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Behind The Biz

gifting influencers graphic 'Gifting = no obligation to post. Obligation to post = advertorial content'

Is there really a problem with gifting influencers? How did it become and problem and what can be changed moving forward…

Let’s rewind to the year 2014, when I first launched this blog, and my view of the influencer industry – as it was.

Back then, the prospect of getting a free pair of jeans JUST because I wore my favourite brand on my blog, and then Instagram felt like the most amazing opportunity. How fun!

Back then, creating content wasn’t a job. It wasn’t a business. It was a hobby that often proved fruitful in terms of gifted items, lavish events and exciting opportunities.

But we’re not in 2014 any more. The influencer industry is predicted to be worth $22 BILLION** by next year. So why are some members of our community STILL only being offered the opportunity for gifting, when there’s so much more money to be paid?

This is a multi-layered and complicated issue but it’s one that has particularly affected Black creators who, in their experience, are disproportionately offered gifting instead of payment over their white counterparts.

So how do we solve the problem with gifting?

Is gifting a BLANKET problem?

Within Grow & Glow, we often teach our creators that a gifting relationship with a brand can be a great way to BUILD a partnership. However, this often gets confused.

Brands are offering and creators are accepting gifting, on a promise that it is the start of the relationship. However lots of creators are finding that they are working with brands for months or even years and that this relationship NEVER progresses beyond gifting.

When we teach gifting to build a relationship, we also mean GIFTING WITH NO OBLIGATION TO POST, which we’ll come back to shortly.

Shouldn’t creators be grateful for gifts?

Herein lies another assumption. That if a creator is a true fan of a brand, who would purchase a product regardless of any relationship, that they then should be grateful for gifting.

And of course, it’s such a nicety to receive gifts from our favourite brands but only without the pressure of work being attached to it.

I’d LOVE free stuff, why are you demanding more? It’s just an Instagram post!

Content consumers or followers of influencers often get confused when creators demand to be paid because they may not understand what truly goes into content creation.

Sure a nice holiday might seem like fair compensation for ‘just an Instagram post’ but it’s this misunderstanding into what actually goes into content creation that further perpetuates the image that creators are ungrateful if they’re unwilling to accept gifting.

So let’s break it down. Often, in exchange for clothes, beauty products, a book, electronic gifts, treatments and more, brands are requesting;

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Photography and more

The average blog post takes 3 hours to research, write, optimise, publish and promote. Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for a pretty jumper?

The average vlog can take days to film, 7-9 hours to edit and further hours to optimise, publish and promote. Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for an afternoon tea?

An argument often offered is, ‘well if the product is worth £500 and your rate is £500 then could you just do it in exchange for the gift?’ – which, y’know, can sound reasonable but when EVER does a £500 product actually COST £500 to make?

Let’s go back then… The average blog post takes 3 hours to research, write, optimise, publish and promote. 3 hours at an average hourly rate of £25 = £75 (forgetting all of the other components of pricing blog posts such as link quality, domain quality, volume of traffic etc) – Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for a pretty jumper – which costs £3 to make?

The average vlog can take days to film, 7-9 hours to edit and further hours to optimise, publish and promote. Here we could talk day rates – one day, two days at a rate of £300 a day…Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for an afternoon tea (for which the brand are only footing the cost of the food – bit of sticky white bread and jam?) OR a hotel room, that would otherwise be empty if the influencer weren’t filling it and creating content for it?

These points are illustrative and without even mentioning the value of reach and the relationships with their audiences, that creators can offer, but hopefully you’re beginning to understand.

Gifting ISN’T the issue within itself – it’s the expectation.

In traditional print media, brands send journalists ‘freebies’ or ‘gifts’ with the hope that that editor selects their product to feature within their publication.

If a brand wanted a specific feature for their product, they’d pay the publication thus turning it into an ‘Advertorial’.

Brands saw a way round this with influencers. With an industry that is unregulated – and with no formal training like with what journalists have, they saw an opportunity to get their products into the hands of people with more engaged platforms than magazines and they took advantage.

Gifting in return for content creation – blogs, videos, photos – became the norm.

However, this system is broken. And it’s affecting Black creators (and often those from other underrepresented groups too) disproportionately. 

Whereas white creators are starting to be able to ‘see their worth’ in this industry and therefore ask and demand for more, our Black counterparts are only just being given seats at the table. 

Ask about gifting? Get ghosted by the brand. Ask to be paid? Get blacklisted as ‘difficult’ and not approached again.

We, as an industry, need to reframe how we approach gifting so that a fairer system can be put into place for all creators. And it goes like this…

gifting influencers graphic 'Gifting = no obligation to post. Obligation to post = advertorial content'

‘Gifting = no obligation to post / Obligation to post = Advertorial and therefore paid’ AKA what’s been happening in print media for decades.

This means that as a creator, when you are offered gifting, you assure the brand that you will be happy to try the product and post about it, as you see fit.

This also means, as a creator, when you are offered gifting but are TOLD how, when and what to post, you push back and demand to discuss being paid.

WHY THIS WORKS

  1. If you are a true fan of the brand and you really love the product, it’s highly likely you’ll post about it anyway. But you’ll do so in a way that is comfortable to you and not forced.
  2. If this becomes an industry standard, no creators will be left feeling pushed out or devalued because each creator has their own autonomy over how and when they feature gifted items.
  3. If this becomes an industry standard, Black creators will not be shunned for being ‘difficult’ when their white counterparts are also towing the party line.
  4. Confusion over whether you’ve featured something just because it’s been gifted or because you truly love it disappears – you’re only going to be featuring gifted items that you love because you’re not obligated to post about them.
  5. Brands will have to rethink their approach to influencer marketing. They will have to value creators time, efforts and energy more so than they often do now.

What about smaller brands who can’t afford to pay creators?

No brand should be throwing product at an influencer without due diligence. That is a conversation for another time. But a brand’s influencer marketing efforts don’t fail because influencers don’t post their products – they fail because they attempt influencer marketing haphazardly.

Furthermore, I’d like to ask – what happens if a brand can’t afford a product photographer? A website designer? An SEO specialist? A copywriter?

All brands should cultivate relationships with influencers they like and should truly trust that the influencer they want to work with IS a fan of that brand and WILL post about them – whether they’ve paid them to or not.

Moving forward, I am putting a call out to all creators in the UK influencer industry.

Do you promise to stand your ground and assert, ‘GIFTING = NO OBLIGATION TO POST’.

Do you promise to push back to a brand who is directing how, when and what you post with the stance that ‘OBLIGATION TO POST = advertorial’?

Change can only come as a collective. And it could start today.

Below is some wording you could use in your responses with brands.

‘Thank you for reaching out to me with regards to the collaboration with X. Can I ask whether this is a paid campaign or gifting only?’

In the case that it is gifting only – ‘Thank you for your response. I’d like to highlight that I’m working within the industry-wide agreement that by accepting gifts, I retain full creative control over how, when and what I post in regards to x product. Please confirm that you’re on board with this.’

In the case that it is gifting only but the brand demands certain content – ‘Thank you for your response. I’d like to highlight that I’m working within the industry-wide agreement that by accepting gifts, I retain full creative control over how, when and what I post in regards to x product. This means that I would happily receive xyz but I cannot agree to your directions of abc without a discussion into turning this campaign into an advertorial one. If you’d like to have input and direction into how I feature xyz, are you willing to discuss the budget that is available for advertorial content.’

In the case that it is gifting or nothing. Take nothing. Learn to say no. Work together for change.

Gifting doesn’t pay the bills anyway, right? How badly do you need the product?

This change is just one of the many changes we can act upon to bring parity to the influencer industry. Are you in?

Say it with me…

‘Gifting = no obligation to post / Obligation to post = Advertorial and therefore paid’

the problem with gifting pinterest pin
 
gifting influencers graphic 'Gifting = no obligation to post. Obligation to post = advertorial content'

Is there really a problem with gifting influencers? How did it become and problem and what can be changed moving forward…

Let’s rewind to the year 2014, when I first launched this blog, and my view of the influencer industry – as it was.

Back then, the prospect of getting a free pair of jeans JUST because I wore my favourite brand on my blog, and then Instagram felt like the most amazing opportunity. How fun!

Back then, creating content wasn’t a job. It wasn’t a business. It was a hobby that often proved fruitful in terms of gifted items, lavish events and exciting opportunities.

But we’re not in 2014 any more. The influencer industry is predicted to be worth $22 BILLION** by next year. So why are some members of our community STILL only being offered the opportunity for gifting, when there’s so much more money to be paid?

This is a multi-layered and complicated issue but it’s one that has particularly affected Black creators who, in their experience, are disproportionately offered gifting instead of payment over their white counterparts.

So how do we solve the problem with gifting?

Is gifting a BLANKET problem?

Within Grow & Glow, we often teach our creators that a gifting relationship with a brand can be a great way to BUILD a partnership. However, this often gets confused.

