Nihan Gorkem: Some home truths on being a blogger

Blogging: That envious vocation where beautiful people are paid to take pictures of themselves and travel the world… The dream, right?! But while that might be the case for a lucky 0.05 per cent of bloggers – for the rest, the blogging life is hard work. A job much harder (and longer) than your traditional 9-5.

Just ask Style With Nihan blogger and digital marketing expert Nihan Gorkem. Launching her blog in October 2014 as a way of highlighting her style, travel, adventures and inspirations, Nihan now works up to 16 hours a day in order to juggle both her marketing gigs and creating content for her blog and Instagram. But you don’t hear her complaining.

Tapping into her expertise in both digital marketing and content creation, we spoke to Nihan to get some insider info on the world of blogging.

You’ve been a blogger for just over 2.5 years now. What are the major lessons you’ve learnt about blogging in that time?
I’ve learned that it’s going to be a long and difficult journey and that you must be patient along the way, especially when people tell you things like “Oh, so your job is to take pictures of yourself??” 🙂

What originally made you want to start out on the path of being a blogger?
I’ve always had a passion for fashion and styling. I had a notebook as a kid that I used to draw cocktail gowns and wedding dresses. I wish I had noticed that this passion could actually be a money-making job and studied fashion design. During my school years and a couple of years working full-time before I started freelancing, I was already asking my friends and even co-workers to take my outfit pictures. So at one point, I was like ‘Hey, enough with taking the pics and not doing anything with them!’. I thought I was already late on the blogging scene because there were lots of style bloggers when I started my blog and I kept making excuses because I was scared to fail. But in the end, it had to happen.

Has being a digital marketer by trade helped in launching your own blog?
Yes definitely! I hear some bloggers who don’t know what a server is, how to make design changes on your site, how to do SEO or how to start an e-mail list etc, which are definitely not the type of things you learn randomly – so I know the struggle is real! I learned these things because I’ve had jobs in which I had to learn these skills and practice them daily. Luckily, there are an endless amount of resources out there to learn every skill we want to learn such as photography, web design and even coding.

What are some of the top tips as a marketing expert you’ve used in regards to your own blog to help grow it?
Have a strong brand and stay true to your brand with every piece of content you create and share. Being consistent and real are also very important.

Has it been hard getting started in a market that is already quite saturated?
Yes! Very, very hard! And I think it’s getting harder every day.

What methods have you employed to ensure your blog stands out from the pack?
A good website design, beautiful photography and sharing my personal point of view when writing my blog posts and social captions. I also don’t usually accept sponsored posts unless it’s a brand I’m passionate about. I think this helps when you’re still growing your blog. Everything that I wear or write about on my blog are 100 per cent real and reflect my personal style. No bullshit on stylewithnihan.com! 🙂

You have absolutely beautiful imagery, who takes the majority of your pics?
I work with photographers. I’m still trying to find my perfect photography style so I’ve been working with different photographers over the past year and a half. I’m very, very picky about my photos and always try to get more creative and better with them. Some of my Instagram pics are taken by my friends naturally. I try to keep it real and show people what I actually do on a daily basis versus some bloggers who just post photos taken by photographers. Yes, it might look beautiful and consistent, but I find that boring and repetitive. I can find beautiful pictures in fashion magazines and websites too. I love seeing blogger’s personalities, what they eat, what they look like in the morning and after working out etc.

Do you spend a lot of time editing them?
Yes! A lot of time and I can’t say it’s fun since I’m not an expert but very picky about my editing as well. I wish I had a full-time photographer on staff who can edit all of my photos the way I like them. One day, one day…

How do you edit them?
The photos from my shoots are edited by my photographers but sometimes I have to re-edit them myself (I told you I was picky!). The ones that are taken by me or friends are edited by me. I use a bunch of different editing apps on my phone. I’m currently writing a blog post about the editing apps that I use.

Are you a full-time influencer/blogger?
This is a controversial topic. It depends on how you define full-time. If it means working 6+ hours a day on my influencer-related tasks, then yes I am. If it means being an influencer/blogger is my only job, then I’m not. I probably spend at least 8 hours a day on my actual freelance work and 3 – 8 hours on my blog-related work depending on my schedule. And I still have to skip responding to my blog emails and posting on Instagram some days because a girl only can do so much.

How much time do you spend on Instagram each day?
Two – four hours. Posting one photo takes at least an hour. Sometimes more since I’m obsessed with making my feed look beautiful and I care about color coordination so it looks as a portfolio of my style/lifestyle. Editing comes after picking the photo to post. But posting a photo is not enough for engagement on Instagram, so I have to engage with other bloggers, respond to my comments, posting on Insta stories etc.

And on the blog?
Unfortunately, I’m not able to publish as frequently on my blog and I think that’s okay for now. I can definitely produce content – which I love! – and publish a post every day, but that takes so much time! Planning shoots, picking outfits, styling, doing the shoots, selecting photos, editing, resizing, writing, finding links, SEO and promoting the post takes an extensive amount of time. After I have the photos ready to go, it still takes me 2 – 5 hours to write, publish and promote a post so when I’m busy, I only publish one blog post per week. Two if I’m lucky. Hopefully, when I start making more money from my blog, I can grow my team or will be in a position to not having to work on other things and start publishing more. Which is a part of my goals for the future of my blog.

Which social media platform is the main driver to your blog and why is this?
From an analytics standpoint, my blog gets more clicks from Facebook compared to my other social platforms. It’s easier for people to click links on Facebook, so I share all of my posts on my Facebook business page and personal pages. With that being said, I think Instagram is still the main driver to all blogs. The only issue is that it’s not easy for people to click the links in the bio because it was designed to browse within the platform, not to get out of it. Most of my traffic comes from direct traffic, which means people actually type my blog URL. So most of these people might have seen me on Instagram and then decided to visit my blog.

When you’re not creating content for Instagram and your blog, what can we find you doing?
Working on my freelance work, traveling, exploring, watching the sunset, cuddling with my dog, taking flatlays at cute coffee shops, admiring art, taking a Pilates class, checking out new and cool sushi spots in town, but mostly planning my next adventure…

What are your plans for the future of Style With Nihan?
Turning it into my primary business and not having to do other jobs. And grow my team so I can spend more time on creative side of blogging versus having to do everything by myself.

All pics: @stylewithnihan

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