Cassandra Thorpe gives us the low down on how to create a successful blog and how to differentiate yourself within the market on this weeks #BEYOUROWN interview.
An Insight into imsoversailles please?
I created So Versailles just over a year ago, basically as a hobby. I guess as a way to put my love of fashion and street style to use. It quickly evolved into something I realised I’d eventually like to do full time. I try my best to deliver all my fashion and beauty thoughts etc. in an entertaining or funny way and tie in hip hop influences here and there. I think fashion can be something that can be taken very seriously but I try to best to make it light-hearted because at the end if the day it’s fun, right? It’s just clothes. On top of that I try my best to inspire, not necessarily through myself or the way I dress but if I do then that’s pretty cool but through the shows that I mention or pieces or looks. Fashion is something that should be explored and I want to encourage my readers to be a bit over the top sometimes and dress for the caricature of themselves.
Talk to us about blogging
To be honest I didn’t do very much by way of content, and I think as a Blogger it’s something you should do every now and again just to get inspiration. I sort of knew what I wanted to write about and how I wanted to write about it and I didn’t really care if anyone else was doing it because it wouldn’t be the same – we’d have a different voice, though so far I haven’t come across anything with a similar focus or tone. I’d research aesthetics – how I wanted my blog to look, the layout, how I wanted everything to be presented. I’m not sure if you ever can do enough because in the world of the Internet everything is changing all the time and something new crops up so it’s always good to research now and again.
What about in a couple of years time?
This is such a hard question so I’m probably going to have to be quite vague. In two years I see my blog growing far bigger than it is right now, I see myself at more fashion shows, hopefully hopping on a plane to all four fashion weeks, twice a year, creating for So Versailles full time. Whilst also growing my mink eyelash business, So Versailles Lashes and being a well-known name in beauty. In five years? I see the So Versailles brand growing info a global business and So Versailles being one of the most influential fashion blogs in the world.
How was Paris?
Paris was fun. Paris is different, I guess it’s one of those grass is greener things, because when I was over there I admired the fashion much more than in London. I saw more people dressing differently, having fun with it in that classic, chic blasé way and I guess here it’s more high street focused in that once a trend is big everyone’s wearing it. Then again I might just be thinking that because I live here and I get so used to my surroundings I tend not to look around so much and appreciate stuff like that. I may be totally lying haha.
Do you feel like there are far to many bloggers out there now?
I don’t know if saturated is the word it’s hard to stand out, yes, because blogging is “easy” right? There’s wifi everywhere and pretty much everyone has some sort of Internet-connecting device, sign up to a free blogging platform and there you go. It’s defiantly not as easy as it seems, there’s so much time and effort that goes into to each post but yes, you do have to find a niche or find something cool you can do to stand out from the rest. I think that’s why a lot of bloggers branch out into video and YouTube because it’s like how else can I put across my content to show a different angle, to be different.
Who do you look for for inspiration?
It’s weird because I find inspiration in random things, like 2007 Paris Hilton or “Get Rich or Die Trying” 50 Cent. I’m hugely inspired by Babe Walker (google her). Music and movies inspire me a lot – if I listen to rap music I can blog very easily but if I listen to something slow and “meaningful” I find it very hard to get into my tone of writing. Travelling produces some incredible content – the pictures are more interesting because you put more effort into finding interesting places because you aren’t there for long. I don’t travel exclusively for that purpose but wherever I’m going now I know I’m shooting content and I’ll schedule that into my plans.
How has Instagram benefitted your blog and which other social media platforms have been an effective tool for marketing?
Instagram is great for bloggers because it’s very visual but it can be hard in getting people to click through into your blog as everyone can get a little lost in scrolling so you have to make your pictures and captions work for you, but it’s one of the best social media apps for getting your blog name out. I think another huge part of blogging is getting people to know you, once people connect with the person then it becomes easier for them to follow the blog because then it’s on a personal interest level – Instagram helps you show your personality, to create that bond a bit better. Twitter is another great tool, especially with regards to getting people to click through – it’s easier on Twitter. Again, it’s a great way of showing your personality and getting people to know you in that way, with your random thoughts on things or feelings. I don’t really do all of this Pinterest business – I just really stick to my Instagram and Twitter, I think it’s better than being on every social media but only being half-arsed about it.
What advice would you give to others out there starting a blog?
It sounds so cliche but it’s very true – be yourself. Find out/realise what’s different about you or what your niche is and follow that path and just stay true to you. This also applies to brand collaborations – you’ll be approached by some super awesome brands but you’ll also be approached by some brands who really have nothing to do with your blogging focus or the tone of your blog and learning to say no to those when they’re offering to pay you or whatever is valuable because at the end of the day your readers will know what’s genuine and not and maintaining their trust is the most important factor. Also, wholeheartedly believe in what you do, you’ll face a lot of people who either don’t know what a blog is or what/who it can influence or just don’t take it seriously at all. It can be a little dis-heartening but if you believe in your blog 100% and you are genuinely you, it will show and it will work for you in the long term.
How do you know if any one is interested in the content your blogging about?
I find out a couple of ways and that’s through my analytics and also I ask people who read my blog – usually my brutally honest friends who also happen to be ride or die So Versailles readers. They aren’t afraid to tell me what they enjoy and what they hate a little bit.
How can you track your target audience and know your demographics?
I mainly track everything through Google Analytics – it can actually get a little scary. I can find out so much about my readers from their age to gender, down to which city they live in and which version of the iPhone they use to access So Versailles. There are a few other analytics sites but I’ve found Google Analytics to be the most accurate.
How can you raise more of a blogging profile and make it profitable?
Everything’s via social media so it can either be seen as a blessing or a curse because it’s so easy to do, but at the same time you can get lost in a sea of other bloggers. So keep social media in mind and continue to push your content this way – there are also some great blogging-focused groups on Twitter and Facebook which are good ways of making friends in blogging and getting input. There’s also a lot to be said of talking about in real life- you actually get more opportunity to get across the whole concept of your blog than the couple of seconds online. Mailing lists are also a key part of getting your blog into people’s minds – creeping into their inbox letting them know posts are up and so on, it’s something that’s often overlooked but can be quite powerful. Once your profile grows the profitability grows with it – sadly it’s all about numbers/followers and such so as the number gets bigger you’ll start to notice more and more brands emailing you or sliding in your DMs. It takes time though, I think if you keep your blog authentic and focused it will take time but your blog will be respected and your readers know you’re in this for the love of it and not just to get “Insta famous” or whatever.
1. Finding your own voice is so important, especially considering the fact there are so many blogs out there now so finding out what’s different about you and your blog and playing on that is super important.
2. Create a posting schedule and stick to it so your readers know exactly when there will be new content.
3. Spend time in creating quality content – it’s going to take more time than you’d hoped but you’ll be proud of that post when it comes out as opposed to taking it down in a few months because it wasn’t up to standard but you wanted to put something out there.
4. Live it – breathe your blog because inevitably it’s a huge part of you so don’t be afraid to mention it or plug it every now and again and promote it on every social media channel.
5. Keep it professional where it needs to be – I made sure to get business cards printed when I was sure I wanted to put some effort into this blogging thing because it might just be my small area of the Internet but I want people to take it as seriously as I do.