Good Cop/Bad Cop: Participating in Links á la Mode
By: Jennine Jacob

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This post is written by Ashe Mischief, one of our Links à la Mode Editors

Links á la Mode has been around for little over a year. Jennine (especially! you should worship her) and many regular contributors have worked REALLY hard to make it successful and fair, to grow it as the rest of the site grows. IFB bloggers didn’t like the old method of choosing based on the first 20 links– and we listened. For the most part, everyone seems really happy with the process of rotating editors; it has been really successful, and we think it’s fair to our bloggers overall.

When the process first started, we weren’t sure exactly HOW to pick the top 20 links each week… so Jennine came up with some easy guidelines (which included picking and highlighting our favorites, choosing posts on whether the community [that's you!] would find them interesting, and on community participation–especially making sure great posts by new bloggers got included!). As we’ve grown confident in our roles, our own methods have developed.

The editorial process has evolved in the past year, and each of your lovely editors has a different approach to picking out each week’s links. We wanted you to understand the energy and thought that goes in to this weekly series, so I chatted with the Coveted, Retro Chick, Debutante Clothing, Fashion Pulse Daily, and Clutch 22 about what they look for when selecting their top 20 links. I think you’ll find that it’s a diverse list of qualities, but all united…

If given only one basis for choosing your links, we said….

I’m looking for a post that gives back to the IFB community in some way. Whether it’s a giveaway or an interview, it enhances the IFB community by giving us great content, uniting and engaging us, piquing interest and showcasing what fashion bloggers really can do. Even if it focusing on something that is in the news and very of-the-moment, i.e. what celebs wore to the Oscars, as long as it has a different approach or poses an interesting question or angle, I think that it fits.

… I choose posts that are interesting, and have a unique take on what is floating around the blogosphere. I look for the quality of the content. So it’s well written and easy to read, well illustrated with images and not just a rehash of things I’ve already seen elsewhere

I look for a balance between visual and written content. After all fashion is a visual art, so if the images aren’t well articulated, I have a hard time imagining that this person can have trusted fashion taste. Yet, if the written content leaves more to be desired, ie. the post has no point…then too style without substance will guarantee a ‘no’ from me.

If content is KING…

Then IFB is filled with royalty. IFB is filled with amazing writers, photographers, stylists, muses, mentors, fashionistas and more. Without YOU, IFB wouldn’t be what it is today, and it’s your content that makes IFB stand out.

When looking at the content in your posts, we’re also looking for…

  • making sure the post doesn’t read like a very obvious advertorial
  • some of us really like non-mainstream posts. Show us you’re a witty writer, pique our interest and curiosity, share great tips, or unique style.
  • don’t give us more of the same old! Don’t rehash runway shows with no unique voice or angle, share bad images, or tacky celebrity style.
  • give us something different –within the content or writing that will appeal to a wide range of interests.
  • From an Editor’s Mouth: “Originality is a HUGE indicator on whether your post gets picked. If there are 5 giveaways in the submissions, I will chose one or maybe two if it’s REALLY good. Also, two posts on the same subject will hinder your chances of getting selected because I may only pick one, or maybe neither because if three people write about the same subject in the submissions, it’s probably all around the internet.”It’s not just one of us who feels this way–many of us do and choose content accordingly! I’ve even neglected to share my own posts if I’ve seen the content covered by another blogger.

     

Fashion is a Visual Art…

And your website MATTERS. The design of your site can, and DOES, play in to whether or not your post will be selected.

  • make sure your IFB badge is shown loud & proud!
  • A clear layout is very important; if we can’t see the content it turns us off immediately.
  • Guaranteed NO’s are posts that are just hundreds of pictures.
  • Music that automatically plays gets a big thumbs down.

Community MATTERS…

None of us became editors solely based on how awesome we are (they are though– I chat with these ladies a LOT). We’ve invested ourselves into IFB & its community, supported it, grew it, and helped make it the amazing place it is today.

From an Editor’s Mouth: “I’m really keen to include new bloggers, because Links a la Mode was a big thing for me last year when I was just starting out. I want as many good, new bloggers as possible to be involved with IFB.”

From an Editor’s Mouth: “I tend to give bloggers who give back to the community more time, because if I recognize your name, your blog, I am curious as to what you are up to this week. That’s human nature.” All of the editor’s are involved and interact with the community members who participate in the various aspects of IFB. Being an active and interactive member only helps you become a better blogger!

Eeny-Meeny-Miny-MO?

Our editors share how the selection process works, again and again. The process of picking our links varies by each editor.

