So last night I flew out of the office like a bat out of hell in my Forever 21 ensemble to catch the overground up town for the Company Magazine Blogging Forum at Kings College. Having avidly read Company Magazine since my early teens, I was majorly excited about meeting the team and the panel; Susie Lau aka Susie Bubble, Rhiannon Ashlee from FashionRocksMy Socks, Oh My Love’s PR and Social Media Manager Sally Burlison, Roxanne Nejad from Boohoo.com and Handpicked Media’s Managing Director Krista Madden as well as other fellow bloggers!
I always feel sort of nervous before I go to any event alone (which is most of the time!) but I think the free glass of champers helped to break the ice and I bumped into one of my classmates from uni- the talented Sonila Reka from My Daily London and winner of Company’s Best Designed Blog at this year’s awards! So it was awesome to have a catch-up and of course to meet and share tips with other bloggers, such as the lovely Adora Mehitabel (Company’s best Thrifty Blog winner) and Natasha from Bisous Natasha (Best Style blog).
We had a chance to mingle before and after the panel discussion and while we were sipping our bubbly, we also got given super cute lollipops (pictured) courtesy of Candy Kittens UK. Founded by Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, Candy Kittens is a fashion and confectionery company that aims to make sweet treats look chic. See…they’re not just for kids!
I quickly rummaged through my goodie bag before the forum started which included;
*Batiste Dry Shampoo (a girl can never have enough!)
*Yuko leave-in conditioner
*An awesome little organiser provided by Filofax and Temperley London which doubles up as a clutch too- handy!
*Halo miniature eye make-up remover pads
*Cawston Press Sparkling Apple and Rhubarb fruit juice (surprisingly yummy!)
*An Alpro soya dessert pot
*A 15% off voucher for Urban Outfitters (hiiiiii there, new bag!)
*And last but not least, a copy of July’s Company Magazine, of course!
Company’s Editor Victoria White led the panel discussion and there was a chance for us to ask our own questions at the end. One of the things that I feel was the biggest topic of conversation was content. As Susie Bubble pointed out, the blogosphere is very crowded and there are sooooo many personal style blogs out there, that it is hard to stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself and your blog. All of the panel agreed that it is important to blog about what you feel passionate about, be original with your content and try and find a niche within a wider genre. For example, Sally from OhMyLove said that she loves En Brogue, a blog dedicated to flat shoes!
When asked how often you should post, Susie said that “It’s quality of content that will hold people’s loyalty to your blog,” and Krista added that “Posting 7 times a day may be overwhelming and if you’ve written a really good piece, it could get lost amongst them all.” I’m trying to post more myself at the moment and I’m constantly looking at ways to improve the design of Essex and The City as well as providing different angles when it comes to content. However at the same time, I don’t want to completely bombard my readers and obviously, work and other commitments can get in the way. As much as I’d love to post every single day, I simply don’t have the time! I also feel that if I sit down and try and force myself to write something, lack of inspiration (or motivation) can result in a poorly-written, pointless post and as a Journalism graduate, I really like to focus on the quality of my content.
One of the other key points made during the forum was the fact that fashion bloggers in particular, shouldn’t feel pressured to go out and splash their cash on expensive clothing and accessories, just because it’s the “must-have,” item for the season. 1) We don’t all have the salaries to do this 2) Not all trends suit everyone and I’d never buy something that I knew would be a waste of money and 3) As much as I do love writing about fashion, admittedly I am quite self-conscious when it comes to posting Today I’m Wearing…pics. In time, maybe. As Roxanne from BooHoo pointed out, it’s always really nice to have Wish lists as your content and mood boards on Pinterest are an awesome way of expressing your style and showing what inspires you without going into your overdraft!
The panel also expressed a massive aversion for monetising your blog. It is off-putting when ads are splashed around someone’s posts and it can make your site look too busy and a bit like a tabloid. Krista asked “Is it really worth £5 a month to put ads on your site, if only a couple of people are clicking on them?” Adverts rely on high traffic and if you’re just starting out with your blog, it really isn’t worth the expense. Sure, buy your domain so that you can customise more creatively but when you write for monetary purposes, it’ll show.
My blog first began on blogspot when I was doing my ‘A’ Levels because a couple of my friends had created one and I liked the fact that it was an online platform for me to express my views, seeing as I wanted to study Journalism and also probably consisted of emotional ramblings at the tender age of 17. We then had to create a blog as part of one of our modules when I got to university and having been taught by our tutors how to get the most out of WordPress, I felt that it was a better platform for me to work with. As much as we’d all love to have a career from blogging, for me it’s a hobby where I can showcase my writing skills as an online portfolio almost and a place where I share my passion for the things in life I love.