On Influencing People

Charlotte Blogger

Something amazing happened this weekend. As I was saying goodbye to my buddy Alice after some cheeky weekend hot chocolate, a mum and her daughter caught my attention as I was walking away. They stood in front of me and stopped me – “you’re Charlotte, aren’t you?” the daughter asked me.

My first thought was that she had been part of one of my many school activities. Maybe the mum had some feedback for me from how her daughter had responded to something I’ve run in a school. The both of them looked nervous; for a second I thought I was going to get some kind of negative feedback.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The mum explained that her daughter followed me on Instagram, and that she was a fan. I was flabbergasted. As an over 30, not-quite-cool person without an eye for photography (I can never get the right angles and lines) I do struggle with Instagram. But knowing that there’s at least one young person out there feeling inspired by me, my feelings have changed completely.

I’ve changed the way I feel about my blog and about social media this year. Last year, I wanted to work hard to be noticed by the right people, wanted to grow stats, wanted to work with brands. This year, I couldn’t care less about those things. I have been focusing on more long-form pieces on things that I know a lot about, things I care deeply about. My stats have taken a hit, sure, but as I was explaining to another blogger this week, it’s all about regrowing my readership of people who are seeking out what I have to write.

My main aim with my blog is to be a place people can find longer, thought-provoking posts on educational and employment related topics, with a padding of food and beauty posts for a bit of light reading. My aim for Instagram is to post photos I’ve taken on my adventures, to experiment with photography and editing. On stories, I want to be more honest and raw about the things I do.

But I can feel the world of blogging changing. I’m personally quite bored with the same blog topics coming up over and over, and find myself clicking less. I don’t want to follow newsletters. I don’t want to spend money on ecourses. And if even Queen Hannah Gale is reporting a loss of readers, then it suggests that this world we live in is indeed changing. Not dying, as Hannah wrote. Just changing.

It always amazed me how bloggers so desperate for higher stats spend little to no time reading other blogs. We’re all busy, but spending time helping out others is what you do as part of a community. Right? And yet, what seems to be a friendly, happy blogging world, is actually quite selfish and grabbing. Why support a blogger when she neither writes much engaging content nor tries to connect with you back? It’s no wonder our world is shrinking.

Since ditching Blogliving last year I’ve been curating a list of bloggers I like to catch up with on Feedly, which makes it easy to follow a large list of bloggers. I can categorise them, and easily skip over yet another half baked listicle and focus more on the content I want to read.

And yet in this changing, shrinking blogging world, there ARE still people – real life people – out there who enjoy our content. My stats may not always hit my targets anymore, but there are always people who google stuff and find my post about my emotionally abusive relationship. There are people in my every life who I had no idea read my blog – someone told me just last week that they like my restaurant posts. My colleague told me she read my post about not liking Mothers’ Day and it making her cry.

What I’m saying is that my enjoyment of being a blogger has improved so much since I stopped chasing brand work, stopped checking stats every day and stopped begging for the attention of the bigger bloggers. Knowing that what I publish still has a great impact on people is enough to keep me paying for hosting fees, waking up early to write each morning and keeps me trying hard to create (hopefully) good on both the blog and on Instagram.

And this is the future of blogging as I see it. Positive influence and community above all else.

The conversation I’m hoping for in the comments today is about how the blogging world is changing. I’d love to see what others have experienced in this!

 

 

Comments

  1. I’m not on Instagram so I haven’t seen your photos, but I’m not at all surprised that young people are inspired by you!

    I live in my own little bubble of tiny bloggers who make no real impression on the blogging community, so I haven’t really seen much of how the blog world is changing (although I have noticed certain bloggers constantly asking people to sign up for their newsletter). I just write posts – sometimes more frequently, sometimes less – and a few people read them, or they don’t.
    Confuzzled Bev recently posted…Thinking of 40 things to do before I turn 40My Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      I always enjoy your posts when I get to read them! I think even in your small circle you’re probably influencing people, you just don’t know it.

      • Thanks lovely. Yes, I suppose everything we do influences somebody in some small way. Somebody commented on my latest post that my book reviews make her want to dash to the library – that made me so happy that I had to tell Jan 😃
        Confuzzled Bev recently posted…What I read in March 2018My Profile

  2. I really like your blog 🙂 It’s interesting and varied, and honest. I’ve moved away from reviews and instead, I am focusing on recipes, it means I won’t ever earn from my blog. But it was never set up for this purpose. People get more from my recipes than a restaurant review that’s part of someone’s short-lived PR campaign. Do what sits right with you 🙂

  3. Hello you! Firstly- how bloody cool to have a follower come say hello in the street!! Kudos to you girlfriend- you’re obviously doing instagram right thats all I’m saying. I think you’re right- the bloggersphere is changing and admittedly I myself am guilty of not commenting as much as I used to but nowadays I find that I comment more on the tweet that linked m to the post in the first place! Probably shouldn’t do that…but yeah! I think concentrating on your readership is a great idea and I’ll be taking that away from this post to focus on too.

    Big love! Kat xxx

    http://www.shesagentry.com

    • Charlotte says:

      I agree – I think if we want to keep our industry up, we need to influence it (see what I did there??) in a way that makes it sustainable. It breaks my heart to hear bloggers say they spend zero time reading other blogs. xx

  4. This is wonderful. I don’t think I’ve been recognised for my blog since the early 00s, when it was more about the Glasgow music scene, though it did happen to Charlotte of Colours & Carousels once when we were out. But your Instagram is gorgeous, so I’m glad it’s connecting with people.

    I’ve been a little bamboozled reading all these posts that I assume Hannah Gale’s inspired, about the death of blogging. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been doing it forever that I can’t imagine ever doing anything else – plus, my social accounts have never had as big a “reach” as the blog itself, so I’ve only ever seen them as ancillary. But I love reading longer form content, and I’ve put a system in place that really works for me in giving me the time to do so. I’m a mid-30s throwback, and proud of it.

    ALSO, your support for the blogs you read is noticed, and appreciated. xxx
    last year’s girl recently posted…worth going out for in april 2018;My Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      More than anything, I love blogging. I also love reading blogs – like yours! I don’t often read those big blogs, I like supporting people who are writing for passion not for clicks. Thank you for your support right back! xx

  5. That’s so cool that you met a fan that way… I never paid much attention to the blogging world as a whole- I tend to read people I know, or people that I’ve made a direct connection to more than anything else. I always enjoy your stuff, even when the topic has little to do with my own world. And I am consistently impressed with your stick-to-it-iveness. I want to write more, but I just never quite seem to get to it.
    Steven recently posted…Two They Might Be Giants Shows, Twenty Years ApartMy Profile

  6. I very much feel the same. I stopped blogging for anyone else but myself and a few friends and it’s really allowed me to stop feeling bad about the state my blog is in (not updating enough, not niche enough, not marketable enough) and just focus on doing what I want with it on my terms… even when that means ignoring it for real life issues! hahaha! I am very excited for the return of more human blogs and the resurgence of microcommunities. 🙂

    • Charlotte says:

      Absolutely. I think that all the people who are in it to be famous will slowly leave the scene, and it’ll leave people who want to form communities. I’m currently expanding the communities I comment in, and it’s so great to find amazing people who are writing amazing things!

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