I was having a conversation yesterday with my uncle on Viber. It all started with him sending me a very nice message that he’ll spread the word about my Facebook blog page which will hopefully lead to some likes. Gladly, the little exercise did earn me some likes, hooray! However, as we were discussing my Facebook page we somehow managed to change the subject… sorta. Eventually, we moved onto discussing my whole blog and what I should do in order to get more attention and up those traffic numbers. While I would very much like to become one of those successful bloggers that actually contribute to people’s lives with more than giving them tips on what to wear or buy, I wouldn’t want to lose myself and my personality. Hence, I decided to digest this topic a little bit further and ask you what is your opinion on the matter.
Ahead, three main topics that my uncle and I discussed and my reflection on them.
What Is Your Niche?
As we were discussing my blog, he told me I should focus more on the recipes and videos that I’m making as that is what interests him and his friends. While I appreciate their interest in seeing my recipes and actually watch my videos (I’m doing quite poorly on YouTube, FYI), I don’t want to focus on those as they are taking a lot of time. If you’ve ever made a video and then tried to edit it, you’ll know how much time the whole process of setting up your gear, having the right light, etc, takes. Don’t get me wrong – I love making those videos as I’m interested in everything digital and it excites me more than having a bar of chocolate. Ok, I think I exaggerated there… slightly! Point is – I love making them but I don’t want to focus on them in order to become a successful blogger.
When I thought of starting this blog, I did a lot of research and probably 90% of the articles said I should find my niche and focus on one or two topics. From a marketing perspective, I completely get it, from personal – not so much. Isn’t the whole idea of blogging to actually share what you’re doing on daily basis and cover all sort of things that excite you?! Is this industry becoming so commercialised that we’re willing to sacrifice the true meaning of blogging?! So, if I want to become a successful blogger, I would have to focus on one or two topics. Otherwise, people won’t get the meaning of my blog and would get confused. Are people really that sluggish that when they see one post about pasta recipe and another about makeup review, they won’t get the idea of your blog?! Am I not allowed to be interested in a range of topics, without having the fear of losing my audience?! If that is what it takes to become a successful blogger, then I’ll pass, thanks.
Who Is Your Audience?
Based on the statistics from Google analytics, I can comfortably say that more than 30% of my traffic is coming from returning visitors. Contrary to what the articles are saying, those 30% are not getting “confused” when they see a range of topics. On the contrary, they most probably enjoy what they are reading, thus coming back to have another slice of my scribbles. However, my uncle expressed a disappointment that I’m not writing in Bulgarian as my fellow Bulgarian audience is not able to fully understand what I’m writing about.
Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, quite the opposite – I’m very grateful that even though I live in the UK, there are Bulgarians that are actually interested in what I’m writing. Howbeit, I can’t please everyone. I have people reading my blog from all over the world – Europe, USA, Asia – and haven’t complained about the lack of a translator on the page. On the contrary, they are coming back and post comments, etc. Those are the right kind of audience that I want to see on my website. Sadly, if my Bulgarian visitors are not happy with my all-English writing – they are the wrong audience. I can’t translate every single article into Bulgarian as it takes time. People just see the end result; they don’t know how much time it takes to not just put your words together but write in a compelling manner. Also, English is an international language that has to be finally learned by everyone. In this case, pride and nationalism should be left behind. That’s the beauty of learning a global language – to be able to communicate with each other no matter where we live and what language we speak. For this reason, I won’t change my writing and if being a successful blogger means to please everyone, then I’ll pass… again.
How Do You Engage With Your Audience?
Another good point that my uncle mentioned to me was that I have to engage with my audience. In order to do it, I’ll have to provoke them in some way – be it good or bad. But what does that mean?! How are you supposed to engage with your followers on your blog, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page when they don’t even want to? The people that actually take the time to send me a message get an instant reply from me! I’ve helped people with their skincare problems, weight loss struggles and they’ve always been so grateful. But the other ones – the people that don’t even read – and come to your blog only to comment in the hope of getting noticed and drive traffic to their own website?! How do I engage with them, I ask you?