Brands are offering and creators are accepting gifting, on a promise that it is the start of the relationship. However lots of creators are finding that they are working with brands for months or even years and that this relationship NEVER progresses beyond gifting.

When we teach gifting to build a relationship, we also mean GIFTING WITH NO OBLIGATION TO POST, which we’ll come back to shortly.

Shouldn’t creators be grateful for gifts?

Herein lies another assumption. That if a creator is a true fan of a brand, who would purchase a product regardless of any relationship, that they then should be grateful for gifting.

And of course, it’s such a nicety to receive gifts from our favourite brands but only without the pressure of work being attached to it.

I’d LOVE free stuff, why are you demanding more? It’s just an Instagram post!

Content consumers or followers of influencers often get confused when creators demand to be paid because they may not understand what truly goes into content creation.

Sure a nice holiday might seem like fair compensation for ‘just an Instagram post’ but it’s this misunderstanding into what actually goes into content creation that further perpetuates the image that creators are ungrateful if they’re unwilling to accept gifting.

So let’s break it down. Often, in exchange for clothes, beauty products, a book, electronic gifts, treatments and more, brands are requesting;

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Photography and more

The average blog post takes 3 hours to research, write, optimise, publish and promote. Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for a pretty jumper?

The average vlog can take days to film, 7-9 hours to edit and further hours to optimise, publish and promote. Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for an afternoon tea?

An argument often offered is, ‘well if the product is worth £500 and your rate is £500 then could you just do it in exchange for the gift?’ – which, y’know, can sound reasonable but when EVER does a £500 product actually COST £500 to make?

Let’s go back then… The average blog post takes 3 hours to research, write, optimise, publish and promote. 3 hours at an average hourly rate of £25 = £75 (forgetting all of the other components of pricing blog posts such as link quality, domain quality, volume of traffic etc) – Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for a pretty jumper – which costs £3 to make?

The average vlog can take days to film, 7-9 hours to edit and further hours to optimise, publish and promote. Here we could talk day rates – one day, two days at a rate of £300 a day…Is it fair to ask for that in exchange for an afternoon tea (for which the brand are only footing the cost of the food – bit of sticky white bread and jam?) OR a hotel room, that would otherwise be empty if the influencer weren’t filling it and creating content for it?

These points are illustrative and without even mentioning the value of reach and the relationships with their audiences, that creators can offer, but hopefully you’re beginning to understand.

Gifting ISN’T the issue within itself – it’s the expectation.

In traditional print media, brands send journalists ‘freebies’ or ‘gifts’ with the hope that that editor selects their product to feature within their publication.

If a brand wanted a specific feature for their product, they’d pay the publication thus turning it into an ‘Advertorial’.

Brands saw a way round this with influencers. With an industry that is unregulated – and with no formal training like with what journalists have, they saw an opportunity to get their products into the hands of people with more engaged platforms than magazines and they took advantage.

Gifting in return for content creation – blogs, videos, photos – became the norm.

However, this system is broken. And it’s affecting Black creators (and often those from other underrepresented groups too) disproportionately. 

Whereas white creators are starting to be able to ‘see their worth’ in this industry and therefore ask and demand for more, our Black counterparts are only just being given seats at the table. 

Ask about gifting? Get ghosted by the brand. Ask to be paid? Get blacklisted as ‘difficult’ and not approached again.

We, as an industry, need to reframe how we approach gifting so that a fairer system can be put into place for all creators. And it goes like this…

gifting influencers graphic 'Gifting = no obligation to post. Obligation to post = advertorial content'

‘Gifting = no obligation to post / Obligation to post = Advertorial and therefore paid’ AKA what’s been happening in print media for decades.

This means that as a creator, when you are offered gifting, you assure the brand that you will be happy to try the product and post about it, as you see fit.

This also means, as a creator, when you are offered gifting but are TOLD how, when and what to post, you push back and demand to discuss being paid.

WHY THIS WORKS

  1. If you are a true fan of the brand and you really love the product, it’s highly likely you’ll post about it anyway. But you’ll do so in a way that is comfortable to you and not forced.
  2. If this becomes an industry standard, no creators will be left feeling pushed out or devalued because each creator has their own autonomy over how and when they feature gifted items.
  3. If this becomes an industry standard, Black creators will not be shunned for being ‘difficult’ when their white counterparts are also towing the party line.
  4. Confusion over whether you’ve featured something just because it’s been gifted or because you truly love it disappears – you’re only going to be featuring gifted items that you love because you’re not obligated to post about them.
  5. Brands will have to rethink their approach to influencer marketing. They will have to value creators time, efforts and energy more so than they often do now.

What about smaller brands who can’t afford to pay creators?

No brand should be throwing product at an influencer without due diligence. That is a conversation for another time. But a brand’s influencer marketing efforts don’t fail because influencers don’t post their products – they fail because they attempt influencer marketing haphazardly.

Furthermore, I’d like to ask – what happens if a brand can’t afford a product photographer? A website designer? An SEO specialist? A copywriter?

All brands should cultivate relationships with influencers they like and should truly trust that the influencer they want to work with IS a fan of that brand and WILL post about them – whether they’ve paid them to or not.

Moving forward, I am putting a call out to all creators in the UK influencer industry.

Do you promise to stand your ground and assert, ‘GIFTING = NO OBLIGATION TO POST’.

Do you promise to push back to a brand who is directing how, when and what you post with the stance that ‘OBLIGATION TO POST = advertorial’?

Change can only come as a collective. And it could start today.

Below is some wording you could use in your responses with brands.

‘Thank you for reaching out to me with regards to the collaboration with X. Can I ask whether this is a paid campaign or gifting only?’

In the case that it is gifting only – ‘Thank you for your response. I’d like to highlight that I’m working within the industry-wide agreement that by accepting gifts, I retain full creative control over how, when and what I post in regards to x product. Please confirm that you’re on board with this.’

In the case that it is gifting only but the brand demands certain content – ‘Thank you for your response. I’d like to highlight that I’m working within the industry-wide agreement that by accepting gifts, I retain full creative control over how, when and what I post in regards to x product. This means that I would happily receive xyz but I cannot agree to your directions of abc without a discussion into turning this campaign into an advertorial one. If you’d like to have input and direction into how I feature xyz, are you willing to discuss the budget that is available for advertorial content.’

In the case that it is gifting or nothing. Take nothing. Learn to say no. Work together for change.

Gifting doesn’t pay the bills anyway, right? How badly do you need the product?

This change is just one of the many changes we can act upon to bring parity to the influencer industry. Are you in?

Say it with me…

‘Gifting = no obligation to post / Obligation to post = Advertorial and therefore paid’

the problem with gifting pinterest pin
 
make money online

This weekend I was invited to join Sophie Cliff at her Kickstart 2020 event to discuss how I kickstarted my online career. One of the questions an attendee asked was, ‘is it too late to build a career online?’ followed by, ‘how would I even go about doing that?’

It’s an interesting one because I can totally see from the outside that many people who don’t currently have an online presence could feel like that ship has sailed. That if they wanted to build online platforms so they could launch a business or a career, that their time is gone.

But I think that’s wrong!

Firstly, I think a huge stumbling block for those of you who haven’t begun building an online presence based business yet is knowing what the actual fuck that actually means.

Lots of people say to me that they want to work for themselves because they want the freedom and want to make money online but that they have no idea how or in what way.

So I thought I could share my route into it and my experience and then if it sounds like something you might want to explore, I can fill you in on how!

make money online
Photo credit: @StoriesByChloe

There are many different ways to make money online…

Affiliate sales, advertising, digital products, influencing, services, webinars, courses… the list goes on!

To me though, first and foremost, it’s about building an online presence.

In my head, and experience, the route to making money online goes a little something like this…

Define a niche > Build an audience > Serve great free content > Create amazing paid content > Launch a service.

Within that comes blogging, influencing, advertising, affiliate sales, products etc

But the key is first building those platforms so that you have an engaged audience to eventually sell to or one that will at least support every endeavour from here on in.

Side hustle or career?

Many people build an online presence as a part time job or side hustle for extra income – it is totally doable!

Others though wish to build a career from their online presence. Perhaps as an influencer, a coach, a speaker, an author, a retail endeavour or many other things.

And often, when you set out to build an online presence, you never know what career you could fall into.

I set out to be a dating blogger and now I’m an online educator! Sophie Cliff set out to run a lifestyle blog and is now the Joy Coach and Victoria from Apartment No4 started off with an interiors blog and now teaches manifestation.

Join Sophie, Victoria and I for the ultimate retreat built for those of you wanting to build a career online!

The best bit about building an online presence is that as long as you’re serving great content and building an engaged community – the world is your oyster!

That audience could be your first 2 orders for your floristry business, your first 5 photography clients, your first coaching client or your first 100 beauty product sales.

So where do you start?

