So you wanna be a beauty blogger (dot dot dot)

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 25 - 2012

Every week, the same two questions show up in my inbox without fail.

“Hai, what camera do you use?”

“I want to start a beauty blog, do you have any tips?”

In answer to the first question… I own the greatest camera on earth.  I press a button and it makes all my photos look amaze.  I don’t even need to look through the viewfinder ‘cos it auto-poses, auto-focuses, auto-corrects and auto-applies my makeup for me.  It costs £548993 and is available to purchase 1 day a year.  On leap years.  When there’s a full moon.  Not really.

How about the second question?

I’ve been blogging for longer than I’d like to admit with varying degrees of ‘success’.  And by ‘success’ I mean ‘audience’ seeing as that seems to be an acceptable standard by which one should grade themselves as a blogger.

Of course that’s not how it works in reality… I’ve written blogs that have had next to NO readers and adored the bones of the templates they sit in.  My last blog was a photography blog that fizzled out in late 2008.  I didn’t lose my love for photography… nor my love for blogging.  I just lost my love for blogging ABOUT photography.

I’ve never professed to be a beauty expert or insider.  When blogs get bashed in the media for being written by unknowing, uneducated bedroom dwellers, I’m often the first to nod my head in agreement.  I muddle through a world of brands, PR, bloggers and beauty writers in the best way I know how… full of naivety as to how things work, faux pas aplenty and a good healthy dose of “shit, I probably shouldn’t have said that”.

I may not know my subject as well as an industry expert but I do know blogging and I know that blog readers love blogs for a variety of different reasons.  One being precisely because many bloggers aren’t experts, we’re a community who simply devour any beauty info we can lay our hands on for the sheer pleasure of it.  And as quaint as it may sound… we’re kinda in it together.

I turn up to press events hoping that I look the part of the nonchalant attendee, like I’ve just finished sipping cocktails with Natasha Fosterly-Smith on the roof terrace of Hotel d’Swankyville, when in reality I’m hiding a Big Mac wrapper in the side pocket of my H&M handbag.  Why do I feel the need to act in a certain way?  To establish credibility in a world that considers my world a very un-credible place of course!

But talking of credibility, don’t get hung up on it.  With all these industry blog awards flying about (duck, here comes another one…), it’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement and ‘glamour’ of it all.  There is no glamour, be equally flattered by the compliments awarded by your blogging peers and readers.

Here are my tips on better blogging… now, if only I took my own advice…

1). To write about what you love with any kind of sustainability, I firmly believe that you shouldn’t change who you are to please people around you.  You may be entering new worlds and dealing with new and wonderful people who can help bring content and exciting times to your blog… but ultimately (in the blogging world at least), one needs to find their voice and stay true to it.

 

2). You need to dedicate time to it.  A lot of time.  It’s kinda true what they say about bedroom bloggers/cave dwellers… when my daughter goes to bed, I dedicate anything from 60-90% of my spare time to blogging.  Whether that be writing, replying to emails, reading other blogs or just thinking about what I want to write next… I go to sleep thinking about blogging and often wake up doing the same.

 

3). You don’t need to publish multiple posts a day.  Some of my favourite bloggers post a few times a week and the anticipation of their next installment is tantalizing!  You do need to be consistent though.

 

4). All bloggers experience burn out.  From posting too much, thinking too much, analysing whether their posts are any good or not.  There’s only one thing you can do in this situation.  Take a step back.  This gives you time to re-evaluate, re-position the importance of blogging in your life and hopefully re-discover your love for blogging.

 

5). Do you have to be a great writer to be a great blogger?  NO!  That’s one of the things I love most about the medium.  You can simply post photos, create FOTDs, forecast trends, get scoops on the latest and greatest.  There is room for everybody in the world of blogging.  Always has been and always will be but it’s good to recognise our differences and embrace them.  Do what you’re good at but don’t let yourself be lumped in the same box as everyone else for ultimately, what is probably someone else’s convenience.

 

6). Please don’t send your beauty shopping lists to brands and PR.  It makes us all look fucking ridiculous.


7). It’s easy for me to say “blog for yourself!” – I hear that little gem often enough.  But it’s BS… I totally blog for anyone who stumbles upon Lipglossiping.com – sure, I love blogging for myself but from cradle to grave, we all need that affirmation, that pat on the back that says “you’re doing an alright job, keep going!”

But how do you get it?

You just hope that it comes.  There is no magic formula… A + B doesn’t = 5495545 blog followers.  MAC + GIVEAWAY does but you probably won’t feel quite so proud about it when all is said and done.  If it doesn’t come, then take a look at your blog with an honest appraisal and see where you’re going wrong.

