I was lucky enough to attend & moderate the Balancing Business & Blogging panel at the Independent Fashion Blogger’s conference last week. Since the video’s not up, I can’t link to what was actually SAID, but I do want to try and recap a couple of the most important points while they’re still (relatively) fresh in my mind.
If you watched the live stream of the conference, or followed it on twitter, of course you know that Ari Goldberg (StyleCaster) was the star of the panel; I knew the second I started talking to him backstage that I could count on him to pull out the big guns and tell it like it is, and he did NOT disappoint!! But I was also very impressed by all the panelists, including Coco Rocha, Kristina, Natalie, Aimee & Annie from bellaSugar.
Two points that I thought were particularly Important:
You MUST be able to talk about yourself. Period. This came up in response to a question from the audience – she didn’t feel comfortable talking about herself & coming up with a mission statement for her blog. Ari suggested she crowd source her mission statement by asking friends/readers to help her craft it, which isn’t a bad idea, but at the end of the day, you WILL HAVE to talk about yourself and your blog. Which was a point I tried to make before moving on to the next question. There’s no way around it, if you want your blog to be your business, or if you want any sort of recognition at all, you have to have an elevator pitch for your blog (a quick statement that you tells someone about your blog in the time it would take to ride an elevator a floor or two), and you have to craft a mission statement, about page, and a media kit.
As bloggers, we forget that we are also entrepreneurs. You may not realize it yet, and you may not want to turn your blog into your career, but when you start a blog and put effort into it, you are putting YOURSELF out there and taking a risk that you might fail, something that entrepreneurs do everyday. And as an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to get out there, to put it on the line, to succeed, and the only way you’re going to do that is by marketing yourself.
Ultimately, it shouldn’t be that difficult to talk about yourself – as a blogger, you’re probably already doing it. Why did you start your blog? What do you write about everyday? who is your reader? All these things should go in your mission statement. And as for getting up the nerve to talk about & sell yourself in person, sorry, but you’re going to have to just suck it up and do it.
(and I thought all bloggers were narcissists )
Annie from bellaSugar made so many amazing points during the panel, I can’t recall all of them, but one that really struck a chord with me, and that we discussed afterwards is that we, as women, often undervalue ourselves. We don’t ask for raises, we do too much for free…basically, we don’t ask for what we want. Here’s the thing: if you ask for what you want, you may not get it. But if you DON’T ask for what you want, you will definitely NOT get it. Makes sense, but we always hesitate to ask – I know I used to. We think we don’t deserve that much money, or we’re just generally unsure of ourselves, so we don’t ask for what WE want, we settle for what we’re given, or what we’re offered.
Of course, if you ask for too much, you probably won’t get it; you have to be reasonable, given how much time you put into the project and how much your readers are “worth.” And here again Annie made a great point on how to determine how much to ask for: think about how much you need to make per hour and use that as a guideline. For simple advertisements on your blog, this may not be appropriate, but for ongoing projects or giveaways, it can be very helpful to think in terms of an hourly wage.
There’s no science to figuring out how much to charge for ads or projects related to your blog, it’s more of an art. For me, it involved a bit of trial and error; if you’re asking for too much, no one’s going to bite, but if you’re asking for too little, your supply will never keep up with demand, for example, if all your ad space is sold out and you have a waiting list, you’re not charging enough for your ad space.
Again, whether or not you want your blog to make money, or become your career or use it as a launching point for something else, it is a reflection of YOU and you should treat it as such. The design should be clean, it should look professional and be easy to navigate, have an about page, a mission statement or editorial policy, a media kit…you get the point. Only when YOU start to treat your blog like a business will other people start to SEE it as one. And even if you don’t want to turn it into a business, what’s the harm in others believing it already IS?
I will post more about my thoughts on the conference and the Balancing Business and Blogging panel this week, but in the mean time, here are some posts/pictures by other bloggers:
If you were there, what did you think of the Balancing Business & Blogging panel? What were your favorite points?
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.