Again in my experience you start by setting up an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook page and website and then you get building from there!

When you set up, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to invest tonnnnsssss of money.

But there is a catch.

You do have to invest tons of passion, energy and time.

You don’t have to get it perfect from the off. You might decide to build an online presence as a lifestyle influencer and then a year in decide to pivot into something else – like online educating (hi, it me) or a physical product business.

If you are going to treat it like a business though, some amount of thought and planning does need to go into it – but is that too much of a trade off for the possibility of a lifetime of freedom?

I have my platforms, now what?

I do really recommend doing a little bit of reflecting, dreaming, wishing, planning and getting to the core of WHAT you want to bring online.

Do you have a desire to help people with their marketing? Or are you passionate about vegan skincare? Whatever it is that sets you alight inside, that should be your niche (even if you change your mind later).

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start creating content around your passion – a.k.a the fun bit!

You don’t HAVE to attack every platform. Perhaps your blog and Instagram is enough for you. Or maybe you’d rather start a podcast or get into video – you don’t HAVE to do it all.

Choose your preferred or strongest platforms and then get to work building your community…

Why do I need a strong community for business?

Put it this way, if you can get 100 people spending £100 with you, you’ve made £10,000.

Now think about how your life would change if you could get 1000 people spending £100 with you – either through physical products, digital products, services, affiliate sales and to an extent – supporting sponsored content!

Look at your platforms now – how far off is 100 engaged and connected people? How far off is 1000?

Your dream of building a career online doesn’t seem too far off now does it?

Alright, I’ve got my idea, niche and platforms set up but I’m not making the money I need to turn it into a part/full time career, so now what?

This is where strategy comes in.

It’s not just enough to pump out content and chat to people in DMs, you do need to learn a little bit of strategy. And this is where you need the passion and time!

Whether that’s mastering Pinterest so a wider number of people are hearing about what you do.

Or growing your Instagram so that you can earn more via sponsored income.

Or learning about SEO so you can drive traffic to your website and make a killing in affiliate sales.

Growing and scaling those online platforms so that you’re constantly building an engaged community and expanding your online presence does take strategy (why do you think we built Grow & Glow) so if you really are serious about building a career online you do need to get working!

I’ve not got time, energy or the money to invest in this…

Rephrase that to ‘building a career online is not my priority’ and then we can continue!

Listen, I see and hear it every day. People like you who think they want the freedom to work from themselves or to build an online presence so that they can launch a life they love but they just don’t have the passion for it.

That’s OK! It might seem like a dream lifestyle but you just might not be in the space for it and honestly, just because Tom, Dick and Harry are doing it – doesn’t mean it’s for you.

But if it IS and you REALLY WANT IT, you’ll find the energy. And if you’re time poor, you’ll reprioritise those Netflix binges. And if you can’t afford to be a Grow & Glow member (less than a Starbucks a week, c’mon) or invest in starting your own business by learning the strategy somewhere else – then just admit it’s not your priority at the moment!

I DO have the passion, energy etc etc HELP ME

I mean, that’s what Grow & Glow is for. But I didn’t have G&G 2 years ago when I was trying to make things happen so this is what I did:

  • I re-niched into something I was passionate about
  • I brainstormed all of the different revenue streams this niche could facilitate
  • I tried the ones I thought I wanted
  • I sacked those off and tried some more
  • I took over £2,000 worth of courses on social media marketing, content marketing, coaching and digital marketing
  • I built an engaged audience through my channels
  • I worked on weekends
  • I worked in the evenings
  • I read every book going about becoming an online educator/entrepreneur
  • I listened to podcasts such as GoalDigger, Amy Porterfield, Gary Vee, Starting the Conversation with Alice Benham
  • I went on Alice’s retreat

You don’t have to do ALL of these things – I have an unquenchable thirst for learning and creating.

Knowledge vs Action

Often another huge stumbling block in building a career online is absorbing so much knowledge on how to do it – reading every article about the algorithm, hiring coaches, ALL. THE. BLOG. POSTS. that sometimes it’s too much guffff.

The key is taking action. Is absorbing the knowledge, learning the strategy and then IMPLEMENTING IT through daily, weekly, monthly tasks designed for building that presence.

We’d all love a hand to hold us through all of this wouldn’t we?

So what’s holding you back?

Hopefully you’ve learned through this blog post that it’s never too late to build a career online and hopefully you’ve also learned the route towards getting you there.

So now I want to know what’s holding you back? Come and chat about it on Instagram with me, I’d love to dive into your blocks with you!

 
make money online

This weekend I was invited to join Sophie Cliff at her Kickstart 2020 event to discuss how I kickstarted my online career. One of the questions an attendee asked was, ‘is it too late to build a career online?’ followed by, ‘how would I even go about doing that?’

It’s an interesting one because I can totally see from the outside that many people who don’t currently have an online presence could feel like that ship has sailed. That if they wanted to build online platforms so they could launch a business or a career, that their time is gone.

But I think that’s wrong!

Firstly, I think a huge stumbling block for those of you who haven’t begun building an online presence based business yet is knowing what the actual fuck that actually means.

Lots of people say to me that they want to work for themselves because they want the freedom and want to make money online but that they have no idea how or in what way.

So I thought I could share my route into it and my experience and then if it sounds like something you might want to explore, I can fill you in on how!

make money online
Photo credit: @StoriesByChloe

There are many different ways to make money online…

Affiliate sales, advertising, digital products, influencing, services, webinars, courses… the list goes on!

To me though, first and foremost, it’s about building an online presence.

In my head, and experience, the route to making money online goes a little something like this…

Define a niche > Build an audience > Serve great free content > Create amazing paid content > Launch a service.

Within that comes blogging, influencing, advertising, affiliate sales, products etc

But the key is first building those platforms so that you have an engaged audience to eventually sell to or one that will at least support every endeavour from here on in.

Side hustle or career?

Many people build an online presence as a part time job or side hustle for extra income – it is totally doable!

Others though wish to build a career from their online presence. Perhaps as an influencer, a coach, a speaker, an author, a retail endeavour or many other things.

And often, when you set out to build an online presence, you never know what career you could fall into.

I set out to be a dating blogger and now I’m an online educator! Sophie Cliff set out to run a lifestyle blog and is now the Joy Coach and Victoria from Apartment No4 started off with an interiors blog and now teaches manifestation.

Join Sophie, Victoria and I for the ultimate retreat built for those of you wanting to build a career online!

The best bit about building an online presence is that as long as you’re serving great content and building an engaged community – the world is your oyster!

That audience could be your first 2 orders for your floristry business, your first 5 photography clients, your first coaching client or your first 100 beauty product sales.

So where do you start?

Again in my experience you start by setting up an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook page and website and then you get building from there!

When you set up, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to invest tonnnnsssss of money.

But there is a catch.

You do have to invest tons of passion, energy and time.

You don’t have to get it perfect from the off. You might decide to build an online presence as a lifestyle influencer and then a year in decide to pivot into something else – like online educating (hi, it me) or a physical product business.

If you are going to treat it like a business though, some amount of thought and planning does need to go into it – but is that too much of a trade off for the possibility of a lifetime of freedom?

I have my platforms, now what?

I do really recommend doing a little bit of reflecting, dreaming, wishing, planning and getting to the core of WHAT you want to bring online.

Do you have a desire to help people with their marketing? Or are you passionate about vegan skincare? Whatever it is that sets you alight inside, that should be your niche (even if you change your mind later).

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start creating content around your passion – a.k.a the fun bit!

You don’t HAVE to attack every platform. Perhaps your blog and Instagram is enough for you. Or maybe you’d rather start a podcast or get into video – you don’t HAVE to do it all.

Choose your preferred or strongest platforms and then get to work building your community…

Why do I need a strong community for business?

Put it this way, if you can get 100 people spending £100 with you, you’ve made £10,000.

Now think about how your life would change if you could get 1000 people spending £100 with you – either through physical products, digital products, services, affiliate sales and to an extent – supporting sponsored content!

Look at your platforms now – how far off is 100 engaged and connected people? How far off is 1000?

Your dream of building a career online doesn’t seem too far off now does it?

Alright, I’ve got my idea, niche and platforms set up but I’m not making the money I need to turn it into a part/full time career, so now what?

This is where strategy comes in.

It’s not just enough to pump out content and chat to people in DMs, you do need to learn a little bit of strategy. And this is where you need the passion and time!

Whether that’s mastering Pinterest so a wider number of people are hearing about what you do.

Or growing your Instagram so that you can earn more via sponsored income.

Or learning about SEO so you can drive traffic to your website and make a killing in affiliate sales.

Growing and scaling those online platforms so that you’re constantly building an engaged community and expanding your online presence does take strategy (why do you think we built Grow & Glow) so if you really are serious about building a career online you do need to get working!

