sewing machine

Sharing The Blog Love

I was really pleased with the reaction to my post about things I dislike about blogs – it seems like most people do some of those things, but get irritated by them as well!

Blogging is such a solitary hobby really, when you think about it. You might get someone to help with photos, or whatever, but each of us are alone when we’re typing away on our laptops, iPads and phones. I touched on it briefly in my post, but I think one of the things that so many of us fail on (and I include myself there) is talking about other blogs.

Most of us have a little blog roll of our favourite blogs (and I recommend you check out every single one on mine over there → →
I like how Jennie has a blogs she loves bit on her weekly feature on things she loves – I’ve found a few blogs this way that I enjoy reading. I’ve seen a few other people do this at the end of a weekly recap post (the dreaded What I Did This Week Through Instagram posts ;))

Instead of tweeting about your new blog post, why not retweet someone else’s tweet about their blog post? It means their blog will get shared to a new audience, and they may retweet your posts, showing off your blog to a whole new group of potential new readers!
So, this weekend, I’m going to tweet about blog posts and blogs that I’ve enjoyed and I think other people will like as well. It’s just a small thing, but I hope someone finds their new favourite blog from it! I’ll hashtag them all with #wkendbloglove – feel free to add blog posts you’ve loved reading to the hashtag as well!

When you’re replying an email from a PR about working together, why not recommend your friend’s blog as well? Chances are, they were looking for more bloggers to work with, and probably hadn’t heard of your recommendation. I doubt anyone is ever going to say “No, we know all the bloggers we’ll ever work with, thanks!”
Sarah and I do this quite a lot – its nice to be doing something the same as someone you know well, and it means you can compliment each others posts without making it dull for people who subscribe to both of you.
It’s always good to do this even if you’re not going to work with a brand. “I don’t cover [topic X], however, have you seen [blog]?” is a much politer way to say “Thanks, but no thanks”

Those are just a few suggestions on how to share the love – I’d love to hear yours though!

iFabbo London Conference 2012

Photo from the iFabbo Facebook page by Three Little Buhos

An ashamedly long time ago (ok, about a month, but still, faaaar too long in terms of blogging), I headed over to London at a time that shouldn’t really exist on a Saturday for the first iFabbo bloggers conference. For those of you who don’t know, iFabbo is an organisation for beauty, fashion and lifestyle bloggers. They’re a pretty international organisation, which is good to see where other blogger organisations seem to forget that things happen outside of the US. (in much the same way that PR’s seem to forget that theres a whole country outside of Zone 1 in London.) This was their first international, and I think first overall, conference.

This was my first blogger conference as well, since the IFB one last September was cancelled last minute. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, although the schedule was all online, and almost didn’t go, since I wasn’t sure I could justify spending so much money on a ticket and train if I was about to become unemployed. I mentioned this on Twitter, and amazingly, Sinead from iFabbo offered to buy a ticket for me. Yay for random acts of kindness! (I managed to get my train ticket even cheaper too by exchanging some of my Tesco Clubcard vouchers for RedSpottedHanky vouchers, which meant it cost about £15 return when it should have been closer to £40.)

The conference was at Kettners, a beautiful venue that reminded me slightly of Goldbrick House. The room we were in was lovely and dark, but unfortunately, the air con couldn’t quite cope with so many bodies on one of the hottest days of the year!

The talks covered things like how to monetize your blog, with affiliate links making up the biggest part of it. Perhaps this was because of who the main sponsor was, but it was interesting to hear the different ways, like RewardStyle and Skimlinks, that people can use these sort of links. (I’ve blogged here previously about what I think about affiliate links, and at the end, about Skimlinks.)

Other talks included building relationships with PR’s (something I’ve never been keen to do, because I don’t like the pushy side of blogging, but I’ve realised that I need to get the bloggers map more known, and to do that, I need to promote myself. Any tips on that?), how to turn your blog into a full time thing (I’m not sure I’d ever want to do that, even if I could, because I love working in finance! Nerd.), using social media to promote yourself and photography, which unfortunately was a bit too much about Instagram. (to me, Instagram is just for snaps, not promotion or anything else!)

I tried to force myself to talk to people, but I still feel like I should have met more bloggers! I must stop hiding away.

Overall, it was a really useful event. I have a notebook full of ideas and notes, and I’d love to see more events like this, especially around the country next time! Thank you so much Sinead for inviting me :)

Review: Fashion 2.0

There aren’t many books around that are targeted at fashion (and beauty) bloggers – in fact, I think it’s just this one. Fashion 2.0 was written by Yuli Ziv, a blogger in the US who has been able to grow her blog into a business. She founded Style Coalition in 2008 as a network to help bloggers monetize their blogs.

I grabbed this book from Amazon just before Christmas when it was offered for free on Kindle. I enjoyed the book so much that I knew I would want to be able to quickly refer to parts so bought it in paperback.

The main chapters in the book are planning, content, relationships and revenue. It might seem strange to have panning before content, but I find that when I plan out what I want to blog about, then the actual writing of the content is a lot easier. Even as a long time blogger, I still found sections of the planning section to be incredibly relevant – it is crazy to think that just because you’ve been doing this for a while, you don’t need any help.

The first part of chapter 1 is about commitment, and it seems like a scary sort of thing – this almost put me off because I don’t want to be a full time blogger, but reading into it, it was more about what sort of commitment you can give – we all know far too well that blogging takes more time than just dashing off a post here and there.

Writing a blog business plan is one of the suggestions in this chapter, and it might seem like a bit of an extreme thing to do, but sometimes, getting things written down is the best way of planning out what you want to do next.

Each chapter is separated by a Q and A section with some successful bloggers – people like Gala Darling and Jessica Quirk are asked about how they started, and how they built their audience. At the end of each Q&A, there are action points – quite a handy list really!

The relationships section is about not just the obvious of connecting with your readers, but fellow bloggers (“Make other bloggers your daily sources of inspiration, not your daily source of envy”) and PR’s. It then goes on to talk about attending industry events (like LFW!), building relationships with brands and then deciding who you want to work with in the future as a motivational tool.

The final chapter about revenue which is usually quite a contentious issue in the UK blogging community at least. It seems like whenever someone is making money off their blog, there are others trying to tear them down – and while I hate the argument “they hate because they’re jealous”, in this situation, it’s usually quite true. This chapter talks about when to and when not to ask for money – things that are relevant to everyone, not just bloggers.

This is a great book, one to read and dip into constantly. I’d recommend it not just for people starting a blog, but for those who are unsure of where they are going (I feel like I’m in this group!) or just want some extra guidance. You can get it from Amazon in paperback* or on your Kindle*.

As an aside, you’re probably thinking “Why buy the physical copy when you got the digital one for free?”. I’ve blogged previously about how I love digital copies of books for the ease of transport, so this might seem an odd choice. Firstly: having read more and more ebooks, I find that its a great form for books that you read in one go, much less so for books you want to pick bits out of. This is definitely a book for me where I read it cover to cover, but I can see that I will probably want to reference specific bits in it at one time. The other reason is that I am really unimpressed with the Kindle app, and I worry that I wont be able to read the books I’ve bought in the future. This story is from 2009, but shows that Amazon have quite a bit of power – perhaps the cloud isn’t the best place sometimes. I actually went back to the Kindle app (on iPad) a few weeks after starting the book, and couldn’t find my book. For some reason, the Kindle app decided to archive the half read book…why?!

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