Build A Million Dollar Blog Like The Sartorialist

Recently, The Business of Fashion wrote a piece for their “Business of Blogging” series on Scott Schuman, the man behind the lens of world-renowned street style blog The Sartorialist.

Scott Schuman, the man behind The Sartorialist

Schuman, who began blogging six years ago, is famous for his on-the-street fashion photography and uncanny ability to capture striking individuals with true style. He recieved 13 million page views last month alone, and maintains something like a $30 CPM on advertisement partnerships with Tiffany, Coach, and Ferragamo.

BOF calculated (Schuman wouldn’t confirm numbers in his interview) that “Schuman could theoretically earn over $100,000 per month on advertising alone, easily earning him more than a million dollars of revenue per year.”

Here are some ways we can learn from, and hopefully attract profits like The Million Dollar Blogger. (Note: All photographs are from The Sartorialist.)

Create Content that Pops and Sparks

“At some point I think I finally decided that I didn’t want to be a magazine. I decided to take a more photographic route.”

Schuman’s pictures are clear, visually intriguing, and in his words, “imperfect,” or never without endearing quirky details.

While many fashion photography blogs feature flawless models or heavily styled shoots, photos on The Sartorialist are always real people. More importantly, Schuman’s subjects often have such a personal sense of style that you wonder – who are these subjects?

They are exactly the kind of photos, or content for that matter, that spark conversation.

The lesson here, is create content that sparks viewers to react and respond. Don’t be too safe, but don’t be too opinionated. Offer a fresh point of view, but be brief.

Take an Original Stance

“I’m not reporting on a bag; who’s carrying what bag and who’s wearing what dress. I’m not reporting on people,” he explained. “What I am looking for is a certain grace.”

Unsurprisingly, that “grace” has become the blog’s unofficial watermark. In a world where content can be easily screenshotted, copy and pasted, and stolen, Schuman’s pictures still look like Sartorialist – in fact, inescapably so.

This is key to The Sartorialist as a brand – the viral nature works as additional self-promotion. Now whether Schuman’s photos are on the front of a major brand’s homepage or reblogged on some teenage girl’s Tumblr,  they work in the blog’s favor.

Yes, this is harder to do with text, but it’s still a worthwhile goal.

By making  high quality content with a real unique angle, you develop a voice that’s sticky that readers get to know (see voice-y publications like New York Mag, Betabeat, and Gawker). And voices that stick eventually garner responses, whether they are in the form of comments, retweets, or conversation.

Stay Awesome, Stay Honest,  and Stay Consistent:

“When I did the Burberry thing – it’s Burberry, a humongous company with such control – I shot that whole thing just like I would shoot everything.”

For the sake of his career, Schuman has to take a very careful approach to what he releases to the internet. Too-close-for-comfort corporate influence often decreases a blogger’s credibility and voice, and consequentially devalues their brand.

Schuman’s approach to avoid this problem is to only do work that is truly in accordance with his blog’s product – and to be honest about it.

The lesson here is to maintain credibility at all costs; the last thing you want is for your reader to feel lied to. And whether you are writing a twitter headline, a list of useful tools, or a breaking news piece, try to sound like you.

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