Tuesday, September 27, 2016

WHY BLES MAGAZINE GREW HARDER FROM THE START THAN THIS BLOG


My online magazine BLES Magazine has been online for 2 weeks now and it's going better than I ever imagined. The thing is, I have had this blog for almost 6 years now, and I remember how hard it was to get it going back in 2011. Back in that year, fashion blogs were booming! The first big bloggers made their ways to the front rows of New York fashion week and fashion bloggers like Karla Deras, Rumi Neely and Chiara Ferragni were quickly taking over the fashion world. Starting a blog back then was tricky, because ever getting as big as the top bloggers was already near impossible... Here’s how I tackled it back then versus now.

At first I had no idea what I wanted to blog about, in what language (I am Dutch) for what audience etc. “Finding your niche”… a whát?? I quickly googled some things but the language of blogging seemed like Chinese to me, so I just did it: clicked ‘Create your blog’ on my Blogger Dashboard and just started writing away. In Dutch.

Two days later I switched to English, just because I thought: ‘if this does work out, at least I’ll be able to get an international audience’. And look at me now: I’ve been blogging in English for almost 6 years now and  YOU guys come from every part of the world! I still smile when I see that my readers are also from countries like Malaysia, Canada, South Africa and Sweden… Amazing! If I can say so myself, I am not doing bad. But I will not be the next Kristina Bazan or Kenza Zouiten, I’ve been blogging on this level (which is totally okay) for too long. It took me 3 years to actually gain an audience, and that’s because I just started blogging without a goal, without a plan and without  a certain approach.

How I did it with BLES Magazine
I had been thinking about starting something new, a brand new challenge, for about a year. I study Communications, did a minor in Online Communications and had a few succesful PR internships. I wanted to do something with that knowledge and those experiences, something that I could turn into a business if I wanted to. So I thought about starting an online magazine. Because I knew what I wanted: to write about tons of other topics than my own outfits, looks and opinions. I honestly thought: with so many other big influencers: who the hell cares about what I have to say? That is not the main reason, but I wanted to write on a less personal level and a more professional level. No more ‘hey dolls here is my opinon’ but articles that anyone would like to read and share with their friends because they’re informative, inspiring or just entertaining. With this in mind, I came up with the subjects Beauty, Life, Entertainment and Style: BLES. Difference with this blog:  I have written about probably 25 different subjects over the years, which made it  hard to determain what type of blog this was. A Fashion blog? Beauty? Lifestyle? DIY or even more? That’s what finding your niche was all about. BLES Magazine consists of 4 categories and there will never ever be an exception. I know exactly what I want this time.

Go big or go home
That was really my motto with BLES Magazine. I was brainstorming and when I knew how to call my online magazine, I asked others what they thought about  it. My parents, my sister, my boyfriend, my friends. People who are close to me, so I knew they would honestly tell me what they thought of it. I wanted to do this right, instead of what I did  with this blog: I changed the name 3 times (malu’s fashion, the stylish confessions, maluswartjes) and I must have changed the look of my blog hundreds of times, without ever asking for feedback. With BLES,  I knew what I wanted it to look like and ever since going live, I’ve been loving this lay out and theme and I plan on keeping it, because that is what makes people remember and recognize BLES Magazine the next time they see it. I was well prepared: I had about 15 articles online before I announced BLES Magazine, so people would have enough to read from the start. Then it was time to go live:

The big press release
As I’ve learned in school and during PR internships, sharing news through press releases reaches a  great amount of people, when done right. I personally thought ‘Fashion blogger Malu Swartjes launches BLES Magazine’ sounded quite catchy, so I started writing down some things that I wanted to share about BLES Magazine in a very formal way. I wrote a press release in Dutch and one in English and again, I let my parents, sister, boyfriend and friends proof read it. Then I started collecting email addresses from fellow bloggers who pointed out on their blogs that they’d like to receive press releases, but I also collected the addresses of PR agencies and news/entertainment websites. (Let me know if you're one of the bloggers who received the press release:) After I had collected hundreds of email addresses, I set up the e-mail, added the press release and checked everything another 10 times. On September 14 I sent it out first thing in the morning and later that day, I saw that a few websites, including one of the biggest marketing news sites in the Netherlands, picked it up! I also announced the news on my social media channels. In a matter of hours I saw my pageviews rising, followers subscribing to Bloglovin and Instagram and likes piling up on the Facebook page. Now, 2 weeks later, BLES Magazine reached an audience that took me a few years to accomplish with this blog.


