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This tunic is American-made by Hand Jive, a Ft. Wayne, Indiana company that specializes in wearable art. Their marketing e-mails always make me smile. They are called "Hot Flashes."

This tunic is American-made by Hand Jive, a Ft. Wayne, Indiana company that specializes in wearable art. Their marketing e-mails always make me smile. They are called “Hot Flashes.” And their tagline: Groovy Clothes for Cool Chicks.


For readers and friends who participate in the fashion blogosphere, you’ll definitely want to read this post by Andy Crestodina about collaboration among bloggers. It appears as a guest post on the Convince and Convert blog, a company led by Jay Baer, a social media thought leader and author of The Now Revolution: Seven Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social. (Jay became more than just another talking head for me when I saw him at a conference wearing a vintage-inspired jacket that reminds me of one my Dad wore in the 1970s. Think bold, think plaid!)

Here’s the reason I love Andy’s post.

I subscribe to some great blog directories that attempt to facilitate what Andy is talking about—with one major difference. So far, they seem more like a blind date than a way to start lasting friendships that lead to cross-promotion and guest-blogging opportunities. Sure, you can prowl the guest-blogging circuit on these sites. I’ve guest posted myself among this field of players––and received the requisite backlinks we’re all hoping for.

The results of such efforts pale compared to real relationships I’ve made by interviewing my favorite bloggers, commenting on other blogs, and sharing other people’s content in my space. Why work with strangers when you can work with friends? I think that’s Andy’s mantra. And to do that, I have to be capable of making real friends.

To further my point, the connections I’ve made through blogging matchmakers never seem to generate content that’s suited to my goals. In almost every case, the proposed guest content I get from these sources is horribly written and contains backlinks to brands that have nothing to do with what readers expect in this space. I’m not that desperate for content, so I hit the reject button—and wish I had been less naïve.

But there is a method to this madness. It’s how big search engine optimization companies are beating the way Google ranks content. SEO strategists load these sites with access to guest bloggers who actually work behind the scenes for different brands. There’s nothing unethical about it; it’s a legitimate business idea–unless you insist on complete transparency. But I don’t care to publish content that links to subjects of little interest to me or my friends. And the guest posts I’ve made through these connections don’t appear all that advantageous—in part because they aren’t closely related to my content. My fault, I know.

On the other hand, Andy’s strategy not only yields results, but leads to lasting friendships. It’s more effective, more fun AND easier. I’m not suggesting that my online friendships have the same stature as, say, my sweet friend Julie. She’s held my hand through life’s heartaches and joys since the early 1980s. But I wouldn’t dream of mistreating online friends by publishing anything less than the best possible content I can offer at a given point in time. Why not? Because, for me, it’s the rough equivalent of parking a beat-up clunker next to my neighbor’s nicely manicured lawn.

Have any of you had a better experience with blogging matchmakers? Or has Andy’s straightforward approach been better for you? I’d love to learn what’s worked for you. As if to illustrate the point, I’m linking up with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. Miss Patti—she’s had this whole relationship thing down from the get-go!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.