Antonia Mariconda’s build a beauty blog workshop

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.
Vince Lombardi

I can see why this quote is one of Antonia’s favourites. It’s an approach to life – an ethos of consistent hard work, attention to detail and ambition to strive for more in every task. I went along to ‘The build a beauty blog’ workshop in a hot pink fuchsia room in the Soho Hotel. The room definitely fit the theme. It was vibrant, creative and bursting with style.

Antonia kicked off the three-hour event by welcoming a 40 strong blogger audience and gave a background to what led to her to become an award-winning beauty writer, blogger, presenter and beauty expert. Her path into the industry was a real surprise. A serious car accident aged 22 changed the course of her life. After enduring multiple surgeries and rehabilitation to get back to full health, Antonia developed an interest in the beauty and cosmetic industry. A plan to study media law took a different turn and the rest, as they say, is history. Antonia has carved a career by commenting on the immense power of the consumer beauty and cosmetic industries and she has created a niche lobbying for more transparency and safety around cosmetic procedures and ethics in the industry. She gives honest opinions on products and lends her expertise as a consultant to brands and commentary in the media. She is a voice that people listen to.

Tweet, tweet away
Antonia boasts more than 41,000 followers on Twitter and it was fascinating to hear how she has built her business and continuously engages with her audience. Dip into her feed and you’ll learn insights about the beauty industry, upcoming events, quirky facts or honest opinions and thoughts from the lady herself. Antonia’s personality is her power and Twitter is another platform to invite, capture and engage. In Antonia’s words, “success will only grow if you share it”.

Find your identity
As I blogger this really resonated with me. You need to find what you are passionate about and share it with your readers. Develop a way of communicating and be clear. Antonia has three blogs embedded in her website , each with a different slant or level of detail in a post, depending on what the content focuses on. “Find out what you want to say. I’m a business, blogging is just my medium. Find your niche and then you can become and ambassador the subject”.

Build your brand
Another lasting lesson that I learnt from the workshop was the responsibility that you have over your own brand and how people view you. Antonia warned of the pitfalls, the pressure to build followers, coping with freebies and maintaining integrity through your work by staying true to what you believe in. She has endured bumps along the way and made errors of judgment but has moved forward. I really admired her upfront honesty on how she has built her brand. “It’s making mistakes that allow you to become better”, she encouraged.

Content is king
An example that Antonia gave was a blog piece that she wrote that challenged the popular cream Cult 51. Her own list of 51 reasons as to why she wouldn’t use the product was grounded in fact and research and has become a post that has continued to generate comment and traffic. It still ranks very highly on Google rankings if your enter a search for the brand. Rather than being a throw-away negative review, Antonia made a case for her argument. An engaging post will lead to feedback and interaction – a self-perpetuating circle. Her message to bloggers was to review products with integrity. If you like a brand say why and it if has failings, list your opinion but back-up your opinion with fact. Open up questions with readers and invite comment. Your readers and companies will thank you for your honesty and you will build trust with readers and within the industry.

You are your brand
Bloggers are a powerful force. A well-researched piece can be easily repurposed for use in the press. You can become someone who people want to hear from. Antonia’s collaborator, aesthetic and beauty freelance PR consultant, Jenny Pabila spoke about her journey working in the PR and beauty industry. It was so interesting to hear the reality of what a PR company or brand will be looking for to help them communicate their message. They need competent bloggers to interact and try products. With more than 16 years of experience in public relations, marketing, communication and brand building she imparted some gems, and had a great sense of humour too. “Bloggers can force a subject and give an opinion. Your opinion and expertise on a product or industry is key, that’s what makes you valuable to a brand. Become the best at what you do and then tell people about it, identify your market”, advised Jenny. Her energy and passion shone through and you could see that she loves her work. “People gravitate towards happy people. Go over and beyond and communicate with efficacy. It comes back to you”.

Get technical
Mark Bugg from the company Web Marketing Clinic, which works to enhance digital presence for brands, gave advice on how to increase online security, get as much out of the WordPress platform as possible and how to move your blog from a beginner to savvy user. I now feel more confident about what is on offer and how to buy a domain name, personal hosting and investing in themes and taking my blog further. We learned about content presentation, the power of the visual and making our blogs responsive.

Pearls of wisdom
There was top-notch advice at this event and all speakers really knew their stuff. What made it stand out for me? I came away energised after listening to people who love their work. Antonia’s passion is infectious and how she conducts her business and builds networks and rapport with people is inspiring. We left with fantastic goodie bags of high quality products supplied by brands that Antonia has fostered relationships with. She is without a doubt a keen business woman who has learned the power of communication and she is most definitely the epitome of living her brand. Together with Mark and Jenny, they are a slick team.

Find out more about Antonia, Mark and Jenny


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