BLOG SESSION: Interviewing Bloggers

Blog Layout 1

Tyke Photography

Creating new content for a blog can be challenging at times. If you’re a style blogger, more than likely your posts are outfit-related. But what if outfits aren’t enough for you? One way to add more content and enhance your writing skills is to interview other bloggers. It not only adds more value to your blog, but it also gives the interviewees more exposure. Below, I share a few tips about interviewing bloggers.

Research, Research, Research: Assuming you’re an avid reader of the interviewee’s blog, you may already be familiar with his/her interest(s). But it doesn’t hurt to check out the “about” page. Asking questions that can be answered prior to the interview defeats the purpose of really getting to know the interviewee. I’ve learned this after conducting a few interviews. Better late than never, right?!

Time & Patience: Be sure to give yourself and the interviewee time. The one thing you must have when conducting an interview (via email) is patience. Everyone will not have the same response time. There are different schedules and different time zones to consider. So be mindful of these factors, including your email being sent to a spam folder (automatically). Also, keep in mind that the interviewee may not check his/her email regularly. Chances are, the email address for the blog is not a primary email address.

Handling Rejection: To follow up on the previous paragraph, not getting a response does not necessarily mean your email was overlooked. Sometimes you may get a response after weeks/months have passed. In some cases, you may not get a response at all. Don’t take it personal! Remember there are other bloggers that can be contacted. So try not to focus on one blogger at a time. Think of it as applying for a job. Would you wait around for one company to contact you? I hope not!

There are so many talented bloggers around the world; find a few, but also find out what sets each blogger apart from others.

Questions to Ask: Generic questions seem impersonal. Personalizing the questions will show the interviewee that you’ve truly taken an interest. Also, stick to the area of interest. If you’re interviewee solely blogs about food, asking numerous fashion-related questions may not fit the mold.

Spell Check & Grammar: Check for grammatical errors on both ends. As the interviewer, you want to make sure the questions make sense, and everything is spelled accurately before submitting the questions, and after the interviewee responds. Also check the interviewee’s responses. The interview is not only a representation of the interviewee, but also a reflection of your professionalism.

Approved Final Draft: When the interview is complete, be sure to have the interviewee approve the final draft (assuming adjustments were made). No one wants to be misquoted. If you’re using photographs from the interviewee’s blog, be sure to 1. Get permission 2. Link the photos to the interviewee’s blog and 3. Credit the photographer (if applicable).

I hope you found these tips helpful, and I thank you for stopping by NRJS. As always, I’ll see you next post!

BLOG SESSION: Choosing Titles For Blog Posts

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Image via Chapter Friday

Titles. Either you get them, or you don’t. If you’ve just started a blog, the title of a post could mean the difference between attracting readers and losing them. In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about titles thus far.

Keywords: If you’re not familiar with Wendy’s (of Wendy’s Lookbook) scarf post, you will be. With more than 35 million hits, this video became a global phenomenon. Who says there’s no power in titles? The keyword? Scarf! Now don’t get me wrong, Wendy already had a large following. But I didn’t know about her until I googled “ways to tie a scarf”. So try to use words that will attract readers, but also make sure the keywords are related to your post.

Keep It Simple: The point is to get the attention of readers, not scare them off. Keep the title simple. For instance, one of my most recent posts involved items I barely wore or did not use.  I simply titled the post, Hidden Closet Treasures. I could have named the post, Items in My Closet I Haven’t Worn In A While, but this is too long. Unless your blog is well established, simplicity may be the best option. Just remember to include the keyword(s).

Ask Your Audience: Using titles in the form of a question is another technique that can help keep the attention of your avid readers, and draw a bigger audience. When we see a question, we’re likely to respond. Readers may be apt to leave a comment, which can start a dialogue. In turn, others may want to participate whether they agree/disagree. To make the post more personal, use the words “you” and “your” (in the title) to engage with readers.

The Name Game: Before I posted my first entry (no longer available), I didn’t understand the importance of titles. I knew my content would be fashion-related, but didn’t capitalize on the topic. Bootie| Melody is probably not the most appealing title. Although “bootie” is not spelled like “booty”, a new reader who’s unfamiliar with fashion may get the wrong impression. Ha! So be careful when choosing a title.

Research: One thing I wish I did before posting “Pink With Envy” was search for similar titles. Technically, I could change the title, but the URL would be in its original format. If you want your title to be more unique, try researching the title first. I usually google my title to see whose thought process is similar to mine.

