Monday, October 18, 2010

Operation LoliBlog: Little Fish, Big Pond Part 1

The blogosphere is HUGE. This shouldn't surprise anyone - there are hundreds of thousands of blogs registered to Blogger alone, and this is just one hosting site in the entire world wide web- and then, add in all of the self-hosted blogs out there, too. A great way to differentiate yourself from this huge, blind mass is to become a niche blogger, that is to say, someone who blogs toward a certain demographic- photographers, food enthusiasts, or, in our case, lolitas. However, of course even these niches are largely filled (though there's always room for more!), and even within your demographic it can be difficult for small blogs to weave their way through the elephant-sized-footfalls of the titan-bloggers. Here, I'd like to discuss this phenomenon: the little fish trying to find her way through the ocean of lolita blogs.

There's much I can (and will!) say about this topic, but for now, I'll start off with the biggest and most difficult part of building your blog: differentiation. You're a small blog with under a hundred followers: how can you possibly compete with the big dogs for content or followers? With some blogs coming in at over 1,000 followers (we're looking at you, Lolita Charm!), it may seem overwhelming and impossible to take on these giants.

As a new or small blogger, there are a few things you have to remember when it comes to generating content. First of all, the lolita blogosphere is not static. What do I mean by that? Well, first of all, consider this: say you're a celebrity blogger who focuses on the goings-on of sitcom stars. You can talk about what they've already done and/or how it's affecting what they're doing now, but you'll eventually run out of the past and begin sitting around waiting for something to happen between Lieghton Meester and Blake Lively. On the other hand, lolita and fashion in general isn't like that. It's personal. If the brands have been churning out the same unstimulating rinse-and-repeat pieces all season, you can still produce content by talking about your own personal activities: the dress you bought for a steal on Mbok, say, or the most recent event you attended. That leads me to my next point: lolita blogging is a people-watcher's paradise. If you can't talk about yourself, talk about other people! And I don't mean gossip, I mean things like, what have the Finnish lolitas been doing lately? Did your best friend wear a coordinate that is just to-die-for that you can't bear not to talk about? The content that loli-bloggers blog is self-made or community-made. That means you're lucky: you'll never run out of it, because there's constantly something in the works. If it's not being churned out by your own mind, it's your job as a blogger to get into the mind of whoever's thinking it up, and say it before they do- or at least report on it as soon after they say it as possible.

But what if you can't? One of the topics I was asked to write about for this series was from a blgoger who feels like as soon as she finds something to talk about, someone else swoops in and says it first. I know exactly how this feels, and it's frustrating to no end, and something I run into a lot. However, here's my opinion on it: is the person who wrote about it you? Of course they aren't, but I'm not being facetious. Say, when Angelic Pretty came out with Jelly Jewelry, you wanted to do an article announcing it, and just when you sit down to write it, bam: The scans are already plastered all over one of the Big-Wig Blogs. You'll probably feel let-down, like you missed your shot. However, instead of giving up, look into why you wanted to write about it. If you just wanted to be the one to spread the news, well... maybe you're out of luck. But more likely, you wanted to write about it because you felt a personal connection to it- maybe you had a wacky aunt growing up who always brought a neon Jell-O mold to every family gathering. Your opinions, memories, and what has affected you throughout your life are yours only, and that means that even if you write on the same topic as someone else, nine times out of ten it'll be different and personal. If you add a touch of yourself to everything you write, not only will you be guaranteeing creative content, but you'll be working your way towards something else that is very important to any blogger, and that is branding. Not sure what branding is? Wait and see, because that's another topic I'm very excited to talk about!

Fellow Loli-Bloggers: What do you do to make sure you're creating 100% unique, interesting content?

Extras:

10 comments:

  1. First: so excited you're doing this series!

    Second: One thing that pretty much every other blog doesn't do is look outside the box of Lolita fashion. I like to look at news and important stories that directly affect Lolita fashion or can be related to by other Lolitas, such as politics, the economy, or other fashion movements throughout the world.

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  2. This series is excellent!

    I always enjoy reading opinion pieces because everyone has such a different take. I try to write some as well because their fun. Fashion being personal by nature means injecting a bit of yourself, so I love how different every blogger is. I try to just be myself when I write because there isn't another me writing a blog. I look for and take inspiration from the happenings and surroundings in my own life.

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  3. i loved this!

    i agree with the comment above, a blog should have lots of you, at leats that is what i try to do

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  4. Great advice! Haha, the "Oh no! Someone got to it before me!" thing happens to me a lot, but usually I just blog about it anyways, especially if it's personal view, but even things like new releases. So long as every single other blog on my blog roll isn't beating the topic to death it I'll give it a shot since I like to hear other people's opinions and thoughts on lolinews (It's always fun when new prints come out and the reactions range from "Grossss D:" to "OMG I ALREADY RESERVED IT!"), I figure other people, at the very least, don't mind it. When it comes to personal views on stuff, I hop right in, and I love it when all the sudden the loliblogosphere is talking about things like Lifestyle Lolitas or how to deal with rude remarks or telling their greatest "when I was a newbie" story.

    Great advice! I'm going to edit my "starting a loliblog" post to include links to this series, because it's really helpful :D

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  6. Thank you! I've been writing personal blog lately and I ended because suddenly I didn't want to talk about my life and didn't have got anything else to write. Now I want to start new, themed blog and though it won't be a loliblog ('cause I'm not lolita, but interested in it and that's why I'm here!) your today's advice really helped me. Thank you, I'm looking forward for your next article!
    (And sorry for my English, it's not my mother language and I'm still learning it!)

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  7. I really appreciated this article! I just started my own Lolita blog a few days ago and I'm also a little worried about finding my place! I'm trying to stick to lifestyle Lolita relevant topics (particularly classic, since I identify myself as one). Because I'm sticking to more lifestyle-based topics, I'm in no rush to comment on the latest AP accessory. I also took some inspiration from Lolita Charm and her monthly style tips since they are always my favorite to read! I would really appreciate more blogging tips in the future!

    p.s.: shameless self promotion: http://la-vida-lolita.blogspot.com/

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  8. I just (sort of) started my lolita blog. It's not entirely a niche blog, because I love so many things I feel I couldn't possibly not blog about them, but since it just started I expect I'll blog a little more about lolita as time goes on (and as I get more of it), but I guess my perpective is that of a younger lolita who has just gotten started dressing lolita (though she's been pining after it for a few years!)

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  9. Yay!! I hate it when other people say something I want to say first, too! So I actually don't do Brand write-ups or print release announcements on my blog :) I do a more "lifestyle lolita trying to find her way in this world/new country" blog

    In my opinion, everybody should just blog about whatever they want to blog about. If you get more or less followers, good for you! As long as you are doing what YOU want!

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  10. The funny thing about original content is that there's rarely anything anyone can say that's 100% new and unique.

    So in answer to the question you pose at the end of this article, I suppose I just don't worry about it all that much. I've just started writing in my blog, and I'm not trying to garner massive amounts of followers or attention. I just want to share the things I've experienced and learned with others who might find it interesting; if people find me, I'll be happy. If they don't, I'll keep writing about things I've learned or experienced, and hopefully someone will find it useful.

    I think my main concern right now is that I feel like what I write is perhaps too clinical. Lolita is fun! Photography is fun! I'm just not necessarily a good enough writer yet to make my posts as entertaining.

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