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A Note To A Fledgling Blogger

I answered a post on the forums this eve. It was from a brand new blogger asking about sponsorship, free stuff, early access, blogging events and the like. I thought it might be helpful to a few folks out there that are thinking of joining the ever-growing ranks of Those That Blog.

Here is what I wrote:

Five plus years and well over 3500 posts, I may have some insights *wink*.

First of all there is often a difference between "early access" and "official blogger". Early access gets you into a venue before the crowds descend (like Hair Fair).

"Official blogger" MAY or MAY NOT have strings attached. Sometimes samples, hunt prizes and the like are put into the group pool (there is most often a group involved). Sometimes there is a list of "approved bloggers" that designers can -- if they choose -- send items too. There is no guarantee they will send and there is often no guarantee that the bloggers will blog.

There are actually very few venues that have chain-like strings and criteria. These should be noted on the blog sign up sheet or in the notecard you received. If they expect you to blog everything? Well that doesn't work for me, but starting out it might be OK for you. You are the one that has to decide.

Ask questions.

I am not really sure what your mention of "sponsor" covers. Normally those are people who put ads on the sides of some blogs (Blogger doesn't let you do that and I hate ads so wouldn't do it anyway). Maybe you mean you have been asked to be in a blogger group?

Whatever -- the important thing, now and forever in my mind, is to make sure you LIKE what you are blogging and respect the designers, their work ethic and their customer service record. You are connecting yourself with them after all.

It takes awhile to climb your way up the blogger mountain. It is a long journey, hopefully fun and if you are lucky filled with little dra-ma. Eventually if you do a good job, keep your reputation clean and earn the respect of the blogging community and the designers -- you get to blog for some of the best. It won't happen over night.

If you are in doubt about a designer who has asked you to blog for them, get some demos and CERTAINLY visit the shop. Don't start blogging for someone just because they asked - LOL. I know it might be tempting, but it could hurt you in the long run.

Good blogging is not about the "free stuff". It is about doing your part in the giant wheel of fashion and design. Bloggers ARE important, but how important depends on skill, commitment, attention to detail and -- morals.

Go forth. Learn. Grow, Enjoy. 

That was good for me to write on many levels and hopefully helped her a bit.

And on a personal note -- now and then even those most savvy of us can get sucked into something we later regret. That happened to me this last month. I can't go back. Deleting a post is immaterial since you all read it long long ago. What I can do is not make that same mistake again. Giving someone a second chance is a good thing -- one that often comes with a hard set of lessons.

Thanks to all the designers I "blog for". I do indeed respect your work and work ethics or you would not be in that sidebar *wink*.


Thank you so much for this post. I still consider myself a "baby blogger", having been at it for about seven months and being just shy of 200 posts. I have done one (unsolicited) review, for which I received the product (after the fact) and have some regrets now about that due to some issues with the item that I could not have possibly known at the time of my post (they came after the item was released). That is the one post I have regretted doing and I am even now considering posting an update. It's really easier on my conscience to blog items that I have purchased because I love them.

I didn't get into blogging for "free stuff". I did it because I enjoy doing it, honing my photography and writing skills, making new friends and mostly, for the satisfaction of publishing *my* view of this virtual world we all call home.

I have managed to do all of the above. I have picked up some loyal followers and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment that a few folks have come to enjoy my take on things and it gives me the incentive to try to improve. I don't keep a close eye on stats, but when I do check, I'm interested to see what posts have drawn the most traffic. I'm proud to say my tutorials, although few, are in the top seven posts (including my Home and About pages). It's nice to know I'm giving a little bit back :)

You have been one of my blogging heroes since I discovered your blog over three years ago. I am awed by your stamina (so many multiple posts in a single day!), your writing and photography skills and your integrity.

I certainly hope the blogger whose post you replied to heeds your advice. Wise words from a seasoned chronicler like yourself should be given the weight they deserve.

Thank you, Chic :)

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