For Friday’s client feature we sat down with our amazing client Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen to discuss affiliate marketing, community and purpose. We understand that it can be hard to sift through the noise of what Instagram influencing encompasses but after chatting with Alison we have a few key insights we are excited to share.
A blog is where your audience can hear your true voice on topics. How do you ensure that you are utilizing affiliate marketing on the blog while staying true to the content you are producing?
AG: If I am going to recommend an item, I will make sure I do my research first. Either I own it, or I ask friends, scour websites I trust, google reviews, learn about the brand. I also keep in mind my audience - I see in my analytics where they click but also where they shop. I consider their feedback in comments and in my Facebook group when seeking out new brands or choosing a price point. I find more success sharing the same item multiple times than constantly offering new things. I regularly preach quality not quantity and showing the same item styled multiple times or featuring it over and over during a season sets an example of how one can buy less and have big style and I am doing the work for them as to what is worth their time and money.
How do you provide value within your FB group?
AG: I like using my FB group as a place where I can let my hair down. I share behind the scenes - how a collaboration came to be, what didn’t work before the thing that did work happened, etc. I offer group-only giveaways to thank them for being part of the community and make it super easy to enter (just leave a comment - they love having fun with GIFs!). When I started the group I shared regular conversation prompts; now the group essentially runs itself. I do have a reader as a community manager; she volunteered and I appreciate it because she sees it 100% from a community angle and helps get conversations going and redirect discussions when they go negative or off track. I don’t use it as a place to sell, I want them to feel the community is safe, kind, and helpful. I’ll share affiliate links and blog posts from time to time but the sense of community is paramount.
Since starting your blog in 2005, how have you managed to stay consistent and true to your own brand without getting repetitive?
AG: The biggest inspiration for content is my audience. Their comments and feedback inspire new posts, but also they as people inspire me. They may be asking about socks, but beyond that I see that they are starting a new fitness routine, they are looking for slippers but it’s because they are now working from home, they not only are embracing their hair’s natural curl but are also embracing its natural color. My Facebook group also gives me intel on my audience - their hobbies, their professions, where they live, what they care about. I also look at my analytics and see what old content is doing well. It will inspire me to update old content, or write more on that subject. Finally, I write what I wish I could find on the internet, and over the past 15 years that has changed as I have changed as a person meaning there is always new content to create!
We talk a lot about purpose being a key to success in your online business. What is your purpose and how did you identify it?
AG: I started Wardrobe Oxygen as a hobby. I realized my purpose when some of my content went viral. There was nothing similar to it on the internet and there were many kindred spirits who craved such content. I realized my purpose was to be what I wanted to see in the blogosphere - honest, detailed content that feels like a conversation with a trusted friend around my age. There was content for those younger than I and those older, but I wanted content that made sense for my life as a working professional, a parent, a partner, a woman with a social life, who is active in politics and social issues, who loves to travel and learn and experience new things while also loving fashion.
Content creators can drive content from within or cater to their followers’ requests, how do you balance serving your community and your own interests?
AG: I learned early on that I can’t please everyone, so I might as well focus on pleasing myself. I listen to my community and provide the content they desire, but it’s always from my perspective and aesthetic. Just as I would make suggestions to a friend, I make them through blog posts to my community. The blogosphere is saturated; the only way to stand out is to be an original. When you try to please everyone, you blend into the crowd. It’s better to appeal to a smaller but a more targeted audience; I’ve found that is what has given Wardrobe Oxygen staying power.
Our most recent blog post talks about the power of community through Facebook groups. We also talked about the power of purpose in our chat with Meg Boggs here. However, As you can see Alison relies on her Facebook group to be a major source of intel when it comes to creating content. We hope that this Q&A style blog post gave you what it gave us: consistency is key and community is everything.