The Only Blogging Tip You Need To Know

The blogging market is oversaturated, and saying so is hardly front page news. As the popularity of the industry continues to grow, so does the number of creative young entrepreneurs looking to cut themselves a slice of the cake. This is only good news (even if it means that those of us already on the scene have to get used to sharing a little more), because it means that more teens, twenty-something’s and above are carving out careers of their own, completely in control of their direction and creative outlet (well, mostly).

I’ve been in the blogging game seriously now for nearly 4 years. Over the last year my blog has really started to gain traction with you guys and the brands that I work with, and as such the second half of 2016 was amazing. Like many of my other blogging guys and gals, I’m predicting an even better 2017, and I already have some really exciting projects in the pipeline that I can’t wait to share to death on Instagram #DoItForTheGram. As my audience has grown over the past year (always sounds so cringe and “check me out” so apologies for that), I’ve found that I’ve more frequently been asked the same kind of questions. Whilst they vary slightly in politeness from the super lovely to the downright socially-inept, the central themes are the same: “How do I get as many followers as you?” “How do I grow my audience?” “How do I make people read my blog?” “How can I start making money?” 

Trousers – Whistles*
Boots – Zara (Topshop alternative)
Scarf – H&M
Sunglasses – Ray Ban*

I get it. With shitty algorithms flying around,  fucking up things that were never broken in the first place, it’s becoming harder and harder to get yourself noticed, especially if you’re a small fish in a big pond. You can be pushing out content that you love, only to log back on the next day and see that not only hasn’t your follower base grown, it’s decreased. I’ve bitched and moaned and made a thousand exasperated hand gestures thanks to Instagram’s Facebook makeover, and I understand how disheartening it is to spend hours on creating the perfect post only to see that nobody is engaging with it.

However, when I get asked these questions, I can’t deny that I feel a little bit annoyed. It’s taken me 4 years – if not more – to get to the point I’m at now, and what I do is a drop in the ocean compared to some of the other incredible creatives out there. When people drop me a random DM asking me the vaguest of all questions – “how do I grow my audience?” – I can’t answer it because I’m being asked the wrong thing. And this is something I’ve slowly realised over the past year as I took on more collaborations, only to feel like I was losing the core essence of my blog that made it was it is. There was a point where I saw that blogging tips were taking off in the blogosphere, so I tried to jump on the bandwagon and push some out there. Similarly with certain types of outfit posts, I was actively trying to create content that I thought people would like. I honestly believe this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You shouldn’t be creating content for other people, you should be creating content for you. You should be creating content that you find interesting, content that you’re proud of, content that if you saw it on somebody else’s feed, you’d stop and want to engage. 

Following that train of thought, and answering all of the questions I’ve ever been asked about blogging, this is the only blogging tip that you need to know. Be genuine. There is no substitute for posts, photography and ideas that have been fuelled by passion. Your motivation should be to share, not to grow. I understand how frustrating this is to read when you want to be recognised by brands and your peers – I have felt this way in the past – but it’s advice that comes from experience rather than an idealistic view of the industry. For a long time I cared too much about whether my content was what the blogosphere wanted. In doing so, I started to change the content I was creating, ironically steering away from the core type of content that my audience were interested in in the first place. Instead of posting the simple outfit looks and conversational think pieces which are at the heart of The Little Plum, I started trying to create guides and meaningless tip posts that I wasn’t really into myself (disclaimer: other people do this incredibly well – I did not). And that’s me being straight up – head back a year or less and you’ll see some of these posts for yourself.

 

About three or four months ago something clicked into place for me. I was browsing through the content I had been pushing live throughout the months before and looking at the people that really inspire me, and I suddenly realised how untrue to myself I was being. Where were the oversized jumpers that I wear every day? My lazy ‘put-a-coat-over-everything’ style? My ideas? They’d been lost in a sea of “yeah, that should perform really well” and in doing so, I’d stopped being genuine. I was sharing things because I was chasing numbers, not because I was excited to share them. The market is now so oversaturated that people see through this. That’s why engagement with ads is so much lower than engagement with genuine, off-the-cuff, taken-on-my-iPhone posts. Feeds are so full of marble backgrounds and the super whitened that fighting to align with a certain standard is actually likely to shoot you in the foot. The road to success is not following somebody else’s path, it’s documenting what excites you. That’s not to say you can’t be inspired by other creatives, because I’m inspired every day. When I see an Insta shot with a blurry foreground and perfectly placed plants I’m like “shit son, give me some of that”, but I can feel instantly if I’ve published something I don’t love. Go with your gut feeling – always trust your instincts.
Growing your audience, building your traffic, making money from blogging – all of those things will come if you stay genuine, both to yourself and to your readers. And have patience. A lot of patience. Things rarely happen quickly. When asked, a lot of established bloggers say that if you get into the blogging game to make money then you’re in it for the wrong reasons. I both agree and disagree. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make blogging your career – heck, isn’t that what we all want?! – but if you don’t have the passion and patience to back it up, you’ll fall flat on your face anyway. The blogging industry started as a platform to share interests and ideas – keep this ethos at the heart of what you do, and your platforms will grow naturally. So don’t worry about growing, be proud of sharing. It’s kind of like love – as soon as you stop looking for it and start enjoying the moment, it will come to you.

