This post is by Ann Colville Somma:
2010 will be a banner year for bloggers, as they stand firmly at the center of the new fashion media movement. Lauded as independent voices, blogs in fact exist within a highly interactive community, and in part, it’s this connectivity that differentiates us from traditional media. Every successful blog reflects positively on the community as a whole, and every successful blogger has the opportunity to support -and even bring fame to – the blogs they love. (‘The Sartorialist’ photoblogger Scott Schuman’s promotion of Garance Doré is just one example).
“Coming up” in the blogosphere over the past year, I’ve felt a strong desire to support the community that has supported me. In the early days of my blog, I spent a lot of time commenting on other blogs and linking to blogs I loved. Now, I also allot time each week to brainstorm new ways to collaborate with the blogosphere and, sometimes, with companies that support it. What follows are a few of my most rewarding activities:
Contributing: Beyond the Guest Post
Publications and portals like IFB and Style Sample exist to promote fashion blogs, and survive on the talent behind them. I reached out to both founders (our girl Jennine here at IFB and Tamia at Style Sample) and have contributed stories, images, and more to their endeavors. Though time-consuming and often unrelated to the content on my blog, these projects have provided some unexpected benefits. For example, publications like Style Sample often work to syndicate their stories across the web, so that little link to your blog is in more places than you thought.
A Picture is Worth A Thousand Links
Whether you cover an event for a publication or for your own blog, you’ll be meeting other folks with an online presence. At the IFB Evolving Influence Conference and Chictopia10, I exchanged emails with everyone I photographed so I could send them the link to the stories, and then took a little time to edit and send extra pictures that hadn’t been used in the publications. Many people used the images on their blogs with a link to mine, and everyone was happy (and looked great).
The Currency of E-Commerce Promotion
There is a lot of discussion lately about companies approaching bloggers with the hopes of free promotion. I’m not advocating giving away your valuable blog space for nothing, and an awful lot of deleting goes on in my inbox. However, my blog offers curated shopping with a focus on one-of-a-kind pieces, and I’m always searching for content on Etsy, Market Publique, and other sites. Online sellers large and small depend on the blogosphere for promotion, and in turn they love to support blogs. I reach out to every seller when I post about their item, and though I expect nothing in return, I usually get a tweeted link or two, a new follower, or a link to my article on their site’s blog. The currency of my blog is content and traffic, and this type of thanks is more valuable than the pennies that come from affiliate sales. Plus, I gather sell-through data (when it’s clear that my article has led to a sale) for my media kit, which is powerful information for potential sponsors.
Rethinking the Blogger Profile
You’ve seen hundreds of these, and you’ve likely been approached for one yourself; maybe you’ve even been “tagged” for a profile – the blog equivalent of a chain letter. While questions like “What are your key pieces for next season?” are fun to answer, is this really what you want to know about the bloggers you admire?
When profiling another blogger, my goal is to create content that’s new and compelling for my readers. (If I achieve this, chances are it will be fresh enough for the subject to want to send their readers to check it out). A few examples of story ideas:
– Behind the Collection: Most bloggers would love to show off their hard-won clothing and accessories. Do you always admire a blogger’s vintage shoes? Ask for (or offer to shoot) images, and gather stories about her collection. Jak & Jil’s profile of Anna Della Russo is a fabulous example of a concisely edited profile.
– Insider Secrets: Pick a town or city and chances are a stylish blogger is living and shopping there. Wouldn’t you love to pick their brain about the destinations they love – from flea markets to hidden boutiques? If you’ve got skills, you can even draw a cute map based on the tips they give you.
Their Future is Yours
We have each other to thank for the wealth of opportunities that now exist for bloggers. The key to understanding blog growth is engaging with successful bloggers and the publications and companies that support them. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to make that next big jump, it pays to reach out and give back. Chances are you’ll find ideas, answers and support along the way.
Photo by Dustin Fenstermacher