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The 7 year itch?

Happy birthday Skinny Doll! 

Nope it's not my birthday but the blogs birthday! Some time in September in 2010 I went public with my little blog. I had been posting before then but I didn’t have the balls to show anyone, let alone tell anyone what I was doing. I mean who did I think I was, blogging!?!? Notions much?! Did I have any clue what I was doing? NO… Did I know HOW to blog? NO… yet here I am 7 years later and I’m still at it… Why? Because I love it! I love most things about it… Most things… I have learned there are some things I have to leave to the techie people… Other things I just have to sit down and work out, even though I want to kill someone at the end of it (mostly the creators of blogger to be honest)... I know now, I can do a lot more than I realise. That my opinion (and I have MANY of those!), like it or not, has a place in the world… That I have a voice, I should use it sometimes… singing Proud Mary drunk in a lift is not one of those times, but you get me… So I’ve learned loads, so what? Anyone can learn loads right? True but what I’ve learned is MY experience of blogging and unique to me, crucial words in the land of bloggers… Unique to me! If at any point you feel like having go at me for any of these comments please go straight to point 3! 

1. The best bloggers are passionate 
about what they do…

They really are, you want to go back to their blog time and time again to see what they’ve posted and hear how they tell a story about something they love. You want to follow them on all the social media platforms… They are the people who you see on the street and think, I know what they had for breakfast but I have NO idea what they name is! You love following them as much as they love blogging! Think about your favourite author/director/artist… you engage with them as much as you can because of how they tell their story through whatever medium they use… You know and love how they see the world and you love it enough to keep going back for more, it’s the very same for blogging! Foodies, beauty, travel it’s all in how bloggers tell their story… I follow 4 beauty bloggers, I follow them because they love beauty products SO much and I love beauty stuff, that common ground draws me back to them time and time again… They all LOVE what they do, they are all very different in their approach, they all have full time jobs but the passion they have about beauty products is there to draw me back every single time… I will see if they’ve posted a pic of something new on Instagram, or if there’s a story on snapchat that I might be interested in… They do their research, they don’t fall in love with products once they fall out of the envelope and they all do blog posts on beauty products to steer clear of…  but bottom line, they LOVE what they do… Same with the foodies, they post recipes that are made with love, they rave about lettuce or chilli sauce, they take the time to take beautiful pictures (and I know that food is going cold!) that make me hungry and want to lick the screen… They make recipes that I think could try and with ingredients that mean I don’t have to drive 100 miles to get, but it’s passion and they are themselves, that’s what makes a good blogger. These bloggers show who they and post what they love on their little corner of the internet ... They don’t pretend to be something they’re not, THAT’S why people love them… They are unique, only they can do what they do, in the way they do it, with their flair! These bloggers are even passionate about engaging with their readers… They walk into a room and chat to everyone, chat with you online and engage with everyone who engages with them, they have a loyal following and they know THAT’S so important… Slapping up a blog post and expecting it to change the world without engaging with the people your talking to is just a waste of time… They know this! Engage with the groups on FB, interact with people on twitter who share your passion, follow the hashtags on instagram and find people who share your passion and just watch it grow… 

2. Cliques are everywhere...

Even in the blogosphere! Yup, just like high school, you will get those lil ‘gangs’ who hang out together and bitch about others, but on the flip side, you’ll meet people who you would never have crossed paths with in the real world if you didn’t have blogging in common but like school not everyone is like this. In fact I found this in most walks of life you’ll get the cliques but you’ll also get those people who can stand alone and be themselves and not follow the crowd, these are the people you need to befriend in Blogland!  It’s OK to stand alone and be you… One of the best things for me has been meeting fellow bloggers and seeing the similarities of how they started their blogging journey compared to mine, there’s so much common ground no matter what topic you blog about and the camaraderie can be fantastic! I started my blog to document my weight loss journey, I have a lot of weight to lose, I was unemployed, depressed and at rock bottom, but I also started it to find other people to share the journey with and I have, thousands of them and they inspire and motivate me everyday to keep going… Sharing recipes, sharing eyeliner, sharing travel tips, it’s what it all boils down to and sharing these things in your unique way… being you is what makes your blog unique and how you carry yourself in the blogging arena speaks volumes… If you stand alone and do the work, your blog will speak for itself! 

3. Remember those 3 little words...

Nope, not those three, although they’re lovely to hear too… these three >>> IN MY OPINION! Opinions are great, we all have them, some of us more than others, and honest open debates are great when you can recognise that you just don’t agree with something but you can respect that someone else does… Your opinion and how you write about them is what makes you unique, that’s exactly what makes you stand out… YOUR opinion! So stick with it, if you think a lipstick/saucepan/hotel is shite, then don’t flog it to your readers, stick to your guns and they’ll respect you for it I promise!

4. Don't be an 'influencer'...

Firstly, I detest the word! It's a made up word for companies to sell to their clients... Anyone has a problem with that opinion see 3. above! Unless my handbag is being robbed, I don’t part with my money easily! Secondly, see 1. above on passion! No one… I repeat NO ONE has ever made me part with my money in Penneys (Primark for the overseas readers), a restaurant or a hotel… As an adult I’m pretty sure I know how to spend my hard earned cash and never has a blogger ‘influenced’ me to part with it! Yes, I’ve learned about new products on the market or new restaurants that have opened but I’m not a ‘jump on the band wagon kinda gal’ … I’m not going to go to a restaurant because all the ‘cool kids’ say so… If you don’t like pizza (and if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?!) would you go to a pizza restaurant because a blogger said so?! Exactly! if you would then just stop reading now, we can't be friends. It’s just like my mum used say “If she jumped off a bridge would you follow her?!” … If you go to the opening of every envelope your readers will just get bored… I blog about the ups and downs of weight loss, the foods I love, plus size clothing, and recipes that are yummy which I don’t have to feel guilty about… If I put up a blog post about a lipstick, it will bomb. Now I love lipstick, I own many, many, MANY lipsticks and I often share the ones I love on instastories or post on instagram or maybe tweet them if someone asks what lippy I’m wearing in a pic, but its not what I blog about and it’s not why people read my posts… If i put up a blog post about ‘zero calorie wine’ it will be shared in groups for days (FYI when this wine exists I will be posting like a mofo!) … Know your audience, you built them with your content, so stay true to it! 

