When I started blogging in 2013, I didn’t really give much thought as to how I might stay relevant. I naively assumed I’d just start writing and my audience would come to me and that would be it. I didn’t consider the fact that they might grow bored of my content, or I might change direction. Back then I was writing about beauty and seeking out new friendships via Bloglovin and my initial audience grew very quickly. When I started forming a new niche for myself in the areas of student life and creativity, my growth slowed. I’d lost the ready-and-waiting beauty-obsessed audience I’d picked up and hadn’t quite tapped into anything else. It certainly took me a good couple of years to fully find myself again, and today’s post is all about saving you the time and effort I wasted. Plus it’s a good opportunity to properly share some of the photos Kaye took of me last week. Can we talk about how amazing they are please!?
The growth of social media has made it harder than ever to stay relevant. The nature of the online landscape means people are looking less to one person for the answer to all their questions, but are instead looking to multiple role models. Not only do we have to compete for the attention of our audience in a sea of other bloggers, but with the rise of the popularity of Instagram we have to compete with other ‘influencers’, our followers’ friends and family, and bots clogging up hashtags with irrelevant images. It’s hardly surprising that Instagram introduced an algorithm to try and combat this. However it’s clear that the algorithm isn’t perfect when it comes to predicting what people actually want to see on their feeds, and it’s one more obstacle facing content creators using the platform. So how do you stay relevant in the Blogosphere?
Well, you’ve got to offer people something that keeps them coming back. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve got this one sorted because I don’t, but I’m just not great at following my own advice. When I think of all the bloggers I like and check in with on a daily basis, I can pinpoint key things they do that keep me engaged. These gals always have fab and engaging Instagram stories, they tweet on the reg and they’ve probably just written a new post or have at least hinted about writing one in the last week. They’re #relatable and whilst I’d love to emulate that, I’m not quite there yet. I haven’t quite nailed how I portray myself online. It’s a work in progress.
I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s about personality. If you want to stay relevant you can’t just be ‘another blogger’ on Twitter or Instagram. Anyone stumbling across you online has to recognise you in order to come back, they’ve got to feel some sort of affinity with you to engage. They’ve got to trust you. I can honestly say that even if I’m following you on Twitter or Instagram, there’s a 90% chance I’m not reading your blog. And it’s probably because I don’t know you. I might see your blog promo but all I’m going off is the title of a post or an image you’ve taken. I don’t read it because it’s *yours*. Whereas if I recognise you and your content, chances are I’ll click through even if I’m only midly interested from the outset, because I know I’ve liked what you’ve had to say in the past.
Recognising your own habits online is key to understanding your audience. You can’t just expect engagement anymore, you have to work for it. And I think that’s the key to staying relevant. I had these photos done with Kaye because I knew I wanted to feature more on my blog and IG (I’ve been banging on about it for a good few months now) and I realised it wasn’t going to happen unless I made it happen. I’ve gained so much confidence from doing the shoot (mainly from all your lovely comments on Instagram!) and I finally felt like a proper part of the community.
That’s not to say that to be relevant you have to go out and get in front of the camera and go and have a photoshoot eating cake in Peggy Porschen’s (are we over that yet? Is Elan cafe the next big thing?) but I do think there’s a line to cross to ensure you’re not just ‘another blogger’ if you’re hoping to make it big or connect more with your audience.
What are your thoughts? Is it easy to stay relevant in the online world? Do you think it’s important to make your blog more ‘you’?