What Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Teaches Us About Starting A Lifestyle Blog
- The April Bonus Blog
What Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Teaches Us About Starting A Lifestyle BlogThe April Bonus Blog
Reinventing yourself or your brand is never easy...
What is easy is believing if I was just rich enough, young enough, famous enough or had enough connections my lifestyle brand (or blog) would blossom.
For any petpreneur or small business owner looking to leverage social media to expand their brand, Pinterest, YouTube, Google, and social media in general are littered with supposedly surefire ways to elevate your lifestyle brand to dizzying heights overnight.
If you follow me over on Instagram, you know I have a MAJOR brand crush on several lifestyle blogs and magazines. We're talking GOOP, POOSH, InStyle Magazine, Harper's BAZAAR, VOGUE...just to name a few. And while on the outside none of these brands appear to have a connection to my genre (the petfluencer lifestyle blogging space), I promise you they do. Remember inspiration and branding lessons are everywhere.
1. FAME DOESN'T MEAN FAST
If there were ever a time when one would think overnight success would be guaranteed, it is when you are young, rich, beautiful and famous. Both lifestyle brand founders Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian fit that description to a "T."
But did you know that Paltrow's wellness and lifestyle brand GOOP initially started off as a e-mail newsletter in 2008 and she didn't incorporate it until 2011? Think about that for a minute. That means that one of the most famous, well-connected actresses in the world took 3 years to grow her lifestyle brand into a full fledged business. In fact when she started it, GOOP didn't even have a website - it was just a subscriber list.
THE LESSON: Growing a successful lifestyle brand and blog is not dependent on superficial factors and does not happen overnight. If it took this wellness powerhouse of a brand with Gwyneth at the helm 3 years to fully flesh out their brand and company, I think we can all give ourselves a little grace...and time.
2. ESTABLISH YOUR BRAND FIRST
What is a lifestyle blog? What is a lifestyle brand? Are they the same?
This is my definition on both; at least from a personal lifestyle brand and blog perspective. A lifestyle brand is an authentic expression of who you are, your passions and how you make your audience feel. The key parts of a lifestyle brand is being authentically you and being aware of how your audience feels after experiencing your brand. A lifestyle blog is the tool you use to share and expand your brand through the written word.
You can see why based on these definitions I recommend that you establish your brand first. Knowing that your brand is not your logo or your colors, but rather an experience; it forces you to nail down exactly how you are trying to help your audience and how you want them to feel afterwards.
Want a quick branding audit exercise? Poll your audience now to see how they would describe their experience with you. How do you (and your blog or brand) make them feel?
3. BE PASSIONATE ENOUGH TO DO IT FOR FREE
Skeptics will say "Yeah, Lindsey all that is well and good, but GOOP was instantly profitable BECAUSE its' founder was already an established public figure." Is that true? I won't lie. I'm sure Gwyneth's celebrity did help get her lifestyle blog some initial publicity.
But no matter who you are, readers won't come back to your blog and customers won't buy into your lifestyle brand if you don't bring value. And let's dig into this idea of "instant profitability" for a second too. In 2011 (the year it was incorporated) GOOP generated approximately $113,000 USD in revenue. While that's a decent living for most of us, remember that GOOP's Founder is worth upwards of $60 million. So in the beginning, at least, it appears that the newsletter and lifestyle blog were more labors of love than lucrative.
THE LESSON: You've got to build your lifestyle brand and/or lifestyle blog around something you are truly passionate about - something you would do for free. Because honestly, for most of us we probably will be doing it for close to free for a while.
*Sidenote: this fact is especially comforting to me when I'm browsing through all those "how I made $100K a month on my blog within my first year" blog posts. Yeah that's nice, but it also may be more unicorn effect than reality for most of us. And that is okay.
So doing the really deep, reflective work of figuring out what is authentic for you and who you want to serve is a key theme when we look at GOOP and other successful lifestyle brands like it. Gwyneth really zeroed in on her passion for health and wellness which compelled her to create that first newsletter. She knew who she was and what she wanted to convey.
Likewise, when a brand is secure in who it is, it's so much easier to figure out what it has to say, who it can help and where it can expand. So the question is: who are you?