Some of us go through the link, cherry picking them as we read through them– if a theme emerges, all the better!

Others go through a much more rigorous process. Several of our editors detail the process out like this…

I open all the links then the ones that catch my eye on first glance make it to the second round. That’s why I am stressing quality images, snappy headline, whatever because you literally have two seconds (if that) to grab my attention. It sounds crazy, but that’s also how much time you have with new readers. Also, I tend to give bloggers who give back to the community more time, because if I recognize your name, your blog, I am curious as to what you are up to this week. That’s human nature.

If your blog takes a long time to load, you may miss that two second window, because if it hasn’t loaded by the time I get to it (which could be a few minutes) then I’m not going to sit there and wait, unless 20 links don’t make it into the second round and your submission sounds VERY interesting.

The Future of Links á la Mode…

I think all of us agree that Links á la Mode is an integral part of IFB, and an amazing resource for us all.

In the future, as editor’s there ARE things we would like to see from you, the beautiful, talented, vibrant independent fashion bloggers. As we grow, as blogging becomes a more valuable resource for exchanging thoughts and ideas, IFB will grow as well.

For the future of Links á la Mode, we want you…

  • Continue to impress us, and show us your unique voice and approach to fashion. Stand out from the crowd, and in the process, you’ll build yourself a better blog.
  • Participate in the community, NOT just Links á la Mode! Take time to comment on the posts, participate in the forums, visit other blogs. Your participation and interaction are VITAL to building a relationship with US and with other bloggers. Participating in Links á la Mode and only contacting us to complain you haven’t been chosen or to ask for help will NOT look favorably on you.
  • Make it a weekly goal to create one amazing post that is Links á

Comments

  1. Kate says:

    Good to know! I’ve definitely had some posts that I thought for sure would get picked and then didn’t so this article really helps. You guys have done a great job so far at picking a wide variety of posts, so I’ll keep trying :) Thanks for the tips!
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Links A La Mode =-.

  2. Avatar of Ashley Robison
    AsheMischief says:

    Kate, definitely keep submitting! Even our status as Editor’s doesn’t guarantee making it in to the shared 20…which is great (I think!).
    .-= AsheMischief´s last blog ..IFB Presents: Links a la Mode =-.

  3. WendyB says:

    Good post! It’s time people appreciate what goes into all of this.
    .-= WendyB´s last blog ..Reminder: Sample Sale Friday and Saturday =-.

  4. TheShoeGirl says:

    Thanks for posting this! You guys are always so helpful :)
    .-= TheShoeGirl´s last blog ..Bunnies and Kitties and Unicorns! =-.

  5. Ami says:

    When I first joined under the name of a previous blog, I was so annoyed that they only picked the first 20, but now that I’m back with my own bloggy – I’m glad to see the process has evolved!

    oh and I also can’t stand when music starts playing on a website – ugh – so annoying!
    .-= Ami´s last blog ..Cirque du Halloween =-.

  6. lisa says:

    Interesting post! It was neat to get some insight into the link selection process. Kudos to all of you for the amazing job you’re doing so far–you’ve definitely highlighted some interesting reads from week to week.
    .-= lisa´s last blog ..Legwear 101 =-.

  7. Retro Chick says:

    It’s nice to hear positive feedback on the selections we make as well.

    There’s weeks I haven’t made it and I always think “Must try harder!”
    .-= Retro Chick´s last blog ..Shades of Autumn – In My Wardrobe =-.

  8. IdStyle says:

    Thanks so much for this post, it explains a lot about the process and I am sure we have all been curious. I think that having different editors is awesome, because different people will have different tastes and choose different content sometimes. I try reading as much of the selections as possible and sometimes even the submissions, so i can imagine that it must be a ton of work, but much appreacited work as Links a la mode really helps us, new bloggers, get our posts out there, see what other great blogs are out there and share it all with the readers! So keep up the good work, everyone (editors and submitters!).

  9. This is a great post! It will help with upping the caliber of submissions and the participation in IFB!
    .-= Fajr| Stylish Thought´s last blog ..What I Wore | Zooey Style =-.

  10. Steff Metal says:

    I’m really new to IFB, and I haven’t decided to participate in Links a la Mode yet, but I read the lists every week with delight. You editors do a great job every week of producing a diverse, interesting list. Looking forward to seeing LalM evolve and grow.
    .-= Steff Metal´s last blog ..Linking Horn for 23 October, 2009 =-.

