The first Blog Issue of 2011 covers a topic that’s always at the forefront of my mind when I’m writing Little Bird – how to keep things fresh, original and unique. Here’s the obligatory outfit…
Wearing: Next sheer blouse, ASOS jeans, Primark pumps, Miss Selfridge ring
On: Monday 24th January
For: Shopping for gymwear (JD Sports is NOT a pleasant place to spend a Monday evening)
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogging has exploded over the last few years. New blogs are born on a daily basis and their authors often share interests and passions with their contemporaries the world over. In a sea of stylish social spaces, it’s easy to follow the current and never push your head above the tide.
Ever posted about cupcakes? The contents of your handbag? Ombre hair, Lanvin x H&M or Zooey Dechanel? These topics have become so popular within fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogging communities that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a blog post in your reader that references at least one of them.
Themed posts and regular features are also common occurrences. Monday summaries, Sunday round ups, face of the day (FOTD), outfit of the day (OOTD) nails of the day (NOTD)… there’s even a blogger language that surrounds these posts, making them unique to the outside world but identifiable to bloggers. And nothing epitomises popular fashion blogging like the haul post.
I love reading, and writing, the classic ‘fashion blog’ posts. It may be a generalisation to say all bloggers love The Hummingbird Bakery and vintage clothes and owls and teacups, but generalisations and stereotypes have to originate somewhere. Add to that the wider trends and fads of the generation (Cath Kidston, chunky knitwear, brogues, geek glasses, Etsy) and you’ll find that many blog posts that fall under that ‘classic’ umbrella are actually true representations of the likes and dislikes of their authors. But with so many thousands of posts, all with similar subject matter, how do you make yours stand out? Why would someone with five posts about the Primark SS11 collection in their Google Reader click on yours over the others?
I try to apply a concept I’ve learned through years of working as a copywriter. Creating a unique tone of voice is something I’ve done for lots of brands – it gives them the individuality that differentiates them from their competitors. One brand many of my clients reference when working on their tone of voice is Innocent. If I said ‘FRUITS! AAAH HAAAAAA!’ to you, you’d probably know what I meant. A strong voice is just like a strong logo – you’ll recognise it anywhere.
The best way to develop your unique tone of voice is to write the same way you speak. Think about the words you use daily and how you form them. I have a sarcastic sense of humour, which you can often find contained in brackets within my sentences. I also use formal words in an informal way (‘really rather good’ is a favourite of mine). These little quirks make up (what I hope is) a unique tone of voice, something that separates my blog from all the other blogs out there (even when I’m writing about cupcakes. Which is quite often). Almost certainly, your readers keep coming back because they like you, and the best way to express yourself is through the words you use.
What do you do to make your blog stand out? Do you avoid the ‘hot topics’ or look for an unique angle on them? Do you express uniqueness through words or pictures? Do you ever feel you’re just part of the blogging pack, posting the same things as everyone else? What can you do to change that?