I wanted to share the story of my blog Norah Loves Makeup and where it has taken me in just a couple of years. Firstly, I should start by stating the obvious; I am a makeup artist, so when I jumped into the world of blogging it was a leap of faith into the unknown. The First Steps
When I took the first steps towards getting noticed in the makeup field in Singapore, I quickly realised that unlike UK and USA, there were no professional discounts, not many organised groups for artists and not much support in terms of unions or events for makeup and cosmetics professionals. I hit a roadblock and started to wonder what I could do.
Begin with a Blog
With a lot of knowledge and a passion for cosmetics and skincare, I decided it was time to start blogging so I could share this and go beyond doing product reviews. I had a look at the WordPress blogging platform and decided this was the best option as it would allow me to have my own domain – NorahLovesMakeup. That was where I began in Dec 2010.
My Way of Doing Things
My approach was to come up with a story about a product or service which I thought was worth sharing; things I was using or sampling at home which I bought locally or online. A large portion of my blog content is personal; I give readers a glimpse into my photo shoots, travels, training courses, spa trips, etc. I find this is the best way to show your knowledge as well as help people to learn about products or services they have not yet tried.
Another element to my blogging is to associate with blogger groups such as Ifabbo, International Fashion Bloggers and Latina Lifestyle Bloggers from the USA. By joining these groups, I began to interact with other bloggers as well as get some traffic into my site, share ideas and collaborate.
One Year On…
Once my site hit the one year mark, something amazing happened! I started getting traffic, emails from readers and invitations to Singapore and international blogger events. The little bridge I was so eager to build grew in size dramatically! I was even invited to participate in a large makeup show in Chicago last summer as a blogger & makeup artist. When I arrived to check into the event I was immediately recognised by name and was able to spend three glorious days with a fellow beauty blogger who was kind enough to show me around the city. My growing Twitter presence also helped – a company I’d been using for my bridal clients tweeted me while at the show asking to meet, amazing!
Award Winning Results!
In October, I was honoured to have my blog named in the Top 50 International Bloggers to Learn and Watch From by Ifabbo. This was a huge achievement and it meant people are reading my blog – not just locally but internationally too. By reading the beauty and makeup content I create, clients are booking me for their bridal, commercial and corporate photoshoots – I discovered this after asking the obligatory question ‘How did you find me?’. Of course, my goal is eventually to have an even larger audience (i.e. more traffic), attend more international events and, like many seasoned makeup artists, have an exclusive creative role in a cosmetics brand. My dream started small but I always had a big goal of what I wanted to achieve.
One of my other groups, Latina Lifestyle Bloggers, is also a magnificent source of support, inspiration and advice; they often come to my site, read and retweet the content I provide and I do the same for them. As a blogger it is important to have people comment and visit your site regularly. The Latina Lifestyle Bloggers is a professional group working with large consumer brands in the USA and they have a membership of over 500 lifestyle bloggers.
My advice for Athena ladies is simple:
- Get noticed
- Get involved in your profession
- Find an online or local group that caters to your line of business
- Get to know them on a personal level and interact regularly
- Use search engines and Facebook to see what is happening in your professional community
- Get a Twitter account
In regards to social media, I retweet a lot of my peers, visit their Facebook fan pages and give feedback; this is how I get my fans on Twitter to do the same for me. I set half an hour a day to get all my Twitter feeds sorted using Buffer and, thanks to my Smartphone, I am able to respond and interact a lot. This is what makes me stand out and ultimately benefits my business and blog. I have an Instagram account for my pictures and I use this as another way to connect with potential customers and peers. My line of business is very visual so people are keen to see what I am up when I am working on set or with a bride / client.
In Singapore the response has been fantastic too; I am officially sponsored by Makeup Forever in all my editorial shoots. This means I don’t have to worry about spending money on my makeup tools and I get makeup and skincare sent to me to review and preview exclusively. Other brands like Maybelline, Dermalogica and Shu Uemura are fans of my work and send me products to try and invite me to events. All the hard work I put into my blog paid off and exceeded every expectation I’d set. On a daily basis I have about 100 unique visitors which is fantastic considering I started from zero just under two years ago!
I hope this story serves as a testament to everyone that a little perseverance and a lot of love comes a long way! Find an angle that is unique and speaks your voice; as a blogger this has set me apart from the rest.
Norah’s top 3 tips for anyone thinking about blogging:
1) Use your own photos as much as possible and be yourself when you write
2) Set time aside to blog at least once a week or schedule your posts
3) Use a platform that serves a good purpose to your business, I love WordPress for its flexible features