Into the Wasps Nest – The State of the Blogging Industry

Into the Wasps Nest – The State of the Blogging Industry

It’s been a minute hasn’t it? I’ve not had the writing mojo for the past couple of weeks – It was my birthday, I went to Morocco with my friends and have been concentrating on my YouTube Channel a lot recently because I’m really enjoying it. Also had a lot of changes going on in my personal life and I’ve felt quite down the past couple of weeks – I do want to write more and will never stop posting here. However my writing fire got ignited this week due to recent events in our blogosphere – I was going to say ‘little’ blogosphere but that’s a lie because it’s fucking huge.

I’ve been blogging for 7 years, I’ve seen people come and go, I’ve seen social networking sites live and die and I’ve seen a hell of a lot of drama. I considered myself a middle-weight male blogger up until the end of 2015 when I decided to take the leap into full time. I’ve been around long enough to put in my two cents on the industry as it stands and I think there’s some important issues to talk about.

The one thing people ask when talking about the blogging community is the support for one another and everyones knee jerk reaction is to say ‘It’s great because everyone supports each other – it’s like one big family!’

That’s a little lie we like to tell ourselves and people outside of the community. Yes there is support out there for each other and that’s incredible but on the other side of the hill is a mountain of trolls waiting to bring you down at any given opportunity, watching your every move  (most likely screen-shotting it and throwing it into a group convo on whatsapp.) The game has changed so much in recent years and a lot of people are now in it for the wrong reasons, the space has become more of a battlefield with everyone fighting for a bit of attention.

Back in the day, genuine all round support did exist – when I started out at least, we’d live for each others blogs. Finding a blog was like digging for gold, you’d randomly be searching for something one day and come across a peephole into someones life through their own lens. You’d leave a comment to show your support and share that blog with your friends. The big fashion bloggers at the time,  the OG’s like Susie Bubble, KateLovesMe and Style Rookie were loved by the fashion crowd – however nowadays blogging has gone mainstream. The Fashion magazines write about huge bloggers, YouTubers are the new pop stars and Instagrammers dictate fashion trends/where to eat and where to go on vacations and it’s a cut throat business.

When I started out It was literally me in my room posting outfits from my webcam because I loved them so much. My ethos is still the same, posting outfits that I love – however things have changed dramatically. Lets look at the different factors that have turned the blogosphere on its head.

  • Brands cottoning on to the fact that people enjoy each others opinions online – therefore wanting to work with the blogger on a collaboration or paid campaign.
  • Social media apps – Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat.
  • Affordable photography/editing equipment.
  • Traditional media writing about bloggers and how much they earn.
  • Some bloggers now have Management and or teams behind them.

The Struggle Is Real

Anyone can become a blogger – literally anyone. A few clicks, change your bio on your social media and hey presto – you’re a blogger. Having said that – even though anyone can be a blogger not everyone will be a ‘blogger’. What is a blogger anyway? I’m in the fashion/travel bubble but there are 10000,00000’s of other types of blogs – gardening, childcare, political blogs. I get all flustered when faced with the question – ‘What do you do for a living?’

What do I do? I create 100% personal digital content online – but wait I haven’t blogged much this month – am I still a blogger? I’ve posted on Instagram a lot this month – am I an Instagrammer? But wait I’ve posted two videos a week on YouTube without fail for the past year and a half – I must be a Youtuber? Brands have started labelling us all as ‘influencers’ and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

The word ‘Influencer’ gets thrown around far too easily these days. I myself see ‘influencers’ as huge behemoths influencing masses, making trends popular, inspiring people – at large. It personally makes me feel uncomfortable when someone with a few thousand followers labels themselves as an Influencer maybe because I have 100,000 followers and would never think of labelling myself as that. I don’t think there’s a benchmark or a certain point when you can label yourself as an influencer – for example people like @doyoutravel and @gypsea_lust in my eyes are the biggest travel influencers at the moment and fully deserve that title. They inspire me with their content to visit the places that they go to – that’s influence right there.

Last year I wrote a lot of articles about how to start a blog, build your blog, make money from your blog etc and I do truly believe that it’s possible to create a full time career from blogging however I’ve never lied to you and said it was easy because it’s not. Unfortunately as much as we’d like to believe life isn’t everyone supporting each other 24/7, bloggers holding hands and skipping around merrily – In the world of full time blogging, where making money is really important to you know – pay rent and eat? A lot of things go down behind the scenes via email, whatsapp chats and twitter DMs.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any support out there – there is a hell of a lot. I have made incredible friends in this industry and continue to meet and be inspired by new people all the time but there are a few things you out to know about the full time life.