I’ve been invited to some lovely events and other bloggers have questioned why I should be there when they weren’t invited yet they blog about fashion more than I do… You know the ‘well lucky you’ passive aggressive replies… Here’s just one example, I get invited to Penneys events because the majority of my followers are women losing (and gaining!) weight, they don’t want to spend a fortune on new clothes when they’re between sizes, so I share what’s coming down the line…They can aim to be a size smaller when the Christmas dresses come out and know that if they don’t get to that goal exactly what sizes they come in! Dear god, I’m not a fashionista but I know my audience and so do Penneys! If you go to every launch/event/invite that’s sent to you, it will backfire on you, in my opinion (see 3.!) … Yes, it’s lovely to be asked but I’ve found that if I turn down invites that just aren’t relevant to my readers with a email explaining why, I get a much better response from my readers and PR companies!

5. Don't worry about numbers...

‘Followers’… ‘fans’ … ‘stats’ … whatever you call them, the numbers don’t matter unless you’re in it to make a fortune… Liking other blogs for them to like back is fruitless, in my opinion (see 3!), you’ll never engage with them nor they with you, you’ll have a number to show a PR agency but zero engagement on your posts and the PR kids want to see engagement too… I’ve never asked anyone to follow me on social media, it’s been totally organic and that’s just how I like it, I spend so much time on FB & instagram interacting with people and THAT’S what makes it for me, the engagement… I’ve had bloggers tell me it’s easy for me to get numbers because what I blog about is niche… breaking news, it’s not! Have you seen how many weight loss blogs are out there!?!? But with over 1.2k live posts containing thousands of images, all taken by me, edited, considered, reconsidered, deleted, posted again and pained over, doesn’t make me lucky with the topic I chose to blog about, just means I work hard at it! The first night I realised there was someone on the blog 24/7 I completely freaked out… Firstly about grammar and spellings, then I lay there trying to sleep knowing there were WW groups in Australia liking & sharing my posts and wondering if they were getting my Irish sense of humour… freaking out I tell ya! I still freak out sometimes, I have full on panic attacks before blogging events, many times just not going because I don’t feel I’ve a right to be there but the confidence has grown slowly over the years. I even went to the blog awards alone last year, a HUGE deal for me and I loved it! I’ve learned to stand over what I write, what I share and how I feel about topics, and that was a big learning curve… The amount of followers I have has had nothing to do with any of this, and that won't change, it's just a number and it doesn't make you a better blogger or a better writer or a better person... If you have 100 loyal followers who love what you do and engage with you, you’re doing much better than someone with 100k followers who is getting a couple of likes on a picture! 

6. Don't feed the trolls

Not even the cute ones! We've heard it a million times and its SO hard not to engage with the feckers, but trolls need air and attention! If you give it to them they’re winning. Trust me I’ve had some beauties over the years, the fat shaming trolls are out there in their droves but my strategy with them is passive aggressive. I might as well enjoy getting the hits on the posts since they’ve nothing else better to do, I mean don’t these people have laundry?! So a simple ‘thumbs up’ emoji or a ‘thanks for visiting the page today’ seems to kill them dead… Yes, it’s hard to read horrible things about you but that’s what they want and for every gobshite who is jealous or annoyed with you because they think you have ‘notions’, (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said ‘who do you think you are?!” to myself!) you have 100 readers who want to hear more and THAT’S who you need to focus on… They will come back for more, the trolls won’t!  

7. It's hard work!

If you're a blogger you already know this... but once you commit to it, and you don’t have to, it’s your corner of the internet, what you do it there is up to you. Don’t want to blog about beauty any more? Then don’t and follow your passion, be a bricklayer, but if you really love it, it can be incredibly rewarding… I’ve interacted with people all over the world on the same journey as me, I’ve had the privilege of seeing people reach their weight loss goals and I’ve been able to understand people when they feel like giving up… I’ve been in Weight Watchers classes around the world, I’ve done 10ks and 5ks that I never thought I’d ever do… I’ve met some of my blogging heroes and I’ve learned that maybe I’m alright at this writing lark (something I always wanted to do in school but I’m an only child with very controlling parents)… I’m 8 stone lighter, I still have a lot left to lose and the many times I’ve thought about giving up (MANY MANY TIMES!) I’m glad I didn’t! (Please refer me to this post when I’m wearing my doubting Thomas knickers next time!) … but even when I’m tired after work, I’ll still come home and think what can I do on the blog today, when I’m out in the supermarkets I’ll be taking pics for a blog post, when I’m in a restaurant I’ll be asking if they do brunch so I can do a post for brunch club, it’s more than a hobby for me now, and when I win the euromillions, I’ll be able to do it all the time... I can spend hours agonising over images, editing paragraphs with my pool boy to bring me gin… People think it’s just a simple case of taking a picture and writing a few words, but it’s so much more…  it’s time consuming and hard work but worth it if you’re passionate! (see 1. above!)

1 comment

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