The blogging industry is a little weird right now. While I absolutely love sharing new finds, my thoughts on personal style, and generally cool peeps + happenings through my lens, it’s really disappointing that so many others don’t necessarily feel that same way. A lot of bloggers only seem to care about who’s watching, who’s liking, who’s following (which duh, you do want people to like what you put out), but there’s a level of hollowness in blogging right now. I think the problem is our reliance and addiction to social media, particularly Instagram. While there is no way to promote your blog without it, the conversation seems to have shifted from creating and sharing the best content that we can to numbers, numbers, numbers. The thing is, if you’re not creating good content, why should people follow you?
Don’t get me wrong, it IS a lot harder to get eyeballs on your content organically now, but there are a TON of bloggers that I follow that are growing and thriving without resulting to shady growth tactics. Their growth is slower but steady, and they’ve really built a community around their blog. The common thread between them all is that 1) they spend time on social but it’s supplemental support to their blog. 2) they’re bloggers first, influencers second.
Yes, a blogger and an influencer aren’t necessarily one in the same. You can be one or the other or BOTH, but how you approach blogging really tells the tale. Most bloggers turned influencers know how to create amazing, interesting content and at the end of the day, everything flows back to their blog. For influencers, they still create for their blog, but not as often, and there’s more of a “sell, sell, sell” aspect to their content. They’re constantly pushing sales, sponsored posts and ads; if they’re smart, they’ve learned how to balance it so that their audience doesn’t get bored, but a lot of times, they build a culture around their content to where people don’t actually care about it (or them) they just want the product link. Now, if you want to be this type of blogger/influencer, there’s nothing wrong with it, but something to keep in mind is that you’ll experience blogger burnout a LOT quicker, and longevity isn’t guaranteed. With social media platforms being so fickle right now, you run the risk of putting all of your eggs in one basket and should something happen… you’ll have to build from scratch.
For those that want longevity, and aren’t so concerned with being caught up in that numbers game (remember, there are plenty of bloggers with small IG followings that get major traffic to their sites), remember your why. Know why you got into blogging in the first place. Rethink how you handle and consume social media so that you can enjoy it, but still create with intention so that you can experience real growth and build a solid tribe as well.
As you develop your content, here are 5 tips to remember that will help you stand out as a blogger:
Live an interesting, authentic life.
Sounds easy enough, but this should be number one. So many bloggers get caught up on pushing product that they become boring as hell. The only thing they know how to do is say follow me/click my link, blah, blah, blah. Don’t let that be you. Experience life and actually have something to say-THAT is what will draw people in to you. They see your links-they’ll click on it if they want to.
Take good photos.
This is a given but it’s still neglected. Sometimes, people won’t like your picture or follow you because your images are crappy. They’re dark, blurry, have weird filters, etc. Not all images have to look perfect but they should be nice and clear. You ARE trying to attract people to your content, so having appealing photos are a must.
Learn the art of storytelling.
Think about the bloggers that you enjoy following right now. Why do you like their pictures and read their blogs? Speaking for myself, I am a huge fan of those that know how to use their style to paint pictures and tell stories. Not everyone is a great writer or the best photographer in the world, but if you can find a way to combine the two so that you’re always telling a story, your audience will engage with you more frequently and on a deeper level.
We ALL struggle with this sometimes, so that’s why I say practice. What does consistency mean to you? For some, they only blog once a week. For others, it’s 5 times a week. Your blogging schedule should make sense to YOUR life, just as long as there is some type of schedule. When your audience knows what to expect from you, they’ll keep coming back.
Study Marketing and Advertising Trends.
At the end of the of the day, blogging is a form of digital marketing and advertising. Whether you are selling products, services or just yourself, paying attention to what’s trending in those industries will help you stay ahead of the curve and pivot with your content and monetization options when you need to.
photos: Michael Butler, Jr.