At least I’m trying to engage with you compared to other bloggers. Look at Tanya Burr and Zoella for instance. In no way, I’m trying to shame them as I really like them and I like what they stand for. However, they’ve stopped engaging with their audience. They have their title of a successful blogger and have completely forgotten about their followers. The people without whom they wouldn’t have the success they are now blessed with. Tanya’s latest post is a sponsored one from Kellog’s while Zoella is only doing vlogs. Is that how we’re supposed to engage with our audience?! I would like to see much more of them, the real them. But it seems that real people are not appreciated anymore. People want to see fame driven Instagrammers and YouTubers. If being a successful blogger would mean to engage with my followers in ways that are not in my nature – no thanks!
So, here I am – provoking you with this post. 80% of you won’t read the whole post, but 20% will and I ask you: why do we always have to get controversial in order to get noticed?
What does it mean to be a successful blogger nowadays?
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
This Valentine’s Give Yourself The Gift Of Self-Love
2017 Highlights: The Ups & Downs
Dobrin DrenskiJanuary 24, 2018
Before I say anything, I will wait for my English-speaking friends for an opinion. In addition and if they do not get lazy to read. 🙂
syakirahJanuary 25, 2018
reading this kind of post makes me feel aware and learn more about blogging. Thanks!
Missy MayJanuary 25, 2018
This is a great conversation to have with your uncle. Wish I had an uncle like him that supports what I do. Thought-provoking points here. Yes you probably have to have a niche but, I don’t want to tie myself to something because I find myself getting stuck sometimes. I write about anything that catches my interest. I blog about fashion more but it isn’t all I post. Besides I find the more subject a blogger touch on, the more I find their blog interesting. Keeps drawing me back.
At the end of the day we all have to do what interests us so your uncle has a point and you’ve a point too.
In the eyes of society, a successful blogger is probably a blogger who has bare followers, dressing posh and posting posh. Ha!! In my eyes, if I can relate to you and what you post, then you’re a successful blogger to me.
Got lots to say but, will end here because I don’t want to write a book on your blog. Lol!! Bless!
MariyaJanuary 25, 2018
Thank you! Finally, a person who actually ‘has the balls’ to comment on this post! Like you – I want to write about things that interest me and if people can’t or won’t relate to them, then I don’t want them reading my blog or even following me! I’ve spent too much time trying to fit somewhere, but sometimes there is no need to fit. From now on, I’ll write about whatever I want and I’ll post whatever I want – here, on Instagram, Twitter, etc. I’m glad that you actually read this post! So many come here and comment just to get the traffic but you actually read it and commented.
Thank you! xxx
FrancesJanuary 26, 2018
Really interesting thoughts! I guess everyone has a different idea of what success means to them, but an engaged and interested audience is a great place to start! It’s so lovely that your uncle is so supportive of your ventures! xx
Frances Kayleigh | Fashion & Lifestyle
MariyaJanuary 26, 2018
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Frances! 🙂 x
Heather RowlandJanuary 26, 2018
This is such a thought provoking post and I completely agree with you about being unwilling to sacrifice the genuine nature of blogging purely for more likes. My blog is completely random, filled with all sorts of elements from my life, but I love it being that way and wouldn’t change it for the world, even if it was what was needed in order to boos it’s popularity. It was so great to hear others agreeing with me on this!
MariyaJanuary 26, 2018
That’s the kind of people I like! Thanks, Heather, for your lovely comment! x
Anika MayJanuary 26, 2018
I hate this whole “you must have a niche” thing, and like you, I understand it from a marketing/PR point of view, but at the same times it’s MY blog so I should post whatever I like! Fortunately my interests aren’t too board so my niche is kind of just fashion and lifestyle, but even that’s too broad! And I totally agree that you can’t please everyone. Also agree with your point on some of the very biggest of bloggers, they are totally disengaged, they barely acknowledge their existence!
I wish there were a magic formula that made you a successful blogger over night but with some I think it’s being in the right place at the right time, with others it’s that long and hard struggle to achieve their goals and the rest are just making it up as they go along, haha!
