Tag Archives: how to blog

Tx SCC Part 6: Creating a Blogging Community

26 May

Note: This post was written several days prior and scheduled to post today. As you read this, I’m currently on a month long journey through Israel and France. Please leave some comment love and let me know you stopped by… although unfortunately I won’t be able to catch up on your blogs or respond until I return to the United States. Wish me luck, I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

This is my sixth and final post in a series of blogging lessons I learned from the fantastic Texas Style Council Conference I attended in Austin during SXSW and my spring break. Check out the Archives to read parts one, two, three, four, and five.

The fifth and last (but certainly not least) conversation panel at the first annual Texas Style Council Conference was led by Indiana from Adored Austin and included many suggestions for finding new readers and cultivating your community into an active audience. The panel was made up of Dave from Etsy, Kendi from Kendi Everyday, and Susan from ModCloth. I learned so much from these amazing guests and I’m so excited to share their ideas with you!

1. Network on related websites. Pretty self-explanatory on that one. If you don’t have an account on Independent Fashion Bloggers, get one now. You can click on it under my pretty picture on the right sidebar. Create a polyvore account, interact with users on fashism, chictopia, and any other site with a common audience to what you write about. If you’re a food blogger, interact with members of recipe sharing websites. Chances are, if there’s a website you like, other people who might enjoy your blog probably like that website too. So, reach out to them and invite them to check you (ahem, err, your blog) out! You’ll probably like them, and they’ll probably like you too… win win :)

2. Talk to your audience, ask questions, and seek advice. I don’t really feel any need to elaborate on this important idea. In the words of a famous company, just do it!

3. Reply promptly to comments and facilitate the dialogue and discussion. Again, self-explanatory.

4. Dave from Etsy contributed the principle that economically challenging times bring about in increase in global creativity. Be original. Do something unique. BE CREATIVE. Show people how they can borrow your ideas and it will better their lives; either by saving them time or money, or better yet doing both of those things and bringing them joy simultaneously. Even if you write a high fashion blog, you are most likely aware that the majority of your readers cannot afford the styles you feature. Instead, your goal is probably to provide them with the haute couture information in order to inspire them to adopt their own take on the trend. This goes along with another point of Dave’s…

5. Use physical resources sparingly, but use your e-sources to the max. Take advantage of what is free. And then, share it with your audience. They’ll like that, and appreciate it, I promise. And afterwards, they’ll return the favor. Yay good karma wheel.

Well, I guess that’s about it for creating a better blog. What did you think of these ideas? What online communities do you utilize to network for your blog? How are you being creative in response to the decline in the economy? What e-sources do you use on a regular basis and what else would you like to share with our audience? Discuss discuss discuss! Let’s all help each other out by contributing your own useful tips.

Bisous,
Rachel

Tx SCC Part 5: Blogging with Authenticity

20 May

Note: This post was written several days prior and scheduled to post today. As you read this, I’m currently on a 24 hour month long journey through Israel and France. Please leave some comment love and let me know you stopped by… although unfortunately I won’t be able to catch up on your blogs or respond until I return to the United States. Wish me luck, I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

This is the fifth post in my on-going series on the lessons I learned from seasoned blogging pros at the Texas Style Council Conference in Austin over spring break. Check the Archives for parts one, two, three, and four.

Panel 4 was all about how to build an audience through writing authentically. Communicating my personal voice is something I feel like I struggle with on just about every post, so I was particularly interested to hear what the panelists had to say. The bloggers consisted of Jen from Jen Loves Kev, Indiana from Adored Austin, and James from Bleubird Vintage. The discussion was moderated by Kristina from Pretty Shiny Sparkly. Here are the main ideas I took away from the wonderful conversation!

1. Write like you speak. Okay, easier said than done. But for the most part, when you read (or write) a blog, you want to feel like you’re talking or listening to your best friend. It should be easy to imagine the author speaking the text to you. This strategy creates a sense of ease and comfort between the audience and the blogger. This familiarity is key to maintaining an audience, and keeping people genuinely interested in your life. I definitely struggle with this. Although I am a creative writing minor, I find it difficult to break out of the constraints of formal, educational writing which has been drilled in to me, and instead write as I think. I’m trying to improve. Hopefully the creative writing classes will help (heck, a college education has to be useful for something, right?)

2. Write about your life honestly, but don’t be a Debbie Downer. There is a difference between lifestyle blogging, and diary-like online journals, and you need to be aware of where to draw that line. Sure, this blog discusses things I do in my life, but you don’t know everything. Basically the gist of this topic was what do you choose to share with your audience and what needs to stay private. Everyone’s line is going to be different, but it’s an important thing to know about yourself. Clearly take safety into consideration (don’t post your address, sensitive personal information, etc.) But beyond that, it’s up to you. Chances are that people read your blog to brighten their day, as an escape from the monotony of real life. They don’t want to read about your dirty laundry. Is it okay to say you had a bad day? Sure. Absolutely. Doesn’t everyone? But no one wants to come back and read day after day about how your life truly sucks. (Because it probably doesn’t. And if it does, maybe you should figure out why and do something about it.)

How do you write in stream of consciousness? Do you find it difficult, or does it come naturally to you? Where do you draw the line on what’s too personal to share with your audience? What do you and don’t you write about?

Bisous,
Rachel

Tx SCC Part 2: Monetizing Your Blog

28 Mar

Morning Update: My roommates tell me I’m apparently obligated to tell you all that it’s my birthday. So… I’m turning 20 today. YIKES! I’ve been a teenager for exactly half my life and this change is freakin’ me out… I’M SO OLD! I celebrated with a very nice dinner with close friends last night and I’m celebrating today by going to class from 9:00am-6:30pm and going to rehearsal from 6:30pm-9:00pm. Exciting, no? Hope you all have a marvelous day!

This is my second in a series of several posts about the amazing eye-opening things I learned about blogging at the Texas Style Council Conference in Austin over spring break. The first panel following Jennine Jacob’s keynote address was titled Going Pro, and discussed in detail the ins and outs of monetizing your blog and seeking sponsorships, affiliates, and advertisers. The panel featured Alessandra from Lulu*s, Elisa from BlogHer, Grechen from Grechen’s Closet, Patty from Charming Charlie, and was moderated by Jen from Jen Loves Kev.


I want to preface the lessons I learned by pointing out that clearly I’m not an expert on this subject. I don’t have any sponsors, affiliates, or advertisers, (yet), and have never tried to seek them out. However, that will probably change in the future and after hearing this panel I feel very prepared to make this transition and ready to navigate the wide world of monetization when I feel my blog is ready. So, without further adieu, here are the important lessons I learned about “going pro.” Continue reading

What I learned from Jennine Jacob: Just Keep Blogging

21 Mar


My best friend (and fashion merchandising major) Cassie and me at the Conference between sessions.

WOW. That’s about all I have to say about the fantastic panels and amazing speakers I heard this past weekend at the first annual Texas Style Council Conference. In fact, I learned so darn much during each session that I’ll be devoting each its own post and spreading them out over several weeks, so as not to overwhelm you with blog-obsessive goodness.

The keynote address was delivered by Jennine Jacob, blogger behind The Coveted and Founder of Independent Fashion Bloggers. She had great beads of wisdom to share and has helped me re-evaluate my philosophy as a blogger.

Continue reading

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