You know how it is when you’re a blogger. You want to be supportive of others in the community and read, like and share their posts. But scrolling away and coming across bloggers with the same amount of followers as you, or even way less, and seeing them showing off freebies from amazing brands, being whisked away to foreign lands on press trips, and putting #Ad in Instagram pics more times in a month than you do in a year. Why is this happening, blogging gods? you cry – I’ve been doing this longer than (insert name of your blogging friend/nemesis) so how is she doing this?
Firstly, and I know some people are going to roll their eyes at this old chestnut, but you should be blogging for you, and not to impress anyone. Yes, if you want to gain a readership there are some things to be working on like blogging consistently and trying to engage with your readers, linking to your own content and to other’s, attempting to make your photos look as nice as possible and trying not to be boring. But it’s true, people read your blog for you – your voice, your opinions, your experiences. It’s like Dr Seuss said, there’s no one more you-er than you. Copying other people’s style or content is a hazard of the blogging/influencing world, people try and emulate formulas for ‘success’, but if you’re not enjoying what you do, and it doesn’t really reflect you and your interests, then what’s the point?
One of the first big blogging events I got invited to was with Nokia, and when I arrived I thought it must have been through a terrible admin error. There were big Instagrammers there, and bloggers with tens of thousands of followers. At one point I found myself chatting with one of the Nokia PR women and nervously asked why they’d selected me. She told me they’d been searching through blogs and loved mine, it was as simple as that. Back then my blog was very different and I focused on London life a lot more, hence how I ended up at an event where we went around east London being the first to use their latest camera phones. But being more beauty driven in recent years has not stopped me having some absolute shocker emails from people offering me experiences that I find out have only been given to big-name YouTubers alongside me. It doesn’t happen every week like it does for them, but when I meet with beauty brand owners or PRs I haven’t contacted, they say they really like reading my posts, or came across them whilst doing Google or Twitter searches for other things. You don’t know who is reading your content so just have fun creating it and making it as good as you want it to be, not what you think others want it to be.
I used to run workshops (for brands as well) about how bloggers and brands can connect, and would explain that of course there’s no harm in being proactive as a blogger to introduce yourself to brands or pitch collaborations with them. Self-promotion might be cringe inducing but it’s totally normal and everyone in a range of creative industries does it. I’ve had some fantastic one-off and longterm working partnerships with brands that only happened because I made the first move, I’m not saying don’t do any of this if you want to work with brands more. I’m just saying don’t worry about brands not approaching you if you’re feeling down about a lack of this – maybe those other bloggers were the ones to reach out to brands, or maybe a brand liked your stuff but just felt someone else’s was a better fit for them.
Lastly, as cheesy as this sounds, what does success look like to you? Despite being blown away by some of my brand partnerships, I’ve always stayed a micro-blogger, and I’m fine with that. The last blogger event I got invited to before the pandemic hit was at The Ritz with Pandora (they did invite me to one at The Ivy six months later but I couldn’t go). Yes, I get invited way less to events than I used to, but I’m like – wow, I got invited to THE RITZ and this would never have happened if I didn’t start my blog and just enjoy writing it. I see so many of the big blogging gals moan about dwindling viewing/reading figures and less brand deals. These are women who have been able to buy houses and sports cars through blogging, and it goes to show that everyone gets left out and rejected at times, but we wouldn’t carry on doing this if we weren’t loving being creative, happy with the achievement of just getting each post up and planning the next.
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