Lately I’ve been getting a ton of emails from gals looking to start a beauty blog. I’m one of those “tell it all” bloggers. I have no secrets and don’t mind sharing information that I think can help motivate wannabe bloggers and current bloggers. I’ve been formally blogging for almost 5 years (wowsers!) and have learned a thang or two. This list would best help those who are seriously looking to get into blogging…any genre. And by seriously, I mean you want to eat, sleep and breathe blogging. Nah. I’m just kidding. Or am I?
1. Take great pictures.
Okay, considering I’m a budding photographer, I WOULD say that, right? Seriously though…nothing sucks more than a blog with REALLY bad pictures. And you know what bad pictures are. Pictures that are fuzzy, too far away, grainy, have too much light, not enough light…get my drift? Many aspiring bloggers feel as if they have to invest hundreds of dollars in cameras to produce good pictures. Not true. Point and shoots and even smartphones can crank out gorgeous pictures. If you have 8 megapixels on your smartphone, you can take incredible pictures. Lighting and angle is EVERYTHING in photography. Learning how to take great pictures takes time. I’m still learning. Also, readers REALLY love to see your pictures. Not a picture that you found online. And for goodness sakes, don’t ever submit a blog post without a picture. That’s just wrong. When I see that I’m always like, “Dude. Is this a blog post or a thesis?” People need pictures to break up text. It’s a scientific fact.
2. Read and comment on other blogs.
Chances are, if you’re interesting in starting a beauty blog, it may be because you were inspired by other beauty blogs. Good. But even once you start blogging, KEEP reading those blogs. And leave comments. Not “Wow. That’s cool.” unengaging-type comments but comments that let’s the blogger know that you really liked their writing, pictures or information. Hold on though – leaving YOUR blog link in a comment is a huge no-no in the blog community. It’s rude. If you want to share your blog, kindly send an email. Camaraderie and community is everything in the beauty blogosphere. I never want to be that blogger that got so big that I stopped commenting on other blogs. Nope. I follow and comment on blogs daily.
3. Don’t just talk about the product, SHOW the product.
Love that new Clinique blush? Or Maybelline’s newest mascara? Awesome. But an advertisement of the blush or mascara doesn’t show me anything. Anyone can Google a picture. I want to see how it looks on YOU. The reason why I prefer reading blogs over magazines is because I get an in depth review with pictures. 9 times out of 10, a magazine is just going to show you a pretty picture of a NARS’ eyeshadow. I’d rather get a glimpse of that eyeshadow on your eyes. While I believe it is okay to display stock photos from time to time (I don’t though because I’m a snob. Ha!), the bulk of your blog should really be focused on what’s going on your skin.
4. Do more than just blog.
Blogging is great. But if I spent my entire time just blogging, I’d go insane. I love writing about beauty and all but talking about it 24/7 is a bit of a snooze fest for me. If you’re too lazy to put up a blog post, do a video. Create a Facebook fan page and engage your readers that way. Take your blog in the community and host beauty events. Connect with other bloggers in your area and have a volunteer day. The fact is, the most successful bloggers do more than just blog. Take heed and brainstorm ways of how you can go beyond blogging.
5. Find a niche.
There are a million beauty bloggers out there. Seriously. There are bloggers in the U.S. Bloggers in Germany. Bloggers in Australia. White girls blog. Asian girls blog. Mexican girls blog. Dutch girls blog. There are bloggers who do videos. Bloggers who feature their pets. Bloggers who feature their kids. And on and on….. Find a niche that works for you. Attempt to stand out. Love planting and polish? Make plants and polish your focal point. You want to give people a reason to read your blog and simply saying, “I have a beauty blog.” isn’t enough. Saying, “I have a beauty blog and I also put coordinating recipes in each blog post.” makes me want to check your blog out. It’s memorable. My niche? Mascara, duh! I mean if the blog name Clumps of Mascara doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. I also have other niches. Like ya know…being goofy and talking about embarrassing stuff on TMI Tuesday. Next week I’ll be discussing birth control. Weeeeee!
6. Treat your blog like a brand.
When I started Clumps of Mascara, I was graduating from college, moving across to country to volunteer for AmeriCorps and had NO idea that my blog would take off the way it did. Had I known, there would have been A LOT of things that I would not have done. You don’t know who is looking at your blog. It could be a potential employee or potential client. That means, watch your language and edit like you’re submitting a dissertation. Nothing sucks more than reading one of your blog posts and seeing messed up grammar. Yep. It happens to me too. Blog as if the world is looking. Create a logo for your blog. Get business cards and attend blogger meetups and social events. Treat your blog like it’s a big deal. You can’t expect others to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously. And media kits for bloggers? They are SO in right now. Get one. Can’t make one? Hire someone to do it for you. Trust me on this.
7. Brag about your blog.
For the first few years Clumps was around, my family didn’t know it. Neither did my friends. I have a tough time tooting my own horn, and not doing so has made it so that I missed out on many opportunities. Your hard work should be seen by those who love and support you. Let people know what you’re up to. And who knows…they may be able to help in someway. In my case, my bragging about my blog (via resume) landed me a job in field I really wanted to work in: social media. Oh yeah, that’s another thing. Blogging CAN lead to jobs.
8. Don’t stop blogging.
Once you start blogging, don’t stop. I’m serious. Don’t. Even if you can only blog once a week…do it. Consistently not blogging will throw your readers off and you will inevitably lose some. At the same time, don’t think you HAVE to blog daily. If twice a week is more feasible, do that. I finally have Clumps running like a well oiled machine but it’s not because I’m up until 2am blogging. I’ve created a schedule that fits my lifestyle. Think of one that works for you and put it to use.
9. Focus on great content over numbers.
Every blogger wants a billion readers and trillions of comments. Numbers look good and they make us feel good. But if you develop great content, people will keep coming around. Do numbers matter? They can. Baby bloggers should really focus on creating content that makes people want to read their blogs before stressing over numbers. And dude – once you START stressing about numbers, you’ll never stop. For now – enjoy nursing that baby before s/he starts talking.
10. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.
This is a tough one because we’re human beings. I get a ton of “Man, I wish my blog was like yours.” comments but what people don’t realize is that Clumps is almost 5 years old. I’ve invested hundreds and hundreds of dollars in my blog. I spend hours brainstorming, taking pictures and researching information for Clumps. I didn’t just wake up one day, start a blog and become successful. Uh no. It doesn’t work like that, home skillet. Even now, there are still SO many things that I have to do to get to where I want to be. Do I admire other bloggers? Absolutely. I am motivated by them. Everyone has to start somewhere. Even the biggest bloggers were baby bloggers at some point. Focus on YOUR blog and where you want it to go.
+ Honorable Mention: Worry about making money later. Seriously. I get so many questions asking me how to get free beauty products or how to get invited to events. Starting out, I NEVER emailed any brands asking for free products. They found me. If your number one goal for starting a blog is to make money, then honey, this is the wrong field for you. Sure, I make some revenue through sponsorship/ambassador opportunities and ads but guess what? I still have to work a 9-5 to make ends meet. Repeat after me: Content first. Money later.
Blogging takes time. If you plan to be a serious blogger, it’s an investment. Especially if you have to purchase a domain, layout and branding tools. Stay calm and keep it fun. The minute blogging STOPS being fun is the minute I will invest time in another hobby. Fo realsies.
Did that help? A little? Not really? Either way, let me know your thoughts.
If you’ve got a baby blog, shoot the link in the comments so we can support you. Fellow bloggers, feel free to add to the list.