What do you need to build a better blogging experience?

Since beginning Independent Fashion Bloggers, I've been very protective of this blog community. What we have here is very special. While writing tips on blog improvement are important, like many of you, I get a lot of emails from PR people pitching services and free goodies to the community. Until earlier this week, I've always declined them citing IFB is not about the latest discount codes at XYZ boutique… etc. it's important to assess whether or not it has relevance to the IFB Manifesto.

But what is the IFB Manifesto?

IFB is an online community of fashion bloggers looking to build a better blogging experience. IFB is here to help bloggers become familiar with the ins and outs of the industry, by giving the community a place to go for information and access other bloggers to talk to and ask questions.

So what I'd like to ask:

What do you need to build a better blogging experience?

Should we include a section of IFB for the latest affiliate programs, social networks, shopping sites, jobs, etc? There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The plus, is that you will be able to find new material and tools for your blog content, of course, the rules of quality control apply here… the disadvantage being is that it will change the overall purpose of IFB to a more commercial resource.

Giveaways are a very effective means of generating traffic, so I've read. Annie Spandex just gave away a Vivienne Westwood bag for Handbag Amnesty. They also contacted me for a similar contest on IFB… but I wasn't sure if I was ready for it. The giveaway worked well for Annie, and the cause is certainly worth talking about. Would you feel differently about IFB if we also conducted giveaways?

Earlier this week a PR company representing Boucheron, contacted me to partner up and invite bloggers in the New York City Area to invite them to Desir, a delightful show of acrobatics and burlesque. Since the event looked like a lot of fun, and Boucheron makes gorgeous jewelry, I passed on the invitations to the New York Bloggers who are active in the community.

The most important part of IFB is maintaining credibility, as an impartial resource developed by the community. I would like to provide the most comprehensive guide possible, and it's important to have a place where we can get together and talk about issues popping up in the blog world, how else are we going to improve? We need to establish transparency and define what exactly we need to improve, and most of all we all need each other.

Image by Lady Orlando can you tell I love her work?

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12 Responses

  1. Meredith

    I don’t think it takes anything away to host giveaways. Who doesn’t like to win something?

    And an affiliate/social networking/job board idea is fabulous. After all, most of us utilize those things to some extent.

  2. Prêt à Porter P

    i think ifb is a really great resource. ive read and re-read some of the posts several times and taken into consideration not only what you’ve written but also what the various commentators write as well.

  3. Ashe Mischief

    I read this post this morning, and actually had to think quite a lot on the subject– because it IS an important one!

    On the subject of affiliate/social networking opportunities, I do think that as a blogging resource, if IFB can remain impartial and still devote time and resources to that endeavor, it WILL BE beneficial to us all! Those areas can be very daunting and very dangerous (heck, they ask for bank account info!), and having a resource that breaks them down can help IFB members feel safe about pursuing them.

    Giveaways… I have mixed feelings on. I feel if it were less a contest and perhaps more promotional, than it would work within the mission. If a company contacts you, and is willing to provide 15-20 samples for randomly chosen IFB members to try, write about, etc., than it would work within the mission. It’d help them in developing contact, how to handle PR/Giveaway requests, etc. However, just IFB having “contest giveaways” I feel is counteractive to the mission.

    Maybe, rather than having IFB giveaway products, it can also act as a resource for these companies? If we all broke down our blogs in to types, what we focused on, we could have an opt-in option…. “Yes, I want to be contacted by companies for promotional purposes,” or “No, I do not want to…” From there, IFB could provide a list of those willing to participate and the companies could contact them further…

    Just shooting out ideas, hone!

  4. Leah

    I kind of like the fact that IFB is impartial. I mean, it has no specific bias to individual bloggers or companies and as you say, it’s a community resource developed by bloggers, for bloggers.

    Having said that, some of the ideas are not bad. The affiliate/social networking etc. type area may be useful for some bloggers, but I’d say it’s only appropriate for IFB if there was no specific connection to whatever/whoever is on it. Giveaways are nice and I certainly wouldn’t think any less of IFB for supporting a worthy cause, but again, I don’t know whether it quite suits the nature of IFB.

    That’s just my two pence worth. Whichever path IFB does choose to follow, the community will more than likely follow suit anyway (and vice versa), so I’m sure it’ll work out!

  5. Jennine

    wow…thanks so much for taking the time to put in thoughtful comments here.

    pret.. thanks for letting me know you find the posts helpful and rich… sometimes i get lost in the content and it’s hard to know if any of this makes sense.

    re giveaways: yes of course the affiliates and giveaways would be indeed edited to adhere to the IFB manifesto… figuring out what that means has been a source of controversy in my own mind. i’ve not yet come across a giveaway that’s compelled me to say ‘yes that does work for the good of the community!’ so it may be a while before that happens.

    re: social networks/affiliates and i guess ad networks too… transparent reporting is of course the most vital part… in fact that’s why i started ifb to begin with… after not being able to find impartial information about a certain ad network, i had a bad experience with them. partially because i didn’t know what to expect, and i didn’t know what i should do to protect myself.

    i was just curious if other members of the community would be interested in knowing what new ad networks were up, or what social networks are available…there’s alot of them, that’s for sure.

  6. Jordana

    FIrst of all, awesome write-up!

    As long as quality control is enforced, I think a lot of great opportunities for IFBers could come from opening the lines of communication to PR.

    Have you thought about offering a query service like Shankman or ProfNet (similar but in a reverse sort of way). If PR people could submit queries to the IFB, it’d be great to see them all in a daily or weekly newsletter. This could bring tons of opps for bloggers to build out their sites…more giveaways, increased online visability, interview and networking opps, reviews and sample products..etc. It might be cool/easy if this was done via Twitter.

    This way, everyone can be made aware of what PR ppl are looking for/trying to pitch, without the excess, novel-esque pitch emails.

    If you like the idea, I’d love to help you brainstorm on how to get this off the ground.

  7. crosby

    regarding Jordana’s idea – I wonder if PR Couture could work to help manage this – a sort of HARO for fashion bloggers…

  8. Jennine

    jordana and crosby… thanks so much for your helpful comments… i’m going to email you for more information.


  9. Atena

    That would be great! I don’t know how this realy works but I was wondering if you can take into consideration doing this as a test. If it doesn’t work for the bloggers you can always return to the present status.

    Keep going!

  10. Thaynah

    I stole the pic. (wow! your blog is so colorfull and beauty!)
    I’m a brazilian blogger, and unhapply a do not understant so well english language. But i try! (forgive the mistakes in the text!)