John Benos is the man behind The Manliness Kit, a men's grooming blog that covers wet shaving, beard grooming, skin care, and more.
In this interview, John shares why he launched his blog, the most surprising thing about running a men's grooming blog, his own grooming routine, and more. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself. What's your background, and how did you become interested in shaving & grooming?
John: Ever since I remember myself, I was interested in looking tidy and slick. I got to understand early enough when I was in high school that the way you dress and how you take care of your face and hair doesn’t only open doors but also makes you feel better and more confident.
As a man of modest stature, all these add some extra points.
What specifically motivated you to launch The Manliness Kit?
John: Blogging isn’t new to me since I started it about 11 years ago when I was in the university.
Men’s grooming was something that I’m personally interested in, and I believe that the way you present yourself to the world says a lot about you and can influence even the course of your life. I wanted to share this with my fellow men and have a positive impact on their lives.
Tell us about The Manliness Kit. What makes your blog different and stand out from the other men's grooming blogs that are out there?
John: There are many good blogs now helping men. I’m not going to say what makes my blog better, but I’ll tell you what I do well. I’ve got great interest in helping other people, and this is my goal when I’m writing.
I’m not interested in just filling a page, and this is why I get into insane detail so that a man who reads my post can get actionable advice, tell him what works and what not, apply it, and become the best man he can be.
Getting traffic and growing an audience is challenging. What were some tactics that have worked for you in growing your audience and readership?
John: Even though it’s hard to believe, I don’t really put too much effort in growing my audience.
I follow really simple strategies, doing on-page SEO, and be[ing] present in social media. The main reason behind it is mainly because I didn’t start my blog to make money but to genuinely help other men.
This is why I still have a morning job and I’m not counting on my blog to make a living.
My advice to someone who wants to start a blog is to first think about their readers and then about themselves. If you want to help other people, anybody can understand it and will reward you by following you. With patience and consistency, your blog is going to grow.
"Better grooming" for men is becoming more and more popular - but it still has a long way to go before it's completely mainstream. Why do you think most men have such a lack of knowledge on how to take care of themselves?
John: I believe it's due to the influences that we have in our society, especially during the early years of our lives.
Growing up in Greece, I got to see that the mainstream belief was that a manly man is the one that has hair from head to toes and doesn’t need to do much about his appearance. I was lucky enough to have other influences, my grandfather and father.
Even up till now, I’ve never seen my father unshaved. My grandfather would wake up at 6 in the morning, shave against hair growth (a.k.a. ATG - against the grain) and put on his suit with a tie no matter if he had to go out or stay at home.
Coming back to 2015, our role models, the society that we live in, and the education that we get as young men are factors that influence our beliefs and knowledge of men's grooming. It’s changing slowly, and it seems that it’s going to get better.
What's the most surprising thing about running a men's grooming blog?
John: That many women actually get in touch with me and ask me questions.
When I first started out, I thought that my readership would be 99% men, and to my surprise, after analyzing my audience, I found out that approximately 20% to 25% is women.
If you could give just one grooming tip, what would it be?
John: Don’t neglect your face. Make sure you take care of it and apply good quality products.
Even when you grow old you’ll be able to cover your body, but not your face.
What does your typical grooming routine look like? Do you have a quick and efficient grooming routine that guys can follow?
John: First thing that I do in the morning is clean my face with a mild face wash, next is showering and shaving (as you can see, I’m growing a beard at the moment), and before I leave from home, I apply moisturising face cream.
Before I go to sleep, I cleanse my face again, and use anti-wrinkle eye cream.
How can our readers find out more about you and what you're up to?
Step Up Your Grooming Game
Thanks to John for the interview! There is so much good, quality content on The Manliness Kit - so if you're interested in steeping up your grooming game, make sure you check it out.
And if you're interested in learning about other blogs that can help you get started with better grooming, check out the "Grooming Blogs Toolkit" - which is a list of 17 blogs (including The Manliness Kit) that can help you get started with better grooming.
You can also download a free copy of the "Grooming Blogs Toolkit" by clicking the image below: