#1 Panel Discussions: Taking You to the Next Level!

Tolly (L) and Jessie (R) prepare to go on stage for their panel.  Jessie began with a
blog and now is a stylist in the New York area!

It is encouraging to have so many of you ask for more information from last weekend’s panel discussions, and for those wondering WHERE ARE YOUR OUTFIT POSTS???? ….they will return soon! I hope that all of us will benefit from information shared at the social media conference sponsored by the Texas Style Council.

Charmie’s shoes!

One thing evident in each session was that the room was buzzing….vibrant with movers & shakers partnering with future movers & shakers. These young entrepreneurs are out there making things happen and taking web businesses to new levels.

Matt heads up Austin Fashion Week

I listened to my first panel from backstage. THINK LOCAL, GO NATIONAL which began the discussion of ways to put the idea of “DREAM BIGGER” from the keynote speech into action. The panel was moderated by Tolly of Austin Eavesdropper; and the panel included Camille of Camille Styles, Jessica of Style and Pepper; Charmie of Rae Cosmetics and Matt of Launch 787 and Austin Fashion Week.

 They discussed:

1. The importance of networking! Attend conferences, get out, meet as many people as you can and exchange businesses cards with them.

2. Have courage…don’t hold back…act on your ideas.

3. Ask to do things for people you want to work with. You never know what can open up.

4. Offer to be a contributor to sites you want to be associated with.

5. Grow and solidify your brand by producing high quality work; featuring others on your blog; show off artists nationally and locally on your blog.

6. Matt said to take advantage of what you have…how are you unique?…and what your know?…what do you offer that no one else does. Find your niche and enhance it.

Time for ME!!

And my panel of blonde power hitters (L-R): Cheryl of Fashionably Austin; Jessica of Refinery29; Caroline of Lucky Magazine; and Ann of Cult of Pretty to discuss ways to take writing to the next level!  PANEL 2: AMPED UP WRITING! 

Cute bracelet worn my Betsy of YOU CAN BE CUTE AND COMFORTABLE
Ooops: Back to Writing!!

 When you moderate a panel with so many distinguished guests, you really do not have to worry about time…we could have gone long past the 45 minutes. Hopefully, the audience walked away with some things they could immediately apply.

Here’s Betsy!!  Her new necklace and skirt were great!!

We began with my favorite definition of JOURNALISM: STORY TELLING WITH A PURPOSE. Every blog needs to have a mission statement and a purpose for existence. Understanding that purpose is how you position yourself away from the competition.

A distinctive voice!!

Caroline added, “Think about your voice. What sets your blog or your voice apart. If the header was ripped off, would people know it was yours? Could someone who saw it know that it came from your site. You need to stand apart from the crowd. It has to be so true to your voice that your readers will know it apart from your competition.”

Jessica said, “You can evolve your point of view based on what your readers want. If it doesn’t look good or feel right then it probably isn’t. Excel. Don’t post mediocre. Strive for Excellence.” She also said that the goal is to become a trusted source… the place your readers find something unique, and added value. Communicated with your flavor. Consistency is important and the structure of the posts should create added value. If readers know and trust what they are going to find on your site, then they will continue to come back.

Two voices with original, clear missions!!

All agreed the fashion industry is very connected and we all get each other. This is why networking is critical for progression. A blogger’s mission should also include connecting with the industry.

The second half of the definition is STORY TELLING. I reminded everyone that EVERY PERSON has a story to tell and as a blogger we are always on the job to seek and to tell those stories we know that our readers will want to hear. Here are some comments made by the panelists in this regard:

1. Tie it back to previous posts. Broaden your scope. Tell a story…it will go far.

2. Cheryl said that we she doesn’t really want to do something that is a real good reason why she should. Be willing to take a story into another direction. BE FLEXIBLE. BE ON THE JOB… ALWAYS THINK REPORTER!

3. I told them to always read your work OUT LOUD…no matter how silly you feel…you will hear if it sounds like you…if it is your voice….if it is not, if it sounds like someone you don’t know, then don’t run it.

4. Ann said to get the pure essence of a story as she has learned to do in the Tumblr format. She says her formula is basic good journalism….a dynamic lede, structured information in the middle, and a powerful conclusion which takes you back to where you started.

5. Cheryl said to think outside of the box and look for all opportunities. She also reminded that it is always good to have a second set of eyes laid on your writing for editing purposes. If it doesn’t sound good, then it probably isn’t and will not go far.

6. Caroline reminded us to not use words that we THINK sound good, but are not the way we normally converse. For example, don’t write TRESSES for HAIR. Don’t use trumped up, stuffy words. Just be yourself. She likes to edit from the bottom up and read the story backwards to see how it is.

7. Jessica talked of the importance to let a story evolve and go back in for editing when new information develops.

8. Everyone agreed about the importance of links in your blogs and to make sure it is a direct link to the information you are discussing..

Finally, the phrase “trusted source” was used more than once in this panel. The way you become a trusted source is to get your information correct. If you quote someone, get it right. Quote them correctly. Make sure your information is researched and sound. Think like a reporter!

Tomorrow, I will bring you the information from two more panels and then we will say good-bye to the 2012 Conference and wait in anticipation for next year’s.



  1. Fabulous reporting, Pam. I always take your journalism teachings seriously, and try to implement them. It's so great to have a professional share her knowledge.

  2. Hi Pam,
    A lovely portrait of me!

    Such an amazing symposium, so much food for thought.
    Last year, SpyGirl went from being a personal art/fashion project to full commitment as a fashion blog. This year, SpyGirl might just make the leap from hobby to profession! My voice gets clearer every day.

  3. Hi Pam!

    Very interesting! Got a few projects of my own thanks to networking!
    Wish we had great conference like yours in Mtl
    Blogging is a strange and closed business here, wonder why?

    Take care

    Ariane xxxx

  4. I like YOUR point number 3 and it is something I need to do more often. It has been embarassing how often I've caught myself in a blooper I would mark in a heartbeat on a student's paper!

  5. Another good wrap up! and this is where my blog is sadly lacking. I don't have a clue as to what I am about. I am as much jumbled up on my blog as I am in real life … aggh.

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