I’ve not got time, energy or the money to invest in this…

Rephrase that to ‘building a career online is not my priority’ and then we can continue!

Listen, I see and hear it every day. People like you who think they want the freedom to work from themselves or to build an online presence so that they can launch a life they love but they just don’t have the passion for it.

That’s OK! It might seem like a dream lifestyle but you just might not be in the space for it and honestly, just because Tom, Dick and Harry are doing it – doesn’t mean it’s for you.

But if it IS and you REALLY WANT IT, you’ll find the energy. And if you’re time poor, you’ll reprioritise those Netflix binges. And if you can’t afford to be a Grow & Glow member (less than a Starbucks a week, c’mon) or invest in starting your own business by learning the strategy somewhere else – then just admit it’s not your priority at the moment!

I DO have the passion, energy etc etc HELP ME

I mean, that’s what Grow & Glow is for. But I didn’t have G&G 2 years ago when I was trying to make things happen so this is what I did:

  • I re-niched into something I was passionate about
  • I brainstormed all of the different revenue streams this niche could facilitate
  • I tried the ones I thought I wanted
  • I sacked those off and tried some more
  • I took over £2,000 worth of courses on social media marketing, content marketing, coaching and digital marketing
  • I built an engaged audience through my channels
  • I worked on weekends
  • I worked in the evenings
  • I read every book going about becoming an online educator/entrepreneur
  • I listened to podcasts such as GoalDigger, Amy Porterfield, Gary Vee, Starting the Conversation with Alice Benham
  • I went on Alice’s retreat

You don’t have to do ALL of these things – I have an unquenchable thirst for learning and creating.

Knowledge vs Action

Often another huge stumbling block in building a career online is absorbing so much knowledge on how to do it – reading every article about the algorithm, hiring coaches, ALL. THE. BLOG. POSTS. that sometimes it’s too much guffff.

The key is taking action. Is absorbing the knowledge, learning the strategy and then IMPLEMENTING IT through daily, weekly, monthly tasks designed for building that presence.

We’d all love a hand to hold us through all of this wouldn’t we?

So what’s holding you back?

Hopefully you’ve learned through this blog post that it’s never too late to build a career online and hopefully you’ve also learned the route towards getting you there.

So now I want to know what’s holding you back? Come and chat about it on Instagram with me, I’d love to dive into your blocks with you!

 
make money online

A report by Influencer Intelligence, released in November has stated that 70% of marketers are demanding more authenticity and transparency from their influencer marketing campaigns in 2020, when consumer trust of influencers has fallen to 2%.

So are the days of holding up a whitening toothpaste in your pants for a selfie, over?

With more than 60% of consumers stating they also need to see more authenticity within campaigns, what does this mean for our future, as creators?

In the creation of my new challenge, ‘How To Grow Your Brand Partnerships in 2020’ (which you can sign up for here, it’s free), I spoke with some of the marketers and agencies I’m currently working with on my own projects.

I gathered tips and advice for the challenge and something the Vodafone PR team struck a chord with me, they said, ‘We as a brand work with influencers specifically to help deliver a call to action which is usually to help drive awareness and consideration of a product or service. We tend to only work with influencers that we know have a natural ability to inject branded posts into their feed/stories in a natural and fitting way.’

This is supported by the Influencer Intelligence report which found that,

  • 90% of marketers say proving authenticity is critical to the future of influencer marketing
  • 85% of marketers say engagement data is the biggest metric of success for influencer marketing
  • Micro-influencers overtake top-tier talent, and 61% of consumers say they produce the most relatable content
influencer marketing 2020
Photo credit: @StoriesByChloe

So what will change or evolve in 2020?

Brands will seek shared values

The Influencer Marketing Hub report on 2020 trends suggests that;

Businesses now realize that there needs to be a better match between their intrinsic values and those of the influencers with whom they work. You can’t blindly choose to work with influencers merely because they are famous – or even because they have an audience similar to your customer base. You first need to check for values compatibility.

If you market yourself as edgy, perhaps maverick, then you can work with the slightly wilder, contentious influencers. But if you target a more mainstream, conservative audience, you can’t take risks working with liberal or unpredictable influencers. If you come across as family-friendly, it would be foolhardy to work with influencers who push taste or legal boundaries.

Influencer Marketing Hub Report

What does this mean for you, as a creator?

As an influencer, are you always 100% aware of what you’re sharing online? From that offhand tweet, to that seemingly innocuous Instagram Story? These could prove to be a factor in future collaborations.

Pitching to brands you, ‘fancy’ might not cut the mustard and more research will have to go into aligning yourself with brands who have the same ‘branding’ as you – key messages, values and voice.

Micro-influencers gain even more power

In the same report, it is suggested that micro-influencers, with a smaller, dedicated and loyal niche will provide even more value for money in 2020 as celebrities and celebrity-influencers alike become further detached from their audiences.

This is definitely reflected within my personal experience as even though my following has only grown 4k this year, I’ve managed to earn up to 5x what I earned from collaborations this time last year (if you’re a creator reading this, give yourself a pay rise in 2020!) and I have been told that it’s because of the genuine community I have built (not to wank myself off too much, but just illustrating the point!)

Here’s what the report states:

There is a delicate balancing act in influencer marketing. You have to balance the benefits gained from working with somebody who has a large following, against how much those people take notice of suggestions made by that person. You then have to compare all of this to the cost of working with the person. Sure, in some cases, you can make up for the lack of genuine influence by the sheer number of people who may see a post promoting your product. But more often than not, an enthusiastic micro-influencer, with a smaller, but keen and dedicated following, provides better value for money.

What does this mean for you, as a creator?

Firstly, I hope it means you’ll stop chasing vanity metrics in 2020 and use that effort and energy to cultivate long-lasting relationships with your audience.

In 2020, brands will be scouring your Stories engagement and comments for deeper engagement.

‘Love this hun’ and emoji responses mean nothing and brands will want to see genuine conversations and examples of you influencing your audience before wanting to work with you.

Brand relationships will be key

More than 70% of my partnerships this year have been with the same brand or PR agency that my previous partnerships have been with and each expert I speak to within the industry states that 2020 will see more long-term relationships being built than those shot-in-the-dark, one-off campaigns.

This was echoed by Phillip Trippenbach, UK Head of Influencer at Edelman, at the Blogosphere Festival last week, who stated that the brands he worked with found way more value from longer term partnerships.

What does this mean for you, as a creator?

Pitching PRs without using their name, or with a pitch that could be sent to a million different brands is just not going to fly.

You’ll need to spend more time nurturing the brands you want to work with, either in communication or through creating organic content if you want those relationships to flourish.

It also means that accepting random sponsored post after random sponsored post is going to cast you in a more unfavourable light than influencers who are being more selective.

SO

From this post, and this one I wrote on my own predictions for 2020, in the words of Ru Paul, it’s time we stepped our pussies up.

If you’re a creator who’s serious about building a personal brand and online presence, the opportunity to earn more money and grow more relationships is waiting for you, in 2020 – you’ll just have to stay ahead of how the industry is evolving and changing.

If you need more help and guidance on this, I’d love for you to join my challenge next month, where I, with the help of some industry experts, walk you through how to grow, glow and sustain brand relationships into 2020 through a series of email lessons, 1-2-1 feedback and support.

You can join here.

And of course, you can always join Grow & Glow where we go into creating and building platforms in way more depth!

How will your approach to working with brands change and evolve in 2020?

 
make money online

A report by Influencer Intelligence, released in November has stated that 70% of marketers are demanding more authenticity and transparency from their influencer marketing campaigns in 2020, when consumer trust of influencers has fallen to 2%.

So are the days of holding up a whitening toothpaste in your pants for a selfie, over?

With more than 60% of consumers stating they also need to see more authenticity within campaigns, what does this mean for our future, as creators?

In the creation of my new challenge, ‘How To Grow Your Brand Partnerships in 2020’ (which you can sign up for here, it’s free), I spoke with some of the marketers and agencies I’m currently working with on my own projects.

I gathered tips and advice for the challenge and something the Vodafone PR team struck a chord with me, they said, ‘We as a brand work with influencers specifically to help deliver a call to action which is usually to help drive awareness and consideration of a product or service. We tend to only work with influencers that we know have a natural ability to inject branded posts into their feed/stories in a natural and fitting way.’

This is supported by the Influencer Intelligence report which found that,

  • 90% of marketers say proving authenticity is critical to the future of influencer marketing
  • 85% of marketers say engagement data is the biggest metric of success for influencer marketing
  • Micro-influencers overtake top-tier talent, and 61% of consumers say they produce the most relatable content
influencer marketing 2020
Photo credit: @StoriesByChloe

So what will change or evolve in 2020?

Brands will seek shared values

The Influencer Marketing Hub report on 2020 trends suggests that;

Businesses now realize that there needs to be a better match between their intrinsic values and those of the influencers with whom they work. You can’t blindly choose to work with influencers merely because they are famous – or even because they have an audience similar to your customer base. You first need to check for values compatibility.

