I've been contemplating about starting a beauty / fashion blog since my college days but I can't seem to jump start the process because of work and frankly, lack of skills and equipments also. :( So today, I'd like to ask how did you start off your blog career and would you have any tips for those like me who want to live up their dream too? Thank you so much in advance! :) - Maripotch
Creating a successful beauty (or any) blog is much like putting up a business. It takes equal parts of passion, vision, talent, research, investment, and a little bit of luck. It's ridiculously simple to set up a website with Blogspot or Wordpress then review products you already have. However, it's a different thing entirely to maintain it and grow it!
This is an area where a lot of newer bloggers get frustrated. Why isn't anyone reading or following me, they wonder. Well, it's important to understand that just because it's out there, doesn't mean it's worth consuming - even if it's free. You have to make your blog and your personal brand compelling enough to be worth the time it takes to read it. Create something valuable and relatively unique, and I can assure you, people will pay for it.
Which brings me to the next important point: you need to be clear about what you want your blog to be. Is it going to be a personal, just-for-fun project? Then you don't need to read this; just enjoy your hobby. Do you want to earn money out of it? If yes, are you willing to put in the time, research, and cash it takes to grow and maintain it? This is something I feel every blogger should know before getting into the whole blogging biz. You need to know what you want to achieve, and how far you're willing to go to get it.
Again, just like with any business. If you know the goal, then the path is a little less foggy. :)
To answer your question, here's what you need to run a successful beauty blog or vlog.
1. Passion. I know, sounds like such a cop-out, but passion will sustain you when all your efforts feel in vain. If you love it, then it won't feel like so much work. Passion helps you to be consistent and to do this long-term - you certainly won't start getting sponsors immediately. It took me years!
2. Vision. There are tons of beauty blogs out there. What do you have to offer that's different? It could be your product review system or format. Your blog could be all about party makeup. Or mom makeup. How do you make your blog look exciting to read? How do you make it reflect who you are - what you want to communicate about yourself? You need to figure out these things as you grow.
3. Talent. Like I said, anyone can start a blog, but you'll need some talent in applying makeup, writing, photography, photo manipulation, video-making, etc. to make it interesting and exciting. If you don't have these things naturally, learn by researching. Google is your friend.
4. Research. Yup! You need to know what you're talking about if you want people to listen to you. There are tons of resources online - read up! Ask your makeup artist or blogger friends. Attend makeup, writing, and photography, workshops.
5. Invest. Let me be a little more specific here. This is what you need to set up a good blog:
- Buy your own domain name and hosting service. You can use Blogspot or Wordpress definitely, but the domain name is non-negotiable (I get mine from Godaddy.com). It helps your brand be more distinctive and somewhat professional. If you have the budget, you might want to hire a web designer to help you set up your site and give it a more personal look.
- Get a good camera AND READ THE MANUAL. I use a Sony NEX-3N, which I bought for around P25,000 earlier this year. Not too bad. It takes amazing photos. But even more important is I know how to use it. A lot of bloggers have great cameras, but don't maximize them. Read/watch tutorials!
- Get a white background for product photos. Some bloggers use a photography tent which can be purchased in camera stores. I used to use a lightbox but since the start of the year I just use white cartolina and natural light. Sometimes I just use bond paper if I'm really hurrying. :P It's more convenient to set up and put away.
- Learn how to post-process your photos. Sometimes, even with the best light, angle, and composition, your photos end up meh. Buy Photoshop or any lightweight photo-editing software to adjust the exposure, contrast, and saturation of your photos at the very least. Clean up lint, smudges, blemishes, etc. as needed.
- Invest in products to review. You won't get product sponsors starting out, so you'll need to buy your own. They don't have to be high-end, but they have to be consistent with the positioning of your blog. If you don't have cash, you can write interesting features like, say, your best foundation advice. You can also do tutorials with what you already have.
- Set up social media accounts and update them regularly. They can be personal, or blog specific. You need to market your content for it to reach a bigger audience. You may also want to consider advertising on Facebook.
- Comment in other blogs regularly and meaningfully by way of introducing yourself. It's how we find out about new blogs to work with!
- Make the time to do all of this stuff. A lot of girls tell me they don't have time to blog and then wonder why their traffic is stagnating. I think it's a matter of setting priorities (refer to the paragraph about goals above). I don't have time to blog - my to-do list is cray - but I'm writing this right now at 6:30 AM because it's a daily priority.
Once you have all these down pat, there's one more important thing to remember: you have to be consistent. Blog every day. Blog every other day. But make sure your creation is worth visiting again and again.
So those are the basics. I hope you found it useful! Please just let me know if you have questions.