Caitlin Taylor is a personal stylist and author of the style blog Chasing Cait, which has around 20,000 unique visitors a month.
When did you start blogging, and why?
I started Chasing Cait in October 2010 mostly because my now-husband told me to! I was working in retail at the time, had just started working in personal styling and had done half a Masters in journalism so he thought it was a great way to combine my two loves: fashion and writing. I wanted to create something other everyday women could read and relate to, using my experiences from the retail floor.
Now I blog to give people easy, practical advice on how to nail their everyday style - not just for the fancy nights out. I'm a realist and inclusive of different body shapes, ages, sizes, budgets, lifestyle and style tastes - I feel there's a little bit of something in it for everyone on the style front.
Can you talk me through the relationship between your blogging activities and the other elements of your business? How do they support each other for mutual growth?
My business is split about 50/50 between my personal styling work and my blog, and the two absolutely support each other. As a personal stylist, I feel like my blog is what sets me apart from other stylists.
Hiring a stylist - who's usually a complete stranger - to come into your house and go through your wardrobe can be such a personal and sometimes intimidating experience. So I feel my blog gives potential clients more of an insight into who I am and what I'm like, rather than just having my picture on a website. They can get to know me a little better and feel like they're almost inviting a friend over to their house.
On the flip side, talking with the women I style day in and day out gives me great topics for the blog. Often I find the questions one client has, many other women will have too - things like 'can I wear skinny jeans?' or 'where can I find the best black pants?'. By answering the questions of my clients on the blog, I answer the style questions of a larger group of readers at the same time.
What's worked well for you in terms of building your audience for the blog?
I feel the most important thing is that I'm myself; what you see is what you get with me, and having an authentic voice is important to me. I think it helps that as a personal stylist I'm an expert in the field I'm writing about so can offer practical advice.
I also make sure each post inspires, educates and entertains my readers; I actually have those three words above my computer as a constant reminder, because if people like what they read, they'll keep coming back for more.
Social media is also a powerful driver of traffic to my business. I have great Facebook and Instagram communities who are really engaged with my brand, so I post all my blog content on social media to drive more readers through to the blog.
What advice do you have for other business owners wanting to use blogging as a means to grow their business and brand?
First of all work out why you want a blog. Are you wanting to attract new customers, or are you interested in adding value to your existing customers? Or did someone just tell you that you needed to have a blog because it's the 21st century?
You can then use your blog to show potential customers that you're an expert in your field. Offer information and advice on your industry that will show readers that you know what you're talking about. A blog is a much more personal read than a company newsletter or plain website copy, so use the opportunity to really get your company's voice across to your clients.
The other thing is to make sure you blog consistently. That might mean once a day, or it might mean once a month, but work out what that schedule is and stick to it.
Once I set a blogging schedule - I post a blog on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday every week without fail - my numbers skyrocketed. People want to know when to expect your next piece of content so even if you're on a roll and write three of four posts in a row, save them up and schedule them to publish on those set dates.