If you market yourself as edgy, perhaps maverick, then you can work with the slightly wilder, contentious influencers. But if you target a more mainstream, conservative audience, you can’t take risks working with liberal or unpredictable influencers. If you come across as family-friendly, it would be foolhardy to work with influencers who push taste or legal boundaries.

Influencer Marketing Hub Report

What does this mean for you, as a creator?

As an influencer, are you always 100% aware of what you’re sharing online? From that offhand tweet, to that seemingly innocuous Instagram Story? These could prove to be a factor in future collaborations.

Pitching to brands you, ‘fancy’ might not cut the mustard and more research will have to go into aligning yourself with brands who have the same ‘branding’ as you – key messages, values and voice.

Micro-influencers gain even more power

In the same report, it is suggested that micro-influencers, with a smaller, dedicated and loyal niche will provide even more value for money in 2020 as celebrities and celebrity-influencers alike become further detached from their audiences.

This is definitely reflected within my personal experience as even though my following has only grown 4k this year, I’ve managed to earn up to 5x what I earned from collaborations this time last year (if you’re a creator reading this, give yourself a pay rise in 2020!) and I have been told that it’s because of the genuine community I have built (not to wank myself off too much, but just illustrating the point!)

Here’s what the report states:

There is a delicate balancing act in influencer marketing. You have to balance the benefits gained from working with somebody who has a large following, against how much those people take notice of suggestions made by that person. You then have to compare all of this to the cost of working with the person. Sure, in some cases, you can make up for the lack of genuine influence by the sheer number of people who may see a post promoting your product. But more often than not, an enthusiastic micro-influencer, with a smaller, but keen and dedicated following, provides better value for money.

What does this mean for you, as a creator?

Firstly, I hope it means you’ll stop chasing vanity metrics in 2020 and use that effort and energy to cultivate long-lasting relationships with your audience.

In 2020, brands will be scouring your Stories engagement and comments for deeper engagement.

‘Love this hun’ and emoji responses mean nothing and brands will want to see genuine conversations and examples of you influencing your audience before wanting to work with you.

Brand relationships will be key

More than 70% of my partnerships this year have been with the same brand or PR agency that my previous partnerships have been with and each expert I speak to within the industry states that 2020 will see more long-term relationships being built than those shot-in-the-dark, one-off campaigns.

This was echoed by Phillip Trippenbach, UK Head of Influencer at Edelman, at the Blogosphere Festival last week, who stated that the brands he worked with found way more value from longer term partnerships.

What does this mean for you, as a creator?

Pitching PRs without using their name, or with a pitch that could be sent to a million different brands is just not going to fly.

You’ll need to spend more time nurturing the brands you want to work with, either in communication or through creating organic content if you want those relationships to flourish.

It also means that accepting random sponsored post after random sponsored post is going to cast you in a more unfavourable light than influencers who are being more selective.

SO

From this post, and this one I wrote on my own predictions for 2020, in the words of Ru Paul, it’s time we stepped our pussies up.

If you’re a creator who’s serious about building a personal brand and online presence, the opportunity to earn more money and grow more relationships is waiting for you, in 2020 – you’ll just have to stay ahead of how the industry is evolving and changing.

If you need more help and guidance on this, I’d love for you to join my challenge next month, where I, with the help of some industry experts, walk you through how to grow, glow and sustain brand relationships into 2020 through a series of email lessons, 1-2-1 feedback and support.

You can join here.

And of course, you can always join Grow & Glow where we go into creating and building platforms in way more depth!

How will your approach to working with brands change and evolve in 2020?

 
blogging in 2020

If you’re not at all interested in the influencer industry and only alight at this station for wedding chat, mental health woes or from a questionable keyword that Google has picked up, move right on by.

But if you’re also a blogger and are keen dissect, analyse, theorise and just bloody gossip about what I believe will be going down next year, stick with me…

blogging in 2020
Bloggers at the Grow & Glow x Pinterest event | Photo by @storiesbychloe

A Return To Blogging In 2020

As many of our favourite creators have taken a step back from publishing blog content in 2019 in the pursuit of growing an Instagram following, I predict those same creators will return to their websites in 2020.

You see, if you’ve grown a following of 10k but only 2k are seeing your posts and then only 100-300 people are engaging with them, you might start to wonder if the endless hours engaging, being ‘active on the app’ and ‘trying’ is really worth it.

Especially when each blog post could be read 4-5 times moreover.

Stories and stories

I’m not going as far to say, ‘structured, planned and curated content is out’ – because I genuinely believe that every type of creator has a space and has an audience.

But if, like me, you struggle to curate/create and prefer to document your life, interests and passions – telling stories on Stories is proving to be more popular as we end 2019.

Creators I speak to tell me that content on Instagram Stories about the plumber coming, a crack in the ceiling, a shit snack they thought would be legendary or an Aldi trip, get up to 5x more engagement than a planned post.

I think we’ll see our favourite creators dabble in giving us more of a ‘real-life’, behind-the-scenes, look at their lives, through Stories or by creating new Instagram accounts to capitalise on what audiences SAY they want.

However, if your Insta-style is perfectly curated, creative or EXTRA, there’s always huge value in what you do as often this is the content that attracts more shares, saves and has tended to perform better in the algorithm.

A Focus On Meaningful Engagement

Likes, follower numbers and impressions could be out.

Especially when they don’t translate to meaningful engagement.

This will be replaced by a focus on replies, comments (real ones), shares and saves.

That’s because Story replies show you’re building community, as do true comments.

Shares mean that your content is deemed worthy to be seen by many others.

Saves means your content is actually valuable.

However…

A New Kind of Pod and Breed of Bot

Remember when making money on social media was all about who had the most followers and who could garner the most likes? (It still is for those brands that haven’t quite caught up yet).

Well if these metrics are losing the focus and metrics like saves, shares, DMs and comments are taking the stage… can ya guess what will happen (and already is)?

Bots will be filling creators comments with more sophisticated comments. No longer will bots be bought if all they can provide is a spammy emoji or, ‘love this hun’ (when it’s a post about grieving your dead cat) – bots will have to become better. And they will.

As quickly as Instagram find a way to banish some form on inauthentic engagement, a new one pops up and unfortunately Instagram aren’t THAT quick off the mark.

Where Instagram ‘pods’ or ‘engagement groups’ or whatever name you want to give them would be based on rules such as, ‘like every post before sharing your own’ or ‘comment on everyone’s last post with at least 4 words, no emojis and a recipe for your Mum’s best brownies’, new groups will emerge – and have.

Pods now require you to save and share each members last post and because these actions are currently, ‘secret’ (you can’t see who has performed them), then a post of someone’s trashy Sunday dinner (my favourite shit-post metaphor) will inexplicably be receiving hundreds of saves and shares, compared to Sally-Pure-Creator who spent 4-5 hours editing a beautiful fashion shot but who isn’t a member of a hun-pod.

And if we learned anything about the Instagram algorithm in 2019, it’s that if a post receives plenty of saves and shares, it’s more likely to be boosted to the top of feeds.

Therefore…

A Social Media Exhaustion

Many creators, in 2020, will feel exhausted over trying to figure out what engagement to create for, but then feel at a loss because whenever there is money involved, someone will always try and game the system.

There’ll always be unfairness. Someone will always, undeservingly, be given a leg up. That’s the way it is in business.

So then…

A Creative Freedom

I believe many creators, in 2020, will come around to what’s really important.

Authenticity with that they share, value provided for their audience and a sense of true community.

Metrics, games and exhausting politics really don’t matter when you focus on values like this.

I see so many creators say, ‘I just can’t grow!’ but at the same time, see someone who’s totally original, who’s building a fab community and who creates valuable content grow rapidly.

Therefore, those creators will create on platforms where they feel the most joy (and it may be Instagram) but they won’t create FOR engagement. Or to ‘beat the algorithm’. They’ll give themselves permission to create what they want, for the audience they have, and it’ll make them feel good.

There is, however a downside with creative freedom and saying, ‘not me’ when it comes to game-playing.

And that’s money.

More Money

It’s the ol’ Catch 22 isn’t it? By now we know what content ‘performs’, what style of account is most ‘sponsorable’ and we know how we could contort what we create for it to be deemed cash-worthy.

Creators often feel that if you want to be noticed by brands, become an influencer and monetise your social platforms via your personal brand (aka self), games (algorithms) have to be played.

There’s a sense that more often than not, you have to be in the right circles, tagging the right brands and with the ‘right’ style of imagery.

The face fits – just like in any corporate world.

But there is another way too… a way I foresee many more creators taking in 2020.

Diversifying Income

When I ask members in Grow & Glow what they’re doing it all for, a proportion say, ‘I need more followers because I want to earn money from my platforms.’