It turns out: it does not have to be harder to start a blog or website nowadays, in a world that already seems saturated with fashion and lifestyle blogs. You just need to know exactly what you want, what you want your blog to represent and who you want to reach. Starting BLES Magazine in the middle of my graduation year seemed like a challenge, but at least now I know that this is what I want and what I love doing most. If BLES Magazine continues to grow as fast as it did the first two weeks, the dream of turning it into a business will become reality too. 

Let me know what you think of BLES Magazine and if you like it, make sure to hit those subscribe buttons!


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Monday, September 26, 2016

TIP | RESTORE SHINE ON LEATHER BAGS WITH THIS NATURAL PRODUCT


If  there's one thing I love most about my entire closet, it's got to be my bag department. I am a true Michael Kors lover and the first MK bag I got (4 years ago, special gift from my parents) is still as good as new. Like with leather shoes, you do need to treat your bag every now and then to restore the shine and keep it looking brand new. I've tried those special shoe products before, but they often transferred the color of the product onto the bag. So I decided to try a tip that I read before: an all natural product that we ALL have in our kitchen...
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

HAIR | IRRESISTIBLE ME HAIR EXTENSIONS


Hair, it will always be my favorite thing about my looks to always change up and switch styles. Hair extensions are just so easy and perfect to create a totally different style in just a few minutes. I've always stuck to one brand of hair extensions for 3 years, but when Irresistible Me hair extensions contacted me to try their brand, I was too curious to resist!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

OUTFIT | COLORFUL KIMONO



Hope you're all doing well! And I hope you haven't forgotten about me yet, haha. Been so busy with my internship and getting BLES Magazine going, I've hardly had time to write on this blog. I am planning to juggle both graduating, blogging and writing on BLES Magazine all at the same time, but as the online magazine is actually going GREAT just one week after going live, all I can do is hope that I'll be able to manage.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

BLING BRACELETS... FROM PRIMARK!


I posted this photo on Instagram, saying that these are my most favorite bling bling bracelets of all time... I said it was mostly from Primark, but after a while I realized: these are all from Primark! I think they look quite fancy and luxurious, definitely not like they're from Primark and only cost a few euros. Cheaper jewelry often doesn't stay pretty and shiny for a long time, but here's a little trick to keep your not-so-expensive bling pretty and shiny.


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Friday, September 16, 2016

Wit, witter, witst! Zo houd je je witte kleding vrij van vlekken


I sometimes make the exception of writing in Dutch, when I think that is more relevant for the Dutchies here, so just so you know why I will continue this post in Dutch. Definitely do stay tuned for more upcoming posts, like a brand new Celebrity Style post soon :-)

Wit blijft een spannende kleur voor kleding. Het lijkt soms wel alsof het een magnetische werking heeft op fruitsapjes, ijsjes, rode wijn en alle andere voedingsmiddelen die vervelende vlekken kunnen veroorzaken. Gelukkig zijn er genoeg trucjes om je witte goed weer wit te krijgen!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

JUST LAUNCHED : BLES MAGAZINE


After 5,5 years of blogging, I felt like it was time for something new, a brand new challenge! After thinking about starting 'something' new, I realized I wanted to do somethings similar to blogging, as I just love writing and having so much editorial freedom on my own blog. I thought about an online magazine, as I want to write for a much broader audience, on many more topics. After throwing some words around, I knew what I was going to call this online challenge: BLES Magazine!

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Monday, September 12, 2016

OUTFIT | NUDE ACCENTS


Hey all! Hope you've all been well?? I have been a little less active on my blog and social media lately, but with good reason:) I've been working on a major new (online) project.. Some of it I've been secretly updating already, but as I've not officially announced anything yet, it's still top secret! You guys have no idea what I am talking about, but stay tuned for Wednesday... The big reveal day:)

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