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Let's chat with coffee

We’ve all seen blogging transform and evolve over the last few years and with nearly every third person in the bloggers-sphere market, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to find your niche or to even get a piece of the pie.

In one of my previous posts, I touched on why I initially started blogging and with my profession becoming a multi-dimensional industry, wordpress is one of the many skills a Public Relations practitioner (PRP) needs to know about. The ironic part is, is that they don’t teach the outrageous amount of skills companies want you to know like html, in-design, Photoshop, SEO or social media at varsity so I’m happy I taught myself wordpress; the one of many skills a PRP is required to know.

Okay, enough about me reminiscing about my profession and let me get back on my bandwagon and speak about my experience with blogging.

Let's chat with coffee

When I switched over from doing opinion pieces to focusing on fashion and book reviews, I was all about followers. In May, I had over 500 followers on my Facebook page (thank you so much) but my Instagram feed was not what I hoped it would be. I felt like a total failure; that people hated the images I was uploading. I saw the followers’ increase one minute to decreasing the next which made me sprawl into a depression state.

Next thing I knew, I was on the phone with my partner telling him I’m quitting, that I no longer want to do blogging because I’m not getting the followers I want. How selfish of me! The next few weeks I sat down, thought about why I’m actually doing this and went soul searching. Unfortunately, society has allowed us believe that the amount of likes you get for an image depicts who we are.

According to the DailyMail, Instagram is the most depressing social network because you get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich and successful from a photo than from a status update.

Let's chat with coffee

I became too obsessed with comparing myself to other bloggers instead of staying true to who I am, to what I love and having to remind myself why I became a blogger in the first place. I looked at my now 656 followers on Facebook and told myself, “Do it for them. Make sure you create great content for the few who is still rooting for you to do well”.

The pressure was weighing me down tremendously. Having to succeed in a market that is thriving with established bloggers was becoming a nightmare. You begin to look at yourself with so much hatred, telling yourself that you not pretty enough for the industry, you not rich enough to purchase those lavish clothing or dining at exclusive restaurants. That you too bulky in weight and you need to lose that fat sitting on your thighs and arms to impress the world.

On one particular occasion, a friend asked me two/three months into doing the fashion section, “How do you keep up with bloggers who wear expensive brands?” My response was, “I will only wear items I know I can afford”. And it’s true. I was no longer allowing myself to be bullied by the ‘must-have ‘generation. If I found something at a Chinese store, I bought it! I wasn’t about to let society pressurize me into debt. I’ve seen and heard horrendous stories about bloggers who have debt to up to their necks trying to keep up with a lifestyle they can barely manage to pay for.

It’s only when my budget allows it, will I splurge on a pair of heels or handbag but I won’t spend more than R300.00 – R400.00 on an item of clothing – wait, even that is too much for me because let’s face it: Fashion changes ALL.THE.TIME. Why spend thousands on an item I know I will only be wearing twice or thrice? That’s obscured to say the least unless you are able to afford it then go ahead.

But with that said, it really is an expensive hobby – a hobby I now have to groom daily. So, if you playing on the idea of going into blogging then make sure you can financially back it up with great content. A camera is the one essential item you need to invest in and a good photographer. Luckily, my sister and I grew up with photography so we know how to operate a camera. And no, she doesn’t take my images for free. I actually pay her for her time.

If you considering on being a beauty, fashion, book or lifestyle blogger, be prepared to stay on trend and by that I mean, with products which can be extremely deep on your pocket. Brands are now realizing that the blogging pool is becoming broader and more demanding therefore, they becoming very selective on which bloggers they will be approaching or sending out media kits too so don’t bag on the fact that your name will be on their list.

That is why I purchase everything myself, from the beauty products, clothing and books. I make sure that I research clothing that suit my body type and where I can find a replica that suit my pocket and style it my way. I create all my content over the weekend and schedule it for during the week because I have that typical 9:00-5:30 job schedule, once I walk through that door, I eat, wash, and I’m off to bed unless I’m running off to class after work.

But how am I now? I’m content with myself. It took me a few good knocks to comprehend the strain I was putting myself through, that I allowed myself to be compared to others for the sake on how society viewed things and how the modern generation has portrayed the world we should be living in – that we should keep up with the luxury lifestyle.

I started out with good intentions but with the wrong mindset and sometimes you need to be kicked from behind to realize how far you got sucked in. I now blog for me; I blog because for the few hours it’s live, someone out there is taking a few minutes out of their day to read my post and I’m perfectly happy with just the one reading it and liking it too.

I no longer care about the amount of likes I’m receiving for an image because I’m thrilled I get to upload a product I’m proud of and that is not derogative like so many bloggers I’ve come across these last few months.

Until next time.