When pressed further, what they really mean is, ‘I want to make money on Instagram’.

And when I ask them, during our monthly calls, our community catch ups or at events, what that looks like, they say, ‘I need to learn how to beat the algorithm so I can get to 10k and then brands will start to pay me.’

To them, I say, ‘bollocks.’

What if I told you, that holding up a shitty deodorant for £50 is not the only way to become a ‘full time blogger’?

What if I told you that if you went, ‘fuck it, this game is too exhausting, I just want to build a life for myself,’ that there are other ways?

What if I also told you that I work with bloggers under 1k followers on Instagram who make more money on Instagram than those with 30k+? That’s for another post…

In 2020, we’ll see more and more creators diversifying their incomes by creating personal brands by themselves without having to rely on being an advert for another brand.

We’ll see creators releasing books, merch, their own ranges, e-books, digital products, coaching services and many more exciting things they can create through the authentic story, genuine community and assertion of expertise they’ve built for themselves.

More Bloggers De-Monetising

Where 2018-2019 was all about, ‘get that money honey’, many bloggers who have full time jobs or just wanted to have platforms to create on felt pushed out by this sudden rush for capital.

In 2020, I see more creators who are wanting to ‘just’ create excellent content coming to the forefront and saying, ‘Hey, just because I’m not being paid doesn’t mean my content isn’t great,’ and having the confidence to do so.

I see creators aligning to the fact that they can ‘just’ create and not every element of their ‘personal brand’ needs to be sold.

That working with a brand on Instagram isn’t their holy grail.

That sharing a creative passion alongside a 9-5 is just as worthy.

De-monetising your platforms gives you an incredible boost of freedom too. Why strive for 10k on Instagram when you don’t ever want to put up an ad?

Why spend 4-5 hours a day on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Insta when you’re just using your platforms as a creative outlet?

There’s Room for Everybody

As creators hone in on their areas of expertise, there’s bound to be cross-over.

As more creators turn their hands to creating services or their own products, there’s bound to be others who come along and emulate.

As influencers see trends that are making waves (playing the game rather than daring to be different), there’s bound to be a lot of ‘sameness’.

And as some bloggers, say, ‘fuck it’ and strip it back to why they started, there’s bound to be a shift.

That’s life.

In 2020, the blogging community will experience a huge and probably unpredictable shift, as it always does. Who wrote one of these posts last year and predicted getting rid of likes or the rapid decrease in organic reach? Not many.

But what I know for definite in 2020, is this.

Every single one of you has the power to take a platform where you post pictures, write words, chat to peers and make a tit of yourself and turn it into SOMETHING.

Whether that’s keeping abreast of all of the latest social media trends to ensure you’re growing a bigger following and earning more sponsorship dollar, saying ‘fuck it all’, OR through building a sustainable personal brand that can turn your hand and your community to a diverse range of projects and products – you’re making SOMETHING.

Whatever it is, I’m here for it. And I’m here for you.

 
blogging in 2020

If you’re not at all interested in the influencer industry and only alight at this station for wedding chat, mental health woes or from a questionable keyword that Google has picked up, move right on by.

But if you’re also a blogger and are keen dissect, analyse, theorise and just bloody gossip about what I believe will be going down next year, stick with me…

blogging in 2020
Bloggers at the Grow & Glow x Pinterest event | Photo by @storiesbychloe

A Return To Blogging In 2020

As many of our favourite creators have taken a step back from publishing blog content in 2019 in the pursuit of growing an Instagram following, I predict those same creators will return to their websites in 2020.

You see, if you’ve grown a following of 10k but only 2k are seeing your posts and then only 100-300 people are engaging with them, you might start to wonder if the endless hours engaging, being ‘active on the app’ and ‘trying’ is really worth it.

Especially when each blog post could be read 4-5 times moreover.

Stories and stories

I’m not going as far to say, ‘structured, planned and curated content is out’ – because I genuinely believe that every type of creator has a space and has an audience.

But if, like me, you struggle to curate/create and prefer to document your life, interests and passions – telling stories on Stories is proving to be more popular as we end 2019.

Creators I speak to tell me that content on Instagram Stories about the plumber coming, a crack in the ceiling, a shit snack they thought would be legendary or an Aldi trip, get up to 5x more engagement than a planned post.

I think we’ll see our favourite creators dabble in giving us more of a ‘real-life’, behind-the-scenes, look at their lives, through Stories or by creating new Instagram accounts to capitalise on what audiences SAY they want.

However, if your Insta-style is perfectly curated, creative or EXTRA, there’s always huge value in what you do as often this is the content that attracts more shares, saves and has tended to perform better in the algorithm.

A Focus On Meaningful Engagement

Likes, follower numbers and impressions could be out.

Especially when they don’t translate to meaningful engagement.

This will be replaced by a focus on replies, comments (real ones), shares and saves.

That’s because Story replies show you’re building community, as do true comments.

Shares mean that your content is deemed worthy to be seen by many others.

Saves means your content is actually valuable.

However…

A New Kind of Pod and Breed of Bot

Remember when making money on social media was all about who had the most followers and who could garner the most likes? (It still is for those brands that haven’t quite caught up yet).

Well if these metrics are losing the focus and metrics like saves, shares, DMs and comments are taking the stage… can ya guess what will happen (and already is)?

Bots will be filling creators comments with more sophisticated comments. No longer will bots be bought if all they can provide is a spammy emoji or, ‘love this hun’ (when it’s a post about grieving your dead cat) – bots will have to become better. And they will.

As quickly as Instagram find a way to banish some form on inauthentic engagement, a new one pops up and unfortunately Instagram aren’t THAT quick off the mark.

Where Instagram ‘pods’ or ‘engagement groups’ or whatever name you want to give them would be based on rules such as, ‘like every post before sharing your own’ or ‘comment on everyone’s last post with at least 4 words, no emojis and a recipe for your Mum’s best brownies’, new groups will emerge – and have.

Pods now require you to save and share each members last post and because these actions are currently, ‘secret’ (you can’t see who has performed them), then a post of someone’s trashy Sunday dinner (my favourite shit-post metaphor) will inexplicably be receiving hundreds of saves and shares, compared to Sally-Pure-Creator who spent 4-5 hours editing a beautiful fashion shot but who isn’t a member of a hun-pod.

And if we learned anything about the Instagram algorithm in 2019, it’s that if a post receives plenty of saves and shares, it’s more likely to be boosted to the top of feeds.

Therefore…

A Social Media Exhaustion

Many creators, in 2020, will feel exhausted over trying to figure out what engagement to create for, but then feel at a loss because whenever there is money involved, someone will always try and game the system.

There’ll always be unfairness. Someone will always, undeservingly, be given a leg up. That’s the way it is in business.

So then…

A Creative Freedom

I believe many creators, in 2020, will come around to what’s really important.

Authenticity with that they share, value provided for their audience and a sense of true community.

Metrics, games and exhausting politics really don’t matter when you focus on values like this.

I see so many creators say, ‘I just can’t grow!’ but at the same time, see someone who’s totally original, who’s building a fab community and who creates valuable content grow rapidly.

Therefore, those creators will create on platforms where they feel the most joy (and it may be Instagram) but they won’t create FOR engagement. Or to ‘beat the algorithm’. They’ll give themselves permission to create what they want, for the audience they have, and it’ll make them feel good.

There is, however a downside with creative freedom and saying, ‘not me’ when it comes to game-playing.

And that’s money.

More Money

It’s the ol’ Catch 22 isn’t it? By now we know what content ‘performs’, what style of account is most ‘sponsorable’ and we know how we could contort what we create for it to be deemed cash-worthy.

Creators often feel that if you want to be noticed by brands, become an influencer and monetise your social platforms via your personal brand (aka self), games (algorithms) have to be played.

There’s a sense that more often than not, you have to be in the right circles, tagging the right brands and with the ‘right’ style of imagery.

The face fits – just like in any corporate world.

But there is another way too… a way I foresee many more creators taking in 2020.

Diversifying Income

When I ask members in Grow & Glow what they’re doing it all for, a proportion say, ‘I need more followers because I want to earn money from my platforms.’

When pressed further, what they really mean is, ‘I want to make money on Instagram’.

And when I ask them, during our monthly calls, our community catch ups or at events, what that looks like, they say, ‘I need to learn how to beat the algorithm so I can get to 10k and then brands will start to pay me.’

To them, I say, ‘bollocks.’

What if I told you, that holding up a shitty deodorant for £50 is not the only way to become a ‘full time blogger’?

What if I told you that if you went, ‘fuck it, this game is too exhausting, I just want to build a life for myself,’ that there are other ways?

What if I also told you that I work with bloggers under 1k followers on Instagram who make more money on Instagram than those with 30k+? That’s for another post…

In 2020, we’ll see more and more creators diversifying their incomes by creating personal brands by themselves without having to rely on being an advert for another brand.

