Inspired by fashion greats like Andre Leon Talley, Luke Ross, author of The Fashion Samaritan uses himself as the centrepiece of his blog to create high-fashion looks. Creatively shot in different locations across London and other scenic places in the UK, Luke’s blog makes clever use of bold colours and avant garde fashion designs. In this Spotlight, Luke Ross who was recently featured in our top ten blog ranking for men’s fashion talks to us about how he measures the success of his blog, the challenges of social media, sponsorship disclosure, and how PR’s can improve their blogger outreach.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you start writing your blog The Fashion Samaritan? I moved to London 7 years ago from Australia where I studied fashion design and textile development but after graduation, I found myself moving more into styling and magazine work instead of design. I felt like I needed something that would give me a daily creative outlet so I started The Fashion Samaritan 2 years ago. It quickly became a space where I could create a hub of things that inspired me and hopefully others. So for the first year I set myself a challenge of writing and creating at least one story a day which I successfully did. It then just grew from there and now it is just part of my everyday life.
How do you measure the success of your blog? I know it should all be about numbers and revenue but success for me is when I create a feature either by myself or in collaboration, that answers what I initially set out to do with the blog – create a hub of inspiring content. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t think this way I never would have kept up with it in the beginning when I was posting every single day.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Before you start a blog you have to know where you want to take it, who you want to communicate with and what does the blog reflect of you?
How do you use social media to promote and share content? What are the challenges? Social media is such a big part of what I do, but it’s about using the different channels to showcase your work from different angles whether it be more image, motion or word based and tweaking it so that it shines on that platform. The biggest challenge with social media is making sure your content is enticing enough that people not only want to follow you but also interact with you otherwise what is the point?
What can PRs do in working better with you?
I think it is so important that before reaching out to me that a PR has actually read my blog before approaching with ideas, products or features. There is nothing more disappointing than when a brand contacts you with an amazing project but it just doesn’t relate in any way to your content or readers.
Do you feel bloggers need to be compensated for the work they do? I think it is only fair to be compensated in some form if a brand came to me with a project. Although for me my blog and what I do isn’t work, but I would like to think my time is worth something.
What do you feel about sponsorship disclosure? It’s a tricky one.
Bloggers are expected to disclose gifts on their own sites but how many ‘digital influencers’ on social channels like Instagram disclose their gifts or loans when they are being dressed 3 times a day by brands while attending fashion weeks? I can’t think of any.
List three best practices PRs need to follow for better blogger outreach? Research – I said it before but I can’t say it enough, brands need to know who they are reaching out to. Just because someone has 100k followers on Instagram doesn’t mean they are the right person to represent your brand or product.
Personal – Too many times have I received an email from a PR about a project where it is simply just a copy and paste note that they have sent out to multiple sites hoping someone will pick it up. If you can’t spend the time to tailor something to me, then why expect me to tailor content for you?
Don’t Email – Maybe I’m a little old-school, but there is nothing more common these days then sending an email. Why not pick up the phone or send a note? It feels so much more direct and shows that you really do want to invest in a mutual relationship with that blogger.
What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? Travel, with the economical turmoil, decline of luxury markets and the global conflicts I think people are really scared about traveling. But there is nothing more I like to do then get out and see the world, so check out The Fashion Samaritan over the next few months!