The Blog Issue – Themes, Memes and Uniqueness

Posted in Blogging, Daily Outfits.

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.

Bloggers working the ‘personal brand’ thing:

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?


Pearl Westwood

Very deep post Jen! Gosh I dont know what makes my blog unique, I guess I just always look at things is a differnt way like wiith the Lanvin H&M rather than just post my haul, I also posted about the quality comparing it to other designers etc. I also like to reference past collections and write about fashion history, I dont think anyone else does that.


Fantastic post Jen, I really do love the Blog Issues series and think it’s definitely a unique aspect of blogging. I get so fed up of reading the same stuff over and over and usually end up skipping on some posts completely which is a shame because the ones I’m missing could be the interesting ones for all I know. I think it can be hard to make your blog unique when so many other people are talking about the same interests but I agree that the way to go about it is write in your own way about the stuff you do and love. When I write a post, I write it once in a some what chit chatty way, as if I was speaking. I go through it to make sure there are no spellings etc but I don’t try and change the way I talking about something because the second you do that you’re eliminating that chic chat aspect, you would start a sentence and then re start it 5 minute later would you? In terms of content it can be hard to find something original post after post but as long as you make it ‘you’ it’ll still be enjoyable. I’ve become pretty bored of seeing Golden Globes pictures after pictures with very little writing to back them up, posts like that are not unique and get tired pretty quickly.

Hannah xx


I have only 167 followers so I expect I’m not doing it properly! I’m more than satisfied however because I have my ‘regulars’ whose ‘company’ I really enjoy.

I’d say I’m going for quality rather than quantity. I didn’t begin my blog with any numbers in mind. It’s merely an excuse for me to witter on. I am terminally UNfashionable so I don’t fear I’m blighted with the curse of the ‘common’ or ubiquitous. So many quotation marks. I have started to write with my regulars in mind in addition to merely rhubarbing on ad nauseam.

E is for Eleanor

This is a really interesting topic. To be honest, I do try and steer clear of the ‘popular’ themes, not because I don’t want to follow the crowd or fear that I wouldn’t stand out, but mainly because they aren’t what I want to blog about. The only exception to this rule that I can think of is cupcakes. I’m a cupcake lover 4 lyfe. haha.

The tone of voice thing is interesting to me. I tend not to write the way I talk because my blog is my creative writing outlet. I appreciate what you’re saying about identifying with their readers and making them feel that they could literally be standing next to them, talking to them- as a reader though, this sometimes frustrates me because I like blogs that read eloquently and not like a casual conversation? I hope you know what I mean! haha. It’s hard to explain. You do it really well- you’re not one for slang, or ‘lolz’ or ‘hahahaha’ yet you are straight up, friendly and don’t alienate people with the language you use. 🙂



Love this post, it’s food for thought. I do see that a lot of blogs are just copies of one another and I would hate for my blog to be like that. I want my blog to be unique and different because I can think of my favorite blogs right now because they’re separated from the sea of common in the blogosphere. In terms of my own blog, I do type the way that I speak as well with this comment. I don’t feel part of a blogging pack at all, if anything I feel like I’m on my own. This is one thing that I would like to remain constant.

Elizabeth @rosalilium

My approach to blogging is to write personal, creative, thoughtful and hopefully intelligent posts.

A very thought-provoking piece that highlights the cliches and stereotypes whilst sensitively providing guidance to improve some of the more generic blogs out there.

The key for me as a reader, really is ‘voice’. If I like how you write and present your blog, I will follow. Simple.


Great post, as always.
I really like the idea writing in your own “tone” of voice. Some blogs (especially beauty ones) sound as if they are a beauty article rather than the personality of the writer coming across.
I try my best to stand out from the blogging pack by posting a variety of topics and not just “OOTD” and “FOTD” type posts. I like blogs that show the personality and tastes of the author – Lily loves Lola comes to mind as Victoria’s posts are so varied but her blog still comes together as expressing her interests and likes.
I think your blog really stands out – you definitely have created something a little different from the pack of “fashion blogs” out there. x


It must be tough for some bloggers not to want to “copy” other features, reviews and other things they see that are popular with other blogs.

I try to stand out, my blog being mostly about hair means I hope that I create a site that people think about when they want hair advice. That’s the hope anyway. Yes I have regular features but try and keep them individual and interesting. I guess if something interests you then you want to talk about it.
Great blog issue Jen, I really love reading these.



