Recently, I was delighted to have been published in my University magazine – Nerve. Although it took awhile initially to settle into Uni and start the ball rolling with regards to writing articles, I now feel like I’m in full swing – so I thought I’d share my first official article as a Multi-Media Journalism student.
If you can’t read it above (I can’t either, don’t worry – I won’t make you squint) the full copy is below:
“There’s 170 million of them, live and online as we speak. It has made Mario Armando Lavandeira – more commonly known as the infamous Perez Hilton – millions (both in dollars and enemies) and transformed how we communicate, articulate our opinions and share forever. But whenever I tell people that I run a blog of my own, I am usually met with a rather blank stare.
Blogging, although seemingly a new trend, has been around for decades. Carrie Bradshaw, you could say – was one notable ‘blogger’, although admittedly the programme and template she used were fairly basic and the writing mostly romance related. However, with WordPress, Blogger and self-hosted domains becoming far easier to use, more accessible and much simpler to buy – people have started laying down the foundations for their own little space of the internet in their millions.
I never expected anyone to read it and to begin with, no-one did.
I set up scarlettlondon.com in May 2011, after reading an article which sparked my interest and with no other place to express my opinions other than Microsoft Word and a blog.com hosted domain just minutes away – it seemed like a good idea at the time. I never expected anyone to read it and to begin with, no-one did. It was my little place to write away, express my (often farfetched) opinions and to make it my own. I didn’t even tell my friends or family. Then gradually, after posting several links on Twitter, the readership started to increase and eventually people were commenting on my articles and having a say on what I’d written.
The fashion blogging world is absolutely huge, not to mention very saturated. So initially, entering into this scary realm (I now know my Louboutins from my Louis Vuitton – but to begin with, I didn’t) was out of the question, especially since my blog had been about articles and opinions rather than fashion or beauty. However, when I started including fashion based articles on my blog and received a positive reaction, I continued in this direction. Whether it’s hunting down a high street copy or a designer inspired dupe, the fashion section, alongside the features, food, beauty and events sections slowly started to grow and before I knew it, I was being invited to sit front row at London Fashion Week, to interview the cast of Made In Chelsea and attend out-of-this-world (quite literally) product launches.
If you are an aspiring media professional, having a blog can be an invaluable way of getting your foot in the door!
Blogging can be misused and in many cases it is, however it can also be an extremely effective tool whatever profession you want to go into. It demonstrates that you have a genuine interest for that one (or many) topic/s and that you are committed to writing about it, researching it and getting involved in what it has to offer. If you are an aspiring media professional, having a blog can be an invaluable way of getting your foot in the door, in addition to having an online portfolio of your work for people to search for. I managed to secure a placement at celebrity management and PR company CAN Associates as a result of my blog and truly believe I wouldn’t have experienced half the things I have now if I hadn’t started it in the first place.
And it’s not just me. When I tweeted asking fellow bloggers why they set up theirs, I was met with many responses stating it was ‘a mix between a public diary and a creative outlet’, in addition to it being ‘therapeutic’ and a ‘means to interact with those who have similar tastes’. There are so many reasons to blog, you just have to find yours.
Setting Up Your Blog/Blogging SOS
The first decision to make when setting up your blog is to choose a provider. My personal favourite is WordPress, as it is reliable, free and easy to use, as well as professional looking however many of my blogger friends prefer Blogger (often known as Blogspot) so it may be worth playing around and setting up on both platforms before making your decision.
Try not to focus on the design and formatting of your blog to begin with, as it will soon fall into place. I changed my design around several times, before eventually deciding to hire a professional to create a look that suited what it was about – but at first, just a simple, clean and professional layout is key. Don’t have any elaborate fonts, difficult to read colours or garish pictures which distract from the main content.
Choosing what to actually blog about can perhaps be the hardest task in itself and it’s the question I am asked most often. I personally don’t think you need a ‘niche’ however if there is something you feel passionate about – write about it. Make yourself an expert in the field (almost) and research, write and talk about what interests you. If there isn’t something you could blog about regularly, then why not treat your blog as an online diary? It’s a great way to practise your writing skills, as well as building up an interactive relationship with readers.
And finally, set yourself up on all the social media channels you can. My blog wouldn’t be half as accessible as it is now (and I still can’t believe it) if it wasn’t for the ‘elusive’ Twitter. Using hashtags to promote your posts and tagging #fashion or #beauty if it involves either topic, is an effective way of picking up and engaging new readers, in addition to sparking a debate. And don’t just post ‘read my new article here…’, ask people a question, entice them in. I always follow the motto, would I want to read that? If not, I won’t post it.
The world of blogging essentially is an open book. Not everyone will agree with your opinions, but it is a great way to have a voice and to have it heard. Just make that little corner of the internet your own.”
Is there anything you’d agree/disagree with? Are there any tips you can give with regards to setting up your own blog?