What Does It Take To Start A Blog? Some Helpful Modeltypeface Tips….
Hello everyone! Last week I told you how to get a decent Instagram following. Quite a few people told me they were amused at me saying how our agencies are always telling us ‘get your numbers up babe’ without having concrete advice!
They’re also telling us to start blogs/vlogs/Youtube accounts, too. It sounds like it’s a ridiculously easy thing to do – just set up a basic website, talk about what you did today and bobs your uncle – 100k followers and lucrative collaborations coming in thick and fast.
Unfortunately, if you want to do it half decently, it’s a lot harder than that. YES blogging can help your online presence. YES brands may want to work with you more, because you stand for something and have another platform to publicise their products. There are some ridiculously successful model/bloggers out there who are getting to work with really big brands, who they might not have been booked by when they were ‘just’ a model.
But blogging takes a lot of time, energy and work and you need some decent guidance to get started properly.
I thought I’d talk you through some of the considerations you need to ponder over before starting, and then some actual practical steps to go through to get set up.
Thinking About Blogging? Then Here Are Some Facts…
1) You will need to post decent content
It’s easy to think of writing up posts on the plane, filming a little vlog in a hotel room or typing away between shots.
But look at some of the blogs out there. They look super professional and that’s your competition – you will need to think of original content that looks stylish and competes with blogs that are essentially very good online magazines. you’ll need to get testing and shooting with friends who have good cameras to exploit your model skills.
2) You will need to post regularly
I know lots of brainy, stylish and hilarious models, so posting decent content isn’t nearly so much of a push than posting regularly is. If you are shooting every day, then squeezing in time to film, take pictures and post between gym visits, castings, jobs, a social life and a romantic life is tough.
So I always tell people thinking of starting a blog: aim for one post a week, or even a fortnight! Your readers want reliable content, not necessarily daily content.
3) Think of your USP
Modeltypeface can be a bit of a mash up, I’ll admit it. There’s beauty, my published pieces, fitness, feminism, interviews, fashion, vlogs…But I do always try to relate it to modelling and what we’re all going through.
What’s your USP, is it original, and is it SIMPLE? People want to feel safe and secure about what they’re getting on your site. If your thing is looking incredible in lingerie, like Gemma Sanderson’s, then fabulous because she can….
a) Put up pics of her looking ridiculous in lingerie, leading to sponsorship and collborations
b) Relate fitness/beauty/health to the lingerie theme.
Your USP might be fashion, or perhaps beauty – but even better would be if you were really, really into gardening. How many model gardener blogs are there?
4) Be prepared to be really stressed and work really hard
People think blogging is all cupcakes and kittens and writing up events and endless freebies. Actually, the top bloggers got to where they are through a combination of luck and good timing – but most of all bliming hard work.
I spend a lot of time writing for my beloved Modeltypeface….For free….Just hoping I’m going in the right direction! Which leads me onto my last point…
5) Blogging is lonely
OK it’s not lonely. I love interacting with my readers and getting feedback, as well as interviewing other models and industry experts. But if I’m not ‘lonely’, I am definitely alone.
I have no editor (apart from my dad, thanks for the random spelling correction texts, pops). I have no one telling me if a piece is interesting/fun/rubbish/unnecessary. It’s all on my shoulders and it’s completely up to me…If I don’t post, the only one who loses out is me.
So you have considered all of the above, and definitely want to start your blog. Where do you start?
1) Think of a name
Aaaah, this is so hard! You might just choose your name, but this is gonna be easier for readers to find if your name is, say, Lupita Nyong’o than if it’s Anne Smith. Try and make it something you won’t regret in a few years, specific to your content. Google it so make sure you’re not competing with porn sites or lots of similar names.
2) Decide your Platform
I recommend WordPress (Modeltypeface is WordPress) or Squarespace. Both are pretty simple to use. You basically just go to their homepage and click a ‘get started’ form.
So with wordpress, you can either have .com or .org.
With .com, it’s free and simple and basic. But once you start picking options to alter it, the more expensive it becomes. And if you go for completely free, your site will have the address .wordpress.com (www.modeltypeface.wordpress.com), which I think looks less professional.
With wordpress.org, which I have, you download wordpress so you don’t have to keep buying add ons. BUT! IT IS A LOT OF FAFF! I totally managed to sort it out, despite my luddite, reluctant brain, but it honestly was (and is) a bore. I had to:
- Register my domain name (I did this with Godaddy and I registered .com and .co.uk)
- Find a webhost (I use Siteground). WordPress doesn’t host your .org site, so you have to register it and sort all that out. Then you have to pay them monthly.
- Sort of a decent spam filter like CleanAlert – once you start getting more than one visitor a day, you’ll start getting endless spam from China and Romania and this filters it out for you.
These all cost money, either on a monthly or annual basis.
3) You’ve sorted all that boring stuff out! Now what?
So you have to decide on a theme, appearance, logo…My recommendation is to go very plain, very classic until you have your bearings with writing, posting and creating content regularly.
4) How do I blog regularly?
OK! This is, in my opinion, the most important thing to consider when blogging.
When I started, I aimed for 3-4 posts a week, and I was writing enormous 1-2k word articles or the sort I would send to magazines and papers.
Then someone told me I should post every day, to get my traffic up. So I tried doing that.
The stress was TOO MUCH to handle. And I was worried about running out of topics! Not only this, but even my most dedicated readers (hi Dad) didn’t have the patience to sit and read those posts every darn day.
You have to find the groove that suits you. For me, a good week is Mon – Fri of posts, but usually it’s about 4 a week. I’ve also learned that they don’t all have to be Magnus Opus’ – one day I might have a long post about legal rights, but another day will be a link to a fun article or friend’s page.
Other people can’t even manage 3-4 a week. That’s fine! All that counts here is that you post regularly and reliably. If once a fortnight is all you can manage then great, if you’re posting great stuff your readers will look forward to their fortnightly sesh.
There is nothing sadder and more irritating than a blog post saying ‘Sorry I haven’t been on here in a while, guys!’ It just looks unprofessional and half-arsed.
Aim for once a week. Then see if you can work in more.
5) How do I come up with content?
It depends on what your blog’s about. A really easy way to blog is ‘what I ate today’ or ‘what I wore today’ or ‘what skincare I used today’. Then you can literally post a picture that was intended for your Instagram with links to where you bought them.
Otherwise, have a vague/specific (depending on your organisational abilities!) timetable. Mondays are for my #ModelCrushMondays, Tuesdays I do beauty, the rest is whatever I fancy though I try to post on Thursdays as you all seem to be most engaged then.
This collaboration with Jay McLaughlin was really successful – it took a lot of time and work on both our parts though.
Keep a notebook on you for ideas for future posts. SO handy when you’re feeling uninspired!
6) Love Your Blog
Most important of all is to love what you do! Honestly, though sometimes having to squeeze in writing time and think up content when life is tough makes blogging a chore at times, I genuinely love Modeltypeface. I feel excited while I write, thinking that people are reading and enjoying my words. I like the fact that my blog means something and contributes to many models’ lives and careers. And I have fun!
If you don’t want to blog, don’t. If you hate vlogging, IT SHOWS. It’s better to have no online presence than a half-hearted one, so unless you’re creating something that brings you joy and fulfillment, I wouldn’t bother. The world really doesn’t need another abandoned blog…
I’d love to know – are you thinking of starting a blog? Or do any bloggers have some useful advice for my readers?
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