Finding techniques to come up with catchy titles is great. But it’s one thing to attract a reader, it’s another to keep them engaged. So have a good title, but also create great content.

I’m always grateful when you stop by NRJS. Thank you so much, and I’ll see you next post!

XOXO,

Abrielle No Rule Just Style.jpg

BLOG SESSION: Directing

Directing Feature

Image via AfterDRK

When I first started blogging, I didn’t understand the advantages of owning a DSLR. At the time, my options were limited to a point and shoot or a smartphone. Lo and behold, my sister took up photography, which gave me the opportunity to 1) allow her to showcase her skills, and 2) post quality photos.  Once I decided to work with a more suitable camera, directing became more relevant.

Background: The art of directing is not just about taking pictures. Anyone can click a button, but it takes patience, creativity, and dedication to get desired shots. Once a location is selected (get permission if needed), the background of the photo becomes an area of interest. A simple background suits me if an outfit is complex or if I have several accessories. However, an effortless outfit calls for a more interesting background.

Visual/Verbal Suggestions: Taking directions from a photographer can make or break a photo. If you’re not a strong listener, visual cues may be more ideal. Visual guidance can reduce confusion, especially when dealing with continuous cues. If you’re listening skills are excellent, then by all means, carry on.

(Example) Photographer speaking: “Turn your head to the left! Okay, now relax your shoulders! Turn your head to the right! Now, look straight ahead at the building! Now walk slowly! Stop! Now stand with your right foot in front, left foot in back! Now, turn your head slightly to the right and look towards the camera!”

Distractions: In addition to giving directions, photographers typically notice everything in a shot. Is your hair out of place? Is your outfit in disarray? Do you want that object to be in the shot? Is there a reflection in the shot (Ex: a reflection of the photographer)? Should the people in the background be in the shot? Is the sun glaring too much? Taking all these things into account (among other elements) will help minimize your workload during the editing process.

As always, I truly thank you for dropping by NRJS, and I’ll see you next time!

Xx,

Abrielle No Rule Just Style.jpg

BLOG SESSION: Get Inspired, Find Your Muse

inspiration in the frow

Images via: In The Frow, Wendy’s Lookbook

Feeling uninspired? I’m sure we’ve all been there. If not, you may be in for a surprise one day. Aside from balancing time, creating great content is one of the most challenging tasks for bloggers. No matter how talented the writer, everyone needs a muse. Below are some tips on how to find inspiration from the likeliest to the unlikeliest sources/places.

Public Transportation– If you take public transportation, this is a great time to decompress and free your mind. Be it a notebook or the notes app on your phone, jot something down- anything; even if it’s one word. It took one word to bring this post to life. So try it! You never know what can come from one word.

Magazines/Websites– Roughly 25% of my ideas stems from reading magazines (while getting a pedicure or hair done) or websites such as The Zoe Report or InStyle. Ideas can derive from a touching article, an outfit perfectly tailored on a model, or comments made by other readers.

Events/Milestones– Birthdays, blog events, weddings, holiday gatherings- all great ideas for content. Creative minds such as Lena of Feline Creatures gave us a peek into her world when she attended the Wine, Dine, and Design event (Modani Furniture). Helena of Brooklyn Blonde also shares her experiences with us on occasion.

Tumblr/Pinterest- If you haven’t signed up yet, you may want to reconsider. There’s bound to be some source of inspiration of the two social media outlets.

Music/Movies – Wendy Nguyen (of Wendy’s Lookbook) is a great example of how to gain inspiration from a movie. Do you remember The Great Gatsby and Mad Max? Some of us may not have the resources to pull off this look (here); however, imagination has no restrictions. So let the rhythm of your favorite song, or a scene from a movie allow your mind to wander.

inspiration wendys lookbook

Still not getting any ideas? Try searching other bloggers that share similar interests. Remember, you’re just getting inspiration, no plagiarism allowed.

Relax: As I’ve stated before, simply having fun with friends/family can generate so many ideas. A conversation or someone’s outfit can open your mind to ideas for a future post.

If you’re still feeling uninspired, or your schedule is tight, maybe it’s time to take a break. Much like the workplace, time away is needed. So why not take a mini-vacation away from blogging. If you’re concerned about losing your audience, try to stay current using other platforms (Ex: Instagram) that require little effort. Readers will know that you’re still around, but taking a hiatus from blogging. You can also inform your readers that you’re stepping away from your platform temporarily, as did Camilla of Avenue Camilla.

I truly thank you for stopping by NRJS, and as always, I will see you next post!

XOXO,

Abrielle No Rule Just Style.jpg