  • A lot of brands want to pay you as little as possible, they mostly want to try and get you to do things for free.
  • You will most likely get taken advantage of by brands/prs.
  • Other bloggers will also take advantage of you, whether that’s copying your content or trying to weigh in on your audience.
  • Jobs will be dangled in front of your face and then taken from you by other bloggers that knew how much you charge and tried to undercut you.
  • Some people have paid for or used bots to gain fake followers/likes and these people continue to get paid to do the same jobs as you. Frustrating right?

This side of the blogosphere has become a huge business turning over billions a year and it’s definitely not a walk in the park. I commend anyone who’s bossing it at such a young age because I know full on adult business men and women that wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

The Shade of it all

Have you ever noticed howe everyone acts like Mother Theresa on twitter, proclaiming self righteousness and love for one and all?

Yeah – sorry to break it to you but that’s a lie.

‘Pay close attention to those who don’t clap when you win.’

Recent events have brought out the viciousness of some people – people who were once your friends are oh so quick to throw you under the bus it seems. The title of this post seems to be fitting (mainly because the jacket I’m wearing is from the brand Nid De Guepes which means The Wasps Nest in French – gentle plug – not sponsored, just love the jacket.) But still very very true – actual wasps have appeared within the blogosphere in the past couple of years. I really do think that people forget that once they’ve put something out into the internet it can’t ever really be taken away – I think twitter is the worst place for things being taken out of context too.

I’ve agreed to disagree with a lot of people over the years because I know we don’t have the same opinions and that’s ok – I don’t need someone else to agree with me to feel better about myself and you shouldn’t either. Everyones entitled to their own opinion but when it turns nasty – that’s when it’s not ok.

My friend Sarah revealed some home truths about this industry recently in a Cosmo interview that unfortunately a lot of people didn’t want to hear and they took it completely out of context.

Here’s what I took from it –

  1.  The female fashion blogging scene is deeply over-saturated.
  2. A lot of girls copy each other and everyones blogs/feeds/youtube videos are the same.
  3. It’s incredibly difficult to become a SUCCESSFUL (successful being the most important word here) female fashion blogger unless you bring something new to the table.

I don’t see how anyone could disagree with any of the above points? Yes Sarah was confident in how she spoke of her influence but that’s because it’s true. People are always saying we should be more confident but when someone is actually slaying the game and admits to it, the knives came out. Successful in your eyes might be a completely different thing – we all have different dreams/goals and if doing your blog as a hobby which makes you happy – no one told you to stop doing it, carry on, blog to your hearts content – that’s the beauty of this industry, no one can tell you what to do.

So why when one of the biggest female UK fashion bloggers says that if you want to be successful in this industry and become a big blogger you have to step your game up and do things differently – does everyone cuss her out, call her arrogant and an idiot over on twitter?

oh yeah – Jealousy.  That little old chestnut.

I told you didn’t I – everyones entitled to their own opinion but when it turns into nasty name calling – that’s not ok. 

Calling someone a nasty name isn’t going to stop them doing their job – dragging someones name through the mud won’t tarnish their reputation it just makes you look seriously bitter. It’s so embarrassing to see what some girls said about Sarah over the past few days and that’s why I tweeted a gif of full blow mean girls jungle madness, because that’s what was happening. It’s like a lot of people lost their dignity and let loose all their feelings they’d been keeping in for all these years.

I think the problem with us bloggers is that we forget that only a small percentage of our followers are also bloggers and actually care about all of this drama – non bloggers couldn’t give two hoots about who said what on twitter they just want to know where your outfit is from.

I think you should speak your mind and stand up from what you think is right but you don’t have to drag anyone else down whilst you do it and if you actually sat and read Sarahs article properly (even before the edit) You’ll have seen that she didn’t tell anyone that they couldn’t be a blogger she just told you that if you want to be a success then you have to bring something new to the table – which is 100% true.

Content with your Content?

You do know that you don’t have to follow anyone that you don’t like right?

I don’t follow anyone that makes me angry/jealous/sad because it’s bad for my own mental health, why would you torture yourself in that way? Purge your life of any negativity and jealousy before it gets out of hand.

If you are a blogger and you want to make it big in this industry you have to step your game up, you have to be true to yourself in the content that you create, have creative flair, be business savvy, know how to run a website, PR yourself and everything in between and unfortunately not everyone will make it big –  look at me, look how long I’ve been in this gig and I’m still not huge, yes I have a decent sized audience because I worked HARD, took risks, made sacrifices and I can tell you it’s not been easy – however this is just the beginning for me – 7 years in and I feel like it’s only just beginning. I didn’t start it with any intention of making money and that’s the difference between us OG’s who were here before Instagram, Before YouTube etc. In the past it wasn’t glamorous, there were no perks, no business class press trips to LA, no fancy lunch meetings and certainly no cash payments and now there is and it’s turned into a crazy celebrity-like culture. So of course there’s going to be drama, of course there’s going to be jealousy, there’s going to be people who fucking hate your guts but you’re going to have to deal with it and carry on doing what you love. I still don’t know why no one’s made a reality TV show about fashion bloggers because it would be the best TV show ever.

