SIX YEARS OF BLOGGING
My Thoughts On Blogging Then, Now & In The Future
Before I get stuck in to todays post, can you believe yesterday marked the six year anniversary of mediamarmalade.com! When I started my blog back in 2011 on a bit of a whim, I never imagined the addiction and obsession I’d form over content creation, photography and sharing my life, tips & travels with you all. It is well worth doing if it’s something you’re interested in, there are a lot of resources out there to get you started, you can using something like the blogging buddha among other hosting sites to get your feet in the blogging door.
After blogging pretty much daily for almost five of those years, the last year and a half or so I’ve really changed things up, I’ve blogged a little less frequently but really tried to up the quality of what I’m sharing and focussed on not only trying to make content you enjoy, but content that maybe adds some value too! I really wanted mediamarmalade to feel like a destination for not just outfit inspiration, but somewhere I could share my love for photography & my photography journey with you, where we can discuss our careers & the natural difficulties and challenges that comes with juggling a career and a hobby, and of course somewhere to document my travels and share my travel tips.
It’s been a big journey and my blog has most definitely evolved since 2011 when outfit posts were blurry shots in my bedroom, and the industry has evolved unrecognisably too since then. In fact, back in 2011 blogging wasn’t even an industry, it was just a hobby a few people took up and a little community of like minded people formed. Today blogging is a huge commercial industry, a platform for advertisers and brands and many of my blogging friends from those early days are internationally established influencers, brand ambassadors and content produces. Talk about incredible!
What comes with evolution is of course change, and to celebrate my six years in this online community and blogging world I thought I’d share my thoughts on a few topics. A Q&A merged with some future focussed thinking, on the topics I feel most passionate about and those I feel are most pertinent in our blogging world today and tomorrow! Plus a little plea for your feedback too!
I hope you enjoy, relate, and feel inspired by the end.
SIX YEARS OF BLOGGING: MY THOUGHTS ON …
Photography is perhaps my number one favourite thing when it comes to blogging. In fact over the course of the last six years i’ve become somewhat of a photography nerd, and still today I spend hours and hours reading reviews, memorising tutorials and continuing to learn more about photography and my kit. I’m obsessed with quality images and photography is a really huge and important part of my blog. Of course since I began blogging my photography style, the quality of it and the equipment I use has most definitely evolved.
In fact I recently sold all of my secondary cameras & lenses I use alongside my Canon 5D III in order to upgrade my second camera to a Fuji XT2. I spent months reading reviews and asking questions in camera stores, as I was desperate to make the right decision! I wanted something light weight, easily connected to my phone but also something that could take excellent quality images that I would be proud to share on my blog. My hope is that a smaller camera will help me capture a little more of the everyday to share on my instagram and my blog too!
After a long research process and a million visits to the poor guy at the camera shop, I decided on the XT2 and the 56mm 1.2 prime lens, this little gem now sits alongside my Canon 5D III, my 85mm 1.2 (my favourite and most used lens), my 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8 and my new Sigma 35mm 1.2. My camera equipment is very precious to me and I’ve spent a lot of time building up my collection to where it is today! And i’m really excited to get playing around with my new Fuji too! I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures it produces!
MY FAVE PHOTOGRAPHY POSTS
. HOW TO SHOOT ON MANUAL AND IMPROVE YOUR BLOG PHOTOS . MASTERING PHOTOGRAPHY & YOUR DSLR . HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DSLR CAMERA . HOW TO CREATE PINTEREST WORTHY BLOG IMAGES & HOW THEY WILL GROW YOUR BLOG . 6 TIPS TO HELP YOU SHOOT GREAT BLOG PICTURES . 5 TIPS TO HELP YOU GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR OLYMPUS PEN .
MY STYLE EVOLUTION
Since I started my blog back in 2011 my style has most definitely evolved as much as my photography!
