. HOW TO KEEP YOUR BLOG INTEGRITY .
If you’ve been following my ‘How To’ series which i’ve been blogging every Saturday for a few months now, then you’ll know that the one thing I tend to talk about is integrity. Blogging for yourself, and staying true to your own interests, tonality, and most importantly personality. It’s why blogs and blogging are so successful in this day n’ age. In the broader media sense, long gone are the days of biased publishing & one sided news and political stories sold to our Nations by government owned media houses. In the slightly less weighty side of things, it’s the unique personalities and opinions of thousands of people sharing their experiences, life, loves & hates through an unfiltered, honest lens. There’s no one ‘model’ for all, every editor / blogger is unique and that’s why they’ve gained such traction and interest. This was somewhat refreshing in a time where magazines and fashion brands were being criticised for portraying woman as unattainable, wildly beautiful, and unachievabley thin! Bloggers offered the absolute antidote. For me, the reason was simple, it was individual people sharing honest thoughts on a little online space, with no intention of influencing the nation, simply using it as an outlet to talk about the things they love, have experienced, have interest in etc, a live online journal!
It’s a blogs integrity, effectively the personality of you the blogger, that makes a blog interesting, engaging and appealing to read. It’s the personalities oozing through the screen that makes your readers fall in love and keep returning, become part of your life & feel as if they know you. And it’s these critical points which highlight why it’s so important not to lose your integrity when blogging. This is particularly prevalent now, in a time where blogging is now a commercial business, it’s a new form of advertising, it’s a partner to brands and far more than what anyone ever anticipated.
It’s for these reasons I thought i’d share my tips for maintaining your integrity when blogging in this new world. They are by no means the only things to consider, but for me they’re some of the key things I think really make a difference.
. SAY NO .
First of all, remember you have the right to say no. In this stage of the blogging revolution, brands and advertisers are forever keen to incorporate social influencers & content producers (yes you, the blogger) into their advertising strategies. You offer honest endorsement to a core consumer audience, you have sway & influence, plus of course measurable reach & return! But given the power of the blogger in this consumer world, it means there’s a lot of interest in collaborations, advertising placements, affiliate programmes. It’s of course easy to get swept up in it all, there’s no denying how exciting it is for a brand to want to gift you a present or invite you to an event for example. But there comes a point when you need to be a bit selective, don’t’ sell yourself out or lose your style, purpose, or interest because of advertising opportunities. If a brand or collaboration isn’t ‘right’ for you, then it’s okay to politely turn it down! Your readers & supporters will know when a partnership isn’t right, and that is when integrity starts to slip!
So, stay true to yourself & only work on projects that are right & truly of interest to you!
. WRITE FOR YOU .
I’ve talked about this before, but often with the quest for ‘blog success’ people are keen to gain readers / followers / fans and sometimes feel a way to do this would be to write what other people want to read. Within reason I get this, but ultimately I don’t feel this is why blogs become popular or gain interest and readers. Actually, it’s bloggers writing with passion about the things that interest them, or the things they’ve been doing in their own lives, or sharing their own personal style that gain traction. It’s that personality which draws people in, so why would you try and change that to fit what you think people want to read? More over … you’ll never please everyone, so there’s not much point trying!
. DON’T OVER COMMERCIALISE .
Very much linked with ‘saying no’, but not over commercialising is quite important I think. Obviously if an opportunity arose to make my blog my personal business i’d be over the moon, in fact it would be the dream to have this as my full time job, writing, photographing & producing content, but in the meantime (and even if you are a full time blogger) you have to be conscious and measured with how you commercialise.
If all your content was to become sponsored, it would show. If you were to have huge skin takeovers every day, it would take away from the content. If you had expandable MPU’s which overshadowed your content whenever a visitor came to your site, it would be a bit off putting. And if adverts took over your page, the content would become lost. There are a lot of factors to consider, and of course a lot of opportunities to be had in making money from blogging. But be measured when you decide how to commercialise your blog, think about what you want to achieve and from there work out where brands and advertisers can fit in!
. BE UNIQUE .
This is it. Being unique. It’s why we love bloggers, so let’s all make a concerted effort not to lose it. Over the last year or so, as blogging has become increasingly popular and more and more people are starting their own sites, there seems to be a trend of ‘look a like’ site design, or copy cat content styles, & a lack of general uniqueness. It’s easy when starting a blog from scratch, particularly today when there are so many successful blogs to take inspiration from, to just buy or create an ‘a-typical’ blog design. Something that over time has become normal, but actually isn’t really the point in my opinion! I’d urge you to design, write and produce content which is of a style and taste that you love, don’t feel pressured into thinking there’s a one mould fits all when it comes to blog design, writing style, image quality or content themes.
Since starting my blog from scratch in 2011, i’ve designed and built my site and always written about topics I love and have a passion for. Hopefully because of that my blog is a little unique, bespoke to mediamarmalade.com!
. STAY TRUE .
The industry is ever changing, ever growing and ever commercialising. If integrity is what made it such a success, then integrity is what must be sustained to keep it going! Stay true to yourself, to why you started to blog, to what you love to write about, to the style you have and to the topics you want to talk about. There’s room for everyone, and its your own personality which makes your blog unique, interesting and a pleasure to spend time reading!
In the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’!
WANT TO READ MORE BLOGGING TIPS LIKE THIS?
. THE 6 STEPS TO HAVING A COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL BLOG . HOW TO THINK MORE STRATEGICALLY ABOUT YOUR BLOG & BUSINESS PLAN . THE SKILLS ALL BLOGGERS HAVE THAT CAN EARN YOU MONEY . THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BUSINESS . HOW TO TAKE YOUR BLOG FULL TIME . HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BRAND . 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING YOUR BLOG FULL TIME . HOW TO EARN MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG & CONTENT . HOW I BLOG DAILY & HAVE A FULL TIME CAREER . WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO QUIT YOUR CAREER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL BLOG BUSINESS .WHAT IT TAKES TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO YOUR CAREER . DEMYSTIFYING THE LUCKY BREAK: HOW SUCCESSFUL BLOGGERS GET BLOG BUSINESS & OPPORTUNITIES .
What do you think about this topic, do you agree integrity is key, have you got any other tips for maintaining blog integrity?