Blogging has changed a lot over the past few years. I remember back when I started blogging I was a beauty fanatic and was popping into Boots monthly to use my saved lunch money to buy the whatever was the latest craze in the beauty world. I really didn’t blog frequently or take my blog seriously back then (hence I don’t count it as the “official” birth of Skylish as a fashion/beauty/lifestyle blog), but a few months in, a mail popped into my inbox which was from someone asking if they could post a link on my blog in return for £20. The thing is – I had known that you could earn something from blogging, and I was totally aware that people were receiving free things, but I really didn’t know the mechanics behind it and also, blogging wasn’t yet what it has become today. I was so bewildered about this person offering me money in exchange for a link that I showed the e-mail to my dad who did a full inspection of the proposal. In the end, I accepted it, and just like that £20 popped into my PayPal account which – at the time – was a week’s lunch money. So, it was pretty mad.
Over time, blogging has grown into an absolute machine. No more grainy, phone photos taken with our bedroom door providing the backdrop; we’ve now made way for professional shoots, brand partnerships, paid travel and in the case of many – full-time, well-paying careers that in themselves, open the door to a number of other opportunities. Of course, this doesn’t come without a lot of investment – both of time and money.
One of the newest things to pop onto the blogging scene as of late has been the introduction of “think pieces” – perhaps not quite the “introduction” as there most definitely have been people doing thought provoking pieces on the web for a number of years. But its general roll-out across the industry such that you can find “think pieces” everywhere you click is a fairly new phenomenon. Back in the day, unless you were doing a beauty review – blog posts were pretty short, snappy and to-the-point. Even for a lot of 2017, most of my posts would just be me explaining why I chose to pair X with X. It was pretty nice actually, especially with me balancing so much with working full time, it was a great way to get something out and published using a limited amount of time. Once a week, I would supplement my blog with a longer, more thoughtful peace. Maybe not always something very serious – but definitely something I felt was really worth reading.
Eventually, I chose to do a total strategy change. I took the plunge and decided to 360 away from more traditional fashion pieces, and all my posts turned into more detailed, thoughtful tales that I definitely couldn’t whip up using just one hour of my day. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all my posts are super serious posts requiring tons of discussion – sometimes I just want to write light hearted posts about my most embarrassing moment or my trip to Greece – but it does mean that I try my hardest to write posts that I think people can sit and read before bed, during their lunch breaks or during their commutes, and these posts do take some time to construct. Why did I make this change? Just because I realised that as a reader, this was the direction I was naturally going in anyway. I liked to look at nice outfits to draw inspiration from, but I also liked to find little gems on the web that I can indulge in whenever I’m on my breaks or on public transport. Some people say that blogging is slowing fading away as the $$ platform shifts to Instagram (and maybe it is, in some ways), but I am still a sucker for a good post that can make me think, or that I feel I can relate to, and these aren’t always easy to find.
That was just one of the changes I decided to make over here on Skylish – around that time actually, I made a number of changes to my blog when I was thinking about its overall “strategy”. I’ve written these up before – but other changes I made included stopping accepting some generic sponsored posts, as well as putting more careful thought into who I worked with on this blog and considering if I always needed monetary compensation in exchange (of course – business is a 2-way street, each party should always be benefiting in some sort of way. Even if its not always the $$).
“Over time, blogging has grown into an absolute machine. No more grainy, phone photos taken with our bedroom door providing the backdrop…”
Anyways – the way Skylish is set up today, I like sharing thoughtful pieces and/or pieces I also know I’d personally like to read (this sounds simple enough but in the past, I’d just write about whatever seemed to be trending at the time, even if I didn’t particularly take a liking to it), however I still love style and mix that up into my posts and social media profiles too. I work full-time whilst blogging, with leaves a lot of lee-way and flexibility in what I throw out here, and means that I can, in a lot of ways, still treat this as a little hobby of mine.
This is the route that many bloggers have taken – these days you’ll probably have to click through a number of links to not run into a think-piece-but-here’s-my-outfit type post. Which has in turn led to a lot of bloggers asking – is this absolutely necessary? It has led to a lot of bloggers yearning for the simpler days, where we could all just sit and share Primark dupes of the latest designers pieces on the runway, and then go about our days. After all, the longer pieces are very timely, not always easy to think up and in some cases, a bit emotionally draining.
Although I’ve personally made a call to the do the former – and run with the more thoughtful/detailed pieces ~2x a week, I also agree that it’s not necessarily by force. I find this more natural for me as I have always been a writer first and I’ve found that my readers much more enjoy this type of content. That said, if you really want to just post your outfit, and share details about how bagged a Zara bargain which went perfectly with your thrift store grab – then often I find that this also makes for a very pleasant internet-browsing read. I love my think-pieces and read these more often, but I’m not permanently in the mood for them.
Essentially, and as the saying goes, doing what you personally want, what suits you and what suits your brand is what is more important. It’s definitely good to evolve with the times and the constantly changing backdrop – but at the end of the day what will really carry you through is your own authenticity and your ability to connect with your readers on those grounds.
To answer my own question – why so serious? It doesn’t have to be. You should always be constantly evolving on your blog, and doing what best suits you, and respecting what roads others choose to go down too.