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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Breaking into Blogging: Tia Williams

Happy July!
It's another Breaking into Fashion Post! It's been a while, so I thought I'd bring it back with a bangin profile of blogging superstar...
...Tia Williams!
Haven't heard of her? Where have you been?? Tia is the author behind the uber fabulous black beauty blog "Shake your Beauty" (www.tiawilliams.net/blog).
Launched in May 2005, Shake Your Beauty attracts 500,000 to 1 million beauty mavens a month looking to be blessed by Tia's recommendations for everything from blush to bronzer.
With that many devotees, you know she stays super busy! Still, she took a moment out of her fabulous life to give you aspiring bloggers the scoop on how to break into online journaling.
A former beauty editor for titles like Elle, Glamour, YM, Lucky and Teen People, Tia decided to leave magazines to focus on her writing career. She says, "When I left the industry three years ago, I wasn’t willing to give up my obsession with beauty, so I decided to start my own beauty blog! For years I was the only black beauty editor at mainstream magazines, and I’d developed a voice that spoke to women of color. I started “Shake Your Beauty” to continue that voice, and provide a forum for brown women of all ethnicities to learn about the hottest products and tips—for us."
If you want to get started, she says, "These days, anyone can become a blogger. You can write about anything under the sun." Just log onto blogger.com or wordpress.com, pick a name, and start writing! But, with women's lifestyle publishers like Glam.com counting 339 bloggers, how do you set yourself apart? Tia says, "First, pick a topic you know a lot about—a major hobby, a career, a lifelong interest—and develop your blog around that theme. "

"Second, develop your voice. What can you bring to the topic that no one else can? And finally, work on the design. I suggest reaching out to local colleges, universities, or art schools in your area to find design talent (usually, they’re so eager for experience the work will be gratis!). But first, do your homework—print out blogs whose design you really love, and use this as inspiration for your own site."
You're type, typing away, but noone's reading. What to do?? Tia says: get personal. "The more anecdotal you make your posts, the better. Readers love to find out more about the person behind the blog." Not into becoming an internet celebrity? She says, "You can also build readership through Google listings. Give your posts straightforward, simple titles (this way, Google has an easier time finding your post through all the others). For example, if you’re blogging about Rihanna’s new hair color, the title “Jet-Black is Beautiful” won’t get a high listing because it’s not specific enough. If you call it “Rihanna’s New Dye Job,” you’ll not only attract readers Google-ing hair color, but also the scores and scores of readers looking for items on Rihanna."
Now the all important question: Can you make money?? Tia says, "Ummm...you can, but it’s not easy. But there are ways to do it, like charging for advertising. You can also join networks that will help you pull in advertising. I would never suggest starting a blog to make money!" Agreed!
In sum, she says, "I really think it’s making yourself stand apart from the crowd. If you have some special angle to bring to a topic, this will make your readers come back every day. Voice is so important, too. Are you funny? Snarky? Earnest? Figure out your tone and work it! "
Work it!
For your beauty fix, visit Shake your Beauty at www.tiawilliams.net/blog.
Tell 'em I sent ya!
Smootches!
PS I know a thing or two (or three) about blogging, so may I add:
*Buy your Domain Name!!! Some who-ha offered to sell me 'TheFashionBomb.com"...for $15,000!!! Yeah Right!!! And you know it's not because he likes Fashion or Bombs. Cybersquatters are real. Buy your domain name at GoDaddy when you start just to be safe...if you start to attract a readership, please believe there is someone out there who will try to take advantage.
*Blog consistently. You don't have to do it everyday, but try to stick to a schedule so people visiting will know when to expect something new.
*Listen to comments/criticism. The Fashion Bomb has changed a lot since it started (check my archives). What you see today is the result of lots of trial and lots of error.
*Show Love to Fellow Bloggers. There's a lot of room out there in cyberspace. Give as much as you can, it'll come back to ya.
Good Luck!

17 comments:

Gigi & Nini said...

Thanks so much Claire. You know I've been waiting for this one. I totally heart Shake Your Beauty.

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I have always LOVED home shopping channels and people always poked fun, but when I started blogging on BestOfShopTV.com people began to view it a little differently! A perfect example of finding a niche and running with it.

Anonymous said...

Claire,

Thanks for featuring Tia Williams. I've been a fan of her writing for years. I can't say I'm totally into makeup, but Tia's recommendations are awesome. It's so wonderful that you show so much love to other women of color who are doing it in the publishing business. You all inspire me to go back to my first love - writing.

Baby Doll

Anonymous said...

i also <3 Shake Your Beauty. Tia Williams is awesome! And I LOVE that she gave tips on SEO (google it ;) ), I see so many blogs that don't pay attention to that!

Supa_Starry said...

Hey claire
I started a fashion blog too
can u take a look? its not really official tho, mostly our opinions on clothes and stuff (there's 2 other people that write for it too)

Supa_Starry said...

its rhythmandshoes.blogspot.com
thanks!

Scandalous Beauty said...

Great article!! Don't we all just love Tia???

Mal Sirrah said...

Two of my favorites bloggers / people on the entire planet sitting down for a little chat - I almost teared to see all of those beautiful photos of our Tia on your blog today. Claire it still shocks me to think that I actually met you both because of blogging, even though something tells me that the universe would have brought us all together no matter what... I am so proud of my "sistas" until I could spit (I plagiarized that expression from my grandmother - always found it a bit vile but funny)...

Claire, slowly but surely we will build our own little empire of empowered people of color and it won't be because someone gave us little bits and pieces... We are forging our own way. Therefore I share with my Fashion Bomb Family my daily inspiration:

Lead, Follow or Get The Fuck Out of the Way!!!

Love ya,


Malcolm
aka
Mal Sirrah

Anonymous said...

omg amazing. love her! so on point with her comment about voice. love her writing style on shakeyourbeauty. you rock claire.

gorgeous black women said...

Love her. Love her site. Love her style and beauty tips.

Her sister Lauren is the editor of the blog Stereohyped

Erica said...

That's great advice from Tia. Hers is the first beauty blog I read. I wonder if you have anything to add to it, Claire?

Mei-Li said...

I really appreciate this post. That is exactly why you were my first Road Map! I am so taking your advice about pretty much everything, especially finding my voice. Great advice!

Everyone check me out at No Fear, Just DIVA http://firstthreeinc.blogspot.com

lynne said...

You guys are my inspiration!!! Love it, love, love, love.

lipsticklacebrassknuckles.wordpress.com said...

I love Tia's blog! Thank you for posting on her Claire, as a blogger her tips help so much considering the fact any tips for a successful blog helps!

lipsticklacebrassknuckles.wordpress.com

Healthy Strandz said...

Thanks for sharing this. Dap must be given to the trendsetters. There is a room for us all to have a voice on beauty, considering it's a multi-billion industry.

Fashion's Darling said...

ahhh!! i luv Tia and her site...it's [one] of the reasons I started blogging (tear) lol..

luv ittt

Miss Christine Stoddard, the nostalgic parasol girl who never shuts up said...

Articles like this one inspire me to keep blogging! Check out my snarky, alternative fashion blog at: www.paisleyandparasols.com