A few days back Keiran and I found ourselves discussing our respective days in the kitchen, him washing up the day before’s dinner plates and me arranging an assortment of various freezer foods on a baking tray. We do this a couple times a week, where we reflect on what’s been happening in the world, which of our friend’s has the best gossip, what we’d like to do at the weekend - it’s our relationship round up.
It was during our chat earlier in the week that we got onto the subject of bloggers and influencers, and Keiran asked me why I thought some were more successful than others. It’s more complex than plucking a few simple answers out of the air, but I do think that there are some key factors which play a big part in an individual’s online accomplishments. Some are positive, and some not so much:
- White, thin, able-bodied & blonde. This industry is as latently racist as any other, it’s just often hidden beneath thinly veiled ‘we’re all worth it’ campaigns, pushed by brands that only repost, work with, or champion women of one specific skin colour and body type. If you’re a thin white able-bodied woman, your privilege precedes you. (I want to write more on this in the future but I’m in the process of finding the words. I don’t want to speak over women of colour who’ve discussed this time and time again, but I also don’t want to be silent. I’m working on finding the right balance.)
- Genuine creativity, passion and attention to detail. A lot of what we see online is keeping to the status quo. That’s why there are always trends with filters and styles of photography (it used to be all bright white walls, and now it’s grainy textures, warmer tones and street corners). I’ll put my hands up - my photography is not that creative, and I’m often inspired by what I see in some of my favourite magazines or from some of my favourite bloggers. However, I do hope that I’m creative with what I write, which leads me nicely on to my third point…
- Having an opinion and identity. This. Is. The. One. It’s something I discuss regularly with Hannah (HannahGale.com) during our normal Monday morning work meet ups, and it’s something that I think can make such a difference to how engaging you are online. Our market is oversaturated. It’s impossible to be totally unique in a sea of women that are roughly the same age, have roughly the same interests and do roughly the same thing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself stand out. What makes people follow you? Do you have a USP? (Do you need one?)
Whenever I explain what I do to someone outside of the digital sphere, I’m nine times out of ten asked that question. What makes me different? What makes me better, even? And often I say ‘not a lot’, because it’s true. I hardly defy conventions; I inhabit that ‘relatable’ blogger space that is becoming increasingly popular, I shop at Topshop and ASOS and I love a sugary latte. I do, however, have something that nobody else has.
~ We interrupt this broadcast to allow for an emergency vomit break, due to cliché levels exceeding the permitted limit. Normal programming will resume shortly. ~
I know, gross, but stay with me. Whilst I’m passionate about what I create and I l love what I do, I know that in an industry which is overflowing with like-minded people, it’s me as a person which is going to make my content memorable in any way. I want people to get to know me beneath the ‘Happy Hump Day’ tweets and midday outfit snaps, and sharing my personality is made easier by the fact that I always have something to say.
Laptop cover - Etsy
Bag - Gucci
I have opinions, values and passions outside of blogging, all of which shine through in all of my digital dealings. Anyone who reads anything I write will know my sense of humour, my passion for paranthesis (how delightful is a qualifying thought, right?) and precisely which swear words I champion above all others, and these slivers of personality are exactly the kinds of things that draw me to other women online.
Grace Victory, Megan Ellaby, Lydia Tomlinson, Hannah Gale, Karina Woodburn, Hayleigh Jade (Haleyigh what the hell does the M stand for??) - these are just a few of the ladies I love, and not least because I feel like I know them, even if only a little. They have individual personalities and styles to match, and I look forward to keeping up with their lives, laughing and crying along with them as they open up little windows into their everyday.
You needn’t be dissecting the latest political affairs (although cultural commentary is extremely interesting), but for me, having something to say beyond ‘these are my favourite jeans and why’ is kinda sexy. Of course, this is only my personal preference, but that’s what makes people engaging to me - that they’re real people, rather than a curated version of the Instagram explore page.
So what do you have to say? How many thoughts have you had in the shower or jotted down on a sheet of paper, before letting the thread go unteased or the idea go unexplored? How many times have you finessed a piece of writing to make it more palatable - more vanilla? Let’s have more swearing. Let’s have more blogging which isn’t about blogging. Let’s allow ourselves the freedom of more personality.
We can’t forget that these spaces we’ve created for ourselves online are in fact, still our own. Though we may be watered down by campaign briefs and brand guidelines at times, outside of that, let’s be more of ourselves. Swear. Talk about buttholes. Be angry about sexual assault and call out bigotry online. Let your personality shine through, and you know what? Your online identity will carve itself out for you.
Now fuck off. (Just kidding, until next time lovelies x)