Coming to the end of the BCIT course that prompted the start of this blog has me wondering….what’s next? Do I keep the blog going? Should I just shut it down? In the end, I have decided to stay on this blogging path for a while longer and see where it takes me. Now and Jen will live on and I will shop on.
Lifestyle brands are a dime a dozen these days so I know I am in a competitive field, but I also know that having a blog is important. It can drive traffic to your website, improve your SEO/SERP, position you as an industry leader and provide your customers quality content which, in turn, will results in better relationships.
In my case, and the case of many lifestyle bloggers/brands, my blog is my brand. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at comparable examples for ways to improve and also ensure the long term sustainability of my blog. Below are three sites I looked at and the three relevant take-a-way points I have learned from them.
Gwyneth Paltrow really started the actress turned lifestyle brand trend. Many have followed in her footsteps including Blake Lively, Jessica Alba and very soon Reese Witherspoon. GOOP promotes the ultimate high end lifestyle that in Gwyneth’s own words is supposedly “wonderful, incredible, blessed, genius, and beloved” and entirely out of reach of the every day person. Can you afford a $12,000 one of a kind hand faceted vase? Nope, me either.
Despite being out of reach for most people GOOP does a lot of good things. The design of the website is strong, responsive and easy to read. The site is updated regularly with quality content which makes for return guests and improved SEO. The aspirational lifestyle is linked with the ability to purchase which should, in theory, make the brand sustainable in the long term.
Take-a-way #1 – Strong blog design with a sales purpose goes a long way to help leverage success.
Possessionista is one of my regular stops. She finds the clothes that are worn on TV. You see something you love being worn by Julia on Parenthood….send in your request to Dana. Odds are she can track it down. She even has a feature where you can send her photos of people from the street or Facebook and she will try and find what they are wearing. Creepy? Yes. Entertaining? Yes!! Her writing is to the point, comical and you can see her success in the growth of her brand.
Possessionista does a great job of linking her blog to social media. The icons are very apparent on her site, she keeps her social media up to date and the platforms cross reference each other with content.
Take-a-way #2 – Social media can drive the success of your blog and your blog can drive the success of your social media. These two things need to work hand in hand.
While not a lifestyle brand per se, although there is a Lifestyle section on her site, I felt I have to include Lainey Gossip as one of my influencers. I read her blog every day without fail. Lainey started her blog as an e-mail to friends sharing celebrity gossip. In the years since, that e-mail turned into a full time money making blog, role on eTalk for Lainey, co-hosting of The Social and ultimately Lainey is now one of the world’s most successful celebrity gossips. Toronto Life did a fascinating article on Lainey earlier this year that is worth a read.
In regards to Lainey’s blog specifically, she has turned her passion project into a brand. She did that strategically, while staying true to herself, by treating her brand as a business. She has slowly integrated advertising and sponsored posts into her site while remaining committed to her original purpose of the blog which was sharing fun smut and insight into the business of celebrity. Lainey managed her growth, her blog and her brand like a business.
Take-a-way #3 – Your blog is business AND a reflection of your brand/yourself. Treat it as such.
So, my blogging journey continues and I will endeavour to include these three Take-a-ways to help grown my own brand and see where it leads.