Is it just me, or is it actually really hard to stay true to yourself as a blogger?
Fun fact: I’ve been blogging since I was 10. On and off, of course, but still–I have 11 years under my belt. And something I’ve realized is that it’s so easy to lose your own, authentic blogging voice when you get caught up in the blogging world and start comparing yourself to others’ success.
I have been so guilty of this personally–when I was 16, I started a fashion blogging site. I am SO not a fashion girl, but I thought I could get more readers that way. Surprise: it crashed and burned. Turns out you actually have to know something about fashion to be a fashion blogger.
But I’ve seen similar things happening in smaller ways all over the blogging community. Again and again I see people (and myself!) starting to imitate those that we find successful. And imitation of success is good–we’re supposed to learn from each other! But not when it comes at the expense of your unique personal voice.
So, in response to this problem, I’ve come up with 9 ways to stay true to yourself as a blogger. I hope you enjoy them!
1. Design your website how YOU like it
There is no “right” way to design a website. If you like bright colours, use bright colours. I mean, please don’t use comic sans or anything, but all in all, as long as you have an easy-to-navigate layout, you’re golden.
Sure, there are always going to be theme trends that are going on among bloggers, but stay true to you! Figure out a look that works and don’t be sorry if it looks different than the current trend. That trend will pass anyway.
2. Stop writing sponsored posts for literally anyone who asks
I cannot stress this enough. I have actually seen one blogger write a post for 3 different lip chap companies within an 8 week period. Three different ones. I’m sorry, no one goes through lip chap that quickly.
Of course, sponsored posts are a great opportunity. I’ve done sponsored posts before. But try to choose ones that fit with your audience and that are actually representative of your opinions. Don’t just say whatever you think the companies want you to say about the product. For example, I did two posts for the DateScan app a few weeks ago, since I am very passionate about smart life choices, including safety. However, I’ve turned down a few fashion sponsored posts because I am not a fashion blogger, and it just doesn’t fit here. Plus I’m no good at fashion. You’ve got to know how to pick and choose, even when the pickings are slim!
3. Don’t be afraid to show your real life
I know this is probably more personal opinion than anything else, but I find it very depressing when I go to someone’s social media and it’s all just so calculated. Especially instagram. Yes, it’s important to theme in the sense that you want to be professional, but when I see people’s feeds that are perfectly curated so that nothing is ever out of place that just leaves me feeling sad about my own life, since I can never live up to that.
Morgan Timm has a great guide on how to theme your instagram that I think does an excellent job of finding a middle ground. I just love her instagram, and find that it does a great job of being professional while still giving her followers an authentic feed!
4. Post original content
I know it can be very tempting to jump on the bandwagon of what everyone else is writing about, but try to think of your own blogging ideas. If you’ve seen two other bloggers write about how to survive group projects, play it safe and wait a few weeks before you post your tips.
As well, look around to see what content is already out there. Are there already great posts about study tips that you don’t have anything to add to? Maybe consider doing a different post and linking to other bloggers’ posts instead. You don’t want to just be spitting out content other people have already created–use your time wisely to provide blog posts that are uniquely YOU.
5. Don’t apologize for your success
I’m a fourth-year student here in Ottawa, Canada in psychology and I’m killing it. These are things that I have to remind myself again and again as a blogger because trust me–as soon as you get any traction, you’ll get haters. (Of course, I also post pretty controversial stuff now and again, so maybe I’m asking for it.) If you’re like me, writing college posts, you may have times where you second-guess the advice you’re giving or think “what right do I even have to say this?” The truth is, though, if you’re doing well at something, that means you’re doing something right and others will want to know your secrets! It doesn’t matter if you’re only a sophomore. Did you not have a complete mental breakdown during first year? Wow! You’ve done better than over half of the first years I know (including myself)!
Don’t apologize for your success.
6. Know who you are
I don’t mean as a blogger here, I mean as a person.
One of the challenges of blogging is that no matter who you are there will always be someone more successful. There will always be new trends in social media and blogging, and it can be very easy to start presenting yourself in a way that is not at all representative of who you actually are.
The problem with this is it starts to eat away at your self-esteem after a while. You start to compare yourself to everyone else, and see how this one blogger has 21,000 more followers than you do. And then we start to change ourselves so that we’re more like the people with the super successful blogs.
But I want to challenge you to own who you are. It doesn’t matter if you never get above 1,000 views, please don’t change yourself so that your blog will do better. It’s very stressful and not worth it. Plus, your readers will see right through you.
7. Know why you blog
Something I see happening a lot is bloggers losing their blog’s core feel after a while. Why do you blog? Is it to create a fun little community of people from the same walk of life? Is it to celebrate the beauty in the world through fashion posts and photography? Is it to build self-esteem by motivational posts and beauty tutorials? Whatever it is, figure it out and stick with it.
8. Get others involved
My family is super involved in my website. I generally send my posts to my nana, mom, or husband to have them tell me if it’s ok or if it’s crazy opinionated and I need to change it (I’m an ENTJ, I can’t help it all the time).
Getting other people involved brings blogging closer to home and makes it more personal. When people you know and love are involved, it’s easier to be authentic since they’re going to see right through any fakery you try to pull in that post!
I don’t mean to say that this is an accountability thing, because it’s not. This is just a way to make blogging more personal that will help YOU shine through your posts.
9. Share your opinion
Now I’m not saying go start the most controversial blog ever, but if you have an opinion on something, don’t be afraid to share it in a tasteful way! I really like seeing my blogging friends’ commentary-type posts, since it gives me a better idea of who they are as people!
We can be so scared to show our opinions in case we lose a few readers. But I don’t get that! People want more than just easy posts all the time, from my experience (that being said I also started as an opinion blogger and then transitioned into a college niche), so why not use your blog to start a discussion on topics you’re passionate about at times? I love writing commentary posts, and I often find that they’re great tools for getting people to think.
What are some of your best tips for staying true to yourself as a blogger? Let me know in the comments below!
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