The Brand Building Workshop with Microsoft and Currys
When I started this blog in 2011, I did not have any information about how to do it better or any idea of what I wanted to achieve with it. I only knew that I wanted a space where I could share my love for fashion and my shopping discoveries. After seven years, looking back I wish I would have had even a small part of all the information that is available now and some advice on how to build my brand as a blogger! I have learnt everything the hard way. After all this time and all the experiences I have done, I can say that I am on the right path, even if I realise every day that there is always something new to learn and to improve and that, in this area, it is so important to keep ourselves updated every single day!
So, when I received the invitation to attend “The Brand Building Workshop” hosted by Microsoft and Currys, I did not have any doubts that I wanted to participate in the event! During the workshop, Anna Eleri Hart, founder of the South Molton St Style Blog and the Influencer Marketing Company, One Social Roof, shared with us her expertise on how to build your brand as a blogger.
The workshop was very useful and, full of precious information. As you have been asking me to share with you more tips on how to start a blog and how to work as a blogger, scrolling this post you can find all the fantastic advice that Anna gave us during the event and what I have learnt during these seven years as a blogger.
How to build your brand as a blogger
Influencer marketing is becoming bigger and bigger. Just to give you some insights, learnt at the workshop, 27,000 individuals earned revenue through being an influencer in the UK in the past years. 90% of the influencers are on Instagram, and the age range of half of the global influencers is between 21-35 years old. All these data are expected to grow to 100,000 by 2020.
That’s the reason why everyone is talking about influencer marketing at the moment. It is an exciting topic, full of new opportunities and, as you may remember, last year I was also invited as a blogger and an influencer to speak at a couple of events and a webinar about influencer marketing. I have also worked with an influencer marketing company, and that gave me the opportunity to explore the “other side”, the one I usually deal as a blogger.
But, who can be considered as an influencer? An influencer is “someone who affects or change the way someone behaves”. A blogger, instead, is “a person who regularly writes material for a blog”. A lot of bloggers are also influencers, but there are also influencers that do not have a blog but use only one or more social media platforms.
How to start your blog and get it noticed
When you open a blog, the first step is to decide what you want to talk about and define your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). You are the brand, so it is essential that you create your identity and stick to it. As Anna said during the workshop, be true to yourself, this is the best advice to follow. Ask yourself, why do you want to be an influencer? Which content do you want to produce? What is your aesthetic? What makes you unique? And, who are the people you want to communicate to? Once you have decided all the above, you need to be coherent with it.
The second step is choosing a name for your blog and buy your domain name. It is essential to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and pick a name that can work well. Something that makes people find you easily online.
As a blogger, SEO is your best friend! It helps your content go up on the google rank so people can find it when they are searching online. For example, if someone searches for the best summer trends on Google and, your content is written following the SEO rules, you have more chances to appear in the first results.
Once you have set up your blog, start producing great content and use social media to promote it. Instagram is an excellent platform for visual content, but the other social media are also useful to reach more people. Once you have good content on your blog, brands and agencies will start contacting you. And do not forget the importance of networking. The more you network, the better!
You can also contact brands you like and ask to collaborate or work with them. When you reach a brand, make them understand how much you appreciate its product. Brands have everything to gain working with people that are genuinely interested in them!
On that note, even if at the beginning you will want to accept all the collaborations that come in your inbox, It is better to be selective. Work only with the brands/agencies and projects you love and that are coherent with your values. This is very important. It is not easy said no but, it is worst to lose your identity and the trust of the people that follow you. To build your brand as a blogger, it is much better to be always true to yourself.
How much should an Influencer be paid?
This is the question for all bloggers and influencers. Influencer marketing is new, there are still no rules, and it is tough to define the right amount of money to ask for a campaign.
Anna gave us some great advice regarding the matter. She said to check the other media websites (for example, Condé Nast) to see their rate and have an idea.
She suggested that an influencer’s fee should be based on the relevant following she has regarding a specific campaign. Engagement is also a significant factor. Even if you have a small audience, if you have a considerable engagement and followers in a particular area that is relevant to a campaign, you are more helpful to a brand than an influencer with a more extensive following not related to the brand’s product.
Anna suggested charging a £100-200 per 10,000 relevant Instagram followers.
Regarding the paid marketing campaign, remember always to declare it when you post a sponsored content.
It is also better to put a disclaimer when you are wearing a PR sample, or when receiving a gift.
This is important to follow the ASA rules and to be honest with your followers.
Instagram pod: yes or no?
Talking about Instagram followers and engagement, at the workshop we were strongly advised against the use of Instagram pods and, of course, against the shortcut of buying followers. In fact, Instagram is working on a feature that will recognise the profiles that bought followers and brands will see it. Furthermore, Instagram will block profiles that use Instagram pods inside the Instagram chat. Remember not everything that is is useful in the short run it is good in the long term! It is always better to grow your following organically even if it takes a lot of time and work.
Which tools you need to be a good blogger/influencer
To build your brand as a blogger, you also need some technical tools, such as an excellent phone to take amazing photos for Instagram, a professional camera and some apps to edit your pictures on your phone. In the past month, I had introduced you to some editing photo software such as Luminar that is a good alternative to Photoshop when it comes to editing your pictures on your laptop. And, of course, you need a computer!
I am a Mac user, but at the event, I had the pleasure to discover the new feature in the Office 365 suite. In fact, Dale and Monica demonstrated us the advantage of these features that are very good for bloggers and entrepreneurs. Among those advantages, there is the possibility to have access to the new features without having to wait for the annual update. And, I particularly liked the fact you can add 3D animation to PowerPoint!
It is also better to use social media content apps that will help you be more organised with your work. There are a lot of them. HootSuite, for example, is a good one. You can choose for a free plan or a paid one according to your needs.
When is the right time to go full time as a blogger/influencer?
After you have established your blog, your network, you have all the technical tools you need, and you have built your brand as a blogger, you will start asking yourself if it is the right time to go full time as an influencer.
Being a full-time influencer can be a dream for a lot of people, but it has some negative aspects, too.
In fact, you don’t have the security of a salary at the end of the month and what you love as a hobby can become quite stressful, and you may not enjoy it anymore. Furthermore, there is a lot of administrative work to do as a self-employed (taxes, for example), and you have to spend a lot of hours working on your laptop alone at home. In fact, even if you will probably attend a lot of events and glamorous parties, don’t forget it is not all about that. There is also a lot of “background work’ that means hours at your laptop at home. On the other side, you get to do what you love, you are free to organise your schedule, you don’t have to stick to a 9 to 5 job, and you can choose the people you want to work with.
As you can see, like everything, there are the good and the bad aspects in both cases! It depends on you, but before deciding about becoming a full-time influencer consider if you have the clients and the amount of work to earn the income you need from your blog. Maybe it is better to wait for two o three months and be sure that your blog is settled as a business and gives you the possibility to choose the projects that are good for you, before leaving a full-time job. Because, it is essential to be true to yourself, but once your blog becomes your full-time job and the only income you also have to think about that!
Building your brand as a blogger is hard work, but it is possible. Be authentic, don’t copy anyone. Nobody wants to read copies, take inspiration from everything but be original. It is a lot of effort, but it is worth it! I have had the pleasure to be a full-time blogger and a part-time one. There is no right and wrong. Follow your journey, and always enjoy it!