Back when I started my blog my style was much more fluid and I frequently played around with the looks I would wear. Of course I had my staples, A-line dresses & pretty blouses were big parts of my wardrobe, but generally speaking my style was a little more adventurous than it is today! Not surprising given i’m nearly thirty and my career and life has evolved a lot in six years. Today I love a tailored trouser or culotte, my designer accessories have grown beyond the few Mulberry bags I had in 2011 (I now own some of my dream bags which i’ve saved up for and treated myself to over the years to mark promotions or achievements), and I invest a lot more in the pieces I choose to wear now.
But regardless of what I wear, what I share changed a little too. When I started my blog outfits were a daily occurrence and my outfit posts were very ‘everyday’. And whilst I still love to share an outfit post with you, they’re definitely less frequent and often more ‘statement’ looks than they perhaps once were. But off the back of my last Q&A over a year ago now, a lot of you said you still love those everyday outfit posts, so it’s something I’ve made sure not to lose and something I want to ensure I keep doing more of too!
THE FUTURE OF BLOGGING
I said it at the beginning of 2016, again at the beginning of 2017 and I think it’s still true today! The rise of micro bloggers & the potential for micro bloggers in the industry is absolutely huge. Working within an advertising agency I see first hand how influencer marketing is managed and where it’s heading, and as we move into 2018 the industry is going to become even more polarised. It feels so strange saying all this because I remember starting my blog a number of year back and I had no clue what anything was! I expected blogging to be easy, which is a common misconception by many. I knew nothing about SEO and the workd of digital marketing, until I was advised to look into a Los Angeles SEO company, where I was able to get support for my blog, ranging from the technical aspect to content marketing. It was definitely the step that I needed to take to help me get to where I am today.
Big bloggers are now influencers, authors, designers and ambassadors, their name and image is just as valuable as their content. These people will continue to rake in those big revenue deals and grow their personal brand and product lines. But alongside this micro bloggers will continue to prosper.
There are more and more advertisers learning the value of influencers for their business, not all of these brands don’t have multi million pound offers on the table and often don’t want a quick mention from a huge talent, they want genuine engagement & support from the more ‘everyday’ influencers, they can work with more of them, more often & often find the return more valuable to their business. This is where Micro bloggers come in. From small scale instagram accounts, to bloggers bringing in a few hundred thousand viewers (or less) a month. There is a huge and ever increasing demand for these content producers & I don’t think 2018 is going to see this slow down.
In fact many of the blogging tips I shared at the beginning of 2017 are still true and pertinent for 2018 and beyond! Youtube and video content is still increasingly demanded by audiences and brands, and more and more ‘bloggers’ will expand into this channel and grow as a result. Owned channels will become more important despite the current continued growth of Instagram (we’re already seeing a backlash & who even uses snapchat these days?), and ‘engagement’ will continue to be a seriously important metric for success!
The industry is only going to continue to grow, the challenge for bloggers, instagrammers and youtubers alike will continue to be developing an authentic voice, creating content that cuts through, developing a loyal and engaged audience and finding a sustainable way to build their business in an exceptionally saturated and ‘trend’ driven market! All whilst not falling victim to the comparison trap!
Exciting, Challenging & Opportune times ahead
MY FAVE BLOG TIPS POSTS
. MY ULTIMATE BLOG TIPS GUIDE . WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A BLOG BUSINESS PITCH. DEMYSTIFYING THE LUCKY BREAK: HOW SUCCESSFUL BLOGGERS GET BLOG BUSINESS & OPPORTUNITIES . HOW TO CREATE A KILLER MEDIA PACK FOR YOUR BLOG . 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 . HOW TO TAKE YOUR BLOG FULL TIME . HOW TO EARN MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG & CONTENT .
God I hate instagram sometimes. I know so many other bloggers relate to the daily grapples that instagram ignites. The constant battle of sharing content we love and feel passionate about, with the continuous disappointment of the lack of engagement and growth. I think i’m the only blogger left who’s blog is actually bigger than their instagram?
For whatever reason my Instagram quite literally doesn’t grow. I’m forever stuck on 12.5k followers, whilst my pals who I started with are racking up 100k – 300k followers with seeming ease! It has to be one of the most disheartening and demotivating sides to blogging for me. No matter how hard I work, how perfect I try and make my content, the intagram algorithm is completely and utterly out of my hands. The incredulous use of bots has only created new standards even more difficult to compete with, new norms of engagement and followers, and an expectation for ‘use’ which is just unheard of. I hate what it’s become. Yet I just love sharing my photography!