Amazing post, I actually didn’t get what a meme was before this but it all makes so much sense now! I do like a few of these posts but I try and put my own spin on it (like ‘Outfits of The Week’ with a few random photos slotted in). I don’t necessarily want to post about the same lookbooks that everyone else is. I’m not quite sure how I would describe my writing style, (it’s been said to be how I speak, but I’m not sure) but I like to think it’s a relatable, friendly sort of tones with the odd bit of ‘flowery’ language that I don’t get to use in real life. Ultimately my blog is an outlet for all the fashion related thoughts going through my head, whether it’s my take on trends or love of brogues. It’s so funny how we all seem to love vintage stuff and cupcakes, then when I mention the Hummingbird to my friend’s they’re like ‘huh?’ I guess that’s why we get on so well at meet-ups!
This post would’ve been so useful for my dissertation but I handed it in today! Oh well, it was getting too long anyway.


I absolutely agree that *your* tone of voice on *your* blog (damn the internets. Can’t adequately express my intonation) is entirely unique and is definitely one of the (many) things I love about A Little Bird…
This also got me thinking about the whole “That’s copying” mantra/issue-I’m sure it’s massively annoying to those it happens to, but when it comes to outfits, makeup etc, really, it’s the highstreet. There’s bound to be a lot of crossover. There’s been only a couple of occasions where I’ve ever seen blatant theft, i.e. copy +paste!
What makes me read one OOTD/NOTD post over another is the blog layout, tone and, honestly, if the blogger comes across well.
Loving the blog issue, as ever!

xxx Maddie


I don’t really worry about that too much, I don’t make money off my blog I just do it as a hobby so I write about what I want and what makes me happy. I have readers and people like it so it’s no biggie. I think there are too many rules to blogging now. I can see your point though.


Very interesting! I try to steer away from the usual themed posts – things I love Thursday, sunday summaries, etc. Partly because I find them all so samey (my things I love Thursday would always be boring like: Scott, my job, fooooood, etc) and also because I don’t like to commit to a weekly fixture on my blog. I like to post on different days and not feel guilty if I miss a day!

My favourite blogs are the ones that give you a peek into the bloggers lives, not just make up reviews, ootd, notd, etc. A blogger has to come across as honest & real for me to ‘connect’ with. I also like to be able to feel like I relate to them. I love Helen’s blog! She definitely has a great blog voice & personal touch to her blog.


Great post. I try to write the way I speak because I want to get to know people and them to know me. That often means not writing in full sentences though! xx


wow, okay. firstly, cute blouse! MORE IMPORTANTLY:

i know what you mean, i feel like i see so many here is a nail polish what i have reviewed here is 4 pictures of it in slightly different lights or here is me in some clothes IM TOO HIPSTER TO PUT WORDS IN. you have to play to your strengths, for some people that’s photography, others it’s helpful how-to posts or something. i know all i can do is write, and i know my writing style is unique and that’s what i hope people think of when they read my blog. i want them to get all of me, so i do posts on high fashion collections, editorials and then just things i’ve attended to try and keep it fresh. oh, and i never talk about my personal life, cause, well, that’s personal!

you’re the bomb 🙂 xx


My sentiments exactly. Cupcakes, old photos, tea and all things whimsical- very much part of the blogging stereotype, mainly in the 18-23 (my) age group.

To be brutally honest, some blogs of this nature are quite dull and lacking in written content, yet more often than not they are ones that get all the comments! Personally I like to get stuck into a big meaty piece of writing, but then again not everybody does, which is why many of these blogs have many more followers than I do.

My blog is simply laid out and not very visual at all (though I am guilty of the odd weheartit photo, like nearly every other blogger ;)). I think this puts some people off, but I want people to read what I write and react, not just write gushing comments about how lovely my pictures are. The usual lifestyle/personal/style blogger features just aren’t me. I know I’d probably get more readers if I did such features, but my blog is a platform for my writing and opinions, not an end in itself.

I love Bangs because not only is she a great writer, she writes from the heart and omits the bullshit- her posts always manage to stir a reaction in me. My blog is still in its very early childhood (it’s a baby), but if I was aiming for something, it’d be to have a blog like Bangs. She has a wide but sincere following, which is by far the best following to have.

I apologise for the lack of eloquence and rambling nature of this comment, it has been a long day. x


I’m torn on this one.

