2018; the year of being authentic


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.

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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.

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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

Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mother of twins, blogger and writer.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Custardcream78
    February 25, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    I love this post; you’ve been so honest and said what a lot of other bloggers won’t have the guts to. I started following you way back when you “only” had about 1000 followers and have definitely seen your style change over time. I haven’t disliked it at all, but I like it when I catch a glimpse of the “old” Jess. Keep doing what you love xx

    • Jess
      February 26, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Thanks and for the comment too – I think it’s good for the soul to get a little more honest and remember why I started. Thanks for sticking with me too! Much appreciated xx

  2. February 25, 2018 / 10:18 pm

    Great post Jess, I don’t think there is are many bloggers out there who hasn’t taken on something they wish they’d hadn’t with hindsight! I think the longer you blog the easier it is to figure out exactly what you want to say yes to and that you don’t have to do things exactly the way everyone else does. I usually know straight away now when I get an offer whether or not I am happy to write about it but it’s taken a long time to get to that point!! Can honestly say I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog right from the start but I love these blurty our feelings post so will be happy to see more, and keep up your stories…they’re fab! Xx

    • Jess
      February 26, 2018 / 9:41 am

      Thanks Hayley you’re a star – and I appreciate the comment. I think it’s all getting a bit ‘fast’ nowadays and I remember when I used to take time to write and create things..and now it feels so instant. I love Instagram but also find it has made me lose my way on so many occasions. Much appreciated xx

  3. February 26, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    I agree with this totally Jess. I think non-bloggers/influencers are starting to get a little sick of ads on social media so there’s a really fine line now between making a living and being deemed a ‘sell out’ (however unfairly!), it’s really hard to keep a balance I find. Even though you’re really successful now I’ve never actually thought of you as doing lots of sponsored stuff, so you obviously merge it really well with your day-to-day posts on here and IG- which is surely a win! I must admit I start to probably interact less with people on IG once they get big- not that I don’t like them anymore AT ALL but I always assume they have so many people comment now that they won’t be that bothered and/or will get overwhelmed so I kind of shy away a bit. Maybe I need to get back in there with my faves and get commenting! It’s the main thing I miss on social media now, the fledgling relationships when it and everyone was new and perhaps it was all a little more authentic. I do love stories though on IG, I find you get to know more about people on there and more of a snapshot into their real lives 🙂 x

    • Jess
      February 27, 2018 / 9:23 am

      I know! It was so much of a community then and I agree. There’s so much commercial gain from it now that it’s hard to know what’s genuine or not. I still get a lot out of blogging and social media personally (like many people) and try not to see work as work! Thanks for the comment much appreciated lovely 🙂 xx

  4. February 27, 2018 / 4:05 am

    Love this post Jess, it’s like you read my kind. I’ve kind of had a breakthrough in myself & know the exact direction I want to go with my blog & youtube channel & the content I really want to produce after years of being scared & self conscious. I’m not afraid to turn down work if it doesn’t fit with the direction I’m going in.

    • Jess
      February 27, 2018 / 9:25 am

      Good for you!! I am so glad you agree – it feels hard to leave the ‘crowd’ and do your own thing but in the end it makes work feel so much more worth while and fulfilling! Good luck and I am sure you’ll smash it xx

  5. March 1, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with this Jess. I definitely got fed up with seeing bloggers that I trusted endorse things through ads that didn’t suit their brand. We all know that it caused a backlash in readers (non-bloggers) too… we all remember THAT mumsnet thread. The blogs I return to and read regularly are ones that I know produce creative content and weave their paid things within that. After all we all need to make money to keep doing this as a job! You know I love your blog, keep on doing what you’re doing, it’s fab xx

    • Jess
      March 2, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Thank you SO MUCH lovely and this means a lot. Really appreciate it. I really love blogging and Instagram but I do find myself needing to reevaluate why I do it sometimes! It is important to get the right balance between paid and non-paid work and this isn’t always easy! Love your blog too and I have always loved following you xx

  6. March 3, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Totally agree you have to be yourself or what is the point, life isn’t an ad life is real and I love stories for that for being able to be yourself, that is why I chose to talk about our bad high school experience lately because you cant put your life on line and not share the downs, we all have downs but thankfully mostly goods x

    • Jess
      March 3, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      Absolutely — it’s important to share the lows because then it makes us all more human 🙂 xx

  7. March 4, 2018 / 8:03 am

    Love this Jess! It’s becoming more obvious where people have followed the ££ and done something that doesn’t whole heartily fit their brand. It sticks out like a sore thumb! But I totally understand how and why people end up in this place. But I think your right, more people are taking a step back now and only saying yes to things they know in their heart is right. It’s a balance and staying true to yourself x

    • Jess
      March 5, 2018 / 2:30 pm

      I agree. When you make it your income saying ‘no’ to juicy projects is hard! That balance is always going to be a tough one, because blogging is ALL about authentic content. You’re spot on. I like working with brands and pushing myself into new areas but I will always, always prefer the process of writing a blog post that simply came out of my head one day! Thanks Laura xx

  8. March 4, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    Jess I loved reading this post and it echoes what a lot of people have been thinking. I’ve taken a huge step back from blogging, mostly because it had got to a point where I was working on things that I wasn’t enthusiastic about but after being on maternity leave and then reduced hours at work the money came in really handy, but it didn’t make me happy at all with my blog which led to me neglecting it. Having taken a huge step back it’s made me realise I miss blogging for me and I’m slowly getting back to writing and about the things I enjoy and that spark I originally had is coming back. xx

    • Jess
      March 5, 2018 / 2:27 pm

      I am so glad you took that step back — I think you needed it, as you say. Sometimes it takes that to remember why you started and what parts bring you the most joy. I am really into writing and so this is going to be more ‘me’ this year! Thanks Jo xx

  9. March 6, 2018 / 10:59 am

    Fab post Jess, – totally agree with everything you’re saying. I have only recently started to get asked to do reviews etc., but have ended up saying no to most of them because many of the products or whatever bear no relation to my life. Posts like this remind me that it’s ok to do that, so thank you 🙂 And best of luck to you on a successful blogging year ahead! xx

    • Jess
      March 6, 2018 / 7:40 pm

      Thanks lovely and glad you’re finding it too. I think keeping the reviews relevant to your life makes your audience so much more engaged and that’s the right call! 🙂 Thanks for the comment xx

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