Susie Bubble is fashion blogging royalty. She started writing Style Bubble way back in March 2006 and since then she's won numerous awards, her readership has exploded and she's on pretty much everyone's blogroll. Susie very kindly agreed to give us some of her time for an interview about fashion blogging...
How did you get started blogging and what do you wish you’d known back then?
It’s a bit of a boring story and it really started with me being a complete fashion geek and obsessively posting on forums like The Fashion Spot and reading blogs avidly (though back then, there weren’t that many to read!). I started Style Bubble in March 2006 purely because it was a natural progression from my fashion geek antics to starting a blog and wanting to keep it quite personal. By personal, I don’t mean that in a ‘Dear Diary’ kind of way but I mean Style Bubble is about blogging my own observations, thoughts and experiences in fashion, making use of my daily fashion life, in the shops that I encounter, the trends that I try, the ups and downs of my style, the designers that I come across.
I didn’t know a lot about blogging going into it and I’m still not really an expert so I guess it’s all still a learning curve for me. I probably wish I’d known how much it would consume my life, not the actual blogging itself but all the stuff attached to it...
What tips would you give to someone just starting out?
Blog about what you love and know. I’m very wary of new bloggers emailing me and asking how to get their blog ‘popular’, as in how they get to the stage of getting invited to events, being treated as press etc. The main motivation of any blog should just be the pure love of blogging. There’s no need to build a strategy to a blog before you start. It’s such a flexible medium that you should just go with the flow and blog about whatever you want to blog about. I find that people warm to fashion blogs that have a bit more ‘oomph’ than merely posting pictures of a bag and saying ‘This is a cute bag’ beneath it so I’m guessing injecting as much of your personality into it helps immensely.
What are you highest and lowest points of blogging so far?
It’s all very superficial but I guess getting mentioned in i-D was pretty special and then getting invited by Gucci and Chanel to their special blog-related events is also highly encouraging as it says to me that blogs have been picked up as a fashion media in their own right. The low points tend to be the negative comments which frequently occur on the blog, to which I either have to ignore or respond intelligently. I have let my initial anger got the better of me in the past but hey, I am a sensitive crybaby and people calling you fat/ugly on a daily basis does hurt a little.
Your output is incredible and so varied- how on earth do you avoid writer’s block and stay inspired?
Fashion is probably the one subject that I could think of a million things to write about and my problem is having too many post ideas and not enough time to write about them. In essence, if I could maintain Style Bubble as a full time blog and write about 20 posts a day, that would be great. However, I’m not keen to rely completely on blog advertising as an income to do that so that’s not gonna happen!
There is so much post to about when fashion changes and when it is so globalised as well. I can’t keep up with all the fashion weeks, all the new designers that are emerging and I don’t even have the time to fully explore trends etc within in my own wardrobe. I guess my interest and obsession with the subject keeps the blog ticking with posts. That’s not to say all my posts are 100% top quality. Some are quickie posts but sometimes they illicit more reactions/comments than the posts I slave over so these things can be hard to gauge.
You get some seriously harsh (and very often completely ungrounded) criticism- how do you deal with that?
As I said before, I’m learning to develop a thicker skin. There really is nothing to do but to ignore the sort of comments that have no concrete point to them. I’m not really into deleting comments if they’re not obvious spam. An opinion is an opinion whether it is ungrounded or not. I won’t lie and say it hasn’t gotten me down and I have contemplated ceasing the blog altogether because in recent months, it has gotten a bit too much but with my temperament, I may be boo-hoo-ing about it one minute but the next minute, I’m fine so it’s all good.... most of the time!
You’ve managed to generate such a large following, with over 5000 readers a day (or whatever that actual figure is?)- what advice would you give to us humbler folk to build traffic?
It’s actually nearer 10,000 but hey I’m not counting or anything! On the technical side, posting often does get you up in the Google rankings. I’m lucky in that Typepad, my blog provider, does all the Technorati stuff (which I don’t completely understand) automatically for me. In the beginning, I did email blogs that I loved to ask if they would like to exchange links. Fashionologie in particular sent a lot of traffic my way in the beginning. It’s really all about mutual lovin’ – you link to them, they link to you, you comment on their blog, they comment on yours – that’s the general pattern of how traffic gets directed. If you are an active member of a fashion forum, then there’s no reason why you can’t shamelessly plug your blog in your posting footer. Beyond that, I never did any active promotion of the blog and traffic came as a natural thing, helped along by press coverage and of course things like mentions/linkbacks on biggie sites like Style.com is a huge bonus.
What are your favourite resources?
I consume just about every fashion magazine and I spend a hideous amount of money on it. It’s not really so much about getting inspiration for posts but just to absorb fashion in general. Online resources are also quite varied and my favourites are a A Shaded View on Fashion, Hintmag, WWD (sometimes...). Surprisingly street style blogs aren’t really referenced much on my blog. To be honest, I tend not to cite one particular online source and like to gather a mix of origins. It may not even come from one particular source but from something quite random that I personally came across. In other words, I have no sound advice but to play it by ear?