I write and always have done because it’s my personal space about stuff I like – and mostly read by friends and family who come from FB.

I don’t steer clear of certain things because, quite frankly I don’t care what other people write about.

I suppose I’m not a ‘fashion’ blogger, I’m a personal blogger so slightly different because I certainly don’t follow trends, I just like what I like.

Same with what I read. If I like the blogger and the way they write I’ll read about them liking Cath Kidston till the cows come home, as long as they’re themselves and don’t try too hard.

In the blogs you’ve linked to I read Gem’s blog and Muireann’s blog – and honestly although I’m aware there must be a formula to what they write, I’d hate to think they’re writing so as to ‘stand out’ and be a personal ‘brand’ – I think they just do because they have a personality.

I hope all that makes sense!

Gem Fatale

Fab post Jen Jen!
And thank you for the linkage!
I tend not to blog about topics in general at the moment, let alone ‘popular’ ones, which sounds utterly ridiculous! Due to the dissertation, I think I’ve become a bit of a lazy blogger where every post is a kind of ‘what I’ve been up to/buying/wearing’ type thing. Read: narcissistic bint. So I’m not sure I’m in a position to add anything worthwhile to this discussion!
All I will say is that my blogging style is pretty much the same since I started it. I just write exactly how I would speak about something. And unfortunately that does include the word LOL. Tragically, it is a part of my IRL lingo!
So I totally agree with you, that it’s communicating your personality and opinions in your writing style that will help a blog stand out from the crowd. If I wanted regurgitated press releases and a bombardment of images, I’d just buy Vogue. I read blogs because I want to learn about the people behind them!


Interesting topic! I used to worry about this, but now I just post what I want to talk about – I think NOT worrying about it is the best way to keep your blog fresh and with a personality. Saying that though I’d never be able to just post a couple of photos with zero commentary – I’m a babbler!

Diary of a Tinyholder

I go off piste with my blog – sometimes home/garden/chicken keeping, bit of fashion, work-life balance, travel etc. Whatever I fancy. I can’t work it out though, I post about buying a pretty thing and get shed loads of comments and then write about something I’m passionate about and hardly anything. weird. Love you blog and the beautiful outfits/photos. xx


Such an interesting post. I totally agree, I prefer to read blogs that have a unique voice which is why I mostly read personal fashion blogs, and my favourit posts are those which feature the blogger’s own photos. That’s how I try to be unique- anyone can post lookbooks and celeb photos but noone else can be me!


Blogs for me a little insight into other peoples lives (i’m a nosy bugger!) For me the best blogs have something extra to say rather than, “I wore this and bought it from x”. However, I have noticed that when I post these types of posts I get a lot more comments and traffic, compared to a review of a restaurant or some pictures from an outing i’ve been on!

It does get a little dull when people post about the same topics/events, but the best bloggers will always manage to post in way that always spins a new twist. I think Shini at Park and Cube always manages to nail her posts in that way!


Good talking point! I don’t think blogging should be about trying to be a brand or not being yourself just to be different, my fav blogs are the ones that are real and personal, I just like what they write about and pictures of their life and how they see fashion!

Ondo Lady

The is VERY interesting. Your philosophy is something I adhere to; I never follow hot stories unless I can put a good spin on it. For instance when the first Sex and the City film was about to be released every blogger was posting images of the outfits or talking about the story lines. Of course the media went S&TC mad and had them on the cover of their publications and some had actually written some very interesting stories about the success of the show. I decided to do a short post on the different angles that these magazines and newspapers had taken in covering the launch of the film. I feel that as a blogger you need to find your own voice and not just report on stories but find another angle or offer an opinion. That is why people will go to you and keep coming to you while doing their rounds.


I think all bloggers at least attempt an element of individuality, especially as their readership grows but with the increasing sponsorships and ‘freebies’ that seem to be handed out to every blogger with an email it seems the same post will be on your reader at least 5 times and even those who usually have a really unique tone lose it to PR notes.
I love fashion blogs for their updates that usually always accompany the outfit as I think that really gives you an insight into the person and with their photo above it gives good anchorage.
Love the shirt btw, I would never think to go to Next for something like this.

Penny Dreadful

Absolutely agree, I try to use my own ‘voice’ when I write. Like you that often includes humour and sarcasm, becayse that is how I talk. I think one other thing is to be honest. I don’t read blogs which simply gush about everything and never say anything critical. The advantage of blogs over print is that we can be truthful, so I find it boring to read blogs which are a rave review of everything.


