If you’re in at least one group chat on WhatsApp with your blogging buddies, or have had a glass of wine too many together at an event, then you’ll have had this exact conversation;
Blogger 1 ‘Have you SEEN X’s follower count?
Blogger 2 ‘OMG what? How did they do that? I mean their feed is lovely and everything but how come they’re doing so much better than Y?’
Blogger 3 ‘Bet X is in a comment pod’
Blogger 1 ‘You think?’
Blogger 3 ‘As if you can get that kind of engagement without being in one!’
Blogger 2 ‘My engagement is sh*te these days, I give up! What’s X’s secret?’
Blogger 1’Yeah, X must have found some secret loophole in the algorithm or something!’
Blogger 2 ‘Or an app? Or joined a new Pinterest community board? Maybe there’s been an update?’
Blogger 3 ‘I’m telling you, that’s a pod in action’….
And so on and so on until you get to the bottom of the bottle, not the bottom of the problem. I’ve had so many of these conversations, trying to figure out what the secret is to some peoples blog growth. How did they get to work with this company? How did they get that opportunity? How have they gained so many followers overnight and I’m just sitting here like *insert tumbleweeds*.
I’ve had so many days, this year especially, where getting my fingers to move across the keyboard has been like nails on a chalk board. I’ve struggled to stick to a schedule, I’ve missed days, if not weeks of posting, all through feeling not good enough. I see so many bloggers coming through and ‘making it’ in next to no time. Guys. My first blog post went live in 2012. You’d think after 6 years I would have figured this out by now, signed a 3 book deal, launched a subscription box collab and packed the day job in.
Suffice to say, none of those things have happened - or are even close to happening (not that I’d say no to any of them FYI). For such a long time I have not been OK with that. I’ve drawn up schedules, I’ve made plans, I’ve pinned tips, tricks and advice until the cows come home. I’ve searched high and low for the secret, I’ve tried keeping up with the Joneses, I’ve bounced between niches and not, and honestly, it’s bloody tiring. And boring.
When I started blogging, it wasn’t about working with brands, being sent freebies, or even paying a bill from blog income - hell, nobody even knew you could make money blogging back then, hardly anyone knew what blogging even was! It took me about 2 - 3 years before I even signed up to Google Adsense! Blogging was all about carving out your own little corner of the internet where you could brain dump whatever came to mind and hope that it would make sense to someone else out there.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much time bloggers spend worrying about other bloggers. What’s everyone else doing? What’s everyone else talking about? What kind of content is getting the most retweets? Should I re-brand this weekend? Change my name? Start an Insta theme? Delete all my Pinterest boards and start again? What do I NEED to do???
This is me saying I don’t want to care anymore. I never used to. Trying to keep up with all the changes, the algorithms and everybody else is just tiring! Bring back the days of hoping to just reach that one person, that for whatever reason, needed to hear whatever I’ve said that day. Maybe they’ve had a bad day and I’ve given them something to smile about, maybe I’ve pointed them in a new direction or given them something new to think about on the morning commute?
Connecting with just one person, and making a difference to them somehow, that’s more meaningful than having to subscribe to 6 different beauty boxes in order to create popular content.
This might not be you. This might not be what you’re looking for. And that’s OK too. If you want to nail SEO, join comment pods, follow threads, if you love all 6 of your subscription boxes and love writing about them, keep doing it. It’s cliche AF to say this but I will; YOU DO YOU. I’m not saying I will never think about SEO again, or stop pinning and sharing my content - I will, because I want that one person who needs it, to find it.
Blogging doesn’t have to be complicated. Blogging is all about sharing your passions, if it turns into a paying gig someday, if I can drop my hours in work, or sign that 3 book deal, then bring it ON, but this foot is coming off the gas. And I’ve not felt this excited about creating content in the longest time!
What do you miss most about your earliest days of blogging?
Until next time,
Header Image: @rawpixel
2nd Image: @lum3n
3rd Image: @jlondonbaker