Grab your eyeliner and lipgloss as Jen Riley takes us through the beginnings of her blog A Beauty Junkie in London, and her plans for the future.
Tell us about your blog, how did you get started? Why did you choose your subject?
A beauty junkie in London started back in 2009 – five years ago! I got started at a time where I wasn’t feeling creative enough in my day job, so I wanted some sort of outlet to write about things I liked. I decided to write about beauty, as while I knew there were a few fashion blogs out there, I didn’t think there were many surrounding the beauty industry – and those that did exist were largely in the US. I’d loved trying out beauty products since I was a teen, so it felt like the perfect fit for me to write about.
How do you source content for your blog?
I don’t ever feel at a loss for content, as there’s so many new products constantly hitting the market. Plus changing trends and my own personal favourites! I have quite a stash of beauty goodies too that keep me busy – so there’s always something new to write about. Over the years I have gradually expanded the remit beyond just beauty too, so I now touch on all things London, travel, lifestyle and fashion too. So that opens up the scope for content even more.
Do you have a favourite post or one that best sums up your blog?
Ooh, a favourite post – that’s a good question. For some reason, the ones I’ve been the most proud of have usually been lip swatch ones?! Purely because it takes quite a bit of time to apply, photograph and remove multiple shades of lipstick and then edit the photos. I’ve also loved the London Fashion Week posts I’ve written over the years; it still feels like such a privilege to be attending the sorts of fashion events that I used to read about. Then there’s also the travel posts – which I love mostly for the photos as they all hold lovely memories for me!
Do you write reviews? How many people read your reviews?
I do write reviews and that’s where the blog really started – it’s one of my favourite things to write on the blog. The main challenge is to overcome my ‘beauty junkie’ excitement of new products to play with and look at them with a critical eye. I’ve always leant more towards the products I love and that excite me, but a good blog always balances out the good and the bad – as for a consumer reading a review, it’s just as vital to read the bad bits as the good bits to inform a purchase. On the other hand, I feel it’s important to always remember that something I like or dislike about a product will be the exact opposite for someone else – it’s such a subjective field!
How did you build a following for your blog?
Having written the blog for five years now I can happily say it takes time and effort! The first thing is the content; make sure it’s interesting, easy to read and with some nice images. Then the next step is getting it on social media – that doesn’t just mean spamming people with posts, but interacting with other bloggers. Reply to tweets, comment on other’s posts and generally involve yourself in the community. Over time, with decent content, the following will happen. Although I do understand the market is so full of beauty bloggers now that it is more challenging to get yours out there. I will be eternally grateful for the timing of when I started mine!
Are you PR friendly? Do you accept contributions and content for your blog?
Yes, I’m PR friendly – but prefer to write my own content rather than accept guest posts.
How best do you like to be approached by PRs?
Email is definitely best for me.
What’s in store for your blogging career in 2014?
2014 is a big year for me all round. I left my full-time job at the end of 2013 to go freelance – so I’m now a full-time blogger and doing some freelance social media work too. Plus I get married later this year, so you'll be seeing some more wedding-related content appear on the blog over the coming months too! But fingers crossed, taking the leap into full-time blog world will work out for the best! Which will mean more content from me, especially more YouTube videos.
You can find Jen tweeting @beautyjunkieldn.