Anika | anikamay.co.uk
MariyaJanuary 26, 2018
Now this is the type of comments I enjoy the most! Thank you lovely Anika for taking the time to read and comment on this. ‘with some I think it’s being in the right place at the right time, with others it’s that long and hard struggle to achieve their goals and the rest are just making it up as they go along’ – couldn’t have said it better! x
MariyaJanuary 27, 2018
You’re absolutely right, Amanda! Quality is better than quantity – posts, readers, subscribers! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your views.
MariyaJanuary 27, 2018
Having fun and enjoying the posts you’re writing should your main priorities when starting a blog! Good luck! x
EllieJanuary 27, 2018
Thank you so much fro sharing!<3
GenesisJanuary 28, 2018
This is my first time reading one of your posts and I am completely intrigued. I am glad that I got to read this one first because I feel a genuine attachment to each word. This is just my opinion!
In regards of being “controversial” and pleasing the readers and everything else, I think recognition pays off by hard work. That means that if you are working hard to post, to write, to take pictures, to edit photos that you love.. then people noticing you, your blog and your personality, will come at their own time. Although it might be frustrating for everyone not to see their “followers”count rise up, it’s still a process that will only be visible if you work hard for it. And it is way better for someone to read your blog for the things you love and stand up for, than having thousands of people reading a fake side of you; then there will be a lot of pressure on keeping this fake attitude and interests alive because there is already people engaged with this fakeness and that is a lot of unnecessary hard work.
Hard work and humbleness ALWAYS pays off, it’s all about remaining hopeful and motivated no matter the circumstances. True people will stay here and love you for who you are, no matter if you are not doing what everyone else is doing.
MariyaJanuary 28, 2018
Your comment just made my day! I’m so grateful for your honest and thoughtful opinion! I’m glad that there are people like you, who appreciate bloggers like myself who write about things that excite them and frustrate them at the same time. I’m really hoping you stick around as readers like you are hidden gems! Thank you again for the lovely comment! x
JurgitaJanuary 28, 2018
Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts! As much as I love my fashion content I could not write only about it as I have so many other things in my life that excites me and I want to share it with my audience. So why shoud I stick with that one niche? Could not agree more on that with you.
Talking about other successful bloggers, Tanya’s Kellog’s campaign really upsets me and as soon as I saw that sponsored video it gave me nothing but a feel of disappointment, when you see one of your favourite youtuber that you’ve been following for years is sharing this kind of content…
Wish you all the luck,
Jurgita | http://crystalsundays.com/
MariyaJanuary 28, 2018
I’m so glad you feel the same way, Jurgita! Don’t stick with one niche, just be yourself! As for Tanya, there’s nothing wrong with the sponsored post, but it just upsets me that she’ll be telling her followers she’s busy, etc, yet manages to do a post and video about Kellogs. It just shows what kind of a person she is.
Wish you all the luck too! x
EloiseJanuary 28, 2018
such important questions and things to consider. I love reading blogs and its a shame that so many people seem to no longer enjoy reading the content and just prefer to stare at the images but alot of the content can really help you grow yourself or give you things to think about. I also agree that enganging with followers is so important! If i leave a thoughtful comment and never get a reply its a little disappointing but i guess when youre super big you don’t give it as much time…
MariyaJanuary 28, 2018
Ah, Eloise, I get you! The number of times I’ve left a long comment or a question and I never got a reply! They just write, hit publish and never look at the comments! But people still follow them… pity…
ClaireJanuary 28, 2018
I get your frustrations… especially when it comes to the idea of creating a niche. We are all complicated people with many different interests, why should we restrict ourselves and our blog? I struggle with this because while I would like to see my audience grow, I jusr can’t commit to any one niche!
MariyaJanuary 28, 2018
Absolutely Claire! I’m not giving up and neither should you!
JessicaJanuary 29, 2018
Now this is a good read. Niche, audience, and engagement are the three things we should always work for (at least traditionally speaking) when running a blog. However, a blog is an extension of yourself in the digital world. We dont box ourselves in one particular niche in the real world, so why should we build a fence for ourselves online. Thanks for a lovely read dear!
