Blogging provides the fashion industry with the perfect medium with which to communicate with consumers. It provides labels and retailers with the chance to talk about the current trends and get valuable feedback. An independent fashion blog writer can also increase a product’s virality and get conversations started on new lines.
The fashion industry has been slow to wake up to the potential of using bloggers. The industry has even felt threatened by the success, power and influence of independent fashion bloggers – let alone the comments and sentiments shared on social media. Vogue magazine recently criticised independent bloggers as being ‘pathetic’ and living ‘in borrowed clothes’. You could be forgiven for thinking that the industry is finding it hard to adjust to the new paradigm.
In an article in the Observer, Chris Sanderson of Future Laboratory suggests the attitude towards blogging may now be changing. “Most fashion businesses are extremely conservative and very reactionary,” says Sanderson, “Thankfully, we are now slowly witnessing a long overdue cross-fertilisation of fashion, tech and leisure – and this is really making things very exciting.”
Moira Benigson, founder of fashion headhunters MBS Group, added “I think you have to be more rounded, more savvy and have some handle on the potential of tech. I think the fashion industry got left behind and they’re just waking up to the brave new world.”
Brand owned fashion blogging
So where does the industry sit in relation to its own blogs? Is it embracing content marketing or is it preferring more traditional routes to market while relying on Instagram as its main social media channel?
The truth is, blogging is hugely important for fashion brands, as this News Cred Insights article featured below highlights:
Active in Style, a UK-based retailer featured in the NewsCred Insights piece, is a case in point. Thomas Gibbons, their Digital Marketing Manager said of their blog:
“Educating and building awareness of your products is as important as stocking a great product; they need to complement each other.”
This approach has helped them to build a loyal following – proving that fashion brands need to take heed of the “Publish or Perish” approach to content, highlighted by Forbes last year.
“87% of executives said they will increase content related spending next year”
Forbes, How Marketers Are Driving Growth Through Personalized Content, Feb 2016.
There’s no doubt that some fashion brands are smashing it with their blogs and other content. But more traditional brands are failing big time. In a world where names like Jaeger are going bust is digital content now the bricks and mortar of the fashion world? In a word, yes. And omnichannel (including blogs) is now the most pursued strategy in the fashion world.
Brantano, Jones The Bootmakers, Ted & Muffy, Agent Provocateur, Moda in Pelle, Formal Affair Weddings, The Ness Chain, American Apparel, Exhibit, Banana Republic, Icon Live, Store Twenty One, Austin Reed, BHS and Ben Sherman provide sobering examples of how fashion retailers are regularly hitting the rapids. So what can fashion brands do to stay afloat?
Embracing blogs as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy
Blogging is one of the most easily accessible tech avenues open to luxury fashion retailers, and it can also be the most valuable. There a number of key ways in which taking on the services of a professional fashion blog writer can benefit your luxury brand:
Better SEO ranking – A static website won’t get you very far in organic search, as Google and the other search engines scour the net looking for websites which are up to date and relevant to their users. A frequently updated blog is perfect for demonstrating that your site is fresh.
“92% of marketers say that content creation is effective for SEO”
Additional traffic – Aside from the extra hits brought on by higher search engine rankings, careful use of keywords in blogs will ensure a steady stream of additional traffic coming into your site, consisting of people who are drawn to the topics you post on.
Increased brand awareness – A good blog post can get people talking – leading to shares on social media and mentions (and links) from influential fashion blogs.
A chance to sharpen your brand image – Your blog is a place where you can really communicate the ‘soul’ of your fashion brand through your tone of voice. Released from the narrow confines of product descriptions and ‘about us’ pages, your fashion blog writer can talk about the topics that you want to be associated with, in a tone of voice that cements the core values of your brand.
Customer communication – A good blog is a 2-way conversation. It encourages readers to engage and reply. This can provide you with vital information about your audience, and help to draw them even further into your brand.
Content for email marketing and social platforms – Blog content provides the fuel for other marketing channels such as email and social.
Lifetime ROI of a blog post
A single blog post can deliver a substantial return on investment over time, in terms of additional traffic to your website, engagement and raising brand awareness. According to a study by Izea (based on an impressive 62,863 blog posts), the lifespan of a blog post is approximately two years. They also identified three main phases in the life cycle of a blog post – these being:
- Shout: The blog is first published and viewed a large number of times
- Echo: After the initial publication the post continues to draw views at high but slowly declining rates over the month
- Reverberate: Long after the publication, the post continues to receive significant views. According to the research, nearly a third of impressions take place between a month and two years after publication
The team also came up with a metric for calculating the lifetime value of a blog post: First Month Page Views x 1.4. So if your post receives 250 views in the first month, you can expect it to generate 350 views over its two-year lifespan. And bear in mind that’s just one blog post – when you blog on a regular weekly basis the cumulative rewards can be substantial.
A fashion blog writer can help to position your brand in the heart of your niche
Fashion has a lot to do with materials, craftsmanship, price tags, who’s wearing it and exclusivity, but it’s also got everything to do with how you portray your brand. Content marketing provides you with the opportunity to paint your brand as you see fit.
“Nothing conjures up a fantasy like quality, immersive content”
Once you’ve got a fashion blog writer on board, you need to make sure that they are creating the kind of content that will come to life when people read it and enhance their positive perceptions of your brand.
The actual topics which you cover in your blog might range from aspirational lifestyle pieces to discussions of the latest trends, or even tips on what to wear at particular types of social gathering.
Whatever you’re talking about though, it must cement your brand values at all times.
How often should we blog?
“60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority”
There isn’t necessarily a hard and fast answer to this question, but there is a range which you should aim to operate within. As a bare minimum, fashion brands should be blogging once a week, but ideally at least twice a week. Backed up by regular social media posts and email updates this level will make a significant difference to traffic and your social positioning.
Finding the right fashion blog writer
It’s not just about quantity – you need blog content that puts your customer at the heart of what you publish. It needs to engage, empathise with your audience and bring your products to life. That’s not easy, so you need a professional with relevant experience. Whether it’s an in-house writer of a specialist agency, it’s got to be outstanding to get the traction you’ll need to boost brand awareness.
About the author: Derryck Strachan
Derryck has worked as a professional writer and marketer for over 20 years. Since 2005 he has headed up Big Star Copywriting.