Retailers: Utilising the World of Blogging and Bloggers

Fashion Blogging Introduction Image

Developing relationships with online influencers, consumers and industry leaders is becoming a popular way to achieve brand loyalty and drive sales. But in an online world that is rapidly evolving, how do you stand out from the crowd and drive success?

1. Strengthen Your Business.

Anyone who works with fibres knows that by twisting three or more strands together it will instantly add strength to the whole unit. The same can be said for a business.
Allow your different channels to work together to make your brand more versatile, more powerful, more creative and more successful. Typical areas include your high street stores, SEO, social, blogging, eCommerce etc.

Business Strands

2. The Social History.

Blogging and fashion are essentially both social movements, this is where their roots lie. If we take a look back at the history of fashion, the trends reflect the social times and fashion has always had a place in society. Blogging is based around an online community; it’s a social discussion, a conversation and the neighbourhood watch of the web.

Fashion Trends History

The term “Weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 to describe the process of logging the web. “Blog” was then coined by Peter Mertholz in 1999 when he broke down “Weblog” to “We Blog”.

3. Connect Your Offline and Online Worlds.

Everyone has an interest in fashion, whether consciously or sub-consciously. We all consider what we will be wearing in a morning (or the night before) and we all like to receive comments on the way we appear every now and then, we’re probably likely to have been guilty at some point of judging others by their fashion choices too. This is what makes it the perfect topic to debate, discuss, share and support in the form of a blog.

My challenge, to fashion brands this year, would be to ensure that the two of these (offline and online) are merged together and allowed to work hand in hand.

Getting Connected

Image Source: http://missjanesmuse.wordpress.com

4. Choosing the Right Blogs.

For the purpose of this blog we are specifically looking at how brands can utilise external blogs, but of course you can also create your own blogs too.

Wikipedia describes a ‘fashion blog’ as an outlet to ‘talk’ about fashion. It can cover many things such as specific items of clothing/accessories, celebrity fashion choices and street fashion trends.

There are blogs that solely focus on the topic of fashion (varying from trained fashion stylists, fashionistas and through to the average user), and there are blogs that focus on other areas of life and topics that bring in small elements of fashion.

There are many different kinds of blogs, blog platforms and styles. Each blog is unique, and so it’s important to consider which might be the right choice and fit for you.

For example, if the product being taken to the market was a wedding dress I would probably consider featuring this in a wedding/bridal blog over a fashion specific blog because I know that the audience would likely be more open to receiving wedding dress inspiration, alongside the bridal beauty, trends etc. Other examples, a maternity wear retailer who may choose to connect with a parenting blog or a sports retailer who connects to a sporting blog but focuses on their latest sports clothing range  – the point = it doesn’t have to necessarily be your typical fashion blogger, it’s what is right for your brand. Research and understand the target audience and followers of the blog.

Choosing A Blog
Image Source: http://chicest.wordpress.com

5. Choosing the Right Content.

With over 164 million blogs on the web, it is important to remain versatile with your use of content. We’ve established the need for the right audience in the slide above, but now we need to consider the right content to capture the attention of that audience. Broaden your reach, improve your engagement and boost your SEO efforts by being creative with your content use. Here are some examples of content widely used across blogs and ideas of how you could use them:

Below is a helpful content graph from Newsvend – vertically it goes from least effective to most effective and horizontally it goes from easiest/cheapest to most difficult/expensive.

Content Graph from Newsvend

6. Advantages to Blogging.

When it’s done correctly – with the right people, the right content and the right objectives – blogging can have many advantages. To name a few, I have detailed a list below:

7. Blog Quotes:

Blogging Quotes
Quote Source: Leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

8. Fashion is Subjective.

We’ve already covered it, but, anyone can be a fashion commentator all it takes is an opinion. One person may think an outfit on the red carpet is the height of fashion, another commentator may decided that it is the epitime of a fashion disaster. Fashion is a subject that is talked about by many people and it’s one that encourages a lot of debate and discussion.

Fashion is Subjective

Image Source: justgetdancy.blogspot.com

9. Choosing the Right Blogger.

Sourcing the right person to blog about you, your brand and your product is key! And there are some very important steps you can take to find your right partner/s.

  1. Find out who your existing influencers are (tools like Social Mention can help with this)
  2. Scan the web for bloggers already talking about you and your products ( using Google blog search etc.)
  3. Keep an eye out for bloggers that target your market. Use the following hashtags on Twitter ( #fbloggers = fashion bloggers, #pbloggers = parent bloggers and #bbloggers = beauty bloggers)
  4. Dig deeper and do your research by clicking on links and profiles and read what they say. Make sure that you would be happy linking your brand to their views and opinions etc…
  5. Check out the blogs nominated for awards and are established within the industry. Some of these include: National UK Blog Awards, Cosmopolitan Blog Awards.
  6. Build strong lasting relationships with bloggers …Remember, a relationship with a blogger is not a one night stand, it’s more of a long term commitment.
  7. Once you’ve established a blogger you’d like to potentially work with introduce them to you, your brand, your history, the wider strategy, share insights and equip them with knowledge about who you are.
  8. Nurture your relationship offline as well as online – talk, meet-up, listen, reward them and acknowledge them.
  9. Establish what you want to gain from your collaboration, consider your KIP’s and share them.
  10. Bloggers have a ready made audience of followers. Check out who’s following them, their target market, their audience engagement and their statistics.

Blog Loving

10. Reward Your Bloggers.

Find out what currency drives your bloggers. Everyone is different, some examples include:

Rewards could include:

11. Examples:

The Right Blogger

I love this creative idea from D&G. They armed their selected bloggers with a camera and a notepad at one of their fashion shows and gave them backstage access to take photos and interview people. Obviously this could then be created into interesting blog posts and shared with their online communities.

Image Source: http://www.theclotheswhisperer.co.uk

Marc Jacobs Pop-up

Last week at New York Fashion week, Marc Jacobs opened up a pop-up shop on one of the main streets of SoHo, New York and literally took tweets, instagrams and mentions for payment. The pop-up shop offered: Free manicures, the latest Daisy products, a selfie photo booth and a free branded product for every person who engaged with the brand/product online. There was no money exchanged, just social currency. The official hashtag = #MJDaisyChain.

Image Source: http://www.smh.com.au

12. Fashion is seasonal.

Fashion never ends, no-one has enough knowledge to just completely switch off from the world of fashion. There is always the latest news, collections, trends, styles and advice to follow. Just like retailers see a constant replenishment of stock, the web has a need for constant replenishment of content and marketing. Stay ahead.

Seasonal Fashion

Image Source: www.mycelebrityfashion.co.uk

13. Defining Success.

The first step to achieving success, is to define what ‘success’ means for you. Everyone’s answer will be different and what fits one brand will not necessarily be right for another. Consider the following and brainstorm until you understand what you aim to achieve.

Defining Success

Image Source: http://heartifb.com/

14. Takeaway Tips.

They speak for themselves, I wanted to give you some quick fire tips that you can takeaway and action in your own business. Here’s what I came up with, but hopefully if you’ve read the majority of this post you will have a number of action points to consider.

Takeaway Tips

By 2018, 42.4% of world’s population will be plugged into the internet, with around 3.6 bn people able to access it at least once a month.
RT : What is a ? It attaches rich photos, videos and media experiences to Tweets. http:/…