An interview with Holly Cassell, author of the lifestyle, fashion and photography blog, The Persephone Complex. She spoke to us about the content that makes up her site, working with brands, her biggest PR pet peeves and trends in the blogosphere.
Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? I think a lot of people read my blog because I’m honest. I approach blogging as sort of an online scrapbook of everything that inspires and influences me, and there isn’t any part of my life that I’m afraid to talk about with my readers. I am totally transparent as an individual, and I like to blog with that same freedom and rawness.
How do you measure the success of your website? I tend to judge the success of posts based on the kind of comments and feedback I get. If my readers are enjoying my blog, relating to my experiences, or discovering new things while they are visiting my site, then that is all I can really ask for. I want to create original, creative, high-quality content, and as long as I feel I am doing that, and being true to who I am in the process, then my blog is successful to me.
What’s your favourite blog and why? My all-time favourite blog has to be Style Rookie, as expected as that may be. Tavi Gevinson is (or should be) an inspiration to every blogger, and every young girl blogging nowadays owes a debt to her.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Make your blog about the thing you care about most, because you will need incredible passion for your subject. Don’t worry about what people will think of your posts, just be honest and create the content you want to create. Don’t think you have to know everything before you start – I knew nothing about computers when I began blogging. Be prepared to put the time in and learn as you go along. And be nice.
How do you work with marketers and PRs? I love working with brands and PRs. I enjoy collaborating with other people and bringing my readers the most exciting stuff I can. I review many different kinds of products and services on my blog, as I’m a lifestyle blogger and cover many different topics. If a brand or product appeals to me, I will go out of my way to make sure everyone is happy and to establish a good working relationship.
Who do you work with in brand marketing? PRs? SEOs? Anyone else? I’ve worked with many different kinds of marketers, including PRs and SEOs. I’m open to working with anyone who has an interesting idea, and never really think about the titles, only about making a great, mutually satisfactory collaboration.
What can marketers do better in working with you? I get a lot of poorly-worded or sometimes barely understandable emails! If you’re approaching a blogger from the UK, it’s always a good idea to make sure your pitch is in clear English with decent grammar and spelling. Also, it might sound old-fashioned but manners definitely go a long way. Some companies can be rather rude, which is never appealing. I also appreciate it when a marketer has done a little research into me and/or my blog – if I get an email addressed to ‘Dear Blogger’, with no mention of my name, I tend to delete it, as I want to work with companies that have a genuine interest in my personal brand and what I have to offer.
What was your blogging highlight of 2013? Every day brings little highlights for me. I don’t focus too much on milestones or things like that, although it always feels good to reach one! I love going to blogging events and meeting other bloggers. I organised my own in 2013, one of the first to take place in Cardiff, and met some amazing women that I now call my friends. So that would definitely be on my list somewhere!
What will be big in the blogosphere in the coming months? I hope to see a rise in more personal, open blogging. Right now people try to make their lives look so aspirational, but to me that isn’t very fun, or relatable. I can see a lot of people getting sick of the superficial, looks-obsessed side to fashion blogging and becoming more interested in the clothes themselves, as opposed to whether or not the blogger wearing them looks like a model. Also, a lot of people now don’t want to define themselves by one title or limit their blog to one topic; so I predict an increase in more eclectic lifestyle blogging for those who are in it for the