This week my blog turns one year old. Hold up..does that make me an official blogger yet?! Starting my blog was a bit of an experiment really. My parents have backgrounds in graphic design, and my Mum is a keen writer and photographer. She noticed my keen interest in cooking and baking – which later expanded to sport, fitness and all things health – so encouraged me to begin a blog about these passions. It was a kind of trial, the first and easiest step to see if I’d enjoy a career in this ‘industry’. Sitting on the idea of a blog over half the summer, I decided I was up to the challenge.
Bursting onto the buzzing scene of bloggers, I began a series on juicing. Soon after my first few posts, I started an Instagram account for LYDSBERRYPIE – the name of my blog. Whilst I have now almost become addicted to my phone, this has become a huge part of the growth of my blog. Being immersed in the addictive world of health bloggers, my passion for fitness and food began to grow. Being a perfectionist, I admired blogs such as FITNESSONTOAST, and aspired to improve my blog with every post.
Instagram is the only social media I take seriously. I like to think of it as my portfolio: snippets from my blog that hopefully attract followers. Although, the nature of this can give a false impression that the life of a blogger is always wonderful, sneakily hiding away some of the downsides of running a blog. I’ve purposely never given myself any deadlines or put pressure on myself to post at regular intervals. Quality over quantity. Whilst my blog is at this stage, I think I can afford not to have a strict publishing schedule. Sometimes it can seem a daunting task, and some posts never receive any likes. You can feel like everything’s going unnoticed. However, every day I get more likes or follows on Instagram. It is worth it. I mean, what an asset to put on your CV?! – Yes, my blog address and Instagram account will definitely feature on my future CV – several year’s worth of carefully orchestrated posts showcasing my passion and ability to share it. Why wouldn’t you?
OK, I lied. I also adore using Pinterest, although not quite so religiously. It’s helpful for finding workout plans as everything is visual, plus, I’m constantly adding cute fitness wear to my never-ending wish list. It’s like a semi-permanent moodboard and sometimes, I enjoy living in a virtual world where everything is so photogenic and creative – not at all practical, but let’s dream a little! I think you could get obsessed – something which clearly isn’t too challenging for me. To be honest, I probably use it more as my own personal mood board, more than a place to promote my ideas and attract followers.
About a month in, FEEDFEED featured me on their site. This was huge for me; my blog was recognised, I must have done something right! “Ahhhh!! Life is good!!” was my reaction, I think that exclamation sums up my emotions. Getting ‘exposure’ puts your blog out there. In a perfect world, a company that holds the same ethos and values as your blog will recognise this and hopefully offer to partner with you. It’s a kind of waiting game, be patient until the right one ‘pops up’ at the right time.
In reality, ‘social media’ is not always that social. We all know how it works: scrolling through your phone ‘interacting’ virtually with other users is a world away from the kind of ‘old fashioned’ social interaction of hanging out with your friends at Cubs / Scouts / Sports Clubs / Guides / Choir Practice (choose whichever club applies!) That being said, it also has such power. Say you have 20k Instagram followers as a fitness blogger (maybe one day?!), when you start sharing tips about a topic relevant to your audience – like turning fat into muscle – no matter how unqualified you may be, those people will follow your advice. Books have turned into tablets, and social media is the platform people turn to first for answers to just about anything.
In the future I aim to study topics such as Nutrition and Sports Psychology. If blogging doesn’t work out long-term, being a Nutritionist for Team Sky or a Personal Trainer are also top of the list for future careers. A little different to the ordinary office job – but my generation will need to roll with the times!
A recent BBC documentary – Clean Eating’s Dirty Secrets – sparked a lot of health bloggers to give their opinions on the responsibility of their role. I enjoyed reading THEWHOLESOMEHUNTER’s thoughts and hearing ZANNAVANDIJK’s views on this topic. It raised a lot of important points regarding issues with social media, I especially agree that, a) significant health claims shouldn’t be made without solid evidence, and b) health foods all too often throw budget out of the picture! (At this point my Mum would also include KALEANDCOCOA who provide well written and researched healthy lifestyle blogs).
Part of growing as a blogger is finding other people. In my case, that’s people of the same age who are passionate about similar beliefs. Discovering people like RACEWITHGRACE, TEENRUNNER, ENERGISEDELLIE and ACTIVEANDNOURISHED really gave me the fire to keep going. We comment on each others’ posts and receiving great feedback is really encouraging.
So, this was an experiment. Will I continue? Of course. Eventually, I’d love to be able to make a career out of it, it would be my dream job! Now that I’ve trialled it, I know what it involves and the rewards it potentially delivers too! Social Media has had a huge impact on my, and many others’, life. Users are provided with specially tailored jobs, followers are inspired, people have a space to share their passions. I think for that, Social Media isn’t the enemy. If you have a passion, whatever it might be, I encourage you profusely to put it out there. It may not turn out as a ‘success’ (though that depends how you judge ‘success’), but it’s the experience that counts.