On 8 November, Hanzky and I spent almost all day at the British Council UK Fashion Now Corner Plaza Senayan. We were invited to the Blogger’s Workshop with Kristin Knox along with Diana Rikasari and Michelle Koesnadi as guest speakers for the workshop. I had a chance to learn something new from them and I’m glad I came to the workshop. If you’d like to find out more about blogging, especially fashion blogging, keep reading!
Kristin Knox is a fashion journalist and blogger of The Clothes Whisperer. Kristin covers Fashion Week all over the world, posts her personal style, interprets fashion style from books, and captures fashion from a different angle which differentiates her from other bloggers. The workshop itself of course wouldn’t be complete without our very own Indonesian blogger, Diana Rikasari from Hot Chocolate and Mint, and Michelle Koesnadi from Glisters and Blisters.
Diana opened the workshop by sharing her blogging story which she started in 2007. She compiled her blog journey in 3 stages:
- Getting recognized by the media. Media coverage of your blog is beneficial for you because it increases awareness of your work and in turn increases blog traffic.
- Monetizing through sponsors. When people and the media started to recognize you, you’ll get sponsors. By reviewing products, featuring certain pieces in your blog post, promoting some products or links, etc. will result in some cash compensation courtesy of your sponsors. Diana shared her experience when she was in her early stage of blogging, that at first, she accepted ALL PRODUCTS happily (who doesn’t love free stuff?). But at some point, she became very overwhelmed and was no longer happy with how her blog looked and sounded- it felt sponsored. Now, she carefully chooses her sponsors to avoid making the same mistake.
- Establishing yourself in the “real” fashion world. Get invited to Fashion Week, be a host for a local designer’s event/show, anything related to fashion would help you become a credible fashion blogger.
After Diana, it was time for Kristin. She showed her first post back in 2009- a small photo, a very short paragraph. Diana admitted she didn’t know what she was writing about. I think everyone has the same experience, and if we looked back at our very first blog post, it would just make us laugh and say, “What was I thinking?” LOL.
Banner >> Layout >> Design is very important in a blog. The clearer the banner, the better it would be. I couldn’t agree more. It’s very distracting when you see a very loud banner, and to add more, when your banner is humongous, your readers would have to scroll down to see the very first post. Please keep in mind, ladies, that these three are very crucial for your blog. You can really tell someone’s personality and character by how her/his blog looks. And if you want to take this blogging thing to another level, please make sure you “present” yourself nicely.
Kristin said this more than once, and I can tell this is very important: Find your USP (Unique Selling Point). You have to stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of bloggers out there. What makes your blog more attractive than others? What value do you have? What makes you unique?
Kristin also shared on how to build off blogging as a Media Genre. She pointed out three important points:
- Immediacy – People want information quickly. You’d have to be up-to-date and aware of new information and trends.
- Newness of genre – Find a new genre, again, based on your UPS, you can write something different. Make sure you give something fresh for your reader. If everyone write the same thing from the same angle, nothing special about it.
- Image-driven – Post photos. Not a photo from a mobile phone. If you don’t have a budget to buy a DSLR camera, it’s okay to use a digital camera. Don’t be lazy to edit your photo! Saturation, brightness, contrast, image size, etc. are important. Great photos will result in readers to come back to your blog.
Talking about difference, Kristin emphasized to find something that is different than others. If everyone is trying to take a full body-length photo of a famous fashion icon, find something unique about your object. Maybe you can focus on her shoes, her reaction, expression, his hat, the color of his jacket that reminds you of something. Be it candid or not, it is important to capture a moment. If everyone is talking about the same thing from a fashion show, ask the designer different questions. But first thing first, do your homework. Before arriving to a fashion show or any fashion events, you have to know the designer’s background (not every single detail of course, but at least you should know the big story of the designer), how to spell her/his name, and the name of label/brand/collection, find if his/her show has been mentioned on Twitter or Instagram. Also, make sure you use your social media wisely. If you are attending a fashion show, show some teasers on your Instagram or Twitpic the photo “Post coming soon!” It would be great if your blog, Twitter, Instagram or whatever social media account that you have are integrated to make your job a little easier.
Another tip that Kristin gave is candid moments are always interesting to see. Take candid photos and tell your readers what you really see in them and share your honest point of view. Shoot everything that you can, you can pick the best ones later.
These are the “Don’ts” for bloggers or even for those who’d like to start fashion blogging. These are important things to avoid:
- Don’t nick pictures/text from Style.com or elsewhere
- Don’t pretend you were at a show when you weren’t because you think you “should” be covering something
- Don’t write what everyone is writing. Write YOUR own impression of the show/collection. There is no wrong or right way to write a review.
After Kristin, it was Michelle’s turn. It was her first time ever, speaking in an event, but I could tell how informative her presentation was. Generally speaking, blogging is not considered as a “proper job,” a lot of people think blogging is just as a hobby. Blogging is also considered as “free advertising,” which means no cash compensation for the writer. She also said most elders still believe that traditional desk job is what’s best for their children and grandchildren. As you can see, Michelle broke the mold. She considers herself as professional bloggers, makes business from her blog, and provides photography and styling services. Very impressive for a 20 year- old!
After the talk session and a short discussion, we went on to watch the fashion show for our case study. We reviewed the show afterwards, and Kristin gave helpful input for each of our answers. You have to push yourselves to make a good and clear writing, write your first impression of a look, and that could be anything. If you think of a bird’s nest after seeing a certain look, just write it down. You can pick something unique from your notes later for your post.
And that’s pretty much everything from the workshop. I learned a lot from this experience, and I hope you learn something useful too by reading this article. Now, let’s blog!!!