Fabulous post Jen! And thankyou so much for the link! I write exactly as I speak (although with less swearing). I don’t think I could write any other way! Love love love that shirt x


i use my blog to write about what i want, and however i want to – i think that for that reason i am not one of the ‘popular theme’ bloggers; i don’t do a weekly common post, or any of the others you mention, as they are just not things which i would choose to focus on.
i think my blog is more like a diary / journal for me, and talks about my boring life, but i think it’s more for me than anyone who wishes to read it, and if i bring amusement etc to anyone who does read it, that’s just a bonus, not the sole intention..


Great post and great topic of conversation.

I try to make my blog my own, but I understand that bloggers do have similar interests and I’ve even found myself questioning things I post about- purely because I don’t want to seem repetitive or ‘samey’.

I have always enjoyed the way you write and I think you do stand out (certainly in my reader), for me I like blogs that have a good mixture of both written text and photographs xx

Kendi Lea

Thank you for the compliment! That really means a lot. You know I never knew that I had personally branded my blog until I started reading a lot of other blogs. You are spot on when you say “The best way to develop your unique tone of voice is to write the same way you speak.” BINGO. You are the best you, no one is more unique than you. So why not just write the way you speak?

Speaking of writing, you write very well — you never once lost me in this post. I have blog ADD at times and get lost in some posts (mine at times) so I really appreciate the way your communicated your thoughts.

I’m rambling. Thanks again for the link love.


this is a very, very interesting point and i agree with you on the majority of it.

i agree that the over abundance of similar blog features can get very tiring. saying that though, i don’t think you should avoid writing a certain feature just because others post the same one. for example, if style inspiration posts are what you enjoy writing about and twenty or so other bloggers are doing the same, then i would argue that you should keep on doing it but do it differently. it’s *your* blog and you should write about what *you* find interesting. and the fact that you find it interesting probably means you’ll know what you’re on about and have a different take on it in the first place. circular logic, but i find it works.

i do tend to read blogs that have a more personal way of writing (like yours!) but i don’t think that that’s all a blog needs to stand out. interesting photography in outfit shots, varied features, and having a bold sense of style capture my attention too.

elle x


Great post!

I avoid the usual topics, pretty much. I do love cupcakes and old lady china and owls, but if these things appear on my blog its tangiential and not the point of the post. I do keep a fairly regular schedule (thinky post or review/showcase on a monday, outfit tuesday and thursday, kitting or photography on a wednesday, friend friday on a sriday, links a la mode and video on saturday, photography on sunday) but i don’t think that makes it any better or worse really. It all depends what is in the schedule.

I am often told I have a very strong voice and I guess I do. Funnily enough, I actually speak like I write (long sentences, lost of sub clauses, summaries of key points, fairly technical words, somewhat breathless/overenthusiastic) more than I write like I speak, but I think that is because I’m a writey person and about 80% of my day job is writing.


bah! this has kinda baffled me and made me question myself and my i unique? do i try hard enough to be so? i dont know! i find with limited time to blog i can get stuck into routines and the same old same old..but i hope my little jokey tone and sentences about my life make mine stand out a bit..def gonna be pondering this for at least the rest of the day now! 🙂 xo


On a different note…are you wearing socks? Or are youyr poor feet frozen white in the cold British weather!! Nicola 😉


You’ve made an extremely valid point and made me question my attitude towards my blog. In general I just blog about things I like, I don’t over think it but maybe I should.

I agree that it is vital for a successful blog to have a unique voice but in my opinion visuals are what is most important. Beautiful photographs and attention to detail are the elements that make me dedicated to my favourite blogs. Not to forget the stylish ladies, ofcourse.

Thank you for providing a little substance amidst all the lovely blogging frivolity.

Cait x


Great post! I try to stay away from the topics you mention or if see something that’s being posted around, I just avoid it all together. I definitely believe in keeping your voice and not making everything overly sweet. In my first year of blogging, I definitely narrowed down what I talk about since there is already too many general blogs and so many people who can talk about certain subjects better than I can. I just keep it to what I love and know. For me, it’s about the content rather than the number of readers.

Pick and Pack

There so many blogs about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. There are so many blogs having so many information. I follow those information which provide me right information with reference.


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