Back to (Blog) Basics

Yeah, I’m a blogger.  But while I’ve been writing over the last five years, I’ve also been a passionate reader of blogs. While there are still some high quality blogs out there, there’s also a lot of, well…meh!

Some of them aren’t really bringing it because of the things V mentioned in 7 ways lifestyle bloggers irritate followers. But I feel generally, a lot of bloggers just aren’t keeping it real anymore.

That’s what made bloggers different from mainstream journalists, they actually gave their opinions on products, instead of telling you what the brands wanted you to hear. They shared their thoughts on subjects, without worrying what people would think. They spoke about the unique things in their lives, instead of showing you a life they think a blogger should lead.

They were raw, they were edgy, they were real…and that’s why we loved blogs!

That’s what kept us coming back. That was the magic ingredient. That’s what made blogs so different to magazines.

keeping-it-realKeeping it real is being honest with your audience, being transparent, being you, sharing your thoughts, not what you think people want to hear. It’s having a purpose for your blog, beyond talking about what you’ve blagged for free and the events you’ve been to.

It’s knowing you’re unique, and that your thoughts matter. Only you can share your story with the world.

It’s having a voice and a platform to express yourself without fear. Rather than being incapacitated by the desire to be liked by everyone.

It’s knowing your value without devaluing yourself and pushing away your audience.

So how do you keep it real?

Here’s a few things for you to consider…

Start with “why.”

Have a think and even write down the “why” behind your blog. Why did you start it? Why does it exist? Go really deep with this, think beyond I enjoy writing about fashion. This will help you define your blog’s purpose.

What’s your niche?

I really feel like lifestyle blogs are just an excuse people use nowadays so they can review anything and get invited to as many blog events as they can (feel free to challenge me on this). But once you’ve found your why, think about how you can drill down to find your niche. Bloggers with a specific niche tend to be more focused and actually have something to say.

Let go of being liked by everyone.

How often have you read a post where someone starts with an opinion and you think “this is such a great blog post” only for them to ditch their opinion by the end and finish it by being safe? It’s so frustrating as a reader. You’ll never be liked by everyone, so don’t let it stifle your creativity or your voice.

Say something interesting.

Actually have an opinion and say something. Too often, once I’ve read one blog post on a topic I feel like I don’t need to read any others because they’re all saying the same thing or have the same opinion, which may be linked to this last point…

Be smart with monetizing your blog.

This is a biggie and probably deserves its own post entirely. I don’t like to criticize people making money from their blogs. But it seems too many people are following the same formula: sponsored posts, affiliate links, paid reviews. Bloggers are getting paid, yes, but killing their audience.

Sometimes I feel like brands have bloggers on strings, making them dance like puppets to the beat of their drum. It’s scary what you see some bloggers write reviews for—a lot of it so mundane that it really doesn’t need reviewing. Then you see the sponsored blog post for the same brand on 20 blogs, each one saying pretty much the exact same thing. Those blogs are like that free magazine that drops on my door mat every Thursday, full of ads. You know what I do with that…

Throw it in the bin.

When it comes to blogging, what does keeping it real mean to you?

3 comments

  1. It’s funny, you mention “LET GO OF BEING LIKED BY EVERYONE” and yet the irony is, that Gen Ys in particular are so focussed on being liked by everyone that they live and die by the like sword and criticise anyone without likes or shares of blog posts.

    They take no likes to mean that no one read the post. It doesn’t occur to them that people can read a post without liking or commenting on it. They also love to use it against people whose post they hated (been there had that happen) and it’s absolutely ridiculous and stupid to believe that it has to be about the likes. I think insecurity plays a MASSIVE part in this issue especially where women/girls are concerned.

    1. This is a great point, one that I haven’t really thought about because my interaction with Gen Y is so limited. I do wonder about the long-term ramifications in having so much of yourself out there (which does invite criticism) at such a young age. Makes me really glad we had none of it when I was growing up.

      It seems like every day, there is a teen suicide that comes as a result of public shaming, and that’s really sad. Things can feel so overwhelming at that age and those kids’ minds just are not prepared to let things roll off their backs. It’s really a very sad situation for today’s youth. I frankly don’t know how parents deal with the worry.

    2. Hey you raise a great point about Gen Ys and the need to be liked. It’s easy to forget that your site receives plenty of traffic and readers that may never choose to leave any form of comment.

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