Blog Spotlight: Fashion Chameleon

Monday, 27 June 2016

Men's fashion and lifestyle blogger Jim Joquico spoke to MediaSource about the evolution of his personal style blog Fashion Chameleon, the rise of the Insta-blogger, and the role of sponsored content.

Tell us a bit about Fashion Chameleon.
Fashion Chameleon is a men’s interest fashion and lifestyle blog. I write about a variety of topics that I think would appeal to a male audience so, apart from menswear, I also cover horology, motoring, tech, and a little bit of travel. The visitor profile is perhaps someone who’s looking for some practical tips on how to wear certain trends or styles, or someone who wants to read up on a mobile phone review or a car test drive.

Why should people read your blog? 
I believe mine is one of the last few blogs out there that focus on the story rather than the product. While others have more of an I-did-this-I-wore-this-I-went-there kind of formula, itching to blurt out brands and products, I make it a point to at least try and come up with a story for every set of style photos or product images so at least readers can come on the blog, read, and take away something for themselves.

Which social media platforms have worked best for you to promote and share content?
Instagram is king these days, and while SnapChat is rising very fast in terms of popularity, it cannot quite compare to the permanence of a well-crafted Instagram feed. So I think Instagram has done really well for me in terms of promoting content and getting the blog out there as well. I believe Twitter is dead, and Facebook has become a vending machine for social engagement – if you don’t pay, you don’t get eyeballs for your content.

How has the personal style blog evolved? 
The personal style blog itself has taken a backseat to the popularity of social media, particularly Instagram, as the primary platform used by fashion bloggers and ‘influencers.’ The web platform has become sort of complimentary to Instagram, giving users a way to have a more in-depth look at the snippets and snapshots posted on the latter. Traffic to personal style blogs is decreasing rapidly as followers prefer keeping their activities within the app, instead of clicking on an external link to view content.

Form and function both played an equal role when blogs ruled, but that’s not the case anymore. We’re all on Instagram, we all have the same format, so it’s up to us to come up with photos and captions that resonate with audiences and communicate a message effectively. But the app has also undermined the importance of people having their own web platforms and I really don’t think that’s very good news for anyone. If you focus on a specific social media platform, what happens when it falls out of fashion, as all of them eventually will?

Do you feel bloggers need to be compensated for the work they do? 
They should be. The amount of time, energy and equipment investment required to produce quality content is not negligible and while we do look like we’re having so much fun in photos, it involves a lot more work than it appears. You’re a writer, stylist, photographer, and model wannabe all rolled into one. It’s kind of comical how some brands expect bloggers to work with them for free not knowing all of this. Sometimes, it pays to reject offers knowing that some things are just not worth doing. Of course, not all bloggers deserve compensation. If they cannot deliver a certain level of artistry that a brand expects, then they’re not really holding up their end of the bargain.

How do you work with PRs and brands?
I work only with paid-for arrangements. Sometimes brands come looking for help with campaigns in terms of ideation and exposure, other times I have to go seek them out by pitching ideas.

What are your feelings about sponsorship disclosure?
It’s a necessity. While consumers are getting more and more attuned to the way bloggers work and operate on the assumption that pretty much everything they churn out comes out of a sponsorship deal, it’s still important to disclose whether you received payment or products in exchange for your content. Then, with that statement, your readers are free to decide how they want to process the information you’ve provided.

Can you list your top best practices for blogger outreach?
•    Know who you’re reaching out to. Learn their blog, their topics, their style, their inclinations, everything. This is the only way you’ll find out if the brand you’re pitching is relevant to the blogger.
•    Assume that certain bloggers will want compensation. Everyone’s time is valuable. If you end up discovering that they will do it for free, then that’s just a bonus.
•    Ask for what you can afford. Do not set unrealistic expectations if you aren’t able to offer something of equal value in return.
•    Number of followers is not everything. You have to look at the quality of content a blogger pushes out more than any other factor. It’s analogous to deciding between someone who does his job well and someone who is popular, who would you choose?

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? 
Strive for quality. Never be complacent. Never be too happy with how good you are, because maybe you’re the only who sees it that way. Brands pay big money to get their imagery a certain way, and they will not choose someone who takes such an important aspect of their identity willy-nilly. Always listen to people who go out of their way to offer constructive criticism. Being defensive will do you no good. It’s a learning process. Six years after founding La Moda and over a year into Fashion Chameleon and I’m still learning new things every day.