 

8). Establish guidelines for yourself and your blog but be flexible.  Do you want to monetize your blog?  How much time do you want to dedicate to this hobby?

I’m not very flexible… I started my blog with rigid guidelines in place that I now find myself bumping up against all the time.

Circumstances change.  I pay a considerable amount of money each month to keep the site running.  My husband is the most patient, supportive man in the world but he recognises how the ratio of blog –> work has shifted and do I stop doing something I love because it’s not fair on my family or do I look for ways to make the ‘something I love’ bring home the bacon too?

I’m always looking at ways to monetize without ‘selling out’… and it’s truly not easy.  Sponsored post opportunities are often sorry excuses for content.  I accept them very occassionally and do so on the high-tech basis of whether I can read the pitch without cringing my way through it in embarrassment.

Of course, there are other ways to make money from blogging.  I have the pleasure of being able to blog for other websites but I’ve never been much good at ‘selling’ myself, I’m working on it!

 

9). No one can represent you better than yourself.  I’ve always been fiercely protective of my ‘voice’ on the internet, perhaps too much and I’m inherently suspicious of any network that wants to represent me to brands and advertisers.  If you prefer to be part of a blogging collective, make sure that they represent your blogging ideals on all levels and remember that they exist to make money for themselves first and foremost.

 

10). When in times of trouble, keep your head down and blog on.  Bloggers often dwell in tight-knit communities that court and feed on drama.  The best thing to do in such situations is to keep out of it, no matter how tempting because it rarely ends well.  Of course, you will get involved… and like me, you’ll probably wish you hadn’t – diplomacy and keeping your lip buttoned is a sign of a wise blogger and it’s no coincidence that some of the bloggers I have the hugest amount of respect for never get involved in twitter fights or comment wars.

 

11). Without trust, you have nothing.  Please be transparent with your readers and allow them to absorb your posts, reviews, and rambles with their eyes wide open.  Disclose affiliate links clearly, mention when a product is a press sample and tell your readers if you were paid to write a post.  Doing so doesn’t damage your credibility, it enhances it.

.

Well there you go, I don’t know who died and made me blog-god, infact I hate it when bloggers get all prescriptive about blogging on Twitter so I shall now go and punish myself severely by letting Leila play with my Chanel.  Take all of the above with a pinch of salt and make of it what you will – it’s only one opinion and not necessarily the correct one, though of course, I totally think so! ;)


41 Responses to “So you wanna be a beauty blogger (dot dot dot)”

  1. Ruqaiya Khan says:

    So true! Cheers to beauty blogging :)

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  2. Your post came at just the right time – my partner and I were talking last night about how much of my free time gets taken up by the blog and how he feels like I don’t (enough) make time for him. At the end of the day, it’s about balance. Sometimes I get it right, often I don’t, and I always need to be more organised because I’m balancing a job, a blog, a relationship and a life – and there aren’t even kids in my scenario yet! There’s definitely no secret formula.

    On another note though, I completely agree with #6. If it’s anything I would tell a new blogger, it’s don’t get into blogging because of the free stuff. You’ll rarely if ever get sent the products you actually want to buy (cough, Chanel) and greedy bloggers approaching PRs and brands ruin it for the rest of us.

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  3. inbeautyland says:

    Thanks for this post. As a new blogger, I often wonder if I’m ‘doing it right’ – untill I realise there is no specific rules set in stone.. Still, it’s always good to come across an honest and useful advice post as nobody ever stops growing as a blogger..

    Phoebe x

    inbeautyland blog

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  4. Kat says:

    I totally agree on your point at the end about bloggers who get prescriptive about blogging on Twitter but this post sums things up really well so thank you. BTW, you’ve got one of the best blogs around (seriously, I get really excited when I see you’ve posted again!).

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  5. Robyn says:

    Excellent, excellent advice! (Particularly with point 10. You can have a discussion and still be respectful -_-) I think writing about what you like, spreading and sharing the love and dedicating some time all pays off.

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  6. Sophie says:

    I totally think so too. I agree with all of your advice. Great post :)

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  7. FS.Rain says:

    Really appreciate you’re inputs and tips + reality-sharing.
    I’ve just started on beauty blogging and soon realised it is alot of commitment and despite the glam n rewards n recognition, its just never as easy as it seems.

