They’re on your Instagram feed, they’re lining the sidewalks before every store grand opening, they’re snapping photos in every brick-lined alley in town—they’re the fashion and lifestyle bloggers of DC.
There are hundreds of them in the area, and last night, they packed the back room of the Gryphon for the next in the series of Blogger Scene events, which was launched by The Fashionably Broke sisters Erika and Natalie Pinto and Ashley Lettich of AshleyInDC in the summer of 2013. These events are part cocktail party, part seminar, what the trio has labeled “parties with a purpose.”
After mixing and mingling for an hour, the organizers corralled the bloggers for a 30-minute panel discussion by some of the area’s top bloggers: Julien Garman of It’s Julien, Alicia Tenise of Alicia Tenise, Cheralee Lyle of Miss Lyle Style, and Alison Coglianese of Ally Cog. If you’re among the many hoping to achieve blog domination—or even, as one blogger joked at the event, “hoping to break 10K” in Instagram followers—then read on for the panel’s best advice.
- Stop waiting for brands to come to you. According to Coglianese, you can’t just wait for Free People to ring you up, looking for a collaboration because of your super-chic blog. Recommendations for alternative methods included pitching a lookbook concept, proposing an Instagram takeover, and keeping an eye out for how other bloggers are collaborating with the brands they wanted to score with.
- Get some legal help. Tenise told the crowd that she had hired a lawyer to draft a contract so she could make sure that any brand she agrees to so much as Tweet about holds up their end of the deal.
- Track your progress. Want brands to take you seriously? Show numbers—more than followers, they want to see conversions, says Stephanie David, founder of the PopNod shopping app. Lyle recommends Iconosquare, which provides metrics for tracking your Instagram efficiency.
- Have a personality. When asked about how to create “clickable content,” the responses were unanimous: Be personable. That perfectly filtered shot of your flaky croissant and creamy latte at that amazing hole-in-the-wall cafe that you love? Go for it—you do you, blogger.
- Above all, love your competition. “Everybody hug the person on your left,” said Natalie Pinto. “That was a joke—but you can if you want to.” Though Tenise had recently collaborated with Ann Taylor—a big score for a blogger—her fellow panelists admitted while they were jealous, ultimately they were happy for her.