Blog Your Way Into A Job: We Know How It’s Done
What's the end goal for 2016's blogging breed? For some, it's lucrative deals with big brand names and achieving household name status, but for others, their blog can be an intro to a totally new career. Jeanne Sutton reports.
Got a blog? We won’t be surprised if you’re building it with an eye to making it your pay-the-bills career. Brand partnerships, sponsored posts, beauty tie-ins, book deals – the opportunity to turn your url into a steady income is no longer a faraway dream. It’s an achievable reality that influencers – predominantly women – are grabbing at, and succeeding.
Recently, Vanity Fair’s website carried a profile of blogger Chiara Ferragni, or as she’s better known, The Blonde Salad. Beneath a photograph of the Milan native reclining nude across a couch in the Beverly Hills Hotel was a list of her accomplishments. 28-year-old Ferragni doesn’t just have an insane social reach – her vital stats include over 5.5 million Instagram followers – but she also employs a staff of 20 and fronts a well-received shoe line, all of which netted her a reported €10 million last year.
Ferragni’s not alone in her break-out blogger status. UK vlogger and author Zoe Sugg, Zoella to her fans, earns over €60,000 a month. At home, Suzanne Jackson and Pippa O’Connor are leaders of the full-time blogger pack, monetising their websites and their personal lives. Erika Fox, a New York-based Kerry gal who blogs at retro-flame.com, recently announced on her YouTube channel she was leaving a steady role in marketing to focus full time on her own digital footprint.
But what about the women who had successful blogs and decided to ditch them for Jobs You Can Explain To Your Granny? Sometimes building an audience doesn’t mean your next step is a bespoke palette deal or a ghost-written novel. Nope: it’s increasingly common your blog is actually a job application.
Fiona O’Grady’s one such digital native who used her blog as a platform to get her noticed – and employed. Now working as a digital and social media co-ordinator for a Swedish fashion brand, her initial introduction into the industry was through SOS! Save Our Shoes, a blog she established with a friend in 2009.
The blog became an outlet for her quirky dress sense and provided Fiona with chances to meet like-minded folk. After her degree, Fiona worked in hospitals where she wore a “seriously gross” uniform and found it tricky to explain that outside of her 9-5 she was working on her blog or creative projects that’d come her way as a result of the site.
I wore my blog like a badge of pride, throwing it into every pitch I could. I never felt awkward about it as it’s something I’m proud of having created.
When she decided to quit her job and move to Denmark, her blog was her passport. “I used it to bag my first internship with a creative agency. It was my portfolio before I knew I needed one,” Fiona admits. “I wore my blog like a badge of pride, throwing it into every pitch I could. I never felt awkward about it as it’s something I’m proud of having created. It was my space on the internet to show potential employers the kind of things I can do and the wide network I can create. I might cringe at the typos and my inability to self-edit at the time, but I’m never awkward about how hard I worked on it.”
The McGinn sisters also used their blog as an entry-point. Jennie, Sarah and Grace are the brains and builders behind shopping portal OPSH, but in a previous life they ran one of the first fashion blogs in Ireland, What Will I Wear Today, from 2009 until 2013. They then moved on to launch the Prowlster, an online shoppable magazine, which Sweat Shop Media bought in 2013.
OPSH is two years old this year and launched in the UK last Autumn, attracting significant investment from entrepreneur Brett Palos, Philip Green’s stepson. So did they foresee blogging becoming such a compass for their careers? “We certainly didn’t know that it would be a stepping stone to our future. When we started we were one of maybe two to three fashion blogs here in Ireland – a really new concept and technology that we wanted in on,” Sarah says.
We went through a period of rapid self-growth while running the blog.
The skills they honed when blogging have served them well in the competitive landscape that is online shopping. “We went through a period of rapid self-growth while running the blog – everything from content creation, photography, web design, videography, interview techniques and building our brand and voice,” she explains.
Colette Fitzpatrick recently saw her blog pay professional dividends after she secured a copywriting job. Getting interested in blogging during her downtime in college, where she studied art history, Colette went from reading to thinking, “I could do this too.” For the past few years she’s been working on the fashion-focused blog Wide-Eyed and Blind and her ‘whim’ has become a gateway to opportunities in a crowded jobs market.
Building up a contact list and teaching herself coding have paid off: Colette’s now a contributor to travel site Easy Reserve. She says that even though she’s not writing about fashion, “I get to be a paid writer for a great and supportive company, get relevant experience and learn something new every day.”
The lesson? Not every blog needs to become an empire. Sometimes it’s just a fun rung on that career ladder.
This article originally appeared in the May Issue of the mag. STELLAR’s July Issue is on shelves now!
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