Niche Blog Strategy: Reflective Report

Blog purpose

The initial purpose of my niche blog, http://www.yesterface.wordpress.com, was to take a look at make up’s foundations. I set out to look at make up from an historical perspective, aiming to research different eras in order to highlight how make up style, products and cultural significance have adapted throughout the ages. I wanted the blog to be informative but also entertaining and visually attractive. I planned to do this via different types of blog posts e.g. short, snappy pieces; long, detailed articles, and make up tutorials.

Since launching the site, the purpose of the blog has not changed; I have done, and am still doing, what I originally set out to do. The blog includes a variety of posts about make up, each of which include a historical slant on cosmetics. After researching and putting relevant information into blog posts, I began to notice that the blog was receiving an increasing number of hits from search engines. I started to realize that the information on my blog is clearly something that people are specifically seeking.

For example, one post on false advertising, which also includes a mini history of false eyelashes and mascara, often receives hits from search engines. To date, it has received numerous hits from search terms such as: “false eyelashes from the gauze and human hair 1916,” “false advertising examples,” “unrealistic mascara commercial,” “maxfactor mascara advert with the small print” etc.

Supporting tools & social media strategy

I originally aimed to use Twitter, Facebook and Flickr to support my work and community. While I didn’t end up using Flickr, my blog received a lot of hits from Twitter and Facebook. In terms of how I used Twitter, I would simply Tweet each time I published a new post. The Tweet would typically contain a brief description of the new post (often inviting people to comment) and a condensed version of a link (using bit.ly.)  However, while Twitter has been fairly useful in terms of receiving hits, the amount of hits the blog received after posting an update on Facebook was significantly higher. Although I have a limited Facebook profile, I decided to advertise each blog post on my Facebook profile ‘wall,’ and upon doing so my blog received a much higher number of hits.

My initial supporting social media strategy involved commenting on blog forums and creating a Facebook page. In terms of the former, I joined http://www.makeup-forum.com, where I would post a brief description of and link to each new blog post. I often get hits and comments from members of the forum, however, while this has been useful, I don’t think I’ve spent enough time engaging with my potential audience. I would need to start advertising my blog on a larger number of sites, and spend more time actually speaking with members of different forums in order to gain the kind of audience engagement that I am looking for. While the number of hits my blog’s received is approaching three thousand, I believe that this number would increase dramatically if I were to improve the ways in which I attract my audience.

I also created a Yesterface Facebook page, which now has 77 members. Each time I write a new blog post, I notify members by posting a page link on the wall of the Yesterface Facebook page, and as a result the blog earns more hits. Facebook has certainly been a better platform than Twitter in terms of driving hits to my blog, but I think the fact that Twitter didn’t prove to be the best vehicle for publicizing my blog is due to a combination of factors. Firstly, I think the fast-moving nature of Twitter means that a single ‘Tweet’ doesn’t have much time to make an impact before it’s pushed down by other, newer Tweets. Secondly, I only have a following of around one hundred people, which is definitely not a big enough audience. Thirdly, I need to start following people who are relevant to my blog, and I should attempt to engage with them directly via Twitter if I want them to take notice of the blog itself.

I also used a couple of additional methods to advertise my blog which I hadn’t originally planned to use. In addition to being listed in other bloggers’ blog rolls, I guest-posted an article on http://www.ethicalchef.com, where both my name and a link to my blog were included underneath the article; both these things have helped drive more traffic towards my site.

Top post

With 374 hits, “Egyptian Makeup Tutorial” was the blog post which received the biggest number of hits. From looking at the type of search terms which have led people to this particular post, on the whole it tends to be people who want tips on Egyptian makeup or information about the history of Egyptian cosmetics. Luckily, this blog post has both; alongside the step by step tutorial of how to recreate Egyptian makeup, I also incorporated short, historical facts about the history of Egyptian cosmetics. I believe the additional historical material not only ensured a repetition of key search terms such as ‘Egyptian,’ but it also expanded the amount of topic-related terminology within the blog post, and therefore increased the number of search terms which could potentially lead to my blog. As with every other blog post to date, I tried to make this particular blog post as SEO friendly as possible in order to drive more people to the site. As a result, if you type “Egyptian Makeup Tutorial” into Google images, images from this blog post are scattered among the first two pages.

Future

In terms of what I’d change about my niche blog strategy, the main thing would be the way in which I garner audience interaction. I aim to look at different ways of publicizing Yesterface and, even though the audience engagement I’ve had so far has been great (for example, the ongoing debate on my blog post Why don’t men wear make up?)  I would look at other methods of encouraging a larger number of people to participate. As somebody who was initially repelled by the thought of blogging, I must admit that I am now a blog convert, and plan to continue with Yesterface.

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