Every month The Blog Issue tackles a different topic. The first topic is:
The Blog Issue #1 - Jealousy
Jealousy is probably one of the easiest emotions we feel. It’s so easy to slip into – even a simple “I wish that dress looked as good on me as _______” falls into basic jealousy. But go global – aka the Internet – and jealousy can take on a whole new meaning. It’s so easy when starting up a blog to look through a billion different, well-established blogs to get an idea of what makes a good blog (content, design, level of privacy etc) only to become frustrated when months later you’re still going to a dashboard that tells you the only person who follows you is your mum*.
Which is where jealousy comes in: “I want that many followers, my blog is as good as that one I look at every day” sweeps into your head, generally followed quite swiftly by “well I must be doing something wrong because nobody likes my blog.” It can lead to leaving catty comments or blatant self promotion on slightly more popular blogs, which is something bloggers usually hate (both the comments and the self promotion).
So far, so general. Let’s hone in the focus and I’ll spill my guts (metaphorically at least) by talking about my little blog. I started Foil Cups up in my first year at uni studying magazine journalism after an unsuccessful stint on another blogging website because I wanted somewhere to put my writing with a heavy focus on fashion. I told my tutors about it when they asked classes if anyone had a blog and ones who bothered to check it out said it was good. I used the simple self promotion forums I had available to me – Facebook and Twitter (hurrah for social networking!)
I gained a few followers – a couple of friends but otherwise strangers from places as far away as Australia – and a couple more readers than that who didn’t have the account needed to ‘follow’ and couldn’t be bothered so sporadically check in to see what I’m writing. I’d sign my emails with my blog address under my name and included it on my CV. At the highest I had seven followers. I lost two this February after a post about Valentine’s day – I’ve no idea if the post was linked to their departure but it was quite close to the post date that it happened – and had a bit of a slump in my thoughts. Why bother, I reasoned, if nobody wanted to read what I wrote?
After a month or so of considering my little blog I decided to keep going regardless of followers, amount of people who commented and reader statistics. There are people I’ve never met in Japan, USA, Brazil and other countries I’ve only dreamed of going to who read my blog (hello by the way!) so even if I don’t have several thousand or even hundred people who check into my blog why should I get disheartened?
However that doesn’t stop me getting jealous from time to time. I read a fair few blogs and follow a few of the girls on Twitter. They are lovely and their blogs are brilliant. Do I get jealous when I read of PR companies contacting them and offering items to review/give away/just have? Do I feel the old “I wish that was me” when they get invited to blogger meet ups or get press passes to fashion shows? Of course I do! I love fashion and – mainly because of my student psyche – I’m a sucker for a freebie or two. I’d love it if someone said to me “hey it’d be brilliant if you could come see our fashion show.”
On the flip side my blog has given me brilliant opportunities – said post got me a bunch of readers when it was linked on the online magazine I’m a part of. I’m fashion and beauty editor of said online magazine (Spark Sunderland) because the editor knows I’m passionate about it and saw bits of my writing. I linked to it (as usual) in an email and was commissioned for a different magazine online last summer (Cellar Door magazine [page 34/35 btw]) which lead me to find and investigate a brilliant vintage shop just down the road from where I was working as a temp that summer.
If I’m honest I don’t put as much effort into my blog as other people do. My layout is a free one as is my header while others make their own. Some email the PR companies themselves offering their services to companies they love. Others actually buy things to give away as prizes. Yes some do gather a lot of loyal readers in a seemingly short space of time but they work their butts off for it or are just well connected while others who have a lot of followers have done so over months/years of hard work and promotion. There are millions of blogs out there and mine is just one. This is what I tell myself if I log on and go “I don’t know what to write about, nobody reads this rubbish anyway and there are tons of other blogs who do what I do but loads better.” There is a possibility (alright so it’s slim but it could happen) that someone somewhere is saying the exact same thing as me.
*By the way my mum doesn’t read my blog to my knowledge (she might but hey, she hasn’t said anything. Just in case…HI MUM!) but my aunt does and used a post I’d written to buy me my birthday present this year after I said how much I wanted a particular piece of jewellery. So even if your family are your only readers you can still benefit (put your Christmas/birthday/I’m poor, please treat me to something lovely list up there and send it round, way easier than repeating yourself on the phone to various relatives).