This post is almost comical coming from me (considering how little I really write on my actual blog), but I also feel that "blogger" is also a term used to refer to any person with an online influence. I've been sharing my life & my work online for about three years now and I just wanted to share ten things that I think everyone that is or is trying to get into the industry should live by. Here they are:
1. Intent is everything. It might not seem like it to someone who isn’t familiar with blogging, but writing, filming, shooting photos, editing, networking, planning - everything that goes into being an “online influencer” takes A LOT of motivation. Few people rarely see any success without putting in the work. What helps motivate me personally is the fact that I absolutely love content creating. My advice? Don’t do it for the money, the fame or because you want the free stuff. "You have to absolutely love it and be willing to fail" (as said by one of my favorite blogger babes @frankvinyl).
2. Do not determine your own success by comparing it to someone else’s. Success is relative! Set your own goals/milestones and then figure out what you need to do to achieve them. Allow yourself to feel inspired rather than jealous. I promise you it’s a much more productive feeling.
3. The internet does not determine your worth - only you can do that. You are not your likes, your comments or your follower count - you are you. Take note of the criticism and praise but remember that neither of those things make you less or better than anyone else.
4. Be yourself. Your aesthetic/brand image will be difficult to keep up with if it’s all fabricated. There are so many creators, bloggers, influencers out there at the moment, but you are one of a kind. If you want to stand out from the rest, use what makes you special (FYI that's your very own unique, authentic self).
5. Get to know your audience. You can learn a lot by listening & understanding the people that follow you & why they are following you. Determine what your audience needs & turn it into a project that you can stand behind. How can you expect to succeed if you're not putting out a message that people want to hear?
6. Every audience is different. What works for one does not work for all. The point of building your audience is bringing together a community that wants to support the work that YOU are doing. While we all want to grow our following, I would personally prefer a smaller, engaged audience than a large audience that never interacts with me or even cares about what I'm doing.
7. You can't please everyone. Online, in life, in general - it's just not possible to have every single person looking at your work be 100% happy with it. That being said, you might as well create what you alone can be proud of. Listen to your audience, but follow your own path. "There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." - Aristotle
8. Don’t give up. Nothing happens overnight. It might not seem like that for others when you're looking from the outside, but every successful person has gotten to where they are now by being prepared for success when the opportunity presented itself. While I feel that I still have a long way to go before I accomplish all of the goals I've set for myself, I'm happy with how far I've come. However, I can't tell you how many times I've thought of giving up. There are days where I just suddenly hate my work and feel as if I've lost it. Sometimes I even wonder if I'll ever get to where I want to be. All I can say is: I've found that once I get past my self-doubt and continue to create - that's when I find I get even closer to where I truly want to be.
9. Produce the highest quality you can. And I'm not talking about shooting raw. It’s TOTALLY fine if you don’t have the best camera, software, or even skills - as long as you’re always giving it your all. You'd be surprised with how far sheer creativity and determination can take you.
10. DO NOT CHEAT. Just don't do it. It is incredible that we've come to a place where people are able to make a living off of sharing their thoughts, their art - their lives - online with others. When you buy your likes, comments, views, followers - you are RUINING the industry for those who work so hard to put themselves out there and you're also teaching brands not to take us seriously. Brands won't continue to work with bloggers if they don't see a return on their investment (which they won't if you're lying about your influence).
While there are a lot more helpful tips that I think go into creating an online presence, these ten things are always in the back of my mind.