If you are to take something away from this piece then see below.

  • The Internet is a Jungle nowadays – don’t take it lightly and don’t be naive, if you’re building an audience, a readership, a subscriber base or even followers, are you doing it for the right reasons? Because if you’re not, it’s not going to work.
  • As long as you’re happy with what YOU’re doing that’s all that matters.
  • You’re never going to please everyone so stop trying.
  • Don’t be bitter – just get better. If you do want to turn your blog/Instagram/Youtube into a business you have to stop making excuses, play the game and shine brighter than anyone else.

and lastly…

  • HAVE FUN! that’s the most important thing about all of this – blogging, youtubing, instagramming – it’s supposed to be fun and if you’re not having fun doing what you’re doing, why are you doing it?

12 Comments

  1. 01/06/2017 / 22:08

    Joel, this has been very well said . I enjoy reading your posts as well as watching your videos. You amongst others are part of my influence into loving my hobby ( dressing up and being creative ) in from the of an audience (Instagram and blog).
    Like you have said Sarah is absolutely right, standing out is the key otherwise it’s just plagiarism isn’t it. I could rant on but i just want to say thanks for speaking out on this. I hope to meet and hang out with you one day as I find your circle very admirable.

  2. 01/06/2017 / 22:22

    This is a great post. Very honest but well written and I totally agree with everything you have said! I do it because I love it and that’s very important!

  3. Kosta
    01/06/2017 / 23:18

    Word up mate.
    Great article

  4. Josh
    02/06/2017 / 08:45

    Honestly, as someone who gives advice to a lot of people, I’ve come to the same conclusion as you did; people don’t like being told that what they’re doing is not good enough. Most of the people now only see criticizers as “haters” and that these people are just jealous and not smart. They can’t handle when someone says, ” here is why you’re not successful”. Nobody listens to advice anymore they just see it as someone trying to bring them down. I saw the comments they said about your friend and none of them made sense. 24/7 these people are stating to be confident and to just be you. But like you said, when that happens the chopping block is rolled out. Really would like to see the blogging industry become bigger than it is. But as more and more money is involved, the less the friendships hold up.

  5. 02/06/2017 / 09:30

    Ahh so many great points here, hitting the nail right on the head!

    “You do know that you don’t have to follow anyone that you don’t like right?” – has always been my online mantra, I have no idea why anyone feels the need to follow/comment to people doing things they don’t like – you’re obviously not their target audience so just move on.

  6. INTJ
    02/06/2017 / 14:10

    That girl says something like: “Today everyone can be blogger”, and then you: “I know full on adult business men and women that wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
    And what are you bloggers doing exactly? Taking pictures and posting them and oh wow you have to take hundreds of pictures in order to choose the best. Not talking about editing programs and learning how to use them, and writing a blog post. Oh wow. I sometimes wonder how big is your IQ if you find doing this stuff hard work?
    And your community is pissed when some magazine degradates you. Some of you didn’t know what to do with their lives so they choose to blog. Not to mention your grammar on twitter. And everybody is jealous of you. A lot of people isn’t like you and doesn’t want to be like you.

  7. 02/06/2017 / 15:55

    I’ve never read your blog before and found this post via a retweet and I’m so glad I did! What you’re saying is so true – people act like the blogging world is a big happy family where everyone drinks tea and eats cake, but really a lot of people are far too excited to slag off other bloggers and come off as very bitter.

    Julia x
    http://www.juliarachelday.co.uk

  8. 05/06/2017 / 02:14

    This post really gives me a closer look to something called a trendy job nowadays

  9. Georgi
    05/06/2017 / 11:51

    Great read!

  10. 07/06/2017 / 10:21

    Joel his is – in our opinion – the best and most authentic piece you’ve written. Really enjoyed reading it.

    And like we always say these days: So many influencers, and yet so little influence….

    Cheers mate!

  11. 07/08/2017 / 15:35

    Great read!
    Interesting insight comming from a successful blogger!
    It goes with everything in life, you have to do things for the right reasons and truely follow your passion! It’s not worth it when your passion isn’t fun anymore !
    Took a few pointers from this !
    Thanks!

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