Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Fashion Bloggers Mini Guide To Psychology

Before I gave up real work to run my own business in fashion blogging and marketing, I used to work in a training and development consultancy and was lucky enough to get to complete a course in psychology (I am being a little vague about the full details as I don't want to bore you).

Today I wanted to write a more intellectual (and hopefully helpful) post than I usually do and it struck me that some of the things that I learnt on that course could apply to fashion blogging. I thought I would share my thoughts on just a few of the points (it was quite  along and detailed course) and how they could apply to fashion blogging and be helpful to fashion bloggers.

How you communicate

Blogging is effectively a form of communication just like many others in that it can and will influence others in one way or another. People have different preferences for how they like to communicate and how you choose to communicate on your blog will affect who your message reaches.

Some people prefer visual communications whilst others prefer audio and others to touch and feel. Lots of pictures will appeal to those who are visual and perhaps videos to those who prefer visual or audio. Whilst it is not possible to communicate by feeling on a blog (wouldn't that be great) you can appeal to touchy feely types in the language that you use. For example by describing how a fabric feels or how a piece of clothing makes you feel (you can also use language to describe sounds and images for those with audio or visual preferences).

In real life things are slightly more complex, many people will have a mixture of preferences for communication with one dominating. In order to communicate effectively with as many people as possible you can use a range of methods of communication and language in your blog.

Recognise why you and your readers like certain styles

Some of us have a desire to belong and be the same as everyone else, whilst others feel the need to be different. Chances are that you will notice a bit of both in yourself. To follow fashion is partly about looking the same as everyone else but most people will want to show some individuality in what they wear too. It is interesting to see how this fits with both how you dress, where you get your inspiration and how you write your blog. Are you breaking apart from the crowd to be different or following others winning formula?

Some people pay more attention to the big picture whilst some are more interested in details. Do you try and create beautiful images with the perfect composition and balance of light. When you put together an outfit do you look at the shape, overall proportions and balance of colours or so you obsess over the details like the tiny beads on a necklace or intricate embroidery on a neckline?

Do you live in the past, present or future with your clothes. Do you wear clothes that remind you of things that have happened in the past or do you like to wear the more fashion forward pieces? Are you a retro or vintage enthusiast?

What is most important to you regarding both your blog and the outfits that you wear. Is it that you like them or other people like them? The obsession with getting lots of comments that many bloggers have may be because they are externally referenced (they need others approval) to know that they have done well. Those with a really individual style will more likely be internally referenced (they decide for themselves if their outfit works)- perhaps that is why some people turn the comments off on their blog.

The people that read your blog will each be influenced by your blog in different ways depending on all of the above (and a lot more).

Level of influence

If people arrive at your blog and read it, it is highly likely that they will be influenced by it in some way even if they don't think they have been. Perhaps they will see you wearing a floral dress and without thinking pick out a floral dress to wear themselves the following day. If you read lots of other fashion blogs, you may find that what you wear and write about is heavily influenced by what you have read and seen. Some people are not easily convinced and they will only be convinced after a certain amount of repetition. Others will become convinced immediately.

The interesting thing about fashion blogging and other social media is the huge influence that one blog can have. For example if one fashion blogger starts wearing a red and black spotted hat combined with black. If this influences just two or three other bloggers to try out this colour combination and they publish a photograph of the results on their blog each may inspire another two or three fashion bloggers to try it out and so it goes on. This is how trends can and have been started and I guess why brands are so keen to work with fashion bloggers.

My final point on influence is that you should use it carefully and ethically. The power of suggestion can be really strong. Is the message that you give and the way that you influence others beneficial to both yourself and them? An example of where it might not be could be publishing an extreme starvation diet on your blog or publishing photographs where you are smoking cigarettes.

Building rapport with readers

Building rapport with your readers is an important part of blogging, isn't this what sets us apart from so many other forms of media? In real life they say to build rapport by maintaining eye contact, actively listening and mirroring gestures and body language. On a blog this is more difficult but you can use your language to build rapport. Try writing as if you were talking to a friend. Listening and responding to comments and reading and commenting on your readers blogs is also a great way to do this.As with my previous point on communication using the language that relates to all three communication preferences will also help to build rapport with a range of people.

