It's no secret that the blogging industry has become a business. And an extremely lucrative one at that. Where the difficulty lies is that, yes, it may have been around for a good, few years now but that doesn't mean we're any closer to having a concrete set of standards or guidelines, for that matter.
Rates fall across the most diverse spectrum I've ever seen, disclosure on gifted/sponsored collaborations is all a little bit cloudy and a lot of the time, these collaborations are missing clear briefs or contracts, which would make life a whole lot easier from the get-go and avoid any 'EHHH??? but you didn't do what we wanted?' fiascos. Thankfully, I've never actually had this happen to me but gosh, I've heard some horror stories! And of course, if there are no specific briefs other than the required amount of work, even better ~ us creatives love having the freedom to show off how we work with zero boundaries.
I am wearing
~ essentially the epitome of smart-casual. As much as 2017 has, so far, been the beginning of an 'out of my comfort zone' fash year, I will always be madly in love and forever rely upon those 'fits made up of entirely staples ... ode to you, wardrobe classics (I drink to that, yeah yeaaah) ~
c/o (Very) V by Very
Lace up jumper
Nowadays, everything is premeditated. We plan our Instagram feeds based on the 'aesthetics = engagement' mantra; we promote every last drop of life out of our blog posts and I've even been invited to (and politely declined, I'd like to add) hundreds of support groups on social ~ which, by 'support' means "I'll like and comment empty words on your photo because I have to, so that you can do the same for me". Effective? Completely. It's essentially a ready-made bank of likes and comments, which will always help to push your content further during the algorithm drought. Authentic? Well, I'll let you make your own judgement on that one but in my opinion, I want people to 'like' my work because they genuinely like my work and when I appreciate somebody's content, I will always take the time to interact off of my own back, like the good old days ~ without any ulterior motives or feeling forced to do so. That's all there really is to it.
When it comes to sacrificing a side of ourselves for personal gain, that's where we begin to measure up just how far we're willing to go when seeing blogs as business ventures, i.e. for me, a far cry from the mere hobby, to distract from loneliness, of which it began a few years ago.
Whilst there's always a small level of 'strategy' in the back of my mind when thinking about content opportunities or negotiating budgets and organising finances etc, that's pretty much the extent of it. I don't tend to pre-plan ideas ~ instead, write if and when I have the inspo; I don't post for the sake of posting, just to maintain consistency (so yes, that means I could post twice a day or not post for three weeks 😱); I don't push for PR meetings (but don't get me wrong, I love them when I'm asked) and I don't put out or tailor content specifically to attract a certain brand or just because similar things have gotten the most likes/views in the past. It's always been a *excuse the cliché* belief of mine that if it's supposed to happen, it will happen. As long as you remain true to yourself and why you started.
Perhaps it's a naive and simple-minded way to look at it, especially when we're in a generation all striving to be successful, and I don't want this mindset to be confused with laziness, or not taking it seriously because believe me, I am my worst critic and will never put anything out there without overthinking each part of it ten million times (I will have probably proof-read this blog post at least twenty). But from my perspective, treating this online place of mine as a business only helps to deter from the reason I began it, and instead of encouraging me to go out and grow it further, ends up leaving me full of resentment, from overcomplicating it with new issues, such as "How can I make them notice me?" "Will this reach as wide of an audience as the last post?" "What will I get out of this meeting?" "Maybe if I change this, they'll choose me" "What can I put out to keep everyone engaged and happy?" ... the list goes on. And without initially realising, a passion-fuelled endeavour rapidly transforms into a chore. And nobody got time for those.
The last thing I want is to come across as ol' preacher Joe, so I'll say this now ... As with most things in this industry ~ there is no right or wrong and I've spoken to a few people, including my favo chum and little plum *see what I did there*, Chlo, who feel the complete opposite (yez, we are friends who hold different opinions and STILL talk to each other ... it's not a myth!!), wherein treating their blogs as more than just a hobby actually motivates them further. And I totally get why, once you see the fruits of your labour. It's just something which, thus far, hasn't worked for me.
Having that drive to ensure your venture is successful is an admirable trait, however these things also aren't mutually exclusive. You can see something as a hobby, yet still strive for success, as similarly as you can manage that same thing as a business, whilst still remaining authentic.
Let me know how you guys 'do you'??
Photography by Michael
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