I only wish three years ago I took the platform more seriously & shifted my focus a little more onto Instagram versus daily blogging. I should preferably make growing my social media accounts (especially Instagram) into onto of my goals for this year. It’ll give me something to work towards when I don’t feel as motivated as I should. Something that I was recommended to look into though that could be of assistance is social media analytics tools. This way, I can turn my attention to specific areas that I want to focus more on and see what my weaknesses and strengths are. Perhaps things may be different? But the reality is I love blogging, it’s my passion and my focus, and even if my Instagram flourished, my blog is still the platform I’d pour my effort into. It’s also the platform that’s mine & I have total control of it’s future … something I think is even more pertinent today than it was when I first wrote about the importance of owned platforms back in April 2016.
You can follow my instagram here if you’re not already (wink wink).
CAREER, BLOG & LIFE BALANCE
It’s taken six years, but you know what I think I’ve found balance …
Taking the pressure off of daily blogging helped significantly, learning to manage my stress levels and gather greater perspective at work was a huge epiphany, and being a little more choiceful about what I say yes to helped as well. This last 12 months has seen me gain the best balance I’ve had yet, I took up yoga and pilates again, I redefined what my blog meant to me and what I wanted it to become (meaning I properly found a way to make time for my side hustle without sacrificing my life and redefined how I wanted to work) and I just prioritised my health a little more after being diagnosed with bowl disease in January.
And despite this, my career has taken a big leap forward, the hard work of the years prior seem to be starting to pay off and even though my instagram is stuck in a rut generally my blog is still doing well too! Working smarter, not harder is absolutely the name of the game! It may have taken me 10 years to master, but I’m really starting to get there now!
I’ve also accepted that whilst other bloggers chose to go full time, I chose to focus on my career & my blog! So it’s about time I stopped being a downer on my blog growth versus others, because I also have a career which I often forget to consider!
HOW TO CREATE A KILLER BUSINESS PLAN FOR YOUR DREAM BUSINESS OR BLOG . WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO QUIT YOUR CAREER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL BLOG BUSINESS . HOW I BLOG DAILY & HAVE A FULL TIME JOB – MY ROUTINE & TIPS TO HELP YOU . HOW TO TURN YOUR PASSIONS INTO YOUR CAREER . HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS & BE YOUR OWN BOSS . WHY YOUR BLOG IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER (DESPITE THE RISE OF SO
THE FUTURE OF MEDIAMARMALADE
And last but not least, little old mediamarmalade, six years old today! It feels mad that it’s been this long but it also feels like it’s been a part of my life forever!
There’s no way my little corner of the web is going anywhere, in fact my ambition is still to see this space grow (not just in size but in quality too). I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities as a result of blogging, and whilst of course I succumb to the comparison trap every now and then (read ‘constantly’ – i’d love to get a little piece of the success and work other bloggers seem to be getting) I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and i’m excited to see what else is to come!
I don’t have any drastic plans for change, my new interiors section is something I’m really enjoying sharing with you, my blogging and careers tips are something I want to share a little more of, and fashion and travel will continue to be the back bone of my site. Youtube is lingering on the periphery, I’m tempted but scared. And my instagram continues to be the bain of my life but I’m working hard and hoping hard work will pay off eventually. But regardless of all this, mediamarmalade.com is still my passion, my focus and my baby!
But, as always, I’d really love to hear your feedback too! I’d love to know what you love, what you’d change and what you want more of! Because the reality is, if it wasn’t for you all reading, following and supporting mediamarmalade then there really wouldn’t be much point at all and I want to build a better mediamarmalade for you and me in the future!
And last but not least, thank you all. I never imagined my blog would become such a huge part of my life, and the reality is it’s your support, encouragement and engagement with me and my content that keeps me going and inspires me to do more! Your support really does mean the world, from every instagram like to every blog comment or even page visit, thank you, it wouldn’t be possible without you.
Here is to the next six years x