Your best beauty blog! My best advice for aspiring beauty bloggers. Shortly after the dinosaurs disappeared when I started my career in journalism, the only way to write about beauty was to land a job with an established style magazine or newspaper. I remember cutting out images and taping them to pages creating my own feature story layouts. At the time, there were dozens of smaller niche magazines and local arts newspapers that welcomed content even if they rarely paid. At least, a writer starting out could see his or her stories published. I discovered a how-to paperback book entitled “The No Bull Guide to Making it as a Writer” and I carried that with me for weeks, cracking it open at cafes and dreaming of a writing job one day.
I’ve been fortunate to have worked my way up over the years to the editor position of a beauty magazine. I’ve written for national newspapers and learned from some incredible copy editors. And I’ve written for fashion magazines as well which was big fun. But what excites me most about the recent advances in technology is that anyone with a love of beauty and writing can create their own beauty blog. Where it used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a print magazine, a simple WordPress template and internet access is all you need to create your own digital magazine.
It is no surprise that I find many beauty magazine editors jaded. I was recently at a press event in New York City and I watched several editors make a beeline for the gift bag to see if it was worth staying for the presentation. It’s the complete opposite when I see beauty bloggers. They are so genuinely excited to be writing about the latest lipstick launch or listening to a marketing executive describe how a fragrance ad campaign was created. Their enthusiasm is infectious. That is why I host as many VIP events for followers as I can to share the true beauty editor experience. I wish I could travel more and bring these events to Europe and the U.S. That is on my wishlist.
One of the most common requests I get these days is for feedback on beauty blogs. So many bloggers tweet me and ask for advice on how to take their blogs to the next level. There are so many stories online about how women and men have translated their passions into solid careers.
To start, I don’t want anyone to think they need to change their blogs if they love them. Beauty blogs are an expression of your creativity and they are meant to be fun. So if you enjoy the process and love the accomplishment of publishing a post, that is great. My advice is only for those who want to get the attention of beauty companies. Here is my best beauty blogger advice.
I work with most of the prestige beauty brand PR managers here in Canada. And they tell me that they are constantly being approached by bloggers for press kits and samples. My good friend, Isabelle Randez, oversees all PR for Lancome, YSL, Giorgio Armani Beauty and shu uemura. She says the first thing to do is make your blog as professional as you can. Try to pick a modern, luxe template that reflects the brands you want to write about. You don’t have to spend a ton of money having a custom site designed. Just pick a template that looks similar to the advertising of the brands you love. I always ask myself, “Would YSL Beaute advertise on this page?” That simple step has worked well for me throughout my career. WordPress has some really well designed themes you can choose from.
The next piece of advice is to try to stand out with your blog. There are thousands of blogs that feature lipstick swatches, product shot and face shot with featured lipstick. Try to specialize in something you really love. Maybe you love lip gloss. If that is the case, really research the topic and show your expertise in this product. Think about how you can make your blog look different than all the others.
One of my favourite twitter friends is Hayleigh from South Africa – one of the nicest people I’ve met. And when she asked me for some advice, I suggested she really research the history of her products and brands. Tell me something I don’t know. Martha Stewart made a name for herself by becoming the authority on her topics. You can too. I remember Hayleigh wrote a post about MAC Cosmetics and included the history of the brand. It was so interesting and it elevated a post about a single product launch.
Beauty PR reps love it when you share your stats. You don’t have to have thousands and thousands of followers. But if you emphasize how engaged your followers are and how much time they spend reading your stories, that is very valuable to beauty companies. A simple report each month will really impress these PR managers. You’ll look very professional.
One of the smartest editors I ever wrote for encouraged me to approach beauty stories from unexpected angles. So many magazines feature stories like “How to Glow in 5 Minutes.” But those stories have been written hundreds of times. Try something like this: visit your local cupcake bakery and ask the staff to test a new scent with caramel and vanilla! These are professionals who bake the sweetest treats. Who better to review a sweet perfume than a baker? You’ll also have great cupcakes to photograph for your post. I would want to read that story.
Don’t give up on your beauty writing dreams. Establishing a relationship with beauty PR reps takes time. We’ve all started at the bottom and worked our way up. You can too. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t reply the first or second time. Just be as professional as you can and send them an email or note once a month. You will get their attention at one point.