Often I get asked, “What is it you really do as a fashion blogger?” What’s more, it’s hard for many to believe it’s a full-time job. I get called a model quite often, and yes, while I am that, I am so much more. I am a photographer, stylist, personal shopper, researcher, social media manager, bookkeeper, negotiator, coordinator, “tech geek”, an artist, planner, an author, a CEO and a business-woman. An artist and a planner you say? As you can see, being a blogger often means you have to be both left and right brained. Not only do you have to be business-minded but you have to be creative as well. Here are some of the many things I do daily to work hard to keep that business running.
For many of my friends, they might think this is all I do. But behind the scenes, a successful photoshoot includes scheduling with my photographers (and the weather gods), getting the outfit ensembles ready (like this one is from HER. Boutique), scouting locations in advance, dealing with stubborn or simply just rainy Seattle weather, and taking the time to create a consistent and cohesive look for each outfit that matches the locale. And often it will take many shots to get just the right one!
Emails, emails, emails!
At times it seems like it’s all I do, because of the sheer amount of emails that come through my inbox each day. These emails are often from brand collaboration proposals and include a lot of negotiating and follow up. That of course, takes time – lots of it!
It’s obvious that as a blogger, writing is a huge part of what I do, and writing just the copy for these posts can take several hours. There are many drafts, edits, and ad nauseam-proofreadings that occur before I hit publish to ensure that quality comes out in every post. Coming up with appropriate or clever copy for a caption can take 30 minutes or more alone and is often done after the article’s content is written. Then for Instagram, there’s setting up correct brand hashtags, yet for all media, there’s linking products back to the brands (and offering amazing discounts like 20% off using MISSMOLLY20 at HER. Boutique), diversifying the content, deciding which photos best represent both the brand and the thought within the post, and biting my nails that it all comes out great. That’s a lot especially when many bloggers are posting multiple times a day!
Posts don’t just appear in an instant! I have a content calendar that I am constantly arranging to fit the needs of the brands I work with. I also have an ongoing list of blog post ideas kept on my phone so that when I’m out and about I can quickly write it down and refer to it later. Aside from my own editorial calendar for the blog, I have to plan my social media posts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat. I am always in the mindset of creating fresh and creative content for brands and for our online community!
Branding shouldn’t ever be an after-thought when you have a brand to stick to. That is why I have to continually be working on my personal branding and keep it consistent throughout my entire online persona. Even the way I edit my photos and arrange them in my Instagram is a priority – and I’ll be the first to admit, I may even be a little obsessive about this (I use Planony for arranging my photos)!
Who will read my post if there is no one to promote it? That means I have to be active on social media – planning, promoting and scheduling content releases so that it will be seen and read.
Yes, I’m the model, but I’m also the photographer. I do my own photography too, especially when shooting images like flat-lays for my Instagram or blog.
Unless I pay my photographer to do it, which I usually do, I edit my own photos. If I take the images myself or have a friend do it, I’m the one in Lightroom editing images so that they are cohesive to my brand and represent the best possible representation of the item while maintaining accuracy of color. This, like arranging and laying out my Instagram feed can and often is an obsessive process too – again, Planoly you are my friend!
There are many events that I get invited to in the Seattle area and representing my brand means getting out there and networking. I always have business cards on hand (that I designed through MOO) because you never know who you are going to run into that you want to connect and collaborate with or who might find value in what you do.
Look for work
I’m fortunate to have a lot of work come through my inbox daily, but I too have to seek it out! I am always looking for brands that align the best with my brand and I love collaborating with ones that I can fully support (such as my favorite, HER. Boutique). This means seeking them out and writing proposals that catch their attention.
Whether it’s a local meeting with a PR agent, a coffee date with another blogger (Chai with vanilla almond milk please!), or a conference call from one of the many brands I represent, meetings are also a large part of what I do.
Often I can’t believe that “shopping” is a part of my job, but it’s something that I take more seriously than ever. Choosing clothes, accessories, and products to feature that are relevant to both my style and my Style Miss Molly community, at a great price point, and amazing quality, takes time to research. Sure, what girl doesn’t want to get “paid” to shop, but it’s a lot tougher than it seems!
This isn’t something I’m a natural at, but it’s essential to keep my blog running. Not only do I have to pay attention to installing widgets, and dabble in a little bit of coding from time to time, but I also have to make sure that my SEO is up to par so that I am showing up in organic Google searches.
Before I started blogging I had no idea how analytics would help me. Thank God for Google Analytics and Iconosquare. I am constantly learning what my followers like and don’t like, and building upon those little pieces of data helps to continually make my brand stronger.
Being a self-employed blogger means I have to do taxes a bit differently, and it’s a lot of work! I have to stay on top of record keeping, mileage to and from work-related events, and business receipts so that when tax season comes I am prepared and that I’ve both forecast and paid quarterly taxes as required throughout the year.
Make sure I get paid
I work hard and spend a lot of time on what I do for brands that I trust and adore, and the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time and energy chasing down money. As a blogger, I send out invoices to brands I work with, but sometimes when the invoice isn’t acknowledged, I have to follow up with them to make sure I am receiving my compensation.
Making connections with other bloggers
Blogging is a beautiful community and part of being in that community means immersing myself in it and supporting other bloggers. I read a lot of blog posts and am always finding inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest and love to comment on their posts too.
Responding to comments on my blog and social media
This can get overwhelming at times, especially as my readership base grows, but it is so important to me. I have over one hundred people daily who kindly take the time to write to me (publically and privately) and responding back to them is the least I can do! It takes time, but in the end, those connections are always worth it, as I learn as much from their questions as they do from my answers. Brands love it too when you can engage with your community! If someone has questions or comments about something I’m wearing, I love giving them tips.
Be constantly present
There are no real “off” days in my world. Sure, I take a break once in a while and to be honest it’s absolutely needed to recharge, but I don’t work a typical 9-5. I often work with brands across the world and have a large following from many different countries. That means sometimes being responsive during their hours and not just my own.
Always be put together
I never know when I’m going to be recognized as “Style Miss Molly” in the streets of Seattle, which is why I have to make an effort to “always” be put together. (No sweats at the grocery store for this girl). When I go out in public I consider it to be an appearance for my brand.
As a blogger, I am constantly looking for ways to improve everything that I do. That’s where an extensive amount of research comes in. I challenge myself to read articles, take blogging courses or watch webinars so that I can stay on top of my blogging game. Melyssa Griffin, I am so thankful for you!
And while I realize that not every blogger is committed to putting this amount of effort behind the scenes, this is my passion and I will do it to the best of my ability all while staying authentic and relevant.
Only $32 (which is an amazing deal, because this shirt is INCREDIBLY COMFORTABLE!)
(Use code MISSMOLLY20 to get 20% off this shirt & everything from HER. Boutique)
Photo Credit // S. Weissbach Photography