Southern Fashion Bloggers (New Orleans Chapter), image via Rach LaRoche
One of the hardest parts of being a blogger is that it's such a solitary sport. Unless you're lucky enough to have a partner to blog with, you're pretty isolated. Your partner won't understand when you're bitching about your pagerank or PR pitches, and they sometimes get in the way when you're writing.
This is why you need blogger friends. While the internet is great for making long-distance friends, sometimes… you want someone closer. Someone you can grab a cup of coffee with and share horror stories with. That you can bounce ideas off of. Or who at least gives you a reason to change out of your leggings in to a great dress.
Chances are, if you're near a city or at a university, there are going to be a few fashion bloggers in your community. They may be hard to find (check out the IFB forums–there are tons of city & state and even country-specific threads looking for nearby bloggers!), but they're out there. And they're just as eager to find you as you are to find them!
- Just one or two (and you!) is all you have to start with! If you're hard-pressed to find another fashion blogger in your area, try meeting up with other bloggers in general. A blogger is a blogger; even if they're in a different niche than you, they'll still have valuable information, stories to share, and empathy!
- When you're first meeting up, you don't need anything fancy or formal! Keep it low key so everyone's comfortable: a coffee shop, a great lunch spot, or drinks at a fun bar after work.
- Don't forget name tags! If you've got more than 4-5 people, it may be hard to remember those new names and sites to visit.
- Send out a follow up email, thanking everyone for attending and sharing links to their sites. It's a great refresher!
Form a Group…
- Word of mouth picking up? Got more bloggers than you ever expected? Create a group! Create a Facebook fan page or group to keep in touch and set up a newsletter (I love Mailchimp) to promote members and upcoming meet-ups.
- Set up a blog– promote your members, provide tips and information, share event and designer information, and use SEO to help OTHER bloggers in your area find you! (See Southern Fashion Bloggers and Texas Style Council for examples!)
Plan a Few Events…
- Again, start small! Get in touch with a local designer to see if your group can tour their studios. Check out a fashion film or exhibit at a gallery. Host a fancy cocktail hour and secure swag bags and free champagne.
- Match up with a few bloggers and host an event to promote your sites! Make it engaging so the general public will want to come and introduce your site to new audiences. See How to Host an Event to Promote Your Blog for tips on how to do this!
- Organize a fashion swap or yard sale! You can make it closed to other fashion bloggers only, or charge a low admission fee and open it up to the public.
- Take a cue from Fashion 2.0 in NYC to see how they organize events– over 300 bloggers RSVP'd for their last meet-up!
Keeping in touch with your bloggers, in person, is just as essential as maintaining a community online. There are so many ways to go find, meet, and interact with your local blogging community, that these tips are just the top of the iceberg– ones that I've done or have seen in the New Orleans community.
Do you have any tips for meeting the local blogging community and creating events for them?