When I started London Beauty Queen in 2010 I did so out of boredom. I was between jobs and needed a creative outlet to keep my juices flowing until my new contract started, so I registered a URL on a whim. Nearly four years later LBQ is my full-time job and provides me with endless opportunities that make me pinch myself nearly every day. Over the last few years the blogging landscape has changed, with hundreds of fresh new things launching themselves onto the internet with hope in their heart and a spring in their step. But with the bloggersphere becoming ever more crowded and competitive, how can you still make a name for yourself and carve your own corner of the ‘net? I get numerous emails every week from aspiring bloggers, or those that have taken the plunge but aren’t quite sure what to do next. This is the first in a series of posts targeted at them (or you!) to provide a little advice and support when it’s needed most. So, in a nutshell, this is how you start a beauty blog…
What’s Your USP?
With an infinite amount of beauty blogs in existence, any new sites that crop up need to have a serious unique selling point (or USP.) It may be that you’re filling a gap in terms of demographic, offering a unique life perspective, or simply that you have a specific interest in once niche area of beauty – anything that makes you a little different. If you’re churning out the same stuff as every other beauty blogger then you’re just going to make it a million times harder to establish yourself. It’s like a new magazine launching and effectively ripping off the content and ideas of other magazines; they will struggle to build an audience of enthusiasts because the information is available in multiple platforms and via more established names. Make yourself memorable. Be different.
Think Of A Name
It’s all in a name. The name and URL of your site will become your ‘blog identity’ so you better make it a good one. The key is to keep it simple, relate-able and to make it different. There are a million ‘Hayley Loves Makeup’ sites, a trillion ‘Cupcakes and Frills’ and a bazillion self-named blogs, so try to make your blog name stand out amongst the crowd. Wherever possible make it descriptive so it’s clear what your USP is and what content readers can expect, but keep it simple. I’ve seen endless bloggers struggle with a complicated name, pun, odd spelling or vague description and it often ends in them changing it for something simpler. It’s also vital that you do a bit of research and make sure nobody is already using your name, nor is anyone using anything too similar; again, I’ve experienced other bloggers almost entering into legal battles because their name is almost identical to someone else. A great name is half the battle.
Register All Your Social Networks
Once you’ve got your name and your USP, it’s vital that you claim all the social networks possible – even if you’re not sure which ones you want to use. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ at a minimum.) Keep your username consistent so it’s easy to find you (I for one made my life difficult, by choosing a long blog name that was hard to keep consistent across channels due to username length limitations,) and ensure it’s the same as your blog. Using a personal name on your accounts makes it confusing for readers, followers and brands that may want to work with you in the future. To make it really easy to identify the networks as you, ensure you use the same thumbnail picture and background on all your channels; these are an extension of your brand that you’re creating, so treat them as such.
Fill Your Site With Content
Before you even attempt to push your blog to friends, family or the ether of the ‘net, make sure you have a significant level of content on your site. Don’t add two posts and expect people to come back for more – it’s not enough for readers to fully understand what you’re about and to remember to return in the future. Take at least six weeks to regularly blog and to find your niche, writing style and interests; nearly every successful blogger will tell you they’re embarrassed of their first posts, because they learned so much as they progressed and developed their own style over a number of months. Don’t rush posts or feel like you’re on a time limit; take your time to really find your blogging style and what makes your site worth reading over others. Once you’ve got a hefty amount of great stuff to read, then you can start pushing it out there.
The blogging world is all about connections. Connections with your readers, connections with other bloggers and connections with brands. If there are bloggers you admire and personally read, then make sure you start conversations with them on Twitter. If you get a blog comment then make sure you respond to it and attempt to start a conversation. If you’ve blogged about a brand or product, why not drop them a note or tweet to let them know? As your connections grow, so will the readership of your blog. However, don’t spam people or get over zealous as it will only backfire! Sending numerous tweets a day to brands or other bloggers will only annoy them and make a response less likely. Making connections will help you gain readers and social follows, so make this a priority.
I hope that helped a little for those of you about to start your blogging journey. It’s not easy, so planning and great content is key. Next in the series: How To Grow An Audience