I adore the bloggersphere for everything it’s brought me. What started as a passion for nail varnish and hair serum has evolved into a full blown career, where I’m able to work with some of my favourite brands and experience things that money simply can’t buy, as well as making friends with some of the most awesome and empowering women I’ve ever come across. Over nearly seven years I’ve curated my own (multi-award winning!) corner of the ‘net, which I’m wholeheartedly proud of; love and passion is injected into every blog post that goes live, which is reflected in the amazing community of readers (you guys rock) that seem to regularly return for a little bit more. But the journey over that time hasn’t necessarily been an easy one; there are pitfalls and downsides as much as there are highlights and freedom when it comes to working for yourself – in any capacity. The late nights, early mornings, weekends spent catching up and the daily struggle to get that shot in when the winter sun goes down at 3pm, just for starters.
Blogging as an industry seems to be capturing the attention of the world
more so than ever, but often it’s put on a pedestal as an easy and
glossy way for millennials to make their fortune; conveniently the
struggles and challenges we face are often overlooked, giving it an
unrealistic perception that can leave young men and women disheartened
when reality hits. Yes it’s an amazing way to connect with like-minded individuals, share a passion, hone new skills and have a bit of a side hustle (who doesn’t love to make money from what they love!) but realistically, 2017 won’t be the year that any of us make our millions.
IT’S HARDER THAN THE MEDIA MAKE OUT
The young and impressionable may be forgiven for believing they’re only ever a hop, skip and a jump away from earning their first million via the internet. The media has a tendency to belittle what we do while simultaneously making it sound super easy to make your fortune; if the Daily Mail were to be believed, all we’d need is a laptop and a pair of fairy lights to become the next Zoella. Truth be told, it’s a lot harder than that. Sure, anyone can buy a URL and start writing, but it takes that magic dash of something special (alongside a lot of hard work and a sprinkle of luck) to really become a star.
THE BLOGGERSPHERE IS SATURATED
Unlike when I first started, the bloggersphere is now full to the brim and ever expanding. Every day thousands more open up their own site and start writing about their passion points, but that makes it harder and harder to stand out. Although it’s not impossible by any means, your favourite bloggers managed to capture the attention of their audience early on and retain them indefinitely – and that has value to brands. Increasingly collaborations are based on influence and engagement rather than pure numbers, but with a million different sites to choose from it’s becoming increasingly hard to nab those campaigns.
YOU NOW NEED A POINT OF DIFFERENCE
An endless stream of consciousness is no longer enough; if there’s one thing that the most successful bloggers have in common, then it’s their ability to carve a niche or cement a point of difference. As more and more magazines close their doors, we’re turning online for our hit of aspirational imagery and editorial content – and we always want something more. Although copycatting is prevalent in the bloggersphere like never before (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but heck it’s annoying!) it’s not enough if you want to work commercially. Feeds that are full of nothing but product feature after product feature get tired very quickly and readers increasingly want a way to escape from the daily grind, if only for a few minutes; review after review doesn’t meet that need, so it’s never been more important to ensure you have a point of difference.
BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS….
The fundamental relationship between blogger, reader and brand is evolving. There’s never been such an opportunity to create something unique and get it in front of people that want to know about it. Brands increasingly are looking for ‘micro-influencers’ (the buzz word of the moment which essentially means those with a following of 10-100k,) understanding that they have more influence over purchasing decisions than the mega-stars that are now practically celebrities. You no longer have to fit in a box or standard category, as readers want to feel connected to the bloggers they follow – and involved in every element of their lives.
Thirty-plus bloggers are proving that it’s not just a young girls game anymore; stylish women are having children and proving there’s more to mummy blogging than we may think; men are increasingly seeing the value of blogging and the opportunities it brings. 2017 is the year we can make this industry exactly what we want it to be, with no constraints. It’s not all about the millions, but about finding an awesome community of people that enrich your life in every way. And I’m totally on-board with that. Are you?