Moderator Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly

As it turned out, Modly Chic’s Friend Friday question was to list the five most important things you have learned since blogging. I think I learned most of them this past week at the blogger’s conference in Austin, so I will finish that up today with a re-cap of the last two panels.



Texas Style Council Bloggers Conference: Panel 4: Authenticity & an Audience: Writing Well When Others are Watching


Panelists: Indiana of Adored Austin ; Jen of Jen Loves Kev; James of Bleubird Vintage; Moderator: Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly






I loved this panel mostly because we got to meet three young wives and mothers with their priorities in order and their heads on straight. In fact, Indiana and James had husbands and children in the audience while they talked! Indiana has actually been blogging since 1999, when Blogger came to the University of Texas and sought students for an experiment to see if blogging would attract an audience! She was one of the original guinea pigs! James has been blogging for the last 6 ½ years, and on this panel, Jen was the new kid on the block.

Jen, Indiana, James: Impressive Moms!



Authenticity was defined as what makes you approachable…the girl next door…transparent…personal…. The main point of the panel: DEPTH OF CONTENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN REACH.


All agreed that they write exactly how they talk. They keep a conversation going online as if they were sitting down with a friend for a little daily girl talk time. Indiana said that the only thing she chooses not to do is air her dirty laundry online…if she is in an argument with her husband, her audience will not know that. Yet, James disagreed and said that part of being real for her is to tell her audience if life is not good at home or of her day has been awful.


The stand out moment of this panel came with Indiana. Her blog features affordable clothing and looks that any budget can handle. Therefore, she does not accept any merchandising gifts that she currently does not have the money in the bank for. She does not want to be a hypocrite and thinks once you set guidelines, you should stick by them. Once a merchandiser sent her a diamond bracelet hoping she would style it and write about it, but Indiana sent it back because she did not have the money to personally afford it. That’s integrity …impressive…and attractive when building a following.

Indiana practices what she
preaches!



I want to say here, that the conference was where I learned some blogger’s are being inundated with negative comments. I was surprised that this type of blogging would attract the cyber bully language prevalent on news websites, but it obviously does. James said that some are quick to question her decisions as a mother and will let her know if they think she is off track. Unfortunately, sweet Jen returned home to a sick baby and a few negative comments on her blog. While showered with support, she still had at least two women who gave her a piece of their minds right down to criticizing copy editing techniques. It is sad that a computer will empower some who are too chicken to say what they think to a person’s face. Here is the link to the conversation which occurred this week on Jen’s site:Jen Loves Kev .






Panel 5: Creating Communities: Deeper Connections both Online and offline


Dave of Etsy; Kendi of Kendi Everyday; and Susan of Modcloth….Moderator: Indiana of Adored Austin

Dave, Susan, Kendi!!

 



We closed out with the big guns! Etsy has 17 million members and represents 400,000 shop owners; Modcloth has 170,000 fans (and Susan began when she was just 17!); and Kendi now has over 20,000 subscribers!


Indiana began with this question: What are practical ways to get loyal readers?


Kendi said that she began by following other remix groups on Flickr and that helped her to find the audience she was seeking. She said that if she relates to something going on, then she knows her readers will relate to it. She is looking for mutual benefits for both when making promotion decisions. Dave said to find your own voice; be yourself and create connections; and be very visual. Finally, Susan said to view you as a brand that needs to be marketed.


Dave stressed that it is important to take your presence offline and be seen and heard in the community. “You should be looking for a unique point of view and promoting that point of view in any way that makes sense.” He recommended the website meetup.com as a way to seek like- minded people in your town for networking.


For me, Dave gave the most concrete advice in this panel and I wrote about it on my Express News site, so please check it out at  My SA City Brights.






Also, Caroline Wexler of Lucky Magazine was there, so you might see future coverage in their publication!!

Laurel at Trophy Boutique takes it all
in!!











CONCLUSIONS FROM THE CONFERENCE:


1. Attending a conference is worth the time! I learned a lot and networked with many knowledgeable people.


2. It is possible to become professional, but will take a boatload of work. Each blogger has to decide if they are willing to put that time into it….or is having a fun hobby just enough!


3. Content is Critical! Therefore, it is worth the time to develop an editorial calendar.


4. The blog is a brand…whether you are selling a concrete product or not…therefore it is worth the time to write a business plan and media kit.


5. Opportunity exists for everyone. The business world is changing…the economy has changed it…the Internet has changed it…so, for the innovative, diligent, unique blogger, there is much opportunity out there.

Just had to hit Amy’s Ice Cream before
I left town and see the clothes at
Strut!  Thanks for a great
day Texas Style Council and for all
of your hard work in putting this
together!!





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