There's a reason I don't live in Washington D.C. I am not a political person. I recycle, I vote for the presidency, and I file my taxes with little to no grumbling. I may be a bit green when it comes to how our country's politics work, but the politics of fashion blogging are something that really gets my blood running. With the IFB Conference so close at hand, I thought it was a perfect time to discuss (in a cheeky way) some of the old, new, tried and true strategies and issues we as bloggers are facing in 2012.
5 Bills To Consider In The New Politics Of Blogging
The Bill: We should encourage bloggers to post comments on as many other blogs as possible to build traffic.
The Vote: Failed to pass. We're not sold on this method any longer. In the early days bloggers would comment and leave their URL on as many blogs as possible, in hopes for click-throughs, traffic boosts and new followers. While this can still work in some cases, we're for a new age of commenting with care. Meaningless, disingenuous comments breed a mentality of greed and self-motivation. We believe one should reserve comments for feelings of real appreciation, or to ask a question of the blogger. Commenting should be about building a relationship and starting a conversation within the community. Consider the kinds of comments that make you smile, that you respond to and that make it obvious that the person who left it is genuinely interested. Emulate that attitude in your efforts.
Gifting & Giveaway Policy
The Bill: Bloggers should have an established gifting and giveaway policies regarding their acceptance of products from brands and retailers.
The Vote: Pass. We believe that if you want your blog to maintain credibility with followers, advertisers, sponsors and brands, you should have a hard-and-fast policy when it comes to gifting and giveaways. These policies should be posted on your blog, freely available to all who visit your site. Decide for yourself if and how you will disclose that a product has been gifted. Consider making brands aware that if you receive a product but do not like it, you reserve the right not to post it on your blog. Establishing guidelines will help you create better and more professional relationships.
The Bill: Send out “Follow Friday” tweets to put your handle in front of the eyes of bloggers and brands you would like to follow you, to gain more followers.
The Vote: Failed to pass. We the people are so over this. It's a nice gesture, and nothing more. Follow Friday tweets do not have any traction in gaining a blogger more followers. Especially for more visible Twitter personalities, an #FF in their “@s” will probably earn you at the most a “Thank You!” tweet in return – not a follow back. We think Follow Friday is at most a way to say hello, I love you, or thank you – and not a social media success strategy.
The Bill: Forming a ‘blogging posse' of sorts is an alienating practice that negates the sense of community within fashion blogging.
The Vote: Failed to pass. This was a tough vote. As with any community, fashion blogging can feel a bit like high school. There are queen bees, mean girls, teams, clubs and gangs of girls that all hang out together. Some are inclusive, some are exclusive. Some of the groups that have formed within the fashion blogging community are very visible, some are more discreet. Overall, we feel like forming a group of bloggers is more helpful than harmful. Even if you aren't physically close to many bloggers, you can form mini-community online! Reach out to bloggers you like (who are also perhaps just getting started, have similar traffic or comment rates, etc). You can add each other to blogrolls, link out to their posts, and write guest posts for each other. We have all felt left out or excluded in our lives; from not being invited to an event or being on the outside of a joke. We empower you to leave jealousy to the weak, and gather good people around you and build each other up.
Social Media Sharing
The Bill: Worthwhile sharing across social media channels should either educate or entertain your followers.
The Vote: Pass. This is how we the people view the new politics of self-promotion. When you're posting on your Twitter account or your Facebook fan page, think before you send. What would you like to read? What do you click on? Becoming a trusted and popular voice on social media channels is about enriching the conversation as much as it is about sharing your personality and promoting your blog. Educate your followers by sharing something they can use; whether it's a hot online sale you just found, an interesting article about SEO on ProBlogger or an inspiring DIY project from your friend's blog. Entertain your followers by linking out to a funny video from YouTube, sharing a funny moment or great outfit from your day with a tweet or Instagram photo.
Fashion blogging is a democracy – so share your thoughts in the comments! We're here to listen, to discuss and to keep the conversation and debate going. What do you think of these “bills?”
[Images via Shut up, I love that shirt on you; IFB; and Flickr Creative Commons]