When I started blogging, back in the good ol’ days, quality of the written word was more important than social media numbers. The best articles and the best blogs were the ones that evoked some sort of emotion from the reader, or perhaps simply inspired with beautiful words and imagery. These days, the game has changed dramatically and I simply refuse to play ball.
It feels that, however well you write or blog or inspire, it doesn’t matter unless you have thousands upon thousands of social media followers. Less than 100k? Forget it. We’re talking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat and Pinterest to name a few. The industry want a huge social media following before they take notice. But, my issue is, I never went to university and learnt how to write to become ‘instafamous’ for my images. I want to write, and write well. That’s it.
The current pressure to over-achieve across all fields within media is insane. It feels that brands and agencies only want people who have over 100k followers on social. But guess what – some incredible bloggers don’t want to take perfectly positioned ‘inspo’ images of their coffee and notepad. Some bloggers just can’t be arsed with that shit. They’d rather spend another hour writing out a killer feature which will, if read, make the reader feel inspired all day long. Some of the best blogs I’ve ever read have been by people with low followers, which sadly means they in turn will not get the paid work.
I do completely understand that, if your content is amazing you will in turn have a good following and that following will expand to social media. Ergo, if you’re a great blogger you’ll have a great social following. But it doesn’t always flow like that. There are people with hundreds of thousands of followers due to their images who barely write a sentence. For me, I would go to them for visual inspiration, but not for a blog. I would never judge them on their blog, because that’s not what I love them for. Their talent is imagery. I respect it. It thus makes sense to me that people come to mine for the blog content, not the ‘yoga at sunrise on a beach’ images with 10,000 engagements that I do not have. But this isn’t the case.
Why does my social media statistics now define the success of my blog?
Nowadays, a blogger has to be a coder, web analyst, SEO expert, videographer, social media expert, content marketing strategist, advertising guru, professional photographer, stylist, make up artist, an agent and a self-run PR machine. It’s ridiculous. No wonder everyone is bogged down with stress and anxiety. You can’t expect one human to be able to excel in a billion different fields. It’s a one-way trip down meltdown highway.
Dare I even mutter the name Essena O’Neill?
What’s also frustrating is that there are many ‘Instafamous’ people out there bagging blogger campaigns and brand placements when they don’t even have a blog. As long as their images get a huge amount of engagement and they’ve got an army of followers, they’ll be the ones hired. That’s all cool for them and I appreciate completely that brands need a solid ROI, but, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to play ball. Would you expect me any other way?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming that anyone who has thousands of Instagram followers are talentless or don’t deserve recognition. Quite the opposite – creating beautiful imagery or video clips is HARD work. To be able to create visuals that are beautiful and inspire others is a gift. The same goes for all the Make Up Artists out there who have insane skills and their feeds are filled with cosmetic perfection. I love their stuff. But if they couldn’t even write 300 words that captivated me, I wouldn’t judge them for it. They’re a MUA, not a writer. What I am saying, is that if bloggers do not do any of that, it doesn’t mean they’re a crap blogger.
You wouldn’t judge a lawyer’s ability in the court room on how well he can paint a canvas would you? Exactly.
I don’t give a shit how many people follow my Instagram account. I don’t care if my Youtube has 0 subscribers. What I care about is that, whoever reads my blog or watches my videos can relate to it and in turn get touched on some level. Maybe I make you laugh, or have time out to think, or feel empowered, or horny, or emotional…whatever my content allows you to feel, that’s all I want. I refuse to let my blog success be defined by my social media statistics. For me, knowing I get up to 16,000 hits per day on my site and seeing what everyone enjoys reading…that’s my success. Not my Instagram engagement or Twitter followers.