The Entrepreneur Speaks: Emma Campbell

Emma Campbell of What Emma Did talks about how to turn your blog into a business. is a Manchester based Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog and online boutique, born in Jan 2010. The fashion blog turned ‘blogtique’ discusses all lifestyle news, as well hosting ‘The Boutique‘ – a dedicated dress shop destination. scooped the award for Cosmopolitan Best New Fashion Blog 2010, opening up partnerships with Cosmopolitan, Handpicked Media, London Fashion Week and Matalan. Emma Campbell graduated from The University of Central Lancashire in 2007, with a BA Hones in Fashion and Brand Promotion with Journalism. Emma is also a Manchester, Cheshire and North West based Make-up Artist.

Here, she talks about how to turn your blog into a business.

How to turn your blog into a business:

If you run a blog and find yourself enjoying working on it and watching it grow, you may find yourself asking the question ‘how can I turn this into a business?’. I found myself asking the very same question a couple of years ago, and here I am today, running as a full time business.

Let’s briefly go back to the beginning. I set up the blog in January 2010, mainly as an online portfolio to save all my work for my online fashion writing. If I had a fashion article which was published on a magazine site, I’d put a blog post together showing my work, and then discuss my thoughts on the topic. After a couple of months, I began reviewing brands, new products, events, and generally putting together posts about the fashion industry and what ‘things’ I was loving.

Eight months later, the blog won the Cosmopolitan Best New Fashion Blog Award for 2010. From this, I scooped paid blogging contracts with brands such as Matalan, guest blogged for a range of brands, and even covered TV events with my ‘expert blogging opinion’. The blog still didn’t earn enough to make a living, so I juggled it with working in the fashion industry in PR, Marketing and Social Media, to strengthen my expertise in this area.

I then expanded the blog to cover everything from beauty, food, fitness and travel, offering a full ‘lifestyle’ blog. In 2015, I took another leap towards expansion, and launched my own dress boutique on the blog. This then became a ‘blogtique’ – a lifestyle blog with a dedicated dress shop. After six years of working hard on growing my readership, producing quality content and pushing my social followings, I began to earn money through advertising, sponsored content and affiliates. And now of course the dress boutique has helped the blog become a main business for me, where I literally run on a daily basis.

You don’t have to have a fashion focus in order to make your blog a successful business. To help shed some light on how to build your own business from blogging, I’ve put together some tips to help you really get your blog from hobby to job…

1. Network, network, network
Whenever I can, I try to attend as many blogger or brand events as possible. The people you meet at these can be invaluable – whether it’s fellow bloggers who introduce you to people they know, or brands who decide they wish to work further with you. I have met photographers and designers at certain events who I now have on board with me today. In this game, it’s very much about who you do know.

2. Have a theme, and stick to it
There is nothing more confusing to potential advertisers, new readers or brands who come across your blog and wonder ‘what is this persons niche?’. It’s fine to share a workout regime one day, but try to follow this up with related content, such as food, diets, and lifestyle advice. People will start to associate your blog for being an expert in that area. Keep the layout simple and easy to navigate. You want people to enjoy the time they spend on your blog, to encourage them to return.

3. Use affiliates and promote advertising
Once your daily visits are on the rise, and you start to receive potential interest about advertising, start to look at all the ways you can increase your income. If you are a fashion or beauty blogger, joining affiliate programmes can be a great way of earning a little extra money. Lots of brands look for popular bloggers to be an affiliate, where you earn a fraction of the sales created from visitors on your site heading to the brands site.

4. Grow your social media channels
It goes without saying that the more social media followers you have, the more attractive your blog will look to potential brands and readers. A great way to increase your followers is by pairing up with a brand and running a giveaway together. Another way is to tweet directly to any brands or products that you feature, as they will usually retweet this, which gains you more exposure. There are also a lot more companies looking to pair up with bloggers for work, and turn to social media to find them. Search Twitter with the #bloggerswanted hashtag, or join online blogger opportunity groups such as the UK Bloggers Facebook group.

5. Improve your SEO
The more visibility you have within Google search, the more people will come across your blog. Look at the focus area of your blog, and make sure the keywords are always in the title of the posts and pages. For example, if you are a lifestyle blogger, you will want to appear on some of the first few pages of Google when people search for ‘UK Lifestyle Blogs’. Teach yourself the basics of SEO, including keywords and meta descriptions, to try and improve how often Google will pick up your blog.

There are various ways of really pushing your blog to become a business, but the above are some good starter points to get your head around and give food for thought. Good luck, and remember to never give up!

19 February 2016