In general, I am not a fan of using the words “always” and “never,” especially when it comes to blogging. We're a part of an industry in it's infancy, that's constantly changing and evolving. (Not to mention growing!) The things that one of us might always or never do are subject to change at any moment.
Below, I will make an exception to that rule (for now). Because of the fluid nature of blogging industry trends, there are some statements that none of us should ever make.
“I already know everything about [blank].”
You wouldn't believe how many times we at IFB have heard this from bloggers in our community. Obviously, no one likes a know-it-all, but more importantly, there's far too much new information, technical advancement and change-over in this industry to really know it all. Not surprisingly, that's why we continue to hold the IFB Conference every season. While it can feel stagnant at times, everything from photography style and monetization methods, to brand partnership trends are constantly in flux. Opening discussions and offering (and asking for) advice about the big and little changes in blogging will always be important. Keep your mind (and your business) open to new information and possibilities for success.
“I don't need to be a part of the community.”
The act of blogging can be a solitary activity. We sit alone at our desk, on the couch, in an office — writing, editing photos, promoting on social media. For the most part, we are indeed individual entrepreneurs creating businesses on our own. And that's a fantastic thing. We can create on our own, but we can't grow without each other. Exchanging knowledge, providing support and inspiration, making friends — that's what the blogging community is all about. And strengthening these connections is what the conference is all about.
“Working with brands & getting gifted products is how you become successful.”
Jennine wrote a poignant post yesterday about the ways that fashion blogging has changed over the past few years, especially the way that brands and publishers work together. ROI is more important than ever, which has some brands scaling back their PR efforts with fashion bloggers. The good news is that we don't need endorsement deals or event appearance fees to sustain financial growth. More and more, bloggers are building their business from the inside, with affiliate networks, advertising and services they provide. In every niche, bloggers are making a living without the celebrity status.
“I just want recognition for what I'm doing.”
Of course, we all want to have our hard work acknowledged, and it can be frustrating to feel like you're working your a** off only to be wading in obscurity, wondering why you aren't getting the traffic or social media traction that you want. The thing of it is, recognition, while often deserved, has to be earned. Asking for it (or worse, demanding it) is never the way you want to receive attention. Instead, keep your nose to the grindstone and your heart full of positivity and hope. Work hard, create brilliant content and keep putting it out there. The recognition you receive organically may take time – but patience is a key component to success as well.
“I'll never be as successful or popular as BryanBoy or Cupcakes & Cashmere.”
The first and biggest problem with this statement is comparison. While assessing the competition is healthy, constantly comparing yourself (and your site) to others is not. If you look at the top 1% of successful fashion and style blogs, their commonality is actually the diversity of their content. Each stands alone in their niche. It might help to think about the fashion blogging community like the acting industry. You've got your unwavering Hollywood stars: your Julia Roberts' and your George Clooney's. Just because they're in the business – making money and maintaining notoriety – doesn't mean a bright young thing can't burst on the scene out of relative obscurity, like Jennifer Lawerence or Jessica Chastain – and blow everyone away. There's room at the top for each of us, as long as we're ready to do what it takes to hold our place. One great role (read: post) might turn the spotlight on you for a moment, but sustained talent is what will keep you in business and earn you a career that lasts.