Date Posted: Wednesday 30th August 2017
DIARY directory recently caught up with lifestyle blogger Ella Gregory from Coco's Tea Party. Ella founded her blog in 2006 when she was 16-years-old. Ella started Coco’s Tea Party as a way to fill her free time and instantly fell in love with blogging. Ella went on to study Fashion Journalism at University for the Creative Arts, graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in 2011. By then Coco’s Tea Party had a global readership and a visible presence in the London fashion scene.
|Country of residence:||London UK|
|Biggest Readership Locations:||London, New York, Dublin|
|3 main areas of focus:||Fashion, Lifestyle, Beauty|
How has the industry changed since then?
I think there have been many changes for the good, and also many for the bad. On the positive side of things, the bar has definitely been raised. So any of the bloggers that were around pre-2010 have had to dramatically raise their game and improve the quality of their content. Which is great for everyone involved – both readers and publishers.
And there is definitely a greater understanding and respect for the blogging community now. Brands are really receptive to working collaboratively with bloggers and see them as a valuable asset.
But, on the flip side of that, I do think there have been some negative changes too. The overall feeling when you look at blogging and Instagram right now tends to lean towards “what can I get out of this?” rather than “what ideas can I share? And what stories can I tell?”
When I started blogging it was a real passion project. And it was the same for every publisher. You did it because you loved it and genuinely had something to say. And it does feel like some of that mindset has been lost or momentarily forgotten.
How would your approach differ if you were starting your first blog now, in 2017?
I honestly think I would be too intimidated to start blogging if the industry in 2006 looked the way it does now. I’ve definitely noticed this shift over the last 2-3 years, whereby to be seen as a “successful” blog you have to present this image where you’re jetting around the world every week to 5-star locations and dripping in Chloé handbags. I don’t think that’s a particularly realistic image, and it definitely would have intimidated me and put me off ever starting.
What's an average day in the life for you?
I usually wake up around 7am, make a healthy breakfast straight away, and then once I’m dressed etc I head straight to my home office and start working. I can normally be found either writing blog posts, editing images, taking flat-lays for Instagram, editing the weekly podcast I co-host with Monica Welburn, sending out emails or planning content and social media strategy. I always break for lunch around 12.30pm and listen to a business podcast whilst I’m making lunch. At the moment I’m obsessed with How I Built This. And I prefer to work out around 5pm, so will usually head to a class or personal training session in the late afternoon/early evening to fully disconnect from work.
What’s one thing people may not know about you or your blog?
The Coco in Coco’s Tea Party was originally a code name used to hide my identity when I first started blogging. It was a completely different time back in 2006, and having any sort of online presence as a teenager was definitely seen to be dangerous.
Who are your core readers?
Women aged between 25-35. And the vast majority live in large cities – specifically London and New York.
What inspires you when writing a blog post and which posts garner the most attention?
I genuinely get information and ideas from every aspect of life. So it would be far too long to list where inspiration comes from. And it’s always hard to predict exactly what posts are going to be a runaway success, but typically content that focuses on personal style, wellbeing and dating perform well for me.
How do you earn your income now you’re an established influencer?
The bulk of my income comes from sponsored posts and creative collaborations on the blog. But then there are other streams of income, like sales from my e-book, 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging, sponsored Instagram posts and affiliate commissions etc.
What has a memorable career highlight?
A few years ago I did a tongue-in-cheek outfit post where I dressed up as Carrie Bradshaw in the opening credits of Sex and the City. Sarah Jessica Parker then saw this on Twitter and tweeted me to say I “looked adorable” in my tutu. And I don’t think anything will ever top that!
What advice/top tips would you give PRs looking to promote their clients through your blog?
Any blogger who is worth working with should have a clear understanding of their audience and know what works for them and what doesn’t. So I always appreciate when brands come to me with ideas but are also open to my input. Because you obviously want to provide the maximum level of engagement for a brand, and you can usually tailor projects to work for your audience’s needs, preferences, and personal taste.
Biggest lessons learnt while working/blogging in the industry?
I have learnt so much in the 11 years that I’ve been blogging. Both in practical terms and when it comes to personal growth. But I think the most important lesson has been to stay in my lane, play to my strengths and don’t pay too much attention to what everyone else around me is doing. If you stay true to yourself and continue to have an honest, unique voice you’ll always find an audience.
What does success mean to you and how do you measure it?
Nothing ever makes me feel more successful than receiving an email, comment or message from a reader who has been touched by my work in some way. That feeling of connection is always so special, and really it’s incredible to think that you could make an impact on one single person that you’ve never met. So I’d much rather reach fewer people and form a real connection with my readers than hit millions and never have any kind of personal interaction with them
You have your own podcast series, what was your inspiration for creating this?
I launched the 'Let’s Discuss' podcast series earlier this year with my good friend Monica Welburn, from The Elgin Avenue blog. We've been friends for years, and constantly have conversations about the difficult milestones we face whilst navigating our twenties. So we decided to open up our conversations and talk about these topics – whether it be relationships and dating, health and fitness, or productivity and time management – in a weekly podcast. We’ve just finished our second season, and have been overwhelmed by the reaction. We broke into the iTunes charts within our first 24 of podcasting, and have seen our downloads grow by 150% in our second season.
Where do you see blogging in five years time?
Honestly, I have no idea. But I do hope there will be far less importance placed on Instagram (as fun as it is), and we’ll go back to place where engaging blog content and creative and individual stories are seen as the real value in the industry.
What other bloggers /influencers do you follow and why?
At the moment I’m obsessed with the blog Harlowe James. I also still adore A Cup of Jo and Cupcakes and Cashmere. The latter two have obviously been around for years, and I find it so interesting to see how they’ve expanded their businesses and content offerings – yet still remain true to their own personal brands.
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