When asked the question of the key to success in blogging, every top blogger had said the same thing over and over again. I used to roll my eyes every time I heard "Content is key." Aimee Song had said it time and time again. Jenny from Margo and Me had reiterated those same exact words. Chriselle Lim had voiced the same thing in every interview. I mean, you get the point. To me, it felt impractical because deep down, every pursuing blogger knew that; it wasn't like we weren't trying create better content. However, as more brands reached out to me, I've realized that this piece of advice had been the most valuable tip all along. Although, in this post, I'm going to lay out a few key foundations in creating better content so brands can notice you.

1. Photo quality really matters. 
 I feel like this can’t be stressed enough. We live in a digital age where beautiful imagery is the norm and the expectations are high. If you want to work with top brands, you have to be willing to set aside money for photography. The iPhone 7 Plus has a camera that produces photos that are similar to DSLR quality. Quite frankly, photos look great on Instagram, but when previewed on a blog page, the photos always come out pixelated and not sharp. You don't have to drop thousands of dollars on a camera, but there are other small point and shoots that give you super crisp photos like the Sony RX100 or the Panasonic Lumix LX10. Both of which are cheaper than the iPhone. I currently shoot with a Canon 6D. 

2. Research the brand’s overall aesthetic. 

I either go on the brand’s Instagram or Google their current and past advertisements. You don’t want to create something really beautiful, but not have it embody the core aesthetic of the brand at all. Tiffany & Co has a very curated theme so you want to photograph something that’s similar, but also representative of whom you are as an individual as well. 

3. Create mood boards. 
This is similar to the previous note, but you want to create a folder that contains everything that inspires you for that specific photoshoot. Every brand is different and it’s very beneficial to create something that’s one of a kind for them. Doing this will help you figure out a lot of things prior to your photoshoot; for example: the outfit and jewelry you’ll be wearing, the color palette of your entire look, the lighting to set the perfect mood, the location to provide the best backdrop, etc. This ensures that everything is cohesive.

4. Spend time on writing a blog post. 
Think of Instagram as just a preview of your portfolio. Brands can easily access your page to see what you’re all about, but it doesn’t give them the full picture. Your blog should be treated as your actual portfolio so spend the extra time to write and generate great content.

5. Tag the brand in the photo and caption. 
When you tag the brand in the caption, they might not see it because they receive so many notifications throughout the day, but if you tag them in your photo, they get a direct notification on their profile – making it easier for them to notice you.

6. Use appropriate brand hashtags. 
Certain brands have specific hashtags that they use, so make sure you’re keeping them in mind before your post. Different campaigns call for different hashtags especially when they’re launching a new product.

7. Be willing to compromise.
Some brands might not have the budget to pay you immediately, but if you really love the brand, continue creating great content for them. When the budget is available, you’ll be first in line to hear about it. I worked with Banana Republic through a third party company, but because they loved my content so much, they reached out to me personally. 

8. Ask yourself, “Can I see this in the pages of a magazine?” 
This can be very ambitious, but it’s something that you should strive for if you want to work with brands that you love. Don’t expect to post a mediocre quality photo and assume that the brand will want to work with you. In this day and age, there are too many blogger options. You have to prove that you can take quality photos that are unique and maybe even better than a professional photographer. 

9. Don’t be a copy. 
Real talk here: I used to change my theme according to whichever blogger I found to be inspirational. For example, I love and adore Lichi Pan’s Instagram so I did flatlays just like her with also a very white theme. Then I went through a Sincerely Jules phase where my photos were more earthy. I also went through a minimalistic theme. Eventually, I realized I was just living in someone else’s shadow. This year, I made it a goal to find my own voice and post whatever represented me instead of someone else.

Forever 21 Lace Top

Quite honestly, I don’t have a large following compared to many other bloggers. I used to be obsessed with growing my Instagram and often times disappointed because it didn't seem to be growing quickly enough. However, with the collaborations that I’ve been receiving, it has made me think otherwise. Maybe I've been doing things wrong all along. Once that clicked, I started shifting my focus towards better photography. In the span of a few months, I worked with Coach and Banana Republic, not to mention my new campaigns with La Mer and Bobbi Brown. How crazy is that? My final words of advice? Content is king.

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  1. I think you are quite right, on all accounts. It is king, and going through the motions to find your own style is important too. I used to play around with the colours in my editing so much, which was fun, but I have eased off on that now. It's an obvious one that more natural if not a little more enhanced images are more regrammable for a brand, to fit with their other aesthetic. That has been a bit of a change for me. I do prefer to be a little different though, so I always feel like I am trying to get better and feel more satisfied with my style of editing.
    xx Jenelle

  2. You are so right! Thanks for writing this! Your blog is beautiful and so are your photos and congrats on those great collabs!
    I haven't been able to work with the brands I love the most because my photography is not good at all, and I can't afford a professional photographer so I'm learning as much as I can and saving to get a nice camera.
    Thanks for this post girl!
    Have a great weekend!

  3. I sometimes go through those phases and think that I should try and mimic what other successful bloggers are doing but at the end of the day you have to love what you've created and I've settled with nothing more than what comes natural to me!

    Totally agree with all your tips girl! Such an amazing post and I always love seeing your content!