We’ll see creators releasing books, merch, their own ranges, e-books, digital products, coaching services and many more exciting things they can create through the authentic story, genuine community and assertion of expertise they’ve built for themselves.

More Bloggers De-Monetising

Where 2018-2019 was all about, ‘get that money honey’, many bloggers who have full time jobs or just wanted to have platforms to create on felt pushed out by this sudden rush for capital.

In 2020, I see more creators who are wanting to ‘just’ create excellent content coming to the forefront and saying, ‘Hey, just because I’m not being paid doesn’t mean my content isn’t great,’ and having the confidence to do so.

I see creators aligning to the fact that they can ‘just’ create and not every element of their ‘personal brand’ needs to be sold.

That working with a brand on Instagram isn’t their holy grail.

That sharing a creative passion alongside a 9-5 is just as worthy.

De-monetising your platforms gives you an incredible boost of freedom too. Why strive for 10k on Instagram when you don’t ever want to put up an ad?

Why spend 4-5 hours a day on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Insta when you’re just using your platforms as a creative outlet?

There’s Room for Everybody

As creators hone in on their areas of expertise, there’s bound to be cross-over.

As more creators turn their hands to creating services or their own products, there’s bound to be others who come along and emulate.

As influencers see trends that are making waves (playing the game rather than daring to be different), there’s bound to be a lot of ‘sameness’.

And as some bloggers, say, ‘fuck it’ and strip it back to why they started, there’s bound to be a shift.

That’s life.

In 2020, the blogging community will experience a huge and probably unpredictable shift, as it always does. Who wrote one of these posts last year and predicted getting rid of likes or the rapid decrease in organic reach? Not many.

But what I know for definite in 2020, is this.

Every single one of you has the power to take a platform where you post pictures, write words, chat to peers and make a tit of yourself and turn it into SOMETHING.

Whether that’s keeping abreast of all of the latest social media trends to ensure you’re growing a bigger following and earning more sponsorship dollar, saying ‘fuck it all’, OR through building a sustainable personal brand that can turn your hand and your community to a diverse range of projects and products – you’re making SOMETHING.

Whatever it is, I’m here for it. And I’m here for you.

 

Scroll through the archives of this blog and you’ll see reams upon reams of posts where I virtually self-flagellate in the name of sharing my life with you.

You’ll experience the depths of grief, the lows of heartbreak and the TMI-wow-what-did-I-just-read of the life of an ex-single gal drowning in depression.

Sharing so openly was absolute catharsis for me. Spilling my thoughts, feelings and fuck-ups really helped me close my laptop lid and get on with the day I had to live.

But at what point does sharing the struggs become a constant Debbie-Downer that’s hard to swallow when you, as a reader, are having a good day? You’ve drank 2 litres of water, had a successful bowel movement, that person has text you back and your favourite TV series is back for another season and then BAM, here’s Vix describing how hard it was to get out of bed today.

blogging membership
Photo by Alex Jones Photography

And how many struggles need to be shared or in contrast, could we just curate our platforms to be our highlight reels? It’s something I’ve been wondering about how best to balance for a while…

Sharing the lows of my life as well as the highs is a total balancing act when I feel everything so deeply and then share everything so openly.

Worrying about whether I was over-sharing, led me to share less. I wrote less about my mental health journey. I grieved in private. I vented frustrations to my therapist instead of the WordPress page-builder.

But there’s a consequence there too.

Because platforms become a place where only the positive is displayed. And the consequence there is that anyone who follows you or reads what you write, believes that your actual life is 100% positive. Which is absurd, because whose is? But that’s what you display.

Of course, your platforms are your prerogative and if I want to spend the next 18 months cycling between posting Co-Op hauls, Sundays at the pub, business wins, what I’m reading and wedding updates every 7th of a month in the name of an anniversary – I absolutely can.

BUT I need to be aware of what that message puts out to others.

That’s just being sensitive to others. That’s the importance of sharing the struggle.

However, there is a scale. Do I need to share every time I cry on day 28th of my cycle? Do you need to know that I miss my Mum? Or a relative has pissed me off in a family drama and is cut-out from my life? No.

Do you need to see that life isn’t always rosy? That there are times that I worry about things that EVERYONE worries about? That sometimes I try things and they don’t work out? I believe, yes.

I believe that in a time where we all follow hundreds of people who are documenting every minutiae of their lives on social media, that those people have, to an extent, a responsibility to disclaim that their lives aren’t exactly what they display online.

Do they have to show tears? Declining bank balances? Shitty texts from their other halves? No. But if they choose not to share the occasional strug, then I believe they have a responsibility to regularly inform their readers and followers that not everything they’re seeing is 100% representative of their whole lives.

I know some people will believe it’s not our responsibility to have to reiterate this regularly. That followers and readers should just magically know that social media doesn’t mirror real life, all of the time.

However, even as a social-media-savvy person (that I think I am), I often can’t help getting sucked in and comparing my struggles with their polished presentation of lives.

It’s such a fine line isn’t it? How do you share your struggles healthily? How do you enforce boundaries to keep your life yours but without then displaying a faux-life that might make others feel awful?

I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I will continue to share what I’m going through IF I’m able to, if I’m comfortable with doing so and if I think it will help others because they’ll have the same struggle too.

Do you share your struggles online?

 

Scroll through the archives of this blog and you’ll see reams upon reams of posts where I virtually self-flagellate in the name of sharing my life with you.

You’ll experience the depths of grief, the lows of heartbreak and the TMI-wow-what-did-I-just-read of the life of an ex-single gal drowning in depression.

Sharing so openly was absolute catharsis for me. Spilling my thoughts, feelings and fuck-ups really helped me close my laptop lid and get on with the day I had to live.

But at what point does sharing the struggs become a constant Debbie-Downer that’s hard to swallow when you, as a reader, are having a good day? You’ve drank 2 litres of water, had a successful bowel movement, that person has text you back and your favourite TV series is back for another season and then BAM, here’s Vix describing how hard it was to get out of bed today.

blogging membership
Photo by Alex Jones Photography

And how many struggles need to be shared or in contrast, could we just curate our platforms to be our highlight reels? It’s something I’ve been wondering about how best to balance for a while…

Sharing the lows of my life as well as the highs is a total balancing act when I feel everything so deeply and then share everything so openly.

Worrying about whether I was over-sharing, led me to share less. I wrote less about my mental health journey. I grieved in private. I vented frustrations to my therapist instead of the WordPress page-builder.

But there’s a consequence there too.

Because platforms become a place where only the positive is displayed. And the consequence there is that anyone who follows you or reads what you write, believes that your actual life is 100% positive. Which is absurd, because whose is? But that’s what you display.

Of course, your platforms are your prerogative and if I want to spend the next 18 months cycling between posting Co-Op hauls, Sundays at the pub, business wins, what I’m reading and wedding updates every 7th of a month in the name of an anniversary – I absolutely can.

BUT I need to be aware of what that message puts out to others.

That’s just being sensitive to others. That’s the importance of sharing the struggle.

However, there is a scale. Do I need to share every time I cry on day 28th of my cycle? Do you need to know that I miss my Mum? Or a relative has pissed me off in a family drama and is cut-out from my life? No.

Do you need to see that life isn’t always rosy? That there are times that I worry about things that EVERYONE worries about? That sometimes I try things and they don’t work out? I believe, yes.

I believe that in a time where we all follow hundreds of people who are documenting every minutiae of their lives on social media, that those people have, to an extent, a responsibility to disclaim that their lives aren’t exactly what they display online.

Do they have to show tears? Declining bank balances? Shitty texts from their other halves? No. But if they choose not to share the occasional strug, then I believe they have a responsibility to regularly inform their readers and followers that not everything they’re seeing is 100% representative of their whole lives.

I know some people will believe it’s not our responsibility to have to reiterate this regularly. That followers and readers should just magically know that social media doesn’t mirror real life, all of the time.

However, even as a social-media-savvy person (that I think I am), I often can’t help getting sucked in and comparing my struggles with their polished presentation of lives.

It’s such a fine line isn’t it? How do you share your struggles healthily? How do you enforce boundaries to keep your life yours but without then displaying a faux-life that might make others feel awful?

I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I will continue to share what I’m going through IF I’m able to, if I’m comfortable with doing so and if I think it will help others because they’ll have the same struggle too.

Do you share your struggles online?

 
fast fashion

I’ve never been ‘fashionable’. I wore a pin stripe waistcoat and trousers to my prom. I don’t consider myself a ‘fashion blogger’ and my monthly affiliate income reports reinforce that only a very small amount of people reeeaaallly give a shit about what I’m wearing. But that is a small amount of people that wouldn’t have been ‘influenced’ to indulge in fast fashion, if I didn’t have my online platforms.

