A Travel and Lifestyle Blog
Id be interested to know what the very first, knee jerk answer that popped into your head when you read that question was. The reason I would be so interested in that answer, is I feel that many people feel they can’t be honest when they answer this, especially in the current climate of distrust bloggers are up against. They feel it has to be prettied up a bit, perhaps a little smoke and mirrors added to deflect from the REAL way they would like to answer that question. So, I invite you to grab your cuppa, settle in for a chat and be completely, totally honest with what your version of blog success looks like, not to tell me necessarily, but to admit to you. Lets jump on in….
The blogging/influencer/instagrammer industry is taking a hammering at the moment. Almost daily there is an article or a name and shame type of post being put out there, usually detailing the “calculated and devilish” ways that people in the industry are “conning” people out of their hard earnt cash. Its led to all manor of discussions and denials, but, in truth, some of it I have to agree with! As I have said a gazillion times, if you bring money into anything, the game changes. Simple as that. No if, buts or maybe’s, the game is different.
I have read blogs for almost 10 years now, and the changes I have seen in that time, make blogs as they are now unrecognizable from what they were. Im not saying that this is a bad thing, its progress, but people are coming into “influencing” (I hate that word with every ounce of my being) for very different reasons now. I don’t intend to discuss that in this post, but I feel it needed to be said to set the scene for what I am really here for. Asking you to be honest with yourself and what success is to you!
I suppose for me, if I look at the original reason that I started my blog, (to get me writing on a regular basis so that I finish my damn book) and compare the here and now against that goal, then I have failed. Failed miserably. I have not written much more of my book…….Epic and total fail.
If I compare my blogs success against things that the experts tell me I should have, a blog niche (fail), regular passive income from affiliate marketing (fail), a gazillion strangers following me on social media (fail), various brand PR’s on speed dial (fail, fail, fail) then I am not really doing my best work here am I? Im seemingly on the ropes, ready to throw the towel in at my epic fail.
Only, Im not! Im not thinking that way at all, and in fact, blow my own trumpet and call me a marching band, Im bloody proud of this little blog and I do consider it a success! So, because I am asking you for total honesty, its only fair I too am honest. Lets start with what the industry considers success….
So, in terms of income, Im not precious over things like that, so I am happy to discuss it with you. If you want more in depth details in any area, message me. Im happy to talk honestly with you
I do get a little, tiny amount through my affiliate links, so I love that this keeps my blog a “free” hobby still. Affiliate links for those scratching their heads, is where I link to a product that I talk about or recommend. If you should then decide to buy it, I get pennies, and I promise you it is pennies, in commission at no extra cost to you. Im always beyond grateful when someone buys through my links. My hosting is around £100 a year, so every little helps! The money that affiliate marketing provides, (last year my earnings from this were just over £80) helps cover my blog hosting each year, so that is a success.
Sponsored content – This is when a brand contacts you to work on a post in collaboration with them. Payment can be in money, gifted products or both. I am very, very fussy about who I do sponsored or collaboration content with, and I promise you, I turn down far more than I accept. Not because I am a primma donna , but because I don’t want my blog to become a sales platform, I don’t want to be restricted on what I write about (sponsored content often wants to dictate a little what you write) and I don’t want to be stressing about GETTING sponsored content. I just want to enjoy writing my blog. No stress, no pressure, no losing my voice. Having said that, I have done some collaborations that spoke to me in some way, (and they do pay more than affiliate marketing for sure), and enjoyed them, and I hope to do a few more this year.
Social media – I am a slow burner on social media for sure. I know that I dont put the effort in, and am accepting of the fact that my 30 minutes a day that I give to social media will not help me grow in a hurry. I have about 5000 followers across all of my channels, but I am ok with that. My views per month on my blog, the thing that I am passionate about, is beyond that so I will live with being a social media plodder. I will not waste precious hours of my time on an app on my phone, obsessing about likes and followers. No way jose. Life is too bloody short for that.
Happiness – I am happy. My blog brings me happiness and I just love writing it. I have met many fabulous people through it, I have learnt more about myself through it, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zones through it, therefore growing as a person. All of that is fantastic and worth far more to me than money or thousands of followers on Instagram. Happiness is my drug, a million percent.
Fulfilment – One of the best moments for me with my blog has been when a cancer charity contacted me to ask if they could use my Open Letter to Cancer post on their website and in their marketing. They told me that they thought it could offer hope and strength to other people going through what we are. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart that was my moment. That was when I realised that actually, my blog means a lot to me, but it also means something to others. It offers something. I get some beautiful emails and messages after some posts I write too. People telling me that something resonated or helped them in some way. That means the world to me. I keep all of the emails in a folder on a computer, just to remind me that I provide something to someone. I also get to share some of the opportunities I am offered with my family/friends (including a trip to Portugal I took my Mum on) so it’s amazing to add experiences for them too. That is success on a huge level to me.
Moving forwards – I would be lying if I didn’t say that I would like to earn a little regular income from my blog. I think that saying that makes people distrust bloggers motives, but I hope that you all know me well enough by now to know I would never “sell out” I will always stay true to my ethics, and something has to mean something to me to write about it. But, to keep it paying for itself, and maybe cover the travel costs if I go into London for an event, that would be fab. At the end of the day, we all need money to be able to live the life we want (I’m not talking material things here, I’m talking experiencing things), so money has to factor in. I have a day job that pays my bills, so having a little extra via my blog to pay for days out etc, well, that would be great. I am a true advocate of the thinking that money doesn’t bring you happiness, but days out, travel, experiencing things does, so a bit of extra cash wouldn’t hurt!
I would also of course, love to have more readers on the blog. I write to be read, that is the truth of the matter. Don’t get me wrong, I would write anyway, whether one or twenty people read it, but more readers would be great. I want to connect, and offer something, and as always, encourage as many people as I can to just live their lives as fully as possible. More readers gives me more chances to do that.
So tell me, (or be honest with yourself), what would be your idea of your blogs success. Remember, no one has a right to judge you so whatever it means to you is your right answer. Are you looking for it to be your job? Do you want to leave the 9-5 and be full time? Is it to help you on your cv to bag your dream job? Is it for the free stuff? Are you a frustrated author like me? Is it just an enjoyable hobby for you? Tell me what your blog’s success looks like to you