  11. Franca says:

    This is really useful thanks! I think the editors do a fantastic job in selecting the links. Whenever I’ve been included, it’s been for the posts I spend ages writing and thinking about. The weeks when I haven’t been in, my contribution had been less thought out and eleborate so from a personal point of view, the selection has been really fair!
    .-= Franca´s last blog ..IFB Links a la mode: Thrifty Chic =-.

  12. Lilly says:

    Hi!
    I am really grateful for this article, it makes one realize what matters to write excellent fashion posts.
    thank you very much for taking the effort to collect all the criteria, I think it will be a great help for all future submissions at IFB! More articles like that please!

    Love, Lilly :D
    .-= Lilly´s last blog ..Independent Fashion Bloggers: Links à la Mode =-.

  13. Natanya says:

    Thanks to all the wonderful editors for your hard work. Reading and analyzing as many wonderful posts as IFB has, is a big commitment from you and we all appreciate your time and effort!
    .-= Natanya´s last blog ..Garment Center Support =-.

  14. Great article. It raises many points which I can act on. Three cheers for the editors, you guys rock!
    .-= Little Miss Makeup´s last blog ..Links à la Mode: Thrifty Chic =-.

  15. Thank you so much for this article. I am a new blogger to the community and blogosphere, and I always get well-written, comprehensive insight from the editors here at IFB. You’re right, you guys are awesome. I am always setting my sights to set myself apart from the crowd. While it’s not always easy, it is definitely something that I am passionate about. I hope to be apart of Links a la Mode some day in the future, as I continue to grow my blog so that it is purely reflective of who I am, and to make it the best that it can be!

    xoxo
    .-= richlilpoorgirl´s last blog ..:: It’s Here! :: =-.

  16. Jen says:

    This is definitely insightful, at least we won’t be auf’d if we don’t make it into the top 20 :)
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Cold Shoulder =-.

  17. Andrea says:

    Thanks for this information on Links á la Mode. It seems like a wonderful resource for bloggers that builds community at the same time. Helpful to know what editors are looking for as well as how much work goes in to choosing the articles.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Luxe vs. Bargain: Minis, Fur Vests, Booties & More =-.

  18. Thanks a lot for this. I for one have never been included in the round-up so it is good to read about ways to improve my chances :) :)

  19. julia says:

    Ashe — great job of summing up and explaining the rationale behind picking the links for links a la mode!

  20. Lauren says:

    Great article, it really gives a picture of what consitutes a post that is good enough to make it into the top 20!

    I shall definitely be referring back to this…!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Semi-Daily eBay | Totally Unique Irregular Choice Boots =-.

  21. eyeliah says:

    Great thoughts on the subject, I have been participating for almost a year now and I find it such a great way to find out about new blogs, read the best posts of the week and when ever one of my posts gets picked I am walking on the moon! You used one of my photos for the weeks picture too? Now I am over the moon. Based on what you said here I think IFB is staying really true to the types of links you want to publish, kudos!
    .-= eyeliah´s last blog ..B O C =-.

  22. Jen says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m somewhat new to this community and I want to make sure I am polite!
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Olsens to Launch Line at JC Penney’s =-.

  23. nookie says:

    great article!I don’t participate every week but I always post&read all the articles picked:)
    .-= nookie´s last blog ..à la Maison Esthétique =-.

  24. Ian says:

    Has there ever been a post specifically about men’s fashion that’s made it into LaM?

  25. Thom says:

    I haven’t been picked in awhile and I still think this is one of the best things going, blog-wise. I hope it continues for many years to come.

  26. Steff says:

    Great article. Links is such a great feature for a beginning blogger like myself. Thanks to the editors for all their hard work! And Ian poses a great question. I’d like to see a good post on menswear, since I never write about menswear myself.
    .-= Steff´s last blog ..Miss Mail Lady, I think I love you =-.

  27. Krissy says:

    Great article! I love the Links a la Mode feature and you guys do such a great job of featuring unique and diverse posts. I’m still very new to blogging and IFB so I’ve never submitted my own posts, but maybe someday in the future I’ll work up the courage.
    .-= Krissy´s last blog ..I Heart… Black in Interior Design =-.

  28. Shila says:

    Great article, gave me ideas to improve my blog
    .-= Shila´s last blog ..I like your style: Leighton Meester/ Blair Waldorf =-.

  29. Alice says:

    I think Links a la Mode is a great idea! Mostly because it is a great motivation to write good content. We all get lazy sometimes, so it is good to have that extra kick! Also, it is very inspirational. Whenever I go through the links, I always get plenty of ideas, like when I do brainstorming.
    .-= Alice´s last blog ..Chunky Winter Fashion =-.

What do you think?