Surrounded by an army of well dressed, perfectly manicured men and women, Lucky magazine's Fashion and Beauty Blog Conference felt straight out of The Devil Wears Prada. There were Louboutins and feathers, of course--but the most important accessories any of the guests had on hand was without a doubt their business cards. Bloggers came from all over the country to network and listen in on insight from speakers like the Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, Rachel Zoe, The Man Repeller's Leandra Medine, Simon Doonan and reality TV star-turned-fashion designer/blogger Lauren Conrad. Naturally, awesomeness ensued. Here's what I learned.
1. Develop a Point of View
Personal Style blogs are pretty cookie cutter (clean minimal design, large, clear photographs of Zara shoes & J. Crew skirts), so a unique touch to set you apart from the crowd is critical to the relevancy of your content. The minute you find a key, interesting element, the readers will start pouring in. Take the Man Repeller's Leandra Medine. Medine, a (hilarious) speaker on a panel with Fashionista's own Leah Chernikoff, started her blog a mere two years ago, but because of her voice and entertaining concept she experienced a meteoric rise to the top.
"My professor would always say 'Look who is on the cover of WWD today, but think about who will be on it tomorrow.'" said Anna Sui when asked about the best advice she ever received. Simon Doonan quickly added, "Today's peacock is tomorrow's feather duster."
"You have to pay attention. You have to constantly think, 'What do people like? What are they paying attention to?' And look at the numbers every month," said Conrad about her blog, The Beauty Department.
2. Be Pleasant and Work Together.
If there is one thing I learned this weekend it's that the fashion industry is extremely small. Being unkind to anyone in the industry, no matter how lowly, can come back to haunt you. John Jannuzzi, Style Collective Editor of Lucky, told the crowd in between sessions, "You can't get to mega status without working with other people, so turn to the person next you and talk." He recommended setting up a link exchange or making some sort of deal to help promote each other's blogs in a way that would be mutually beneficial.
"Always be nice to people. Don't step on people to get where you want to in this business," said Rachel Zoe on working with others.
3. For Every Bad Comment there are 37 Nice Ones
It's no secret that the Internet brings out the worst in people, especially when it comes to the comments section. Medine told us about the meanest comment she ever received, which said, "Die Jew."
"If you're menstruating [the comments] are going to be worse," she said with smile.
The best advice is to take the high road and simply delete the comments or block the user, when comments are truly and unnecessarily nasty. We don't recommend fighting back because it will only lead to added stress and can cast a pessimistic shadow on the reputation of your blog. No one likes to hangout with people who are overly defensive (even when it's deserved), so don't take what one unsupportive reader says to heart. Instead, take the time to reply to everyone who has said nice things about your blog.
4. Write About What You Love
Writing a blog and working for yourself requires a lot of perseverance and self discipline, so what you are focusing on needs to be something that you are passionate about. Without interest in your topic, the reader feels as disconnected as you do. The entire day in the sessions, I felt like I was surrounded by people who were absolutely enamored with the world of blogging. Walking around during the event, I heard casual conversations about HTML, Google Analytics, and camera lenses. Though personal style blogging may not be the most viable as a career, it was apparent that this crowd was passionate about improving their blogs. Only get into blogging if it is something you really love, for the best and most successful bloggers are those who put an immense amount of time into them.
"When you do multiple things you love, it doesn't feel like work. When you enjoy it so much, you don't mind being busy," Conrad said about balancing her blog and her clothing line.
Lesson learned? Blogging can be a fun and rewarding career, but it doesn't come without stress and responsibilities. With the right tactics, you could be the next Bryan Boy or Jane Aldridge, as long as you are the first "you."