If you’ve been following Twenty-Something City for a while now, then you’ve probably noticed that recently I’ve been really working to up my content game. I’ve been working really hard to post at least twice a week, and I’ve even started getting a bit more creative with my photography (hello first ever flatlay!) But as I’ve built my blog over the past few months, I’ve increasingly found myself tempted by the “blogger trap”: that is creating the content bloggers feel they ‘should’ be creating, and styling my blog and social channels to reflect that of a ‘proper blogger’.
However, I’m passionate about remaining authentic in the blogosphere, even if that means my stats don’t grow as quickly as they could. So this year I’m cutting back on the ‘filler’ and focusing on sharing the real me.
When it comes to content ideas, it’s easy to see why so many bloggers, especially when they’re trying to build a following, focus on those easy predictable posts. From churned out monthly favourites, to generic ‘how to blog’ posts, I honestly believe writing this type of filler content does more harm than good.
Don’t get me wrong: for some of you this content will totally be true to your brand. Some people have made a whole career out of blogging about blogging (woooaaaah, blog-ception), or have a loyal band of followers who genuinely can’t WAIT for the month’s top purchases. But before you write something, ask yourself: is this post really me? With over 440 million blogs out there today, that content you think is getting your site out there is most likely getting lost in the abyss. Authenticity is the most important thing you can bring to your blog right now.
It’s better to produce four brilliant pieces a month than 12 mediocre ones. I’ve started to notice some of my favourite bloggers, such as Forever Yours, Betty and Honeypop Kisses cutting right back on their blog posts. This means that when they do share new content, I feel especially excited to read what they share as I know it will be good. It’s fresh. It’s real. It’s authentic.
Sometimes I scroll through Twitter and I feel so inspired by the amazing post ideas fellow bloggers come up with. Other times, I click on a post and think, “I gave up five minutes of my life to read that?”. Even if we aren’t all on a mission to secure sponsored posts with brands, we are competing for people’s time. I want my readers to look forward to catching up on Twenty-Something City, rather than see my site as a generic lifestyle blog covering a bit of this and some of that.
In the past I have certainly been guilty of writing content for the sake of it, in the hopes I’d scrape an extra couple dozen views that month. The best posts as far as I was concerned were ones that didn’t require much thought. I thought I was saving myself time churning out a quick piece on ‘How to (INSERT GENERIC CONTENT)’ because I could hash it out in half an hour using stock photos. But I started blogging as a creative outlet, and without creating any original photography or actually anything of real value, I was being disloyal not only to my readers by also to myself. But now I realise that time is better spent doing some work towards a post I care about. A post that’s me.
That being said, I believe being creative doesn’t mean you can’t also be resourceful. It’s okay to use Creative Commons images, or to recycle photos you’ve used before, so long as the quality of what you’re writing makes up for it. But if you find yourself searching Pixabay for generic photos to accompany a bland piece of writing on a topic you’ve only covered because everyone else is, then you’re better not publishing that blog post at all.
The bottom line is, blogging is a lot of work. I know I didn’t start Twenty-Something City to write about what everyone else is writing about, or to produce content solely because it could rank well with SEO. If I am going to commit time and energy out of my week (a big ask when working full time) then I want it to matter. I want to look back at my blog and be proud of the content I’ve created.
If you find yourself struggling to be authentic on your blog, then accept it’s OK to take a break and revaluate. So many bloggers post on social media (and on their blogs themselves) sharing how they are always working on their next post, but if you find yourself in the blogger trap of writing content just to keep up with them then stop.
And as my blog continues to grow, I want it to be because people are genuinely interested in who I am and what I’m doing. I want produce content that is helpful and relevant, and most importantly, authentic.
Keep being you, lovely people!