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The Blog Works 2011

It’s safe to say the Belgian blogosphere is booming. Every day new blogs pop up and the readership of existing ones goes up. With this increasing quantity it’s often hard to maintain a good overview of quality blogs. But what is a quality blog? And what is the role of fashion blogs in today’s world? How do bloggers look at it and how do professionals see it? 
It was clearly time for a get-together, a moment to meet, to talk, to brainstorm, to debate. This is how Stéphanie Duval and Marie Lemaitre came up with The Blog Works, a unique seminar/workshop-event for Belgian fashion bloggers. This event offers a platform for debate on various topics, from the blogger/PR-relationship to the thin line between personal opinion and objective reporting, ethical issues and blogging standards.

True, there are no Belgian blogs that are of the same caliber as a Bryanboy or Fashion Toast, blogs who have millions of visitors each day, but should we really measure our blogs against these worldwide-known front row-sitting blogger stars? The answer is NO. Actually, the answer is: do not compare yourself to other blogs. Find your own niche, create your own content, gather your own community, work hard and have fun with it. These are inspiring words from Alexandra Vanthournout, the blogger behind alexloves.com and one of the speakers of The Blog Works 2011.
“Don’t just blog because someone gave you a cupcake”, Alex emphasized. It made me laugh, probably because it’s so true. As a beginning blogger you’re eager to write and to report, but pick your content carefully. My mailbox gets flooded every day with the most random press releases. If it’s something that fits you and your blog, by all means, make the content personal and write about it. But rest assured your readers will know something’s fishy when your cute girly fashion blog features a press release of the newest lawnmower. You are the face of your blog and everything you post reflects on you. So be selective, be yourself.
Murielle Scherre, creator of lafilledo, was very clear about this: “stop trying to make friends.” You are not in it to please each and every person out there; you are in it to let your creativity out, to achieve goals you set up for yourself. This might seem like a lot of “you’s”, but the only way to create a loyal following is by keeping it real. If you’re in it for the long run, you want to be able to write about the things you love, the things that inspire you, and not about the things people ask you to write about.
The most important thing of any successful blog is of course its readers – YOU GUYS. Intrigue, connect and get them talking, and you will find yourself with a loyal bunch of followers, sooner or later.
There’s so much more said and explained during these seminar sessions, but someone told me most people don’t read large amounts of text on blogs, so if you have actually managed to read all the way up to this point: congratulations, take something to drink and prepare for the last –short- piece about The Blog Works 2011.
Next up: working it. The workshop sessions that took place in the afternoon were very specific by focusing on photography, Photoshop, SEO and tone-of-voice. Stéphanie, who is editor-in-chief of Label. magazine and thus knows a thing or two about writing, had us come up with a new twitter bio in a few minutes, one that captured the tone of our blogs. The best I could do at the time was “blogs on dogsanddresses.com to prove to my mom that I do actually wear all the stuff I buy.” And last night I was so inspired I came up with this one – prepare to laugh: “someone call Horatio, ‘cause I’m a victim of fashion.” Ha-ha, right? Must admit it sounded funnier in my head at 3 in the morning.
I for one am very excited about The Blog Works, proud of the ladies who came up with it and thankful to everyone who helped organize it. You really should’ve been there. And the most important advice I took home with me? When life gives you lemons, make a gin & tonic. Cheers.
The Blog Works 2011 – 1st of December at deSingel Antwerpen