Five Things I Learned from Teaching at Fashion Blogging Boot Camp

bootcamp

I oftentimes wax poetic about the future of fashion blogging at IFB, hypothesizing about what may happen, and the impact that certain new tools and techniques may have on the industry. This summer, I actually got to experience first-hand what to expect when I taught a Fashion Blogging Boot Camp course geared toward high school and college students. In a computer lab setting, I helped students to create their own WordPress blogs, worked on and discussed the importance of various social media platforms, and legal and moral considerations such as the FTC guidelines.

As much as it was a learning experience for them, it was certainly an enlightening one for me, with five key takeaways that I came to realize while teaching this particular group of fashion blogger-aspiring students.

Instagram is King!

Speaking to the power and influence of Instagram can best be felt by hearing teenagers enthusiastically discuss the platform and how avidly post, like, and comment, but also have developed some peeves about it as well. Wow! While I wouldn't say I'm a social media expert, but rather am an overall early adapter and relatively tech savvy, these students are pretty much right on par with me when it comes to utilizing Instagram!

The heavy use of it also indicates another factor: pretty much all of these millennials have a smartphone, and hence access to an innovative, constantly evolving social meets digital world in a highly visual format.

Huge Consumers of Apps

These leads to my next point, as I fielded a lot of questions regarding what are good apps to have, to know, which ones do I use, recommend, and can help with blogging. There was a lot of fascination regarding apps to specifically take and enhance photos, which clearly ties in with the Instagram usage. They didn't seem to be looking for shortcuts to blogging and social media via apps, but rather ways to make them appear more professional and stand out from the rest of the crowd by using certain apps.

Personal Style is an Integral Part of a Blog

Most of the students that I spoke with planned to incorporate personal style elements into their blogs, which I believe speaks volumes to the direction in which blogs are moving. Indeed, most of the blogs/bloggers that they followed are personal style bloggers, so it only makes sense that the ones in which they look up to may trickle into their own personal blogs. I loved that the students exuded confidence in their own personal style and wanted to share it with readers via a blog platform.

They Aren't Afraid to Think Critically & Share Their Opinions

I gave each of the students a new beauty product to test and write a review about in order to give them exposure to writing in this manner and finding their own voice and opinion, alongside some standard, crucial elements to include, such as a disclosure, product pricing, where to buy, the formal name of the item and a link to it online. With most of their writing, their candid honesty shined through, and while finding their voice came more naturally to some than others, they all seemed to express an urge to share the truth, even if they didn't like the product they had reviewed.

I think that writing a bad review (or not) is a dilemma that crosses most bloggers' minds at one point or another, so it was quite refreshing to feel a sense of obligation from these newbie fashion bloggers to be genuine in their writing.

Fashion Blogging is Being Taken Seriously

I can't say that everyone who took my course has an end goal of becoming a professional blogger, but what I can vouch for is the understanding that it takes a lot of work and dedication that they all seemed willing to give to it. Having an aptitude for both creative and the business side of being an entrepreneur is quite valuable, and the majority of the class wanted to understand how to get their blogs to grow and manage them if it does become something that they can make money doing.  No one seemed to have  unrealistic expectations of how much time it may take, thanks to already growing their own mini brands on social media, and they seemed to have professional intentions opposed to just wanting to become famous and/or get free stuff.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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About The Author

Blogging at her site Fashion Pulse Daily since 2008 and working on fashion's editorial side since 2003 has lent Julia the acumen to think creatively and endure in the colliding worlds of blogging, fashion and beauty. New York City is her backdrop for inspiration (and many a outfit photo), where she is often found on her couch, feverishly typing away at her latest post, with her trusty feline at her side. Follow her on Instagram , Twitter, and Pinterest.

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10 Responses

  1. Justine

    I’ve never heard of “Fashion Blogging Boot Camp” but that’s a really amazing idea and it’s great that you had that opportunity. I’ve never really thought about it, but everyone really does have their own “brand” that they’ve created through Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogging, etc. It’s really amazing how social media allows us to share certain quirks of ourself. This is a big deal in getting people interested in reading your content. I think the reason why most people follow personal style bloggers is because they’re seeing how this person is wearing the latest trends, and how they, the reader, can again turn it around into something their own. Blogging is really something amazing when done to share and inspire. I’m hoping to incorporate more elements in my blog that just clothes. I want to post more about the economics, culture and origins of trends and why they matter.

    http://youreahautemess.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  2. Onianwah

    Blogging boot camp sounds like such a great idea and so much fun. From this post I have learned so much which will in turn give me an angle which is a little different from what I had earlier today.
    I hope you don’t mind if this is something I look to execute in my own city?

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
  3. CynthiaCM

    I think it really depends on the TYPE of fashion blogging. I don’t focus on personal style too much on my site – I have outfit pics, but they’re mostly on Instagram, showing recent purchases or season previews. When I write about fashion, I prefer to write about the actual style/look (and often about fit) or how I feel about certain fashion-related topics (other topics I post about include food/dining, travel, event recaps and more). I think this sometimes p!$$es off brands/designers because I tend not to get any more than interview opportunities. Whatever, but that’s just my thing. I know that many of my city’s fashion/style bloggers don’t include me in their events because they, well, don’t like me too much (or at least don’t feel that I’m a “fit” with them), but I’m getting used to this exclusion thing now. I’d rather be myself than be something that I’m not, just to get press/attention/opportunities.

    Cynthia
    http://www.delectablychic.com

    Reply
  4. Hannah

    I definitely feel conflicted about honestly reviewing stuff! It’s difficult to find a good balance between being critical but not so out-right; however I feel I have an obligation to say what I really think about new collections etc, it is at the end of the day my blog for my opinion xx

    Reply
    • CynthiaCM

      Always be honest unless you’re told by a blog network NOT to be negative for a sponsored post. Even then, you might want to stick at being neutral. Just my opinion.

      Reply
  5. Tina Boomerina

    Julia,
    I want to go to boot camp! I promise to be the oldest, snarkiest witch there. When is the next one?

    Tina ps Always be honest… or shut your mouth. (The opposite of what my mother used to say… haha.)

    Reply