For the last few weeks, I've participated in the #BlogTrends Twitter Chat on Monday nights at 8:00PM CST. Last night, the topic was Life/Blog Balance, but there have been others on monetizing your blog, building your brand and engaging your community. All of this got me thinking about the resources that I use for this blog. I wanted to share my favorites and how I use them with you.
BUILDING, NURTURING, AND ENGAGING YOUR BLOG COMMUNITY
This is probably the one that is most important to me because I started this blog as a way to explore and define what my personal style is. I feel that when I started and especially when I need security, I tend toward the safe, bland and boring. It's hard for me to stay motivated to step outside of my comfort zone and reach for items I wouldn't normally wear such as colored jeans, neon brights, etc. At the end of the day, that is where I want to go. I want to be just as comfortable in neon or yellow jeans, but I want to continue staying true to my lifestyle. It definitely raise eyebrows if I showed up in the carpool lane decked out in a feather and tulle ball skirt. I use the following resources to find new blogs and engage with others who share my interest in fashion, style and everything to do with shoes.
Independent Fashion Bloggers
IFB has a great community forum, but my favorite section of this website is ChicGeek where you can get tips on how to add plug-ins and transition to become your own self-hosted blog or what apps you have to have on your iPad. They also have Blogging Tips where you can get ideas for upcoming blogs or participate in their weekly blog projects. I am currently participating in their 365 Project, but I desperately need to update my photos - I'm taking them every day, I just haven't updated in a few weeks!
This was the first community I joined and I loved how warm and friendly everyone has been, plus IFB hosts their own major Fashion Bloggers Conference to coincide with New York City's Fashion Week each season. This past February was the first time I attended and it was great to put a face to some of my favorite blogs as well as get insight from bloggers who are much more popular and successful. My recap of my first conference is here and lessons learned are here.
This webiste is newer, but it has quickly filled a major void in the fashion, lifestyle and beauty blogging world. Blog Trends scours the web to find the absolute best tips for photography, content and blogging and is building a resource library that is very finely curated. The forum is another very friendly way of discovering new blogs about the things that interest you and finding resources for things you didn't even know about such as what to do when you've been plagiarized. There are regional and local groups and if there isn't one for your area, you can start one! I started the group for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to organize local resources, meet-ups or even local presence at national conferences.
One of easiest ways to stay engaged with readers and the blogging community is to stay in touch through various apps. My favorites are below:
Twitter - Follow @ScorchingStyle
Most bloggers, readers and people in general, have a twitter account these days. It is a great way to stay in contact with everyone even when you aren't creating a post. I like to follow a mix of bloggers, celebrities, non-profits and friends. One of the best ways to engage using Twitter is to join chats when they happen. I admit that I was a total newbie to chats and Morgan was the one that told me about them and how beneficial they are. I found both #stylechat and #blogtrends and haven't looked back! I've discovered that #stylechat is more geared towards styling tips and outfit help while #blogtrends is more about blogging in general. Some of my favorite people to follow on twitter are: @blog_trends for blogging tips, tutorials and chat reminders; @ninagarcia for styling tips, red carpet coverage and interesting fashion news and articles; @InsideFMM for blogging and fashion marketing news; and @DKNYPRGirl for a perfect example of how to live a Twitter life and realtime tweets of your favorite shows like MadMen and Gossip Girl.
I love Instagram for photos that don't make it to my blog, don't want on my blog, and have nothing to do with my blog. Because I am participating on the 365 Project I mentioned above, I found way back in January that it was hard to find subjects to photograph every single day. I found a user on Instagram (@fatmumslim) that creates monthly prompts for photos in her #photoaday projects. I joined the thousands and thousands of people who participate now. Sometimes, I take the photos on my SLR, sometimes on my iPhone, but I take a photo everyday and it's so much easier to complete my project now that I have a prompt each day even if I don't use it everyday. My recommended people to follow are: @LeeOliveira for awesome street fashion photography from around the world, @AngryJulie for cool pix and great tips; @blaireadiebee for fabulous personal style and great photo effects.
Pose - Follow @ScorchingStyle
This is a fabulous app if you are a style or beauty blogger. Similar to Instagram, you upload your photos, but this app is dedicated to fashion so all the photos are of clothes, shoes and nail polish. The great thing is that you tag each item to identify what you are wearing. Similar to your blog, but much more compact! I follow @lawoffashion and @shelceyc and most recently the amazing @rachelzoe .
What are your favorite apps and who do you follow? Where do you go for great blogging resources?