Hey gals, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, originally I had planned it for my one year blogversary and title it “What I learned in my first year of blogging” but then things come up, and I put it off. Lately, I’ve been in a blogging funk. I’m sure you’ve all been through this phase one time or another, it is the “blogger’s block” where you are unsure about where your blog is going, how little it is growing and any and all aspirations of becoming the “Big blogger” is fizzling into a galaxy far far away. That is where I’m at right now, so bear with me on this long-ish post without any photos.
I started the blog months after I had Miss K and on the verge of quitting my corporate job to be a full time mom. It was going to be a hobby to pass time between taking care of my infant daughter as well as an outlet to maintain my connection to the adult world, where breastfeeding and pumping at 3am doesn’t seem so lonely. Of course, as any aspiring fashion blogger would soon learn that a blog can be monetized and used as a vehicle to make income, real income if you hit the jackpot, I too wanted to make something out of my blog. As my aspirations and expectations for the blog grew, so did my drive to make it better, to post fashion forward outfits that inspires, to showoff collaborations and free stuff and perks that is associated with blogging. Then at some point, the reality of blogging hits and I realize that making big in the blogosphere is probably astronomically harder than I had envisioned and here is why:
1. Blogging in 2016 is not the same as 2011. When you see the stories about the biggest names in fashion blogger, one thing in common is that they all started early, some as early as 2009. Back then, there aren’t many people waxing poetic about their individual style and influencing the fashion industry via the internet, people still rely on magazines to forecast the next style trend. If you google fashion blogger, the search result would probably be somewhere around hundreds instead of….well, I can’t even estimate the number of bloggers and aspiring bloggers like myself all over the world. Less competition, more opportunities to standout and shine.
2. Instagram and other Social Media is a huge success driver. If you want to be a mildly successful style influencer today, there is a magical number of social media followers you need to hit before well known brands start to contact you and actually pay for collaborations (instead of just giving free clothes). Whether it is 10K followers on Instagram or 100K views on the blog per month, there is a threshold that bloggers need to pony up and if you aren’t there yet, then you better do a lot of work to get there. One of the blogger I follow and read religiously is Brittany from thriftsandthreads.com, she is a great blogger who is not stingy on giving ideas, advice, suggestions in this highly competitive blogging world. She has mentioned that brands started to contact her when her Instagram followers hit 10K and more serious collaborations followed thereafter. Well, I’m far from that and as hard as I am trying to follow various suggestions and guides to build that number up, it is harder than selling used cars.
Sure I’ve tried various Giveaway tactics to get the follower numbers up but I’ve noticed that the followers soon unfollow when they realize they are not the winner. Or worse, I end up with a bunch of “ghost accounts” that are created solely for contest purposes. I use Iconosquare to keep track of my Instagram account interactions and also use an app called Followers+ which tells me how many “ghost followers” I have. A great way to test how many real followers is posting a photo WITHOUT using any hashtags to see how many likes you receive. Mine is somewhere in the 30-50 count which is about 1% of my followers. Although, I know that 90% of likes comes from hashtags we use with hopes to attract followers with similar interest, still…1% is quite sad. Let’s not even mention the number of social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope: It’s endless and counting) we need to keep up just trying to be in the game, even some of the big name bloggers admit that it is hard to keep up.
3. Blogging is vastly skewed in favor of the young and the beautiful. Yes, I know that it is in our evolutionary genes to look at younger, more beautiful things, but take a look at the mega bloggers, I can count the number of girls that are married, or even more rare, have children. I get that blogging is a 24/7 job, but it makes a HUGE difference when there are little ones who constantly needs your attention and care and won’t even leave you alone for restroom breaks. In the latest blog post by Bloglovin – 20 Fashion Bloggers You Haven’t Discovered Yet, it listed 20 fabulous, new, up and coming fashion bloggers and I’ve gone through and counted all but 1 are in their 20’s, without children. The one anomaly is expecting her first child, she probably have no idea what is to come…which brings me to the biggest obstacle I face for my blog.
4. Blogging is extremely time consuming. Yes, it will require almost all of you if you wish to make it a full time gig and that still will not guarantee success of your blog. Between creating content, taking and editing photos, replying to comments, comment on other blogs, attend to your various social media outlets, trying to work with sponsors and vendors, there isn’t much time for a whole lot. But for someone like me, a full time mom, family obligations and my two kids takes away so much of my time each day such that my only free time for blogging is when both kids have gone to bed and I’ve finished cleaning the house. Or when Miss K is napping, I squeeze in one hour of time to respond to comments, post to Linkups and edit photos. Each morning, I set goals of blog related things I wish to accomplish for the day and honestly, 20% of the things gets done by the end of the day at best. So fellow mamma bloggers with little ones, I salute you! One blogger I put on a pedestal is Chriselle from Chriselle Factor, she is a mom and she keeps it real on her blog and YouTube, but she too, has an army to help her with her blog business.
5. It really helps if you have a significant other who is a great photographer. As much as I love my husband for many of his great qualities, photography is def not his strong suit. I’ve mentioned in my Snapchat before that I somehow always manages to look fat, ugly or both in his photos (sorry hubs). From what I have observed, quite a few number of bloggers have boyfriends, husband who take their photos. So no matter where they are, their S.O. always manages to snap a picture perfect scene for the rest of the world to ogle over. It is not surprising that many top bloggers also are engaged to a photographer who travels the world with her and captures all of her beauty and glamour. I was super fortunate to have found a few photographers whom I’ve built a great relationship with and adore them for making me look beautiful, but unfortunately I can’t take them with me everywhere I go.
So I’ve listed a bunch of rant above, just feel like I really need to get it out. After all of this, I still love what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing this bunch of rant. I want to end this long-ish post on a positive note. I love this blog, it is like my 3rd child, I’ve invested a lot of time, energy into it and I guess I should just let it blossom naturally just as I would with Miss K and PA and not put too much expectations or emphasis on monetary success. If it does well, I am extremely grateful; it means that my audience is appreciating my creativity and my sense of style.
If you actually read this long-ish post without photos, I Thank you for your time and appreciate your thoughts in the comments below. Let me know how have your blogging experience have been? Have you thought about the same issues as I have? What were some helpful things you did to drive your social media numbers? I love hearing suggestions and ideas from all of you!
~ xo Sheree