I have already read a lot of blog posts from a variety of bloggers this side of 2018 in which the word authentic has appeared. Which has got me wondering recently whether this is going to be THE big deal within blogging and influencing this year?
And I believe that it will.
Four years ago when I started out in blogging it was before the Insta-boom, when being a digital influencer wasn’t a thing. Most bloggers had either started a blog purely as a hobby, or as a creative an outlet (or both, like me) or maybe wanted it to help them get into other avenues, such as a book deal. As their blogs and social media followings grew and GREW into communities, brands took notice. They started to gift and pay bloggers to promote products in order to reach their highly engaged audiences, called them influencers and big deals/contracts started to follow.
As did the tidal wave of people wanting to make this their career too. Naturally.
2017 thus saw a lot of people riding on this digital wave – me included – along with a lot of my blogging gal pals. I worked with some amazing brands last year (small, medium and large) and enjoyed some wonderful opportunities. I met new creative people, forged relationships with brands and PR’s, and delivered on a lot of juicy and interesting projects.
Did I sell myself out in 2017 as a result of the boom in opportunities though?
Yeah maybe, a little, perhaps.
Like a lot of people I saw £££ signs and maybe (at times) I forgot the main reason why I’d started blogging in the first place and got a little carried away with the flow of offers coming in. I also slightly moulded myself into an online person that I ‘thought I should be’ because it was what I thought people wanted to see.
Who wouldn’t though? It’s hard to say no to things and stay real…and I definitely wasn’t alone in doing this during this time. It’s hard to remain on a set path and distraction is easy.
1/ And as a result of the amount of bloggers & influencers doing this in 2017 I think people got a little bored of seeing #ad upon #ad everywhere they looked.
2/ And I also think that a lot of the bloggers & influencers got a bit fed up too sponsoring things that they might not have wanted to advertise, and feeling as though their worth was being affected – and not having enough time left over to create content that they used to love producing.
3/ There was also a LOT of the same content going around and around and around. Similar photos, similar words, similar locations.
So is 2018 going to be the year of being authentic?
As it gets harder and harder to get noticed within blogging & influencing (due to the sheer number of people doing it now), one thing that is starting to shine through in 2018 is that people want the people that they love to follow to be 100% genuine, relatable and honest. They enjoy seeing their face, their family life, friends they hang with, clothes they buy, beauty products they use – and so on. They want to see more of the ‘life behind the lens’.
People also want to be entertained by bloggers & influencers more than ever; to be made to laugh or cry through it all…and follow along with the highs and lows of daily life.
Bloggers & influencers are being encouraged to show off their personalities more going into 2018 and therefore really connect with their audience. Make their content totally relatable.
Show a vulnerable side, a silly side, a sensitive or opinionated side; show that they’re human. It’s less about throwing out a photo/short blog post – like the old days (and hoping for the best) – but more about really knowing the kind of people that follow them, having a message or purpose, and reaching out and talking to them.
One way that bloggers are doing this SO well is via Instagram Stories, which many people are starting to prefer over the main Instagram feed (I hold my hand up and say that I’m absolutely one of these people). Whilst there is still some element of filtering and editing content within Stories, it still feels WAY more of-the-moment and real-life.
Personally, I still like to see a pretty photo on Instagram, and I also get a great deal of inspiration from reading a good blog post, but I do like the fact that I can get to know a person much better via Stories. I feel more connected to them (and it makes me warm to my favourites even more).
I also think brands and businesses are being encouraged to do more of this too. I’ve noticed myself following many business owners purely because I like the person behind the business. I’m usually intrigued into their life – i.e. how they juggle a family and run a business.
My own blogging strategy for 2018 continues to be that I will only work with brands that I believe in and that I genuinely think my audience will engage with. Otherwise I’ll decline. I’ve already felt happier and more confident in my work by doing this and don’t feel embarrassed about anything I produce nowadays. My work is important to me and by being authentic (and staying true to myself) not only pleases me on a personal level, but has a positive effect on the people who take the time to read what I say.
In 2018 I also want to sit down and write stuff like this post and blurt out my feelings once more, because it makes me happy to do this kind of thing. I love to write…I personally get a lot of fulfilment and satisfaction from it.
I’m also getting on Stories far more myself (I still have a lot to learn) and trying to also show more of my own personality and enjoying being less ‘staged’. I’ve seen a rise in the people watching me on there and I’m getting a lot more engagement via direct messages as a result. I’m going with it to see where it takes me and am enjoying building my confidence on there (it’s actually not easy flipping the screen around and talking to yourself every day though!). But like a lot of other people I’m really enjoying the new element that Stories has brought to Instagram.
What do you think on this? Is 2018 the year of being more authentic in blogging? Or is this just the new buzz-word of the moment?
Love, Jess x