Full-time journalist-turned-blogger Amber McNaught provides a window into what she wears and advice on how to earn money blogging through her blog Forever Amber. Offering a daily dose of fashion advice and style inspiration, Amber proves that there is definitely more than one way to wear the same fashion gem in her “ways to wear” posts, helping readers stretch and disguise the limits of their wardrobe to get the most out of purchases. In this spotlight, Amber, who recently featured on Women’s Fashion ranking chats to us about what makes her blog different, how she measures the success of her blog, and how she likes to work with PRs.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? I’ve tried very hard to stay true the “personal journal” element of my blog, which is what got me into blogging in the first place: so while I do write a lot of fashion and lifestyle posts, I’ll always do my best to put a personal spin on the topics, or to approach them from a slightly different angle. I’m also not afraid to admit when I’ve messed up, or done something wrong: I think people relate most to bloggers who aren’t presenting a ‘perfect’ facade all the time, so I like to try and be as honest as I can be without getting myself into trouble!
How do you measure the success of your website? I use Google Analytics to track the statistics for the site, but for me, the best measurement of success is in interaction with readers: nothing makes me happier than when someone takes the time to leave a comment, or write an email, letting me know that they enjoyed something, or that it resonated with them.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?I think the most important thing is to be really clear about why you’re doing it, and what you hope to get out of it. If you’re looking to blog as a career, you have to be aware that it’s much harder than it looks, and that it can take a long time to reach the point where you’re making anything at all from it. I think that because blogging is so accessible, people assume it most also be easy, but that’s far from the case!
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I use an agency who negotiate sponsored posts on my behalf, and I also sometimes deal directly with PRs on certain collaborations. It’s really important to me that the content always remain true to me, so I’ll only work with brands who I feel are a good fit for the site, and who’ll allow me to create the content which I feel my readers will most enjoy, rather than insisting that I write something to a very rigid brief, which is totally different from usual style.
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? I promote all of my blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and I also use Instagram as much as possible. My biggest challenge is staying on top of everything: I realised a while back that I can’t be everywhere at once, so I mostly choose to focus on the networks that work best for me, and automate the rest!
What can PRs do in working better with you? Read my blog before getting in touch (Most questions I get are answered on my ‘contact’ page, but I still get dozens of emails every day asking about the same things), and give me the appropriate amount of time to complete posts. I’ll very often have brands contact me about a potential collaboration, for instance, only to tell me the deadline is next week, or sending me products and then chasing me up the day after they arrive, wanting to know where the post is! I actually worked in PR myself for a couple of years, so I understand the challenges PRs face, but I also want to do the best job I can, which sometimes means I’ll need more than two days notice!
What has been your blogging highlight? I released an ebook about blogging earlier this year, and have had a really great response to it. Writing a book is something I’ve wanted to do for most of my life, so it was a really good to be able to finally release one, and to have people contact me to say how much they enjoyed it!
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? I think one of the best things about blogging is that you never really know what’s coming next! I don’t tend to plan more than a couple of weeks in advance, so I’m just looking forward to seeing how things develop!