Lucie Kerley of www.lucieloves.co.uk - Blogging Special
We asked Lucie some questions about becoming a blogger and managing her social media. We have decided to share her brilliant responses in full however if you don't have time to read through everything we'd recommend that don't miss question 4 where Lucie shares her top tips for:
a)Identifying and attracting an audience
b)Timing and delivery of posts and activity
c)Etiquette - good practice and no-no's
Blogging Special Interview Questions - Lucie Kerley
1. You mention that you 'fell into' the role of fashion blogger. What was it that tipped you over from hobbyist to industry recognised blogger?
When I began blogging it was purely for me. It was a way of documenting my life on-the-go and having a place to put all of my favourite things. My blog began as a photo diary and since the day it started, 4 years ago, I have shared all of my posts with Twitter. It was through Twitter that I was first followed/approached by a creative agency, who said that they’d love to talk to me about a project they were working on for a client. I’ve been on Twitter 5 years now. Scary!
It turned out that the client in question was Highcross shopping centre in Leicester. For 2 years, I juggled my day job as a Curator at a film archive with my ‘Lucie Loves… Highcross’ resident blogger post. It was during this time that I really got into the swing of creating fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts. However, living and working in Leicester meant that many of the London blogger opportunities were just ever-so-slightly out of grasp.
A year ago, I got offered a job in London and decided that I was going to take my ‘Lucie Loves…’ blog moniker with me. It was like a whole new world of blogging had opened. Almost as soon as I’d started creating London-based blog content, the PR and Marketing agencies began getting in touch. It happened quite organically.
When I first started my blog, I began adding links, hashtags and keywords. Little did I know that this self-taught form of SEO would push my blog up the Google rankings. I added Google Analytics code to my blog quite early on and, slowly but surely, it became apparent that the term ‘lifestyle blogger’ was bringing readers to my blog. I still see myself as a hobbyist really. I think having a fulltime job and not relying on my blog for income – which would be ridiculous – has meant that I am able to be quite selective about the kind of things I write about and can still get a lot of pleasure out of doing it.
2. Was it important for you to be tenacious in reaching where you are now? Did you have any struggles on the way?
Blogging can be all consuming, if you let it be.
For me, it was important to strike a balance between doing my day-job, blogging and still having a good personal life. Friends are very important to me. When I worked as as a resident blogger, it was very fun, but also quite exhausting. Constantly coming up with ideas for content, doing the legwork needed to compile the research, taking the photos and editing them, and doing the actual write-up meant that a lot of my free time was taken up with working on the blog. From the beginning it was important for me to remain true to myself and not ‘sell-out’, as they say in the industry. When I first got approached, RBH the creative agency who took me under their wing, gave me some sound advice. “Retain your integrity.” I knew that I couldn’t force myself to write passionately about subjects of which I had absolutely no interest in. It just wouldn’t be me. I wasn’t going to be in raptures talking about the latest foot file, or put time and effort faking my enthusiasm for a fashion brand or designer that I didn’t believe in. Or to put it bluntly, wouldn’t personally wear.
London is a mecca for bloggers. Here, you are little fish in a massive pond, and you’ve got to really give care enough about what you do to get somewhere.
3. How has your background in media, curation and documentary photography and film been of benefit to your current work?
My blog has always been heavily photographic. At university I studied BA Hons Visual Communication and specialized in Photography. This background has allowed me to hone both my investigative and creative skills, and hopefully curate blog content that not only looks appealing but is interesting to read too. As a friendship group our interests span fashion, graphic design, illustration, typography, animation, print, film, pr and marketing, with a few amazing primary school teachers thrown into the mix to keep us all in check. We draw on the skills of others to enhance both our own work and our collaborative pieces.
4. For those starting out in career or business and new to social media, what would your top tips be regarding:
a. Identifying and attracting an audience.
· Write for yourself.
· Discover what it is that you are interested in first.
· Research your chosen area – how have people tackled the subject so far? What could they do to improve their approach?
· Look at common and emerging trends.
· Look at what social platforms would best suit your area – instagram may be far more successful than setting up a YouTube channel.
· Make sure you choose your platforms wisely and don’t neglect them. It’s important not to spread yourself too thinly.
· Don’t take on more than you can handle.
· Vary your content so that it appeals to a wider audience.
· Don’t pigeonhole yourself or isolate people.
· Don’t get too big for your own boots.
b. Timing and delivery of posts and activity.
· Think about when your readers are likely to be online.
You can always schedule posts so that they are published at peak time. Find out
whether it’s the morning commute, lunchtime slot or after work journey home
that your readers are more likely to find time to read your posts.
· Repurpose content, and rephrase the twitter links at different times of day if your post isn’t getting as much attention as you’d originally intended.
· Plan ahead - one of my blogger friends has a two week lead time before publishing a post. Start an excel spreadsheet to do a content plan, if it helps, and look at how you can vary the type of posts your wanting to write about.
· Remember the U.S. is just waking up as we’re going to sleep and so if you post a link to Twitter very late in the evening you’ll find you get traffic from overseas readers too.
· Don’t just post selfie after selfie after selfie. That’s just lazy.
c. Etiquette - Good practice and No-no's.
· Do not, ever, bad mouth people. That goes for writing
about someone negatively on your blog or gossiping about someone, to other
bloggers or friends, in person. You never know, one day that comment could come
back and bite you. No one wants to work with a bitch.
· Always say thank you to the brands that contact you. PR and Marketing teams who have genuinely taken the time to do their research, are giving you the opportunity to create decent content for your blog, and this is valuable.
· Remember, you don’t have to write about EVERYTHING you get asked to. Be selective. You can still say “thank you, but no thank you,” in a way that is polite but keeps the door open for future opportunities.
· Be vigilant! Ensure good use of spelling and grammar at all times. Unless you’re trying to make a point, and need to incorporate the latest slang/lingo. It also doesn’t go without saying that ‘dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s’ will make your blog stand out from the crowd. Blogging isn’t too far flung from journalism.
· Proofread your posts - you’ll look far more professional when people come across your blog. They won’t be distracted by your inability to put a sentence together – enough said. However, if you’re not very good at English get a friend or family member who is to cast their eye over it and highlight any glaringly obvious mistakes.
· Do not write negative people/product/place reviews without giving a good reason for doing so. What you say can seriously affect someone’s livelihood.
· When you meet people at events have a business card to hand or use the old “Are you on Twitter?” line, if you feel you’ve really connected with someone and would like to check out their blog or get in touch again at some point in the future to work collaboratively.
· Don’t underestimate how much investing the time, effort and money to ensuring that you have decent photographic images on your blog, will do for you. It took me a couple of years to pay off my Canon 5D MKII, which I initially had to resort to using my credit card to buy. But this really was a smart investment and one that has helped my blog grow – not only stylistically, but professionally.
· Keep all of your receipts!
Want more from Lucie? Her great blog "top ten tips for starting a blog" is here
Photo ©Lucie Kerley - all rights reserved
Working with Lucie
You can work with Lucie in many different ways including writing, styling, photography and social media projects, guest blogs, public speaking and consultancy work. Check out her blog www.lucieloves.co.uk or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org