    Helen xx

  4. Thanks for sharing those amazing tips Maggie! Agree with you that CONTENT is definitely key! You should do a tutorial on how you style / shoot your photos cuz they are so beautifully taken!

    xx Aldora

  5. Thank you so much for all this valuable information! I really needed to hear all of this. So true about photo quality, content and being unique . I also agree about compromising with a brand and always staying true to yourself .

  6. You are so inspiring! You've definitely given me some new things to think about when it comes to blogging, especially focusing on the brand's aesthetic more. I would have never thought to do that before, but it definitely makes sense to do. I will do this too even when I'm looking to collaborate with certain brands. Maybe it will help them notice me :)

  7. Great tips, my dear! My favorite is "Don't be a copy"! I am agreed with you because I have noticed that many bloggers are just copying all other big bloggers, which makes no wonder why they don't get successful. just because there are no point to follow when there are nothing new!

  8. So many great advices babe and so true!! Im glad to read this post because specially point 9 is the one that make me re evaluate my first direction to my blog. I begin doing full fashion because I honestly have a passion for fashion not only I worked for 9 years in fashion but I also studied fashion designing so it was meant to be hehehe. However the blogging fashion business felt so saturated for me that 2 years ago I re launch and re brand my page more into a lifestyle and travel blog. I still have fashion but not so much. Create original and different content is one of the keys but it gets you to point 8: I always ask myself the question Can I really see my pics in a travel lifestyle magazine.? Thanks for sharing all this tips really loud this post.


  9. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information! I am completely sure that everyone will find these tips very helpful. I totally agree with you: photo quality is super important, because nowadays everything is visual and quality is definitely more important than quantity, especially in this saturated business.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!


  10. Great food for thought Maggie! I think I found your Insta around the same time I started mine and I really liked your style then and your creativity for shots and flatlay is something I always look forward to. I can't agree with you more about finding what works for "you" because brands don't want multiple copies of the same style, they want to see individuality and creative thinking. I too have been amazed that though I don't have many followers on Insta I was able to creative original contents for big brands. p.s. LOVED the shot you did for La Mer, it is one of my favs.

    ~ xo Sheree
    Posh Classy Mom

  11. Hey Beautiful,
    How are you?
    Such an Inspiring post and Totally agree with Everything:)
    I think Quality Photos are very very important plus to always be creative and trying to be different and not copy others:)
    If you Love what you do Brands will Love tooo and choose you to work with:) Love is the key:) I think:) Happy that you wrote this post:)
    Love Open Kloset By Karina
    Happy Wednesday

  12. How pretty is that pink dress ! It's perfect for this spring ! Thanks for sharing your imputations.

    Xx Jessie

  13. Great content I very inerested to know more about what brand s think and their visulality concept.
    Any pictures should be like a magazine ! let's do it !
    Sending love from Italy

  14. Such a great and very useful article, thanks for sharing it! I agree, content is the key, but the personality behind the blog and the way you express your thoughts - also do their job. Some brands prefer to work with very bold and sophisticated bloggers, because their audience is a bit different than the audience of a chic and girly blogger girls. I would say, all depends on so many things, but yeah - content is the main key.

    Cheers, Eliza |

  15. I could agree with you more. You have great points, I specially like the emphasis on picture quality. I feel like some blogger dismiss this and expect result. Everything is so visual and if you don't have good pictures, you won't have much luck. Thanks for sharing these tips.
    xo, Maryam

  16. This is such a well-done and interesting article for anyone in the industry! All of your tips were spot on and, like a lot of successful bloggers say, content is key! It's easy to forget that sometimes with everything else going on, but your recent brand collabs really show how amazing, original content can get you far!

  17. Girl! This rings so true! I loved that you've discussed this! I think over the past six months I've realized it too. Brands really don't care too much about the following you have. While, it might dictate your rate it certainly will not (most of the time) be the determining factor in if you are a part of a campaign! There have been brands that have reached out and I've thought, "Are you sure? Me? Really? I only have X amount of followers or whatever." But there's something they've connected with beyond my follower count. I finally just transitioned my theme on my IG to something that is uniquely me and isn't the "norm" for most bloggers and I have felt a sense of freedom in that and I think it shows with my content as well! Thanks for the great read babe!

    Manda |

  18. I love this. And so true. Content is key and that pretty much goes for anyone's blog or site. I realized how much things changed when I started focusing more on better images and quality posts. Thanks for the read!

  19. These are such great points. I've been doing all of this but not the mood board part. I never thought to do that and I am going to start on that tomorrow. Pinterest would be a great place to gather all that info. Anyways I think the big bloggers are right. Content is key and the photos are right up there next to it. It all goes hand and hand.

  20. It's so true, I feel like every big name blogger dishes out the same tired advice. You offered a lot of new insight here that was helpful. I think its important to try and mimic the brand whose attention you are trying to get aesthetic, as well as pay attention to certain hash tags. You have got it right when you say BE YOU. Thats the best advice in my opinion. And kudos to you on all your awesome collabs, I hope to get on your level real soon!

    xo Lani |

  21. Wow, I’m just really happy that I find your blog. Your style is perfect. Don’t stop posting ,
    because I’m coming back:)


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