  • Lovely lovely post Chlo, and so true! Writing about what you love and have passion for is what blogging is all about! Xxx

  • Absolutely fantastic post!! Agree with every single word.

    Big Love,

    Siobhan
    justauniform.com

  • I think what you've written here is fantastic. With everything in life, your core values and what excites you intrinsically should be the things that drive you in anything you do – blogging, singing, art, etc… In the popularity contest of life unfortunately these things become either blurred or forgotten about all too easily to be replaced by a false sense of belonging to a 'society' or group of 'peers' when reality is these relationships are essentially meaningless other than a sense of appreciation for what you are doing. Always remember, your followers followed you for being you, anything other than this is a lie and as you said you must always remain genuine. I don't read many blog posts but enjoyed reading this!

  • I loved this post Chloe, it is so important to share what you want, after all it is YOUR blog. Totally relate to this too, as I have tried all sorts of posts on my blog and it always comes back to style post's being my favourite to share, so that's what I plan to focus on from now on! Your blog is killin it right now, congrats girl! xxx

    Lauren Rose: laurenrosestyle.com
    Lauren Rose

  • I agree with you, I feel that sometimes I wanted to create things or buy things to post online because I was trying to go with the flow. I have since realized to be more of who I am and really purchase or blog things I actually would wear and I am proud to style. XO!
    NEW POST
    http://www.fashionnfreedom.blogspot.com

  • YES! I love this post, I totally agree with you. I started blogging 4 and a half years ago when I started uni and back then it literally was just a hobby. I loved blogs so I decided to make my own and post very unprofessional photos of beauty products and myself! It was only about a year ago that I decided to take things to the next level and work really hard to make my blog professional. I'll be honest and say that being a full time blogger would be my dream job, and I want to try at least to make that happen. But I totally agree that content has to be what you want to make, not what is trendy in the blogosphere.

    Lynnsay x
    http://www.sartorialscot.com

  • What a great post! Very honest and true. I'm new to your blog and I'm loving it.

    Dionne
    http://www.deedeelouise.com

  • What an awesome coat. Happy 4 years & I loved the honesty in this post 🙂

    Hugs,
    Hannie from Missing Wanderer

  • This is so inspiring and absolutely what I needed to read today! x
    Sophie Cliff

  • lovely post, happy 4 years blogging chloe. you've done amazing! xo
    jen | velvet spring

  • You look super stylish !

    Sara
    http://www.thecrimeofashion.com

  • I completely agree with this. More and more lately I've been writing posts simply because it's the kind of stuff I enjoy sharing, not because it's the kind of stuff I think people will want to read. Yesterday I posted a picture of the inside of my freezer – MY FREEZER. I doubt people are searching "what's in my freezer" posts, but damnit, it felt good to share a snap of it. Just because I wanted to lol.

  • Completely agree! I stopped because I got sick of trying to 'keep up' but since i've been making the content i'd like to see i genuinely feel so much happier and people are starting to engage again.

    xx

  • Really lovely post and advice
    xx,
    areli's april
    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/arelis-april-18182725

  • Great post! I've been blogging for years and although I hate to admit it, I do occasionally ask myself why I haven't been able to grow my following when others have succeeded in doing so in a much shorter amount of time. The truth is that it does take time, and I couldn't agree more about the staying true to yourself and being genuine. I stopped posting things that I thought people would be interested in, and started posting things I truly felt proud of – doing this made me feel so much better about my blog! x

    Summer, http://www.thetwinswardrobe.com

  • Absolutely love this. And it's so true, it's probably the most genuine (ha) "blog advice" post I've ever read. So glad to see you doing what you love

    tie dye eyes fashion blog

  • Couldn't agree more with everything you've said, this is definitely one of my favourite blogging related posts I've ever read! xx

  • 'Staying true to yourself' has been my mantra since I started my blog, so I'm glad someone else thinks the same! Thank you!

    Lovely coat by the way!

    http://www.andthebeatgoes.co.uk/

  • wise words and swoon worthy style. Wicked post!
    Amelia xx
    thecurlyhairedgirl.org.uk


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