As part of our blogger interview series, we asked Lynsay Neil, A.K.A Miss West End Girl, if she’d like to take part.
Our blogger interview series aims to give insight into some of Scotland’s top bloggers and how PR practitioners and brands can work more effectively with them.
Blogger interview #3 with Miss West End Girl by Aura’s Laura Sutherland
Hello! My name is Lynsay Neil and my blog – Miss West End Girl – is a snapshot of my own life and style in Glasgow (and sometimes a little further afield!). In a nutshell, I write about what makes me happy and love to share things with my readers that I feel excited about. This might include fun personal style, awesome local businesses to check out, interiors, travel, beauty obsessions, food reviews, and advice.
Lynsay: I’ve always been the girl that can’t stop writing – even when I was little and begged my parents for a typewriter! It was inevitable that I’d continue doing this into my adult life, and blogging is the perfect platform for me to do this. Over six years ago, I started my own blog after being a long-time reader of blogs like DisneyRollerGirl, Nitro:Licious and Liberty London Girl and eventually realising that the girls behind them were just people like me, with a laptop and things to say. When I first started out, I was mainly a fashion blog written anonymously (which is how my alter ego, Miss West End Girl, was born!), but in 2013 I re-branded myself as I felt that I wanted to share stories that existed outwith the world of fashion. I bought my own domain name, had a notebook bursting with ideas and the rest is history!
Laura: Life is exciting, but people often find it difficult to ‘find something’ to write about. I guess each person needs to know themselves, what interests them and why it interests them. They can then identify the story they’d like to tell.
#2 How do you plan your content/posts?
Lynsay: I sometimes joke that I live and die by my planner, but I’m only half-joking! All of my content is planned out in advance – usually about 4 weeks in advance (give or take!). I usually have a combination of topics, collaborations and other factors to take into account. What I have learned over the years is that there is no ‘right’ amount of times to post to be a ‘true’ blogger. The quality of your writing is what counts. It’s got to be real, otherwise what’s the point? I have settled into a three posts per week routine that suits me and my readers, but that’s not to say that someone who posts more or less than that is doing something wrong! One of my favourite blogs only has a new post a couple of times a year but I STILL get excited to read it.
Laura: Content planning is important, otherwise how do you remain consistent and if you’re working with a brand in particular, sometimes timing is everything. For example, to support a campaign or when a new product launches.
#3 Do you use a professional photographer?
Lynsay: Only when I am working on shoots with certain brands who have arranged a photographer. If I am given the flexibility of shooting something myself, then it is usually just myself and my boyfriend, Gary that take the photos. We both studied photography years ago as part of our University degrees so fortunately we both know our way around a camera and enjoy taking photos in general as a hobby!
Laura: I think one of the first pics I remember of yours was Miss West End Girl at Disney, when you had the Minnie Mouse ears on! That’s a huge advantage you have, being able to take your own ‘professional’ pictures. As others have pointed out, it can be a big investment to hire your own photographer, especially if you’re posting three times a week!
Read our last blogger interview with Pam A.K.A the Glasgow Food Geek
#4 What are the challenges of blogging?
Time management can be a challenge if you don’t keep yourself organised! It can be tempting to agree to lots of projects at the same time, but if you stretch yourself too thin you can risk the quality of your work and feel overwhelmed (burnout is NOT a good look!). It’s all about finding balance and doing what makes you happy.
#5 How do you work with brands?
Most of my collaborations have come about as a result of brands getting in touch with me first. I think the most important thing to do is be open and transparent with one another about any terms or expectations. If I receive a proposal that I like the sound of, I would usually respond with something like “this sounds right up my street and I’d love to hear more about what’s involved, and any terms I need to know about”. I’d also let the brand know what they can expect from me so that they are assured of the work I’ll produce, and any other factors involved such as the timeline. Once all of that side of things is discussed and agreed, it means I can move onto the fun part and enjoy being creative!
#6 What’s been the most popular post you’ve ever done?
Lynsay: I think my most popular posts are definitely the interiors posts that I shoot at home. It was a side of things that I only started to do when we bought our first flat (after years of renting!) two years ago. I started by sharing my property-buying story, which readers in my position (or thinking about buying their first home) appreciated. I then moved on to DIY’s and ‘house tour’ style posts where I showcased rooms that I’d decorated. The response to these posts was phenomenal and unexpected – leading to all manner of opportunities including a 12-page spread of my home in an interiors magazine and some exciting brand collaborations!
I guess they are the most popular posts because people like to see where other people live and how they have decorated on a budget. I know I enjoy reading interiors posts on other blogs for the same reasons!
Laura: It’s always interesting to hear which posts are popular and why. It always come down to being authentic and knowing your audience. These types of journeys, written about over a period of time, in various posts, can help people with their journey too. They can identify with you.
#7 Do you do much research for your posts?
Lynsay: It really depends on the topic! If I’m writing an advice post, it will have been inspired by something personal, a question from a reader or feeling particularly strongly about something. Without sounding cheesy, these posts tend to come from the heart so don’t require any research! If I’m sharing information about something, for example a local designer I think people should go and check out, I’ll do some research so that I can blend factual and interesting details (such as the date a company was founded, the street you can find it on, and the values behind a brand) along with my own take on it.
Laura: That’s the sort of posts I like to hear about. Ones inspired by the readers. Often they look to bloggers for advice, inspiration or like you talked about in #6, someone else’s life. It’s a bit of escapism. I love Pinterest for that too. I don’t necessarily know the people I am pinning from, but their advice or their ‘look’ has somehow grabbed by attention.
“If you don’t care about your subject matter, why should your audience?”
#8 So, Miss West End Girl, what’s the key to a successful post?
Lynsay: Write about something you’re interested in. If you don’t care about your subject matter, why should your audience? If that passion and excitement isn’t there, it will show!
Laura: Sterling advice, Lynsay. The word I always come back to is ‘why’? If you don’t care, why will others?
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