What I know now about the creator industry
after 1500 posts
1500 posts down and 7.5 years later. I started Inthefrow back in October 2012. It was a hobby and an outlet, somewhere to review products and write down my thoughts. It still is that for me, but a whole load extra than it ever was.
Who knew that the blogging industry would explode the way it did. I'm thankful almost, that I was there to experience the days of blogging as an unpaid hobby, with no inclination of what it could be or what it would shape itself into. And I'm so proud that I've persisted and ridden this exciting wave to this point. 1500 blog posts - that's a whole lot of writing, and reading. And we ain't stopping yet!
But what have I learned? And what little pearls of wisdom could I pass to anyone else hoping to start blogging, or content creating or influencing even, or those who are just looking for a few tips and thoughts from someone who has been here a while.
Here are 15 of them...
1.Things are always changing and you just have to roll with it. The social media industry alters itself as much as the algorithm does; you just have to grin and bear it and keep evolving. You can't control the changes that happen, you just have to adapt and find your way of fitting in to the newest evolution of the industry.
2. If I'm bored of what I'm writing or posting, then my readers will be just as bored if not more so. The more you love it, the more it shows and it's very hard to fake it if you're hating every moment.
3. People like to know the little details, even if you think they may be irrelevant. Every blogger will have been asked where their jeans are from, even though they're tagged on the photo. It's this mindset, of being overly detailed, that can be super helpful, as the chances are there will be someone who wants to know where that small vase in the back right of your photo is from. And we all know how annoying it is as a consumer when you just want to know where you can buy that darn vase.
4. Transparency is essential now. Back in the day, disclaiming adverts wasn't a thing, in any form of media. And now things are overly disclaimed and honestly it's gotten more confusing than helpful. But at least there is some form of transparency to help readers know what was gifted or what was paid. And I think that as long as that is clear, with an 'ad' at the start of captions, and 'gift' or 'pr treatment' etc is added when something was offered complimentary, then the reader or viewer has a transparent view of what your content is. Which is great! Who wouldn't want to shout about your fantastic projects and commercial partnerships?!
5. You need to check yourself. And then a second time. You may think your innocent joke is funny, but the chances are that someone may be offended. So it's always worth leaving a strongly worded tweet until the next day, or re-reading every caption or blog post a few times over, just in case you wrote something that could be deemed as incorrect or offensive. What you may deem as an innocent joke or an innocent title, could be taken entirely the wrong way if something is worded incorrectly. It just requires some extra sensitivity.
6. Don't take it to heart. In the same ilk as the previous, sometimes you may be in the firing line. Either for said incorrect joke, or making a bad judgement call, or something else where someone decides they just do not like you. It's going to happen. And there's nothing you can do to change their minds. Just remember you're not a bad person, and what they're saying about you has no reflection on your character - quite often this person is just having a terrible day and you are their chosen punching bag. It's hard to take and it can be so very hurtful to read, but it's best to ignore and move away from that space as soon as you can. The block and delete button exist for your mental health. Block, put your phone down and go and do something else. Preferably playing Queen in your kitchen and dancing around like the floor is too hot to stand on.
7. Your audience is your community. It's filled with likeminded, often career-orientated and generally super lovely people. Chat with them, see what they like about your content, see how you could improve, engage with those who are lifting you up every day. I try to get back to every person who dm's me with a positive message, because if they've taken the time to write to me, I want to ensure I write back. Don't take the audience who love your channels, for granted.
8. Don't get stuck in a rut. Doing the same thing you did 2 years ago probably isn't going to cut it. Get inspired, look at new things, research, dip your toe in some new ideas. Again if you're bored, everyone else will be. Mix up your style, your content, your ideas. I also need to take my own advice here, but sometimes it's hard to do it when actually you are still enjoying what you're doing. I think at some point though, everyone can get fed up of a good thing.
9. Consistency - I sound like a broken record, but being consistent in this career is a huge factor in success and longevity. If a magazine didn't put out an issue one month, you might not read it the month after. I think it's just nice for anyone who reads your blog or watches your youtube channel, or engages with your social media content, to know when you're going to be posting.
10. Never forget that your blog is the only platform you own. Social media can come and go, and boy has it done that already (hey Vine), but no one can take away your blog. It's the space where you don't have to adhere to an algorithm or be placed alongside anyone else's content in one big feed. You can shine in your own space, so take the opportunity to do so.
11. Your voice can be used for good, and should be. Having a platform, no matter what size yours may be, is a great position to be able to spread valuable information, advice and help in times when it is required. Now I'm not saying to spread false news, or extreme political statements or anything that could be harmful, as you should bear point 5 in mind. But if you could help a charity or a brilliant cause in any way, and you feel it's appropriate, then it's a wonderful position to be in. Previously I've worked with and donated to the Princes Trust, British Heart Foundation, Breast Cancer Care, Girl Vs Cancer, Age UK, and various other independent charities that do amazing work for people all over the world. Why not use your voice for good and help a charity that may just need a little extra boost?
12. Give yourself a breather. Ideas don't grow on trees. Like I was saying in point 8, it's easy to stick with old habits. There are times I hit road blocks and can't work out what to write in a caption, or what to title my videos or what to write about three times a week on the blog. And it really does require a fresh head and fresh ideas. You need to step away for a while, have a holiday, have a vacation from your work even just for a few days, to come back with a new approach. I always find my best ideas come when I'm relaxed and I've taken a day or so away from my screen.
13. Know when to hire an assistant. Whether that's a manager or a PA or someone that works with you part time. You need to lighten your load sometimes and it's okay to share out the work. A manager could also be someone who opens new doors for you and gets you in front of the right people. An assistant might be able to help you come up with new ideas, take your photos, edit your videos, collect your press parcels etc. Giving you more time to work on the tasks you need to be focusing on. Yes you have to pay an employee or a manager's commission, but you may gain that back in time and projects, if you're employing the right people. It's well worth it.
14. Don't be afraid to show your personality. Over time, I think I've shown more and more of my true self on my channels. My sense of humour, my quirks, my interests. It's daunting to open yourself up like that in case people poke fun at your true self, but I think that's their issue, not yours. Be yourself, and you'll find your readers and followers will probably relate to you more for it.
15. Dabble in all the platforms. You're not too old for TikTok, you can definitely show yourself on Youtube videos and your audience may love to see longer IGTV videos from you. Don't just stick to one thing because you don't believe you can do anything else. You absolutely can. You may find you love another channel just as much as the place you started.
What is the one main thing you have learned about this industry?
Any other bloggers or content creators who have some words of wisdom to add to this, I'd love to see a discussion in the comments. Thankyou for sticking with me for my 1500'th post. I'd love to say here's to the next 1500, but it may take me until I'm 85!
Images shot during our complimentary stay at Joali Maldives.
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