A question I always get asked in Croatia is, “How do I become a blogger?” And by blogger I mean, someone who owns a domain (without .wordpress.com or .blogger.com attached to their blog name) and regularly produces content that is insightful, inspiring and interesting to read. Simply having an instagram account and calling yourself a blogger, without having an actual blog does not make you a blogger, this makes you an influencer, or a wannabe.
To be a blogger in Croatia and paid for your time and efforts you need a mixture of a few things I will mention in the post. No matter how “effortless” and “easy” life may seem from a blogger’s perspective, don’t let this illusion detract from the fact that there is a lot of hard work behind the scenes and many late nights to produce content and also make your clients happy.
BLOG ABOUT WHAT YOU LOVE & BLOG REGULARLY
There is no point in starting a blog on a topic you’re not 100% driven and passionate about. Find a topic you enjoy, the more niche the better. Fashion and beauty seem to be the most popular themes in the balkans and also the most profitable.
Think about it as a business, would you open up a furniture store if it wasn’t something that you’re willing to lose sleep over?
There is also no point in starting a blog if you won’t be updating it regularly. Ideally, you should be posting between 3-5 times a week but if this seems too much, regularly posting on the exact same days each week will also keep your readers routinely aware of when to expect new content.
UNDERSTAND THAT HAVING ‘JUST A BLOG’ IS NOT ENOUGH
Yes, being a blogger is a lot of work.
You need to be visibly active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. My most powerful social media medium is Twitter and I get a lot of business from there so I use it to my advantage. However, in the Balkans Facebook dominates with Instagram not too far behind. Learn how to drive traffic from your social media and onto your blog by using imagery that is related or the feature image used in your post.
On this note, understand and respect the psychology of each social media platform. The way you connect your audience to your blog on Facebook is different to the language you use on twitter or Instagram. Know your audience, know who you’re speaking to and if you need this information, it is always available in your analytics.
CONTENT IS KING
I find in this region that many bloggers write from a place of ego. It’s all ‘me me me‘ and ‘look how amazing I am, look at my life.’ Which is great, if you can justify your value to a company who needs you to covert your amazingness into sales.
Personally, I don’t care when a blogger tells me I how much they love the latest YSL lipstick, tell me why I need to buy it as opposed to the Chanel one I’m used to purchasing- Sell it to me in a way where I don’t feel manipulated or bored.
Yes, blogging eventually becomes selling.
You become a virtual sales assistant either by posting reviews, affiliate links & discount codes or enticing people to stay or visit where you did.
Never undermine good content that is interesting to read, that also inspires the reader and best of all, ranks well on Google. Your blog and Google need to become good friends and you must use keywords and proper SEO strategies to make Google happy.
Your content should always be original and personalised. Copying and pasting city facts about Milan (or where ever you visited) from Wikipedia or another blog can easily be traced and is quite obvious, making you look amateur.
On the other hand, if your readers wanted to know everything about “Milan“, for example, they would Google it. If you’re going to quote someone or a web page, mention the source. People log onto blogs for a personal recap and to read about your own observations and opinions, not for something you directly stole from another website.
Also, figure out which language you’ll write in. If you want to translate your Croatian to English, make sure you don’t refer to Google Translate because often your content loses it’s context.
HAVE AN UPDATED PRESS KIT READY, ALWAYS
At State of Style, we regularly receive messages on social media from bloggers who would like to collaborate with us. This is fine and we are always open for collaborations, for more information- Click Here. However, when I ask for a press kit to be emailed through to the store email, I am met with the sound of crickets. In any other land, this is a normal procedure and I know that all of my blogger friends in Australia and UK would say that messaging through social media is unprofessional.
Always send an email (preferably the to Marketing/PR department), try to avoid contacting brands on social media, it’s amateur.
If you really want to stand out as a blogger in Croatia, have an updated press kit ready at your disposal on you at all times- with all your latest Google Analytics, Instagram/Facebook/ YouTube statistics and what your rates are for what you’re prepared to do for a company. You shouldn’t be reaching out to anyone within the first 3-6 months, you should be building your blog, audience and online presence.
FOLLOWERS & ENGAGEMENT
Follower numbers and high readership are pretty useless if you do not have engagement on your blog. What is the point of having 100k+ followers on instagram or 900k visits per month and 0 comments on your blog? This only sends a red flag for companies who are considering to work with you. A blogger with an impeccable follower x engagement ratio is Victoria from InTheFrow. Not only does she know how to tell a story and drive sales through imagery and text, her audience is always engaged with her content, no matter what the platform.
Encourage your readers to leave a comment by asking them a question at the end of your post or for their advice on how they would wear a certain blouse, where to eat or if they can recommend things to do in a city you’re talking about.
Everywhere but here in Croatia are you required to inform your readers and followers about sponsored content. Bloggers can face fines in the tens of thousands if they haven’t disclosed that their content has been paid for and we are only a few years away from the Croatian Government catching on to this. Not only that but it’s just general courtesy to let people know that you’ve been reimbursed for your review, either through a payment, free product or free stay/free lunch etc. In most instances your readers won’t mind and will be thrilled that you were able to collaborate with a company and be paid for it, very rarely does sponsored content upset people but it’s better to be clear from the start.
SIDE NOTE– Keep in mind that if your blog begins to receive revenue, you will need to register as a business. There are a few start-up costs associated here but if your blog is doing well, it is all worth it. This means invoicing through clients (paying pdv in Croatia), declaring your adsense money and/or any affiliate links you use. I am registered in UK, Croatia and Australia as self employed and tax in each country varies.
I’m quite interested how many “professional” bloggers in Croatia are an actual registered business and pay pdv on each “sponsored” instagram or blog post. There’s a good story for a bored journalist in the country.
LASTLY, BE YOURSELF
Thinking about being fake? Think again. Be yourself, you’ll last longer.
I hope this has answered some of your questions about blogging in Croatia or in general. Have you got any tips to advise any aspiring bloggers? What do you think about bloggers in Croatia? Leave your comments down below with a link to your blog ☺️