The Independent Fashion Bloggers Evolving Influence Conference was a week ago, and I'm attempting to settle back into the routine of being home. But my head is still in NYC, swirling with thoughts of what I learned during the conference. I intended to tweet along with the panelists, as a way of keeping track of what was being discussed, but the Wifi signal was wonky (or as some might say, totally and completely absent.) So I took to jotting down notes. Here are some highlights:
- Stay relevant and be unique. Don't be afraid to speak in your own voice. Avoid making comparisons between you and other bloggers. It is your individuality that makes you special.
- Stay true to who you are. Readers enjoy getting to know you, and they need to trust the message of your work.
- Focus on developing your content, relationship with readers, and social media presence. If you are just starting out, don't worry about making money. Don't think about reaching out to brands. It takes time to build your blog into something meaningful and successful.
- Develop a concise mission statement that encapsulates the message you want your blog to send to readers. Refer to it often.
- As a blogger, you are a brand. It's naive to think otherwise. We are all content producers, and we need to be aware of the material we're putting out to our audience.
- If your blog has more text than images, it's better to make it "140 characters or less". Translation: When you're writing on the internet, be concise.
- Fashion can be exclusionary and elitist. If your blog gives a voice to those that are typically excluded (eg. plus size, older age group), you can quickly gain a cult following.
- A strong social media presence is crucial for developing your virtual footprint.
- Using SEO is like working out - while you don't see results immediately, if you keep at it you will eventually see growth.
- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and StumbleUpon are crucial tools for reaching out to followers, developing brand relationships, and growing your virtual personality. Panelists especially stressed StumbleUpon, mentioning that their blogs receive considerable hits through linking up with the service.
- Brands want to work with bloggers who are well-versed in multiple social media platforms. Stay educated on new innovations.
- Content rich social media, through the inclusion of links, retweets, conversations and questions, is much more valuable than simple networking. The power of Twitter and Facebook is the ability to develop relationships through online platforms.
- More bloggers are starting to use Viddy, a simple video service that is reminiscent of Instagram and makes sharing video content easy.
- When working with brands, don't dilute your name or content. If you typically wear and feature high-end brands on your blog, it doesn't make sense to reach out to lower-end brands.
- Don't be afraid to contact brands you want to work with. Take the initiative. Consider working with non-fashion brands as those companies may be influential in other ways.
- Have an angle that's true to what you are doing on your blog. Every blogger wants a piece of the fashion industry - determine what your tie-in is, and make that true to you.
- Understand that your blog is only one of a million others in existence. Quality content is what sets you apart from the others.
- Magazine editors look for niche bloggers, i.e. those with a specific area of expertise. Have a focus!
Other gems that hit home:
- There can only be one LeBron James. Not everyone is meant to achieve massive success in blogging. However, a blog has no chance at success if it does not contain correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, articulate thoughts and pretty photos.
- Keep things clean, simple, and sparse. Let your words and photos communicate your message. Cluttered pages distract readers.
- If you intend to eventually have relationships with brands, magazines, or sponsors, think about creating a media kit. It should be eye catching and stand out from the crowd. Ari Cohen tweeted a sample media kit here - it's interesting to use as a reference.
- Your blog is your resume. It is a statement about you - your intelligence, your standards, the way you communicate and what you consider important.
- Do not undervalue your work. Women tend to downplay their accomplishments and strengths. Demand to be paid and treated as you deserve to be.