Hello. Yes. I’m here to write today about having no audience. Which is ironic considering that you’re reading this right now and if you are it’s likely you come back to engage with my content regularly. If you do, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You deserve all the happiness.
Anyway, I was thinking recently about the future because it’s all I can think about right now. About jobs, work experience, money, living costs, loans, homes. About how desperately poor I am and how much my happiness sadly revolves around money. I was thinking about the things that are truly important to me and how hard it really is to make money doing something you love. How I don’t want to be stuck in a supermarket forever. How more than anything – I’d love to get paid for something I’ve created – whatever form that comes in. And above all, how that may never happen for me. Strap yourselves in for an unplanned, messy, slightly pessimistic rant ladies and gents…
Let me start with the obvious stuff. The world of blogging and online presence is fiercely competitive. Things change continually, trends come and go and everybody engages with content differently. Personally, I love it. I currently love blogging more than I ever have and I’m more motivated than ever to be successful in it. I love putting something personal, real and honest out into the world. I love sharing my favourite things. I love seeing people enjoying what I’ve written. I am no longer embarrassed by my writing and hard work like I used to be back in school. I’m enjoying learning more about culture, diversity and the love we can share online. It inspires me reading other people’s content. I just love it.
But it’s hard too. It’s hard coming to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never be ‘a big thing’ in the industry. That I’ll never make enough money to support myself financially through this platform. And it’s tough to keep creating – putting time, money and effort into every single post when I have such a small audience. An audience I appreciate wholeheartedly – but a small audience nonetheless.
I know that there will always be people who read blogs. There are people whose sites are a symbol of quality, professionalism and comfort to me that I’ll come back to time and time again. I’m sure I’ll always have my mum, my friends and the people who enjoy hearing about my life engaging with my content. So are people reading blogs still? Yes. But less and less as the years go on. And it breaks my heart. I don’t want this era to end.
I’m so lucky to have Natalie to guide me and find me great opportunities. I’ve been invited to events and offered lots of deals I would never have dreamed of when I began this journey. I’m so lucky to have worked with some truly amazing brands on collaborations. But 2018 is the age of complete transparency. So, did I get paid? No. Not at all. I’ve provided reviews in exchange for freebies. I’ve posted on my story and shouted out to the companies. And whilst I appreciate those collaborations more than anything and it’s fun to say that I’ve at least worked with brands when others could only dream of the chance – I will never be taken seriously because of my following. So many companies have refused us simply because I can’t build a following. Slowly, I’m building toward 1,000 followers on instagram. Slowly, I notice my blog stats going up. Slowly, I see growth. And does that make me feel good? Yeah. But slow is not enough to make money.
This industry is so fickle. Audience preferences change day-by-day. People are famous overnight and then they’re struggling a few months down the line. Instagram’s algorithm is always a talking point because engagement seems to be at an all time low. In short, it’s not easy to get an audience and it’s even harder to keep one.
I’m continually proud of my work. I poured my heart and soul into my break-up post and it did so well. Are people just desperate for gossip? Do people really care about me? Am I just #relateable when it comes to relationships and love? Maybe all of the above. My blog had traffic due to that post that I’d never experienced before; it meant the world to me. I felt empowered, I had people who wanted to listen. I had a voice. For the first time, I felt like I had an audience. But since then – everything has been slow again. I love writing. I love creating. Nothing gets me more excited than publishing new content and waiting for a response. But is anyone eagerly awaiting my work? Not really.
I think part of this inner-turmoil over being successful online comes down to social media. I’m not 100% comfortable with social media and I never have been. If I’m honest, I always associated social media with the ‘cool girls’ when I was in school. Nobody really cared about what I was doing because I wasn’t popular. I wasn’t stereotypically attractive, or funny or a thrill to be around. I wasn’t horrifically bullied or disliked either. I stayed in the middle and people respected me but I just wasn’t interesting. Hence, nobody was desperate to follow me. Do I still feel that I’m unworthy of following? Hell no. I’m clever, funny, interesting and a pretty good person. I see social media as a way to show that self love I have for myself now.
When it comes to instagram, we’re all completely different in terms of our preferences: what we post, our themes, what we like, who we follow and who follows us. My brother has more followers on instagram than me by miles and likes everything on his feed. My ex used to follow thousands of people he didn’t care about, hadn’t seen in years or barely knew. We all use it differently, nonetheless, social media is so significant in today’s culture. There is no denying that. More recently, I’ve been tracking my followers and I hate that. I don’t like the control it has over me. I get upset seeing old friends unfollow me and I hate seeing someone follow me just to change their mind a few days later. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not entirely hooked on the online world like I could be. I quite frequently leave my phone somewhere and switch off because it’s good for my mental state.
I am however currently loving instagram stories and I definitely agree that they’re the new form of micro-blogging. They’re a platform in their own right. Personally, it works for me because I don’t have time to post to instagram every single day. I don’t have time to take nice pictures or to edit them all perfectly. My life isn’t glam enough to be documented constantly and I don’t want to fake it. That’s why people get bored. In short, I’ve never had a huge following and I doubt I ever will. I’m not cool or interesting enough in instagrams terms to warrant that kind of mass audience. Despite that, I’m still excited by ‘getting the shot for insta’ because I love aesthetics and good photography. The thought of getting curvy, real, bikini shots on holiday this year excites me stupidly. And that’s okay. I want people to know me, to understand my journey through mental health, body confidence and I want to use social media to send a positive message.
I also like being open, honest and very much real. And instagram tends to be the opposite. It’s sad – nobody’s life is the perfect version that we share online. The good thing is, I don’t fall for much online bullshit like I used to when I was young and first tried to copy an insta brow. I definitely think social media was a catalyst for me learning about makeup to cover my acne so I’m thankful for those young, impressionable days. But, I don’t necessarily follow the instagram trends anymore. I think that moving forward our indvidual personalities are far more important. Advertising, sponsorships and paid partnerships have to be clear and obvious. There needs to be transparency in everything we do. There’s definitely already been a shift in that.
It makes complete sense to me that honest, real content is doing so much better than the perfect life many try to portray. I’d love to make money writing about mental health, body positivity and all the things I truly love. As a creator I want to be appreciated. As consumers – we want real. We want honest. We want imperfection.
So no, I don’t have a huge audience. And I might never have a huge audience. I might never reach 1,000 instagram followers and my tweets may never get more than 10 likes. But is it worth still working hard on the things you love even without an audience to see it? Yes. 2018 is the year I do things that make me happy and this right here makes me happy. There is a lot more honesty everywhere online and that’s inspiring. That’s hope for someone like me who tries to stay true to herself and shares the ups and downs. And not only that, I still write for me first and foremost. It’s an outlet. I love challenging myself, continually learning, developing and growing as a person and my blog helps me do that. So even if I never have an audience, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be here.
Thank you to you who is reading this. Thank you if you read a lot. In the interests of my online growth – if you fancy helping a gal out and don’t already follow me on social media I’d love you to do that. I’m elanawaite on insta, elanawaite_ on twitter and on facebook here. If you like something I write, share the crap out of my stuff and help a gal gain some traffic so she can maybe make some money. Anything that means she doesn’t have to stack shelves and sit at a till for the rest of her life. I’d appreciate that a lot.
P.S. New goal. Can we hit 1,000 instagram followers by my birthday in October? It’s worth a shot.