A bunch of nuts fell out

 


Let's Chat

Happy Spring Day everyone!

I thought it was time to dive into an open field with the flowers blossoming and the birds chirping in the background and add a new section to my blog called, “Let’s chat with coffee”.

Why you might ask? First and foremost, I’m a caffeine addict. I cannot start my day without not having at least three cups for the morning. Yes, three cups. Not that small mugs but a standard size cup. And secondly, I initially started this platform as an opinion piece and I would like to tap into that side again because my fingers are itching to write more on issues that are dear to my heart.

So, with a cup of coffee in my hand, I’ll be speaking or merely writing about whatever comes to mind. And let me tell you, I am not shy to talk about my experiences or touch on topics someone from my circle spoke about. If there is anything you all would like me to research, I’ll do it with pleasure or let me rather say with coffee :). But please, do not mention anything with politics, race or stereotypes because those are three subjects I want to run away from.

Since the beginning of this blogging journey I wrote about ‘My love-hate relationship with my boobs’ , ‘Marriage? But, I’m only 22‘ and, ‘I’m not a behind the stove kind of woman‘. So, have a read through what I’ve done in the past and, let’s see if this segment will interest you all.

Next week, I’ll be talking about my experience with blogging – Yeah, yeah I know. Boring topic but, I’ll be reviewing my understanding of this cyber-sphere over the last few months of being an aspiring blogger in South Africa.

Until next time.

A bunch of nuts fell out

Where to draw the line

I started blogging about five months ago and, whilst I call myself a blogger,  I have yet to establish myself in the bloggers-sphere market which has grown enormously over the last few years in South Africa and around the world.

For the uninitiated, a blog is actually short for a web log and in its most simplest form is a collection of content that is organized repetitively. This content can take the form of basic words (copy) as well as rich media (audio, video, and embedded objects) and focuses on a particular subject matter for clarity such as fashion and books in my case.

My day-to-day profession is a PR and Marketing Coordinator for a retail store. When I was an intern and an assistant at PR consultancies, it was my responsibility to update the media list by including new bloggers who write on a particular subject such as fashion, beauty and décor. As such,  I have read many blogs and am in awe of the beautifully creative images accompanied with individually crafted copy. I yearn for their gorgeous outfits and beauty products and as such can see the value of big brands sponsoring content and reviews.

However, in my research on bloggers, something has really shocked me: Plagiarism and poor grammar.

Where to draw the linePhoto Credit: Arlene Marthinus

I recently read a blog post of a highly established blogger who I have been following for a long time. Two days later, I read another bloggers post and thought I was reading the same blog. I realized then that the writing style was identical but the words were slightly changed. And it’s not the first time I have come across something like this.

I also came across another blogger who has an astonishing large following but had the most horrendous grammatical errors I have ever seen. I shared this link with my fellow PR peers who were shocked that a blogger of this nature writes so poorly. One mentioned that it is okay to make the odd grammar mistakes like I was told I do (oops) but this particular post really gave our PR industry a bad name.

I started blogging so that I could  practice writing and to learn how to write well.  Initially I wanted to be an Engineer but chose the route of Public Relations. I will read a newspaper from cover to cover to try to understand the way a journalist writes. I also read novels to really immerse myself into writing styles so that I can learn from them. This is how I came about doing book reviews on my blog and I absolutely love this knowledge I am gaining and hopefully passing on with my reviews. I do all of this because I want to be the best in my field seeing that English in general is not my strongest quality.

Which is why I cringe every time I read a poorly written blog post with a specific brand mentioned in it.  This reflects poorly on you as a blogger and on the brand you are blogging about.
Where to draw the lineProofread: Tricia Francois

My first and foremost piece of advice is to stop plagiarising. People notice. Brands notice. It’s annoying and downright unprofessional to say the least. You are not only tarnishing your individual brand but the brands you are talking about too. And don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.  If you become labeled as a copycat, the word will spread and at the end of the day you won’t be considered for media kits.

Secondly, if you are not a good writer, the best thing you can do is ask someone to proof read your writing. From time to time, I send my work to my mother’s ex-colleague who is brilliant at writing because I am the first to admit that I am not the best writer out there.

Thirdly, just be yourself. There is nothing worse than someone being pretentious. I am a serious person but can crack a joke once in a while. If you can’t express yourself on your blog then rather don’t blog at all.

Lastly, this is my own opinion from a PR point of view especially since I am representing a company where from time to time I have to identify bloggers for reviews or competitions. Being a blogger myself, I am now aware of what to look for. Having thousands of followers does not represent who you are. I look for bloggers who will represent my company’s reputation well and who won’t put us to shame in the long haul.

Just thought I share with you guys something that has been bothering me for a while now 🙂

Until next time.

A bunch of nuts fell out

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