“Because I’m in a place where I feel completely and totally directionless with the career that calls itself a, ‘full-time blogger’ because it is a title that has no meaning, really.”
This line from Vix Meldrew’s latest post really hit home with me. It’s actually one of the (many) things stopping me from taking the leap myself. The fact that this title of ‘full time blogger’ allows you the freedom to carve out a future for yourself that can be whatever you want it to be is, well, mind-blowing really. In the same breath though, what even is that? Building a huge following is all good and well but as an ‘influencer’ (bleurgh) there’s a balance between celebrity and credibility that isn’t talked about enough. Is ‘influencer’ just another term for marketing puppet?
We all already know that viewers/readers hate being bombarded with affiliate links and ads so how do we work in a way which isn’t just shoving mindless ads down everyone’s throats? More importantly though, how can I work with brands and work a small “side hustle” without feeling like I’m just playing pawn in a big marketing game.
The fact is, the majority of people who stick with blogging do so because they love to create. Whether it’s words or beautiful imagery, there’s something about it that we love that isn’t even remotely related to numbers. Those who are in it for the freebies usually end up realising that actually it’s not just a case of buying a domain and a few thousand followers and ending up with a load of free stuff on your doorstep before packing it all in.
Those of us who stick with it are passionate about creating and I guess that’s something we’ve just got to keep at the forefront of our minds. It’s not about being “commercial”. Yes we all love to follow aspirational accounts/blogs but some of our favourite bloggers are the ones that are really relatable and just ‘normal’ people. We’re all human and inherently nosy, we love to see what people are up to, even if it is them just lying in bed watching Netflix. It creates a connection, like we’re friends on some level. So rather than try to fit the bill (because there actually isn’t one!) we need to embrace our USP’s and create more things that we’re really excited about. Even if that means being excited about a different platform for a while and growing your audience on there. If it makes you happy enough to create fresher content then go for it! After all, isn’t that how blogging blew up in the first place? The relatability factor.
Just look at Mrs Hinch. She is now an influencer because she managed to get most of Britain cleaning (and purchasing cleaning products) like never before and it’s not because she’s creating perfectly laid out flatlays with her bleach bottles. She’s made it fun and is so excited about poundland products that it’s got everyone else excited. My point is, we don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. The beauty of reaching out to brands is that we can pitch whatever idea we want and be excited about a potential campaign without being unethical and attempting to be ‘commercial’.
Don’t get me wrong, being a full-time blogger is an amazing position to be in and in some respects even a privileged position. What people on the outside (as well as those who haven’t been in the game for too long) don’t understand is that it’s ISN’T all fancy lunches and non-stop meetings and getting everything for free. It’s bloody hard work and lonely and it’s a real test, where you’re constantly questioning your self-worth. Oh and the invoices, don’t get me started on the invoices!
One thing that really gets me is that there’s no place for bloggers to check in. In any other job there’s a space to do this, be it supervision or one to ones with your line manager. You get to look over your achievements, reassure yourself and even get a pat on the back, but there’s nothing like this for bloggers – unless of course you’re will to pay ridiculous amounts for it. My day job is super big on ‘checking in’ with colleagues and I really wish I could bring this to the bloggersphere.
I would actually love to get a small group of bloggers together and do a monthly check in. Not just to review blogs and numbers and swap tips and tricks, but to actually be able to sit down and say you know what, this month I’m feeling pretty fucking shit. To have a group of supportive people who I can turn to without worrying about subtweets and being unfollowed. Even though we’ve all got blogger friends that help champion us when we need it, sometimes what we actually need is blogger colleagues. People that you like and are professional with. Individuals who won’t be triggered by your success because you’re working the same job title but will instead give you objective feedback/praise and tell you exactly when you need to check yourself without causing offence.
So if you’re feeling the same way and maybe want to create this supportive network with me then please please please send me a message!