This one is for my fellow bloggers out there. I’ve recently had a few frustrating situations arise and have noticed some less-than-desirable trends in the blogging industry that I’m sure others have observed as well. Though I’ve felt defeated at times, these instances have reminded me how important it is to stay authentic, honest and in your own lane if you want to succeed (in blogging or anything!) So I put together a list of ways that I retain the authenticity of my Bellezza Corner and how you can too.
Stay in your lane and trust your unique vision
Before starting my blog almost two years ago now, (time flies!) I really didn’t do a ton of reading of other blogs out there. I had about three or four girls that I followed, but a couple of them were even more photo centric fashion blogs. This actually worked out for me and my writing because it prevented me from being influenced too much by others’ ideas or styles of writing.
It’s easy to look at someone else’s work and want to “copy” it because you like it so much, so I try to avoid the temptation altogether, and I limit my blog reading to just a few, preferably on topics outside of my own. This helps me keep my content and voice authentic to me and my vision. I do a fair amount of reading outside of blogs that helps guide my general writing style, but I don’t want to even subconsciously assume someone else’s sense of humor or writing personality by reading too many blogs.
I think it’s important when you’re starting a new blog or if you’re trying to pivot or streamline your existing one, to have a clear vision of what you want your posts to center around and what you want your writing to bring to the table. Once you have this vision, you can just put blinders on and set off on your path. Don’t get distracted by what others are doing. If you have bloggers or writers that you admire, think about what it is that you like about their style and try to bring your own flavor when writing your pieces.
Inauthenticity in writing is pretty easy to spot and quite honestly won’t send the best vibes out because it’s not coming from your heart.
Work hard at cultivating a voice of your own and remember that no one has your exact voice, so you’re already bringing something new to the table just by being you!
For more on maintaining “tunnel vision” see my past Soul Food post HERE.
Comparing yourself to others is a waste of your precious energy!
In the spirit of being you, making comparisons and getting sucked into that awful vortex is a complete waste of your time and energy. In the same way that you can remix the writing style of someone you admire, you can remix, revamp, and twist any aspect of someone you admire to fit your personality.
Try to separate comparing yourself from taking inspiration from others. One will lead you down a negative path and will probably end up making you feel bad about yourself, and the other will cultivate excitement and hope about your own journey. You are free to choose.
Of course we all take inspiration from one another in life, but it’s how you make it your own that matters. Trying to stage a photo exactly like one you saw on Instagram is not being authentic and won’t put out the vibration that you desire to bring about success.
Dr. Seuss expressed this point well when he wrote, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Just by virtue of existing, you are a unique person with a specific voice and set of ideas. Trust who you are and show the world wide web the real you by just being yourself!
Quality over quantity
Here’s a biggie in my book: produce quality content and be genuine in your approach and engagement with others. I think I speak for many when I say I’d rather read four quality pieces of writing or see a handful of beautiful photos than 20 superficial, salesy, or poorly-thought-out posts. You can be consistent and have quality behind your work without cranking out posts every single day.
On engagement – there’s nothing worse than someone throwing out a copy and pasted generic comment on your blog post or Instagram photo with the link to their blog below. If you are going to engage with others, I recommend being sincere and thoughtful in your comments and you will most likely see the same level of sincerity in return. I’ve had a lot of success doing this, and have even made some insta friends by genuinely responding to cool content. Again, I’d rather take the time to post 10 authentic comments and mean what I say, than copy and paste 100 “awesome post” comments on random blogs.
If you think people don’t notice insincerity, you are mistaken.
There’s a biiiig issue in the industry right now, particularly as it pertains to Instagram and that is buying followers. I will never be a proponent of doing this, because I do feel that it’s very inauthentic and “wrong” but also because I think quality people and brands will notice.
There are certainly plenty of brands out there that don’t know any better and that don’t even take a peek at engagement rates to notice that someone’s account with 10K followers gets 100 likes on a photo. But that does not mean that other brands won’t notice or that you’re not putting insincere energy out there, which is never a good thing.
Getting followers is often a slow roll, but if you’re committed to expanding your reach and producing high quality content, your social accounts will grow organically.
I also think it’s really important to understand your growth rate and how many people you’re actually reaching. If you fudge the numbers so heavily that that gets lost, you are just cheating yourself.
If you’re just starting out or have a smaller following than you’d like, you can highlight your engagement rate to brands and explain to them why this is important. Also know that smart brands will ask for access to your Google Analytics, which can’t lie.
Honestly really is always the best policy and you can’t “lie” in what you’re putting out in the Universe. If you believe in yourself and your vision, opt for the “long game” and work hard with authenticity behind it and people will notice.