Lilly Derrah is the chief editor of ShoesTracker.com, a place where she shares the journey of regaining her foot health after exercise injuries in 2015. She lives in San Diego, besides writing Lilly loves to read, run and go to yoga classes.
We recently asked Lilly about her website, how she’s built and audience and how she approaches influencer marketing. here’s what she shared:
Can you tell us about the mission behind ShoesTracker? What is your goal for the site?
At ShoesTracker we always try to show our readers the importance of foot health and care, as well as helping them to improve their foot health by practical methods. Our goal is continuously discovering new foot problems people usually deal with and providing effective, actionable solutions to these problems. We want the site to be suitable for every reader. That’s why you can find anything from home remedies that will take you just a couple minutes, to more serious advice you can follow when your foot is in trouble. The site’s name is ShoesTracker. However, not only do we help our readers to find a good shoe, but we also help them find many solutions to their foot problems. That would include having proper footwear and looking after your feet daily.
How did you become interested in footwear and foot health? What made you want to share about your passion?
Well, I really enjoy writing. That’s why I’ve been working mostly as a writer since my college graduation. I have worked for quite a few marketing companies, but that was never as fulfilling as I would’ve liked. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn so many things in these places, but I still wanted to do something for my own. That’s when, in 2015, I got some injuries while exercising. I was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, a very common foot problem among people who are active on their feet. Since this ailment puts your foot through a lot of pain, I had to start taking action as soon as possible. I’ve done a lot of research on the topic and soon I realized that this could be a great chance for me to start doing something meaningful, so I decided to start writing my own blog about foot care.
What have been the most useful tools and/or methods for growing your site? How have you been able to spread the word?
We usually combine several marketing channels to generate traffic and promote the site, but the method I like to use the most is guest posting. I think this is also the choice of many bloggers, as it’s a great way to make your work known by others, and also to make a contribution to someone else´s site. We sometimes have sponsored posts on other sites, too. And recently we’ve been working on a technique called, Skyscraper. What we do, basically, is to copy the most trendy content on the market, but we have to make sure that we’ll cover the topic better than anyone and then promote our content by reaching out to the right people.
What hasn’t worked as well to increase traffic and/or interest in your site?
Well, honestly we failed sometimes, too. Our biggest failure is not being able to promote our content through social media networks. We didn’t have much traffic generated from our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages. It could be because we did not pay as much attention as was needed when you are managing these networks, or maybe because we’ve been more focused on increasing the organic traffic. Either way, we are working on it.
Can you tell us about your experience collaborating with brands on your site?
We’ve had some retail stores and shoe brands that have contacted us. We are currently not taking any sponsor fees. If we feel like the brand is good and it might be suitable for our readers, we will introduce it without any further fees. Except for cases when the company offers their affiliate program, we do get paid a small amount for the advertising fee for each sale generated. Of course, all of this only happens when we are talking about a brand that offers a product that will be beneficial for our readers.
How can collaborating with different lifestyle brands be beneficial to bloggers like you? What are the benefits?
There are two main benefits. The first one, is about establishing a solid relationship with the brand and being able to promote our website thanks to that relationship. Second, as I mentioned previously, we may have a chance to earn an extra income to reinvest in creating better content to serve customers and readers.
What considerations do you make when deciding whether you’d like to collaborate with a particular brand?
That’s a great question! Well, if I see that the brand already has authority in their field, I will accept the offer 99 percent of the cases. On the other hand, there are many good products and manufacturers out there that still haven’t build a name. So in those cases, we need to go through a deep examination of their products, so we can be completely sure that we will be recommending something that will add value to our readers. This is quite a process! But it’s necessary if we want to deliver honest and objective thoughts to those reading our blog.
What causes you to turn down a brand’s outreach to collaborate?
Every brand has their strengths and their weaknesses. And we really do our best to stay objective, because we are standing between our readers and the products these brands want to sell. We must be able to communicate what we would like to know if we were the ones trying to find a suitable orthotic or shoe. So, there is not a specific formula that will make us reject a brand. Every case is different.
What are the most interesting trends or headlines in fashion/lifestyle blogging your observing today? Why do they interest you?
This is actually a difficult question for me, as I don’t often read fashion/lifestyle blogs. But what I see is nowadays to be successful your content has to be more and more in-depth on the topic, and visually compelling is very important, too. That’s why infographics and long posts always do well. This trend interests me in some way because it requires bloggers not only to be more creative, but also quality focus, and that’s a big challenge, but it serves the audience the best.
Want to know more about trends in collaborating with lifestyles bloggers? Download 2017 Influencer Marketing Predictions.