to be brushed up on. Getting the outfits right as well is key, bloggers have to be good at styling and putting looks together that are fun, creative and gorgeous. Being a stylist is a key point as outfits need to be visually appealing.
Photography/Creative Visualisation – This is another main point that is incredibly important. Fashion bloggers need to invest in a fantastic camera (a Nikon or Canon DSLR is great – we have a Nikon D610) as the photos need to be high quality. Learning to use the camera as well as learning how to utilize lighting and angles is key. The more creative and expertly done the photos are, the better the blog will look. Basic photography skills are needed, even while being a hobby blogger. Nobody wants to look at blurry, dark photos. Being creative is a must, so gorgeous flat lays and fun photos can be created. A blogger is essentially creating an online space and portfolio, so it has to be creative visually.
Photo Editing – Not every fashion blogger wants to use Photoshop or Lightroom, but in my experience, if they want to be successful, they will. Not for editing the length of their legs or making themselves look thinner, I mean for lighting, colour, shadows, resizing, sharpening up the images etc. Basic Photoshop skills are definitely needed to improve and enhance the photos.
Social Media Skills – Social Media is a must for fashion bloggers as they need to reach potential new readers and share their content with them. This means they have to learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Google+ etc. and do it well. Making the accounts visually appealing and sharing their content to other people has to be done in order to grow their following.
Ad Sales – If a fashion blogger wants to turn their blogging into a job instead of a hobby, they will have to learn how to do ad sales. This includes making up a press pack to show their blog off and what they can offer, as well as general conversing with potential buyers and brands. They have to learn how to sell themselves and be confident with it. I’ve personally found that this is something that took a while to come naturally for me as I’m not generally a confident, bold person.
Public Relations – Much like ad sales, a fashion blogger will need to learn basic public relations skills as they need to build up friendships with brands and companies. It’s important to communicate properly and professionally in order to gain a relationship that’s long lasting and mutual between them and the brands. I’ve found being friendly and polite, but professional is the best way to be.
Website Design – Now, not all fashion bloggers need to learn website design as they might be willing to pay someone else to do it for them, but as I have personally found out in my many years of blogging, you need to learn the basics. Even if that’s customising a theme that you bought or adding your personal touches to your website, it’s good to learn some of it yourself so you can do little tweaks here and there without having to pay anyone, and possibly breaking your website.
HTML Skills – Much like website design, learning some coding and basic HTML is important as well. Sometimes you can get issues, bugs and glitches with your website and if you can learn to fix these yourself, that’s better. It can take a while to get someone else to do it and it can be costly.
Knowledge On Your Subject – The last thing is knowledge on the websites niche and chosen subject. It’s important to have a focus and a subject matter for blogging, so fashion bloggers need to make sure that they have a lot of experience with what they’re writing about. For me, denim is my passion and expertise as I’m sure you know (check out The Jeans Blog), so there needs to be a clear voice and knowledge on what is being written.
How can you call fashion blogging a job or profession though?
I would say based on the skills listed above, if you’re utilising them to run a successful fashion blog and are making a good amount of money from blogging, that counts it as a profession, or your job. I went self employed a year and a half ago so I could focus on making money doing what I do, so it’s definitely my career path. If you’re putting a lot of work into your websites and it’s returning money, it’s definitely a job. I spend almost every day working on my 4 blogs and writing for other companies too, so it keeps me busy almost 24/7. Us fashion bloggers are lucky enough to have our own hours and do something different quite regularly, but just because it’s not the traditional 9-5 job, doesn’t make it any less of one. Some of them can become really big influencers and have a reach to millions, almost making them a celebrity, meaning brands will want to endorse them and pay to advertise, but I will touch base on how money can be made in a dedicated blog post as well for you all soon, if you’re interested?
So what does a fashion blogger do in a week?
This varies for every single fashion blogger out there since they all have a different niche, different styles, and ways of working. So to answer this for myself, my weeks are taken up by brainstorming and coming up with content ideas for my various fashion blogs, putting all of these into a schedule (I usually work a couple of weeks in advance), writing blog posts, styling outfits, shooting and editing photos, responding to emails from companies and arranging work, replying to readers, managing social media, and sometimes doing website tweaks and maintenance. You can see my fashion blogger schedule which I wrote before, but there’s always something different going on. I sometimes might need to attend events, do special photoshoots and prepare for those, or simply just spend a long time writing. It can be crazy and intense, very stressful and time consuming since you can’t shut off from this type of work, but it’s rewarding.