Gaining Trust

This is really similar to building rapport but in order to gain peoples trust you need to really believe in what you are saying and enjoy what you are doing. You might not think that it is possible to tell from your writing, photos and videos but it is. This is why sponsored posts can be a problem, readers will instantly pick up if you are unenthusiastic about something even if you don't actually say so. I think honesty is always the best policy

Achieving what you really want with your blog

Part of achieving what you want with your blog is knowing what you want in the first place. Think about the higher purpose of what you want to achieve with your blog. Do you want to be more relaxed and calm by having a creative outlet and hobby that you enjoy, do you want to get discovered as a model or make your blogging into a job so that you can quit the day job or do you want to inspire others with your outfits? Make sure that your fashion blog fits with who you are and who you want to be. Once you have clarified what you really want you can begin to move forward with your blog.

Where you focus your energy is what you will get so think carefully about channeling your energy and thought into what will help you achieve your goals.

I hope that you found this post interesting and useful. I would love to hear your comments, thoughts and views. I am sure there are many many more ways that psychology relates to the clothes that we choose to wear and how we communicate with our blogs. As it says in the title, this is just a mini guide containing some points that I wanted to share, I am sure that this subject is huge and there is plenty more that could be said.

With warmest wishes

 Ceri X

Image credit
Red and black spot hat Marks and Spencers


The Elegant Bohemian said...

I like what you say about knowing why you blog, what you want to accomplish. Sometimes I find myself asking myself that same question. Is it merely feeding my ego, those kudos get addictive? I'm trying to reevaluate what it is that I am wanting to accomplish. I think about it way too much for it to just be a hobby. Interesting post! ~Serene

daisychain said...

This was a really interesting post :) x

Pearl Westwood said...

I studied psychology at college breifly, such a great post. I notice this all the time when I look at some of the 'famous' bigger blogs I just find it hard to see why they are so popular. I have no interest in looking at hundreds of obscure images of bloggers or blogs with twenty versions of the same outfit. I like blogs with sole where I can get to know the blogger and read great posts like this one!

Jazzy E (hivennn) said...

lovely x hivennn.

Leia said...

Really interesting post!


Laura Connell said...

I love psychology, so thank you for this post. It reminds me of a book I'm reading on the creative process by Twyla Tharp. She speaks about the different creative personalities. For example, some are all about the details and others are bigger picture. Being true to oneself is the most important part of any creative endeavour, I believe. That's what will resonate with readers. People just love the truth!

A BRIT GREEK said...

Hey Ceri, What a corker of a post!
It's really interesting to see what other people are thinking about blogging...

I'm also skimming through some of the comments here too... it's good to know why you blog.
I love that there's a community of like minded, inspiring and creative souls out there and replying back to some of the comments is simply communicating/bonding and being polite whilst building up a rapport.

Anyhoos, thanks for stopping by.

selinaoolala said...

fantastic post!! lots of valuable things and it's nice to read a blog post for bloggers rather than readers! i think the hard thing is knowing your audience, like if i find out someone i used to know might have seen my blog, it changes what i want to write, or say an employer or teacher. i think the best way is to make your blog like a diary if it's just for fun, and explore all the other avenues if you are intent on making it as good as possible. you've sparked lots of thoughts, thank you for the fab read!xx

kirstyb said...

yes found this very interesting thansk for the info xxxx

Cafe Fashionista said...

I have to say, this is one of the most interest posts that I have read regarding fashion blogging - love it!! :)

Meghan said...

wonderful points and tips, this comes at a good time with IFB's comment-more post. No more looking through a two-way mirror!

tanvii.com said...

Very informative post! You are so right about forming a connection with the readers and honesty. Enjoyed reading it! :)

MrsBossa said...

What a brilliant idea for a post! You've inspired me to think of ways to combine more of my loves.

What I find fascinating about the blogging community is that it's like a big party, a social scene where some appear to be 'naturals' at letting their personality shine through, and others take more time to find their voice, and seem to build up a sense of themselves by interacting with others.

As another one of last week's Links a la Mode crowd, wanted to let you know that I've raised a glass to us all in my latest post. :) In fact, it was Pearl's comment that inspired the title!