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  8. Hi there, just came across your blog on twitter and have fallen in love for 2 reasons, 1st your article you call it as it is. It’s what I needed to read after reaching a point where I’m considering a rebrand and accessing how much time I invest in My Passport To Style, ultimately I want to guest blog and have my own column, the 2nd reason for falling for your blog is the food section I’m a sucker for stodgy food something I have perhaps hidden a little since becoming a stylist. I kinda felt fashion stylist and food perhaps did’n’t sit that well together,reading this I guess my perception was wrong!!On a personal note I have decided that in order to maintain my new diet through the week I will allow myself to cook one item a week as my treat day from your mouth watering starting with the fudge! Thank-you Sharon xx

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  9. Sara says:

    I have absolutely no aspirations to be a blogger myself so as an avid consumer I just wanted to say how your advice chimes with some of the things I love about Lipglossiping, specifically your “voice” which has allowed me to get to know and recognise what is unique about you ; your transparencey which enables me to trust what you have to say and why you are saying it and lastly your ability to allow yourself to be a little vulnerable from time to time which in my view then affirms the vulnerability we all feel sometimes about our lives and our looks.
    Thank you x

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  10. Ling says:

    Excellent post Charlotte. Love your sarcasm at the start. It was very witty.

    As for the points you mentioned, I couldn’t agree with them more. Especially love #10 – as some bloggers do have amazing power to refrain from comment wars…!!

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  11. Sarah says:

    Ohh I am so happy to see you post this! I’d been thinking about blogging myself for months now. I’ve spent endless nights scrolling through my favourite and most admired blogs (you, little miss, included!) trying to find posts like this, to guide me at where to go once I’d taken that first big step (leap) into blogging. A week ago, I did just that and wrote my first post.
    I’d just very proudly clicked post to my fifth when I saw this. At the moment, I have no partner and don’t work a lot of hours at work, so the blog/life balance doesn’t really apply – But I’m so thankful to have a hobby like this, to take up all that time and pour all my extra energy into. I think I’ll be bookmarking this post though, to look back over it in a month or two when I’m well into the groove of it…
    It’s all excellent advice. Thank you for your wise, honest and inspiring words!

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  12. Nazgul says:

    Your blog is the first beauty blog I started reading and since that time, every new one I compare with yours. You did such wonderful job, I think every beauty blogger should follow this basic rules(advices).

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  13. Paris B says:

    Well said, Charlotte! There’s no right or wrong when it comes to blogging, as you’ve pointed out, and we all have different voices so we shouldn’t be dictated by ‘norms’. That said #6 is one tip i’d definitely want every blogger to keep to. It’s starting to get ridiculous!

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  14. Lily says:

    Amen, somebody else who thinks, ‘I blog for myself – I don’t care how big my audience is.’ is bullshit. It’s human nature to look for ways to ‘measure our success’, which as you say in blogging is usually how big our audience is. It’s also human nature to want to better ourselves, compare ourselves to others and want more than what we have. It’s just what we do!

    Also love the camera bit, I get tired of folk buying pricey cameras thinking their photos will suddenly look incredible. Camera’s only worth as much as the knowledge you put into using it.

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  15. I found myself nodding like Churchill’s dog in agreement all the way through this – hats off to you Charlotte, I know you have always stuck to your own blog ethics and it shows in your fab content. From a professional point of view you are a pleasure to work with and from a personal point of view you always make me wet myself laughing :)

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  16. My Lips But Better says:

    I’m going to be lazy and just say that this is a FABULOUS post and I will definitely forward it to anyone who asks me for blogging tips. Hope you and the fam are doing well!

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  17. Victoria says:

    Great post! I just started a blog as a hobby and these tips are so insightful.

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  18. Emi says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m a baby blogger, and I really appreciate it when established bloggers like you take the time to write out advice like this. It’s so, so appreciated!

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  19. Belinda says:

    This a timely and appreciative post. It’s that gentle kick in the face to keep everything in perspective and blog because you love it, not because you have a makeup wishlist that you would like PR companies to gift you.

    I stumbled upon you thanks to a tweet of this article from BEAUTIZINE. As a mother and wife, it’s nice to see someone else trying to juggle everything and doing a good job at it.

    Cheers!

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  20. SoFrolushes says:

    a lot of the points you made can be applied to other blog genres too. great post

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  21. This is such a fabulous read and I agree with so much of what you’ve said (point 6 needs to be announced loudly with a virtual megaphone across the blogosphere). There are ups and downs to the blogging journey and I think it helps if you go into it knowing this from the start. I feel lucky that I’ve been able to chat to you in person about so many of these things particularly the financial side of things. It’s never easy but I have great respect for the way in which you do it all and still remain very true to yourself.

    Blog on dude ;)

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  22. Awesome post – points well made, awesome blog – one of my favourites, awesome blogger – 100% genuine :)

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  23. You do not at all come off like “Blog-God” here. Your voice as a blogger is strong and likeable and it’s that voice that comes out here as someone who’s giving candid advice about something a lot of people are interested in. I have to say I agree with 100% of it!