So, are there different types of fashion blogs?
I would like to think that we all create an online magazine or look book for people to enjoy, be inspired by, and feel connected to in general, but some of the fashion blogs are more like a magazine with articles about fashion, fashion week, campaigns etc, while others are personal bloggers who share their life with everyone online and give up their privacy for it, in order to make a difference. We are writers, photographers and curators, creating content and a hub for those who enjoy it. It’s definitely not easy like people can be misled to believe, especially not when you’re doing it professionally. I’ve outlined the most common 4 fashion blogs below.
For personal style bloggers – Look at Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere as an example. She’s hired a team of writers, she has her own office, she’s written books, and has since launched her own clothing line, all around her Cupcakes and Cashmere brand. Pretty impressive isn’t it? She’s taken fashion blogging to another level, much like Chiara Ferragni has from The Blonde Salad as well. Having her own shoe line, getting signed by a modelling agency, appearing in a movie, being featured in hundreds of publications like Vogue, Elle, InStyle etc, sitting front row at the top fashion week runway shows and more… She has a whole TBS Crew which has over 15 people working in her business now. These are just a couple of examples, but many other fashion bloggers like Song of Style, Kayture, Gary Pepper, Pink Peonies and more have created empires for themselves and it’s truly impressive. Check out this video of Kristina Bazan talking about her life as a fashion blogger with E! and see her fans too, just like Chiara, she’s now famous. But there’s also personal style bloggers who just focus purely on their outfits and not as a business.
For general fashion article bloggers – You also have the fashion bloggers who aren’t personal and love to create general fashion content. Purse Blog is one that springs to mind, being the leading website online for everything to do with bags. They turn over a huge amount of money every year and always have access to the new designer bags before they are released, as well as having the chance to create their own bags in collaborations with brands. They also have the leading bag forum (The Purse Forum) which you probably already know. Then you have a more fast fashion website like Who What Wear that creates multiple articles everyday from a team of writers, but are so popular and well respected that they have created a Who What Wear empire. It’s truly incredible.
For hobby fashion bloggers – I’m not going to leave the smaller bloggers out at all, as we have different levels of success for every single area of fashion blogging, but you also have those who like to blog about fashion and their style as a hobby. Much like an online diary and photo sharing space where they can write their thoughts and share their outfits on a much smaller scale, not wanting to turn it into a business. Of course everyone starts out this way though don’t they? I know I did. It just depends on how much time you’re willing to commit and whether you want to turn it into something bigger, or are lucky enough to know great people and get a foot on the ladder, or catch that big break which makes you go viral.
For Vloggers – You have that section of bloggers who use YouTube as their platform too. I’m thinking Zoella and Fleur DeForce as the top 2 that spring to mind for me personally. These lovely ladies share their videos on fashion and beauty to millions of viewers every week and have turned that into their own empire. I know vloggers might not count as bloggers, but they do because they also have blogs to accompany their videos, they just use YouTube as the main platform.
As you can see, it’s just like I said, it’s different for everyone with regards to their schedules and style of blogging, but I hope you get the idea of what goes on and how it’s a job. For those of you who weren’t really familiar with fashion blogging before, if you do have questions, just leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Hopefully next time someone tells you they’re a fashion blogger, you will already be clued in on what they do and can have a conversation with them.
Now you know, don’t ask inappropriate questions
I started this blog post as I’m often asked questions about fashion blogging, not just from those who have no idea what my job is, but also from those who think it’s not a real job. So I will say, just be aware not to ask personal questions as that’s happened to me before and I find it inappropriate. I do count this as my career so when someone starts asking me:
- How are you making money?
- How much money do you make? (this one is the worst!)
- How can I do the same thing to make some money?
- Can you tell me your secrets on how to earn money?
- I can’t believe you make money from something so easy!
- How much do you charge or what does a brand pay you?
And the list goes on… I’m under the impression that I wouldn’t ask someone I just met about their job and ask such personal questions. If I met someone and they said they were an accountant, I wouldn’t ask them how much money they make and tell them their job is easy and that I want to do it to earn some quick money. If it’s a career, discussing money should be out of the question if you don’t know the person, but so should thinking their job is easy and laughable. I just had to throw that out there so you don’t accidentally offend anyone with your inquisitiveness. Just understand that a professional fashion blogger is an influencer and people look to them for inspiration and guidance or advice, whatever their niche, which is why it’s possible for brands to work with them and turn it into a business. I really hope that helps! If you have any more questions, let me know!