Jessica | notjessfashion.com
MariyaJanuary 29, 2018
And how do you engage with your followers, Jessica? You’re one of those people who is constantly following and unfollowing on Instagram with absolutely no shame! And when I asked you and confronted you, I didn’t receive a reply. Now you have the nerve to comment here and talk about building a brand and engagement?!
MariyaJanuary 29, 2018
You’re absolutely right, Amy! I agree with you. x
LaurieJanuary 30, 2018
Personally, I do not care for blogs where they ONLY want to discuss makeup, recipes or fashion, etc. Yes, I might initially come to a certain blog for the latest lipgloss swatches, but it’s nice when they want to throw in their favorite taco recipe too! To me, so much of the blogging/YouTube world has lost it’s original intent. So many of these people are now only posting if they are sponsored. Have they honestly forgotten about how they got there in the first place? They need to get back to engaging with their followers because without them and people watching their YouTube videos, there will be no more sponsors!
MariyaJanuary 30, 2018
Amen, Laurie! If were a successful blogger, I would not only engage with my followers and readers but also meet with them. So many people look up to those ‘famous’ bloggers and get nothing in return…
ShubanaFebruary 2, 2018
A lot of people, same as your sweet uncle don’t realize how strenuous it is to keep up a blog and the more honest successful bloggers can admit that sometimes it’s a 24 hour job. I don’t fault them for not knowing because most of us like to capture an easy breezy life on our social media. I struggle with branching out my content while trying to make it all tie in together. I’m 50% : screw it, you do you! and 50% : it’s gotta be seamless haha the struggle is real.
MariyaFebruary 2, 2018
Hhaha, I like the 50/50 saying!
Dheandra NicoletteFebruary 3, 2018
Read the whole post and loved it! First off I love how supportive your uncle is and how you can talk to him about blogging stuff. Second, I agree with the niche thing. It’s hard to niche when you’re a person who has a ton of different interests you want to share. I’ve found that my blog has slowly started to become niche, organically. Like I’ve noticed that I tend to lean towards writing about certain topics when I get inspired, while other topics not to much. So I think over time if that happens to you then you’ll organically find that niche. Otherwise do you and express all your interests cause like you said there’s an audience that keeps coming back for content that’s you! Blogging has become rather commercialized and similar to YouTube now I fear people are flocking to it to make money quick or get free PR without realizing it’s long term work. And not this quick reward thing. But, I do believe in genuine bloggers out there such as yourself who just want to provide dope content for readers! And I appreciate you for that!
MariyaFebruary 3, 2018
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, Dheandra! Your words mean a lot to me as I want to attract readers like you! You made my day…
AshlynFebruary 3, 2018
This gives me a lot to think about – for a while I really tried to niche down, but I wasn’t enjoying my blog as much, so I decided to un-niche (if that’s a word haha). I agree a blog should be about the blogger and a look into his or her life – I find blogs that cover a lot of topics more interesting than blogs that just cover one!
MariyaFebruary 3, 2018
Yes, my point exactly! Thanks so much for reading!
Lizzie BeeFebruary 4, 2018
I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog because this post resonates with me SO MUCH. Lately I have been feeling down because I believed that I wasn’t a successful blogger because I didn’t really have a niche (and if I do then it’s very very very niche)… But at the end of the day it’s something that I enjoy doing, and I don’t really like to limit myself in terms of the things I write about.
In terms of the engagement part – I think ‘natural’ engagement is the best kind, where you just ask a question or two to raise a discussion. Much like how you wrote this post, really! I also dislike it when people don’t engage with their audience because it feels like we’re being ignored…
MariyaFebruary 5, 2018
Lizzie, not sure if you’ve ticked the ‘follow-up comment notice’, but if you have, please send me a DM through Insta or through the contact box. I would love to talk to you. I also feel very down as I want to achieve so much but right now I can’t due to various factors. I’m hoping everything takes a turn in a couple of months but right now everything is so shit (sorry) and I have no idea how to engage with my audience nor how I can find it.