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  24. Rashidah says:

    Thank you for this content. I’ve been blogging for almost two years, but still feel very new to the craft

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  25. Mabel says:

    Excellent post. Very well written and totally spot-on at many levels. I started beauty blogging a year ago but haven’t been very consistent due to work and also got a little discouraged when I didn’t get as many viewers as I originally anticipated. But I’m starting to blog again this year and am determined to keep it going because it is what I love doing and it’s an avenue to wind down after a day’s corporate work. Anyway, shall stop rambling here. Just wanted to say what an awesome post this is! :)

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  26. Sara-May says:

    This is such an insightful and well put together post, thank you for sharing it.

    In regards too point 6 – It’s funny, I often get friends and family commenting that they want to start blogging for all the free stuff. This is insane logic. What they don’t see is the work that goes in, the fact that most bloggers I know are sitting up at 3am to get their next article written, and the amount of time spent thinking about/planning for the blog.

    I can honestly say that blogging is a compulsion for me, but its not a hobby I recommend to many other people, because it truly does eat all your spare time! I’ll definitely send these people to this post in future.

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  27. Really helpful post as I only just started up my blog! Thanks:)

    whatrebeccasaid.blogspot.com xx

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  28. L says:

    Really very insightful as I’m just starting up my blog..thank you very much!:)

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  29. […] Lipglossiping – simply asks “So you wanna be a beauty blogger…?” […]

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  30. […] Lipglossiping – simply asks “So you wanna be a beauty blogger…?” […]

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  31. […] Lipglossiping – simply asks “So you wanna be a beauty blogger…?” […]

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  32. Kelly says:

    Best post I have read on beauty blogging ever. MWAH! I don’t think people realize the effort, torture and love that goes into these things. And for what it is worth, I’m right there with you, with my discount handbag and Big Mac wrapper. :-)

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  33. I agree with Kelly 100%–this is one of the best posts I’ve ever read about being a beauty blogger! Your response to the camera question made me laugh out loud, and all of your tips were so practical. I’ve been blogging for about two years. It is “work” but I just love doing it. And I still have so much to learn. Thanks for posting this–it will definitely help me with my blog in the future.

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  34. dionline says:

    I loved this post. I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting a beauty blog and I love reading all of the tips given by you who are already there – thank you! Not all of my questions have been answered but the majority of them are. Thanks so very much!!

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  35. I have to agree with you on #8 and #11 101%. I just gave a talk on food blogging to college students recently, and it mainly revolved around these two points. I’m having trouble coming to terms with sponsored posts as well. But if everything else fails, I stand by one question: Can I live with myself?

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  36. Donna says:

    The only one I disagree on is 7. There is a “formula”. It’s called networking. This does not mean going from blog to blog saying, “Follow my blog and I’ll follow yours.” that’s rude and annoying. DON’T DO IT!

    What you do is genuinely follow blogs you love and comment. Do not make the generic, “Good post!” comment. Actually show that you have read the post and make insightful comments about how the product worked for you, similar products you know of, your impression of the brand, etc. In other words, write as if you are in conversation with the blogger and other readers. I’m not a blogger, I’m a follower…and these are the types of comments that make me click on your name, to see if you have a blog, and want to see what else you have to say.

    The other way to network is twitter mostly, but also facebook, tumblr, other social networks. Twitter is the best though since it’s almost like being in a chatroom with your favorite bloggers. They can get to know you and “follow” you and your blog from there. You MUST speak instead of just sitting back and watching what they say though! lol Chat back and forth with other bloggers, one of the best parts of blogging is community and friendships. It’s better than freebies from the cosmetics companies!

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  37. […] So you wanna be a beauty blogger (dot dot dot) is an awesome article I passed over yesterday and really gave me the little push I needed to try and spend some time on this me project. […]

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  38. Sarah says:

    I always like to read about what gets people excited about blogging – and thanks for the camera comment – one of my first thoughts was about your fantastic photography and what camera you used! I guess you are right about having the skills over the gadgets – although sometimes an iphone camera just won’t cut it.

    I also think there’s a fine line between drawing up a shopping list and being specific with PRs about what you need for your feature. For example if you want to do a summer nail feature – tell them you are after summer brights otherwise you might end up with some nudes instead. They may just send you what they want featured and not what’s relevant to your piece. They deal with a lot of blogs and magazines so make their life easier – be specific and don’t be afraid to ask for what will make your piece sparkle (without sounding like a shopping list!)

    Definitely my favourite beauty blog though. Have been reading through it for a day or so now!

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  39. I am always wondering if “I’m doing it right”. Blogging about hair and makeup is great, until you get burned out. I’m at a point when I am re-energized and working hard to improve my blog.

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