Image by Pink Sherbet Photography
This post is by the lovely Retro Chick
A great way of creating unique and interesting content for your blog is to get out from behind your computer and cover events first hand. Fashion Week is seemingly the holy grail for Fashion bloggers, but if you don’t live in, or near, a city with a fashion week it doesn’t mean you can’t include event reviews on your blog.
If you’re tired of covering big events after the fact based on second hand information here’s how to find and cover events near you without feeling like a fish out of water.
The more events you go to the more contacts you’ll make and the more you’ll be invited to in future. Finding events related to your niche isn’t rocket science, it’s about getting out there and looking for them. Clothes swaps, table top sales and catwalks organised by your local college or a Charity Shop might all be potential material for your blog and can all lead to contacts that might have more events in future.
Some sources to check are
- Local newspaper listings. Check them regularly for smaller events. If you find a write up of an event that has already passed then don’t be afraid to call or email the venue or organisers to ask if they are running anything similar in future.
- Flyers in shops. If your site caters to a particular niche then check out the windows and notice boards in local shops that cater to that niche, even if the shops aren’t directly fashion related.
- Attend unrelated events. If you write about budget fashion then it won’t hurt to attend a local art gallery opening. While you’re there you might just make some contacts that are more involved in your area. If not there's no harm in widening your interests to keep it fresh. Also remember the close link between music and fashion and keep your eye on bands and gigs that might appeal to your demographic.
- Sign up for website newsletters and groups. If there are places local to you that have newsletters, Twitter accounts or Facebook pages then sign up for them. Try doing a Facebook search for your keywords and sign up to fan pages and groups to get the alerts about events they run. Then check out what fan pages they are linked to and follow that path. It might sound unlikely, but that’s exactly how I ended up covering a vintage hair styling demonstration in December that I might otherwise never have known about.
Covering events for the first time can be incredibly nerve racking, so put your professional head on and talk yourself up. Don't stress too much about what you wear, just make sure you're comfortable and you feel good for a little extra confidence boost.
Some Dos and Don’ts
- Turn up with a gaggle of mates. Depending on the event you may or may not be able to take a friend or partner. If you intend to talk to the organiser for interviews, or the event is invitation only then you don’t want to have a load of giggling girls making you look unprofessional and ligging off the drinks and snacks. If you feel it is appropriate to take someone with you make sure they’re capable of looking after themselves while you work.
- Be late. Do your research. Find out where the event is held in advance and plan how you’re going to get there. Leave an extra half hour early, just to sure. You might think it's cool to be late. It's not, it's rude.
- Get drunk or blag. At some of these events there will be free booze. If you’re not sure you can handle it without loosing control of your motor functions, giggling insanely or coming out in a rash that will make you feel embarrassed (my own personal alcohol demon) then stick with orange juice, at least till the party is well underway.
- Introduce yourself. It might be that you’ve found an event as a “customer” that doesn’t mean you can’t cover it as “press”. Email the organiser in advance or seek them out and introduce yourself on arrival. Remember, this is how you end up getting introduced to other people who might be organising events in future.
- Be prepared. Go with a list of questions you might want to ask. You may or may not get the chance to use them, but if you turn up at a shop launch and suddenly find yourself in a corner having a drink with the owner it would be nice to be prepared.
- Take the right kit. A camera that takes half decent photos, a note book or PDA to take notes and a handful of business cards are all essential kit if you’re planning to come up with a decent post afterwards, or you want people to remember you and let you know about other events in future.
WRITING UP EVENTS
Once you’ve been and had a fabulous time and written all those notes, that's when the hard work really starts. Here’s how to make the most of it for material for your blog and turn that new material into new readers.
- Keep it timely. When it comes to writing up the event after the fact make sure you do it promptly. If you leave it 2 weeks the event won’t be fresh in your mind, you’ll also look like an unprofessional blagger to all those people you met and gave cards to.
- Be honest. A dry, blow by blow, account is dull and no one wants to read it. Neither do they just want to look at endless photos of people they’ve never met having a wonderful time. Make sure you cover the event in a way that’s “you” but not self indulgent. Try and add value to your readers lives. Tell them what you learnt, when similar events are happening or where they can get tickets for the next one.
- Stay in touch. All those people you introduced yourself to in a professional manner? Email them a link to your post. Don’t just shamelessly promote yourself, thank them politely for such a fantastic event and ask them to keep you up to date with what they're up to in future.
- Promote yourself. Shamelessly. I know I just told you not to, but this is different. If you’ve written up an event then let attendees and potential attendees know about it. Add a link to your post to the events facebook page, or a comment to the organisers blog if it was that kind of event. Make the most of the opportunity to reach out to new readers in your niche.
On a final note, always remember just because it isn't a “fashion” event doesn't mean it can't be fodder for the insatiable beast that is your blog. Over the last 12 months I've written up 2 hen nights, 3 weddings and my own birthday party. If you were there, being your fabulous self, there's probably material in it.