Receiving a compliment on our new shoes never fails to feel good. But what's nicer is to be told that not only do we have great style, but we are kind, smart, funny, sincere, caring... you get the picture. So when readers tell me that they love my writing, not just my 'cute outfits' I get a really warm fuzzy feeling inside that I'm doing a good job on here. In this quick-shifting culture of technology, fashion bloggers are still being pitted against fashion journalists, with the latter discrediting the former based on lack of expertise, too cosy relationships with PR's, and an obsession with peacocking, to name just a few little things. So why don't we try and change that opinion?
Even in a society that's so visually-dependent, beautifully shot images will only do part of the job in a successful blog. As the iconic journalist Felicity Green once said in a lecture I attended at Central Saint Martins, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but the words are just as important as they ever were, and good words are worth their weight in diamonds. We don't need to be pitted against journalists as our jobs are not the same. We're not reporters, but we have the possibility to be real entertainers and inspire through our words.
With two journalism degrees, I'd like to think I have some level of knowledge in writing creative and engaging copy, and adapting it to an online audience. But before you get all excited, this isn't a post about integrating SEO tips to get your blog more views and hits. What this post is all about is bringing out the best version of your writing, and keeping your readers engaged enough to talk about your work and share your posts.
1. Know Your Audience
This will help craft your words more than anything, acting as the perfect foundation. I know my audience are vastly 20-something women, so I'll always work this to my advantage. I'll throw in abbreviations, pop-cultural references, and write about issues that affect these women, but not quite so much so that it sounds like I'm texting my BFF. So define your audience and use it to your advantage.
2. It's Obvious, but, check your spelling and grammar
Go back to basics! Just like a CV riddled with typos and grammatical errors, if your blog does just so too, it'll give off a sloppy impression. How is anyone supposed to believe you are credible if you can't string a sentence together? Everyone makes little slip-ups every now and again (shoutout to my parents who often text me these!) but it's when we let them happen over and over it serves to create a bad image. One example is of a blogger I knew who didn't capitalise anything. Names, the first word in a sentence, proper nouns - you name it. She got slated for it on social (I think she was referred to as a pleb?!) and surprisingly, some readers came out to defend her saying they liked her 'minimalist' approach to writing without using capital letters. And yes, it did look minimal I guess, in a totally reductionist way. In the body of your blog post, never ignore basic spelling and grammar rules.
3. Show Your Personality
Every publisher, magazine, brand, website, has it's own tone of voice. Whether it's Vogue's whimsical, fluffy, fashionable prose, Man Repeller's witty writing, or Harvey Nichols' tongue-in-cheek humour, it's all part and parcel in creating an identity. This should include you. When my RL friends and acquaintances talk about my blog they say that when reading, it's as if they are talking to me, and it's because I pull in words, phrases, and conversational tones that I would use whilst chatting to my friends. It'll create levels of trust between you and your audience and create a relationship. You're not just the sassy and stylish individual in the images, but a real life human with plenty of thoughts. My goal is to make people think I'm the kind of girl they would like to be friends with. Simple as!
4. That said, find the balance between essay and conversation
Don't make it too conversational that is seems like a script from HBO's Girls or something - that just takes it back to looking unprofessional. Consider your post a perfect balance between essay and conversation and you'll have it nailed.
5. Be Relatable
Readers love a post that make them think "Me Too!!!" - in fact, my whole think piece section is basically full of posts that illicit this kind of reaction, so don't be afraid to write about things that affect your life as the internet is a huge place
6. Get to the point
With so much available online, we have developed increasingly short attention spans, so you need to grab your reader as much as possible and keep them entertained. I love a long-form blog post (reading, and writing them) but the killer is waffling too much. Get to the point of it; be succinct. I find writing the post, then rereading and editing with a fresh mind a day later helps keep things clear. Also, break your text up into easily digestible paragraphs. With more people consuming via mobile, it'll make it a far more pleasant read.