After penning “Why I Don't Like Calling Myself a Blogger” and reading through the wonderful outpouring of comments from the IFB Community, I thought a great follow-up post would be to troubleshoot this issue that many of us seem to be having. Although there isn't a clear solution to breaking biases and the stigma that may be attached with being a “blogger” as recently discussed on IFB by Jennine and Ashe, the best thing that we can do is to take thoughtful consideration and accountability for our individual actions. I've written below several points for a kind of informal “code” that may help to elevate and fulfill the noun “blogger” to permanently reflect an association of being a fashion industry professional.
-Always Be Gracious
Accept opportunities, and turn them down, with grace. Send thank-you's after a brand has treated you to a lunch, sent a box of items from the latest product launch, or invited you to a great event. In a hectic world full of 140 characters or less, it's easy to forget to make small gestures like these to show respect, appreciation, and professionalism. Make a habit of being expresses your gratitude and thankfulness to the publicists, brand, and social media managers and directors that have helped you get the information and materials needed so that your job (or even hobby) as a blogger runs smoothly.
– Be Realistic About Your Promises
If you receive product, solicited or unsolicited, or attend an event, you are most likely to get a follow-up about a product review or event coverage from a publicist; if you can't get to writing about something for a few weeks or don't plan to write about it at all, be honest. Promises that you know you can't keep out the gate possess the same dread as missing a deadline, so if the ball is your court, maintain your professionalism by setting manageable expectations or at least offering an explanation, not an excuse, for why or why you won't be providing coverage.
-Anywhere You are Visible, Look Your Best
I don't just mean the way you dress, but any visual that represents you. Make sure images are clear and loading previewing properly before pushing a post live, spell check everything, and don'† forget to add in details that reflect you/your brand such as skins or backgrounds, favicons for your site, gravatars/images for your social media outlets, as well as making information for contacting you through these channels and via email very easy to locate on your site. On the aspect of dress — being appropriately dressed for the right kind of event is important too – sometimes it can be ambiguous as to the formal nature of events, but evaluating the venue, and main reason for it can ensure aren't you under dressed. My rule of thumb has been to pretty much avoid wearing light, blue-hued denim to events, as nothing screams “I was unprepared and caught off guard for this” more (well, on second thought, baggy sweat pants might just say it more than denim!).
-Think Like an Entrepreneur
Running your own blog very much falls under the classification of an entrepreneur; you are creating your own business from scratch and are working hard to provide a service to your readers, communicating with them through your words and images. Being an entrepreneur also has its ups and downs and a responsibility set of it's own, but also gives you freedom to be selective about who you work with, how you communicate and what you provide for them. Finally having the opportunity to write about what most interested me was one of the reasons I started my own site, and I like to share my experiences with students and new bloggers so that they can have less of a learning curve and become entrepreneurs within the realm of the blogosphere too. Treating your blog like a small business, even if it's a non-money making hobby, can help it to assume a level of esteem and thoughtfulness that will only lead to grow and evolve no matter how much time per day or week you can dedicate to it.
What would you like to add to this informal blogger “code”?
[Image source: Shutterstock.com]