It may be a relatively young technology, but blogging is hardly a new path to achieving success. The market can feel over-saturated at times. It seems like everybody wants to live the dream of earning passive income while churning out content from the comfort of your home.
Yet every successful blog has to start somewhere. And relevant statistics show that opportunities continue to exist in this industry. Companies may allocate nearly half their marketing budget towards content creation. Blogs remain one of the three primary forms of media engagement.
If you get it right, your blog can function as an effective link between audience interests, and the businesses that provide products and solutions to fill those needs. But success may come down to how you resolve the underlying tension between creating interesting content and keeping your blog authentic.
The complications of authenticity
Photographers are no strangers to the question of authenticity in their craft. Everyone knows that models get the “Photoshop treatment” before they appear on magazine covers or ads. It makes audiences rather jaded over how much post-processing goes into photography as a whole.
This is particularly relevant in the age of social media influencers. We see perfectly staged and curated photos on Instagram feeds. But when you can guess at how much effort went into achieving those shots behind the scenes, it makes them less relatable.
And yet nobody questions the value or ethics of photo editing for an e-commerce jewelry shop, for instance. As consumers, clients, and photographers, we all choose where to draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Conflicting with interest
When it comes to blogging, this issue remains complicated. Not everybody can live a life of adventure. Even aspiring travel bloggers, for example, don’t immediately get to explore exciting new destinations on a daily basis.
Coming up with interesting topics is hard. Especially if you’re new to blogging and just looking to build an audience. You’ll want to come up with good content every day.
Where are you going to find inspiration, if your own life is currently uneventful? There will be days when the most interesting thing you can think of is what you had for breakfast. That’s not going to engage a lot of readers.
With this in mind, it can be tempting to fake it in some way. You might write about things of which you have no direct knowledge or firsthand experience. Maybe you pore through the internet for interesting articles and regurgitate them. Or you outsource them to guest contributors. That stuff can be interesting, but it also risks detracting from your authenticity.
Defining your vision
Fashion blogger Alexandra Stedman of The Frugality offers this core piece of advice to help you get on track: don’t be in it for the wrong reasons (namely, money). Blogging can be a means to achieve many goals, and earning revenue can be a nice side benefit. But it shouldn’t be the main purpose behind your blog.
What is your blog’s unique value proposition? Why did you feel inspired to not only write, but set up and design a website, and open yourself up to others? Realigning your values and goals will keep your content centered on your identity. That’s the sort of thing that never fails to come across as authentic, no matter what you’re writing about.
Honing your storytelling
Once you have a clear vision, stick to it. Then you can focus on other aspects of your blog that will make an impact. And that will inevitably include storytelling.
The topic of a blog post is essential to generating interest, but we often give it undue importance. The truth is, in the hands of a skilled blogger, any topic can become unique, interesting, and relevant to their personal brand.
Sometimes, the first thing that comes to mind will work for your content. More often, though, it doesn’t. You have to go the extra mile and come up with a dozen or more different ideas, variations, or slants on a subject.
If your subject is something you know little about, don’t pass yourself off as an expert. You can simply relate it to some aspect of your personal life and still come across as both authentic and interesting.
In this respect, you’re really not too different from the photographer at work behind the scenes. They don’t take one shot and call it a wrap. They experiment with different angles, poses, lighting, and composition. Ideally, they get most of it correct in-camera, so that minimal post-processing is needed.
Leveling up your craft will inevitably be required if you’re going to make it as a blogger. And while other factors to success may be beyond your control, this is the one area you can really own and practice for constant improvement.