I can’t help but notice that there’s an awful lot of people out there offering blogging advice. I’m not talking about cold-callers and spam emails, I’m referring to actual bloggers all giving their two cents on how to make it big in the blogging world. As we all know, blogging can indeed be a lucrative business, but let’s make it clear, that’s very much for the minority. The posts that keep appearing in my Bloglovin‘ feed can be incredibly helpful and very insightful, particularly when they come from bloggers who have made a lifestyle out of their hobby, but why are these posts being written by seemingly everyone? When does someone have the ‘authority’ to give this information? In most cases it’s not the high ranking of the blogger, instead I think the answer lies in SEO. It certainly makes great search engine collateral for the writer as it’s clearly a much talked about topic. However, I believe these posts, as much as they may intend to help, are increasingly making bloggers focused on the science of optimisation and encouraging unhealthy competition between fledgling sites. Why aren’t we all just satisfied with reading and writing great content?
Readers. Subscribers. Unique views. Followers. Blogging is increasingly becoming about numbers, but where is the value in that? Ask yourself: why do you want the numbers? Is it so you can be seen by brands, or meet new people, or beat your friends? Is it because you don’t feel like a real blogger if you have less than 100 people subscribed to you?
I’ve started to realise that the people who regularly visit this blog comment on posts, chat to me on Twitter and Like my updates on Facebook. They’re not one time visitors; they return because they like what I’m writing about and that is so, so important to me. I changed the name of this blog recently because I rarely write about fashion and I wanted to have the freedom to say whatever the hell I wanted, whenever it suited me. I had fallen into the trap a while back of writing what I thought people wanted to read, but my heart wasn’t in it. Yes, it may have drawn in a crowd, but they were just observers.
I work in social media and regularly work with bloggers on behalf of my clients. I love working with these influencers because they have integrity and honesty. We all read their sites because we trust what they say, more so than a magazine in a lot of cases, and believe me, if they don’t think a brand is right for them and their site they will turn it down. I respect and appreciate that a huge amount. From a professional and personal point of view, what I crave most from a blogger is originality; whether that’s a unique sense of style, a cheeky tone of voice or a new perspective on an old subject. Not only do I want to read that elsewhere but that’s what I strive to write here too.
Of course I’m not trying to dampen your dreams of being the next big blogging star or telling you not to strive for the best. Knowing someone is interacting with your hard work feels amazing, and I’ll promote myself as much as the next person. After all the internet is a big place and I am one tiny voice trying to be heard. But think about what you’re trying to achieve; remember that truth trumps numbers every time. And next time you ask somebody for a follow back or for some help to reach your next follower goal, ask yourself if you’d prefer true engagement with a dedicated, likeminded reader or another number that is using you for their own statistics.