You may be a ‘micro-influencer’ like me. We’re never going to be ‘regrammed’ by Vogue, or shot with a DSLR outside of Somerset House. But we might, on the odd occasion pose in our latest garments and Insta Story our newest ‘high-street picks’ that might just influence another person to add one of the items we’re promoting to their online shopping baskets.

That means we are part of the problem.

fast fashion
I say ‘we’ because none of this is meant hypocritically at all, this is as much about me learning to change my habits as it is about other influencers reflecting on their’s too.

We shrug our shoulders and pass the responsibility on to ‘real fashion bloggers’, YouTubers, reality TV stars, celebrities, the head honchos at the high-street fashion brands – that’s easy to do.

For some of us, affiliate bounce-backs and collaborations with fast-fashion led brands are our sole sources of income. So it’s in our interest to throw our hands up and say, ‘I’m not THAT influential,’ or, ‘I’m a very very small cog in all of this,’ or, ‘Everyone else is doing it,’ but at what point do we stop?

Fast fashion, over consumerism and the acceleration into this, ‘buy, buy, buy’ capitalist economy IS ruining the planet and it IS ruining the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

At what point do we quit the Primark Hauls? When a factory, making cheap garments for the brands we constantly shop, collapses and kills over 1,000 people because profit would’ve been minimalised if the working conditions were made fit for purpose?

At what point do we stop sharing 100 links to the newest items in ASOS, Topshop and New Look? When the fashion industry becomes the biggest producer of carbon emissions, instead of *just* a quarter of it?

At what point do we stop telling everyone that THAT cotton leopard print dress is a must-have? When you realise that producing 1kg of cotton in India consumes 22,500 litres of water? And I’m sure you know just how quickly the world’s water supply is depleting.

It’s hard to see whether ‘haul culture’ has led to the rise in the consumption of fast fashion or whether it’s the other way around.

With a study that shows over a quarter of 16-24 year olds would not wear an item of clothing more than once, it could be argued that for some influencers, their core audience are demanding more hauls, newer outfits and exposure to new styles.

OR are those same audiences just being convinced that they can’t wear an item more than once because their favourite influencer would never?

The fast-fashion industry and its problems is a complex and oft-political issue. One that most of us would much rather bury our heads in the sand over. 

When austerity, climate change, world politics and Drake’s stupid little beard are being shoved down our throats, causing us distress, is it any wonder we turn to social media, Instagram especially, to escape? To see people living their ‘best lives’? To then emulate living our best lives?

But change HAS to happen. Watching Stacey Dooley’s documentary and The True Cost on Netflix, it becomes glaringly apparent that something has to give. As Doomsday Preppers as this sounds – time IS running out to make a difference.

And of course, we could bury our heads and blame others, or continue to promote high-consumerism. It would mean for some of us, that our bills are paid, our Instagrams are always looking fresh and our followings continue to rise – because nothing screams success than someone who appears to have a lot of STUFF.

Or we could change.

And I don’t mean suddenly becoming Eyal from Love Island and fucking off to a Shepherd’s Hut, wearing a potato sack and using only products made from oats.

No, I’m not on my high-horse here. I’ve done the Primark Hauls, the Insta Story swipe up links, the photos posed entirely in clothes made of synthetic fibres that I’ve only JUST learned give off micro-fibres when washed, that pollute our oceans.

Colour me cancelled. Because I’m not here to ‘cancel’ anyone for doing what I’ve been doing constantly up until I finished those documentaries, read a billion articles and blog posts, about 6 and a half hours ago. 

But we can make changes that not only protect our online spaces (wallets) but that also influence a change in other’s consumption habits for the better.

As influencers, I always think there’s one clear message we should keep in mind and that’s, ‘what is our legacy?’. When this online sphere evolves into its next stage, what do we want to say we contributed?

Yes, styling clothes, unnecessarily triple-cleaning our houses with toxic chemicals or filming hauls may provide people with an ‘innocent’ way to escape and unwind but if we’re, in ANY way, contributing to the degradation of our planet, or the degradation of the lives of those who make our clothes and products – like the farmers dying of brain tumours, or the children of those farmers born with severe disabilities due to exposure to pesticides, then that will be our legacy.

It’s unrealistic to expect every single influencer or person on this planet to stop making the content they enjoy making or that they rely on for their monthly wage but there ARE steps we can all take.

It’s unrealistic to expect each person to stop shopping fast-fashion because for some it’s the only way they are able to clothe themselves. 

But for those of us that have the privilege of choice and the privilege of a platform, here are some things we can do.

Moderate How Many Links We Share For Things We Don’t Own Ourselves

We don’t need to see daily lists of 50 things that could be bought for under £50. Especially when a big part of the problem is the illusion of the, ‘must-have’ and how the fashion industry has evolved from seasonal drops to tri-weekly ‘new-ins’.

Sure, there may be something you think everyone will love, that’s super accessible and will work well in their wardrobes but why not link to things you already have, wear and love? Things that you can prove last?

Style ‘Old’ Items

Use your platform to show that good quality pieces can last. Sure you may want to show new items – but why not show how those new items can be worn with your old faithfuls? This is something Instagram fashion extraordinaire Erica Davies has set out to do.

Say No

To the unnecessarily excessive ‘blogger mail’ packages that you’re not *that* bothered about. To the collaborations with companies who are not transparent about their supply chains. 

I know that’s easier said than done if your entire influencer income comes from these companies – biting the hand that feeds springs to mind.

Promote Ethical Brands

But mindfully. It makes people feel like shit when others get on their high horse and tell them to spend £100 on a jumper that will last when they’ve only got £100 to last til payday BUT there are actually quite a few high street brands that are changing their policies and becoming more transparent over how sustainable their products are. You just need to know where to look.

Educate Yourselves

Because then you can educate your followers too. Watch the documentaries. Read the blogs, articles and books.

Swap!

Lots of bloggers have set up clothes swaps before where you can rock up with a bag of unwanted items and swap them with bloggers who may have some items you’ve fancied. 

If you don’t know of any nearby – set one up, even if it’s between friends and family.

I am going to try and organise something like this soon and I’ll let you know when I’ve managed to sort it.

‘NoShopVember’

This is most definitely already a thing, but I am not going to buy any new clothes for the rest of the year. Yep. I’ve deleted the apps off my phone and to be honest, I can’t really afford it any way.

Any photos I post on Instagram of myself will NOT be in new clothes, they’ll be of me wearing ‘old’ pieces over and over again and I’ll be using the hashtag to show that we don’t HAVE to always have the newest clothes just for the likes – hopefully you’ll join in too!

Just Take Some Time And Have A Think

Change doesn’t happen over night. If blogging is your business and you need affiliate income and high-street fashion collaborations to pay your rent, it’s absolutely impossible for you to fuck it all off straight away.

I know I can’t afford to! But I’m going to fulfil my contractual obligations and then I’m going to take some time to think.

We could all take some time out from chasing certain brands. Some time to re-strategise. Some time to research brands we could try to align with instead.

But more importantly, take that time to reflect on what you’re using your platforms for and who and what you are influencing.

Is it excessive consumption? Is it the pursuit of fast fashion? Is it the feeling of being a ‘must-have’ influencer? Or is it to be the change you want to see in the world?

Here are a few things you can watch, read and share to help you make these changes…

World Water Day report on cotton production in India

The Fashion Revolution website is a great resource that publishes a yearly ‘transparency report’ which rates the world’s biggest fashion brands supply chains – more importantly, how transparent they are about how their clothes and materials are made and supplied.

‘You Will Never Be On Trend,’ My friend Laura’s blog post which inspired me to look into things further.

Tolly Dolly Posh is a great blog I discovered today with reams of information and practical ideas.

Stacey Dooley Investigates Fast Fashion

The True Cost on Netflix

The World’s Water Crisis (Explained series Netflix)

My post on attempting to curate a capsule wardrobe and shop less.

I’m a total newbie to all of this, having preferred to bury my head in the sand before (hey don’t judge me, I’m not judging any of you!) so please send any further reads, tips or resources my way.

 
fast fashion

I’ve never been ‘fashionable’. I wore a pin stripe waistcoat and trousers to my prom. I don’t consider myself a ‘fashion blogger’ and my monthly affiliate income reports reinforce that only a very small amount of people reeeaaallly give a shit about what I’m wearing. But that is a small amount of people that wouldn’t have been ‘influenced’ to indulge in fast fashion, if I didn’t have my online platforms.

You may be a ‘micro-influencer’ like me. We’re never going to be ‘regrammed’ by Vogue, or shot with a DSLR outside of Somerset House. But we might, on the odd occasion pose in our latest garments and Insta Story our newest ‘high-street picks’ that might just influence another person to add one of the items we’re promoting to their online shopping baskets.

That means we are part of the problem.

fast fashion
I say ‘we’ because none of this is meant hypocritically at all, this is as much about me learning to change my habits as it is about other influencers reflecting on their’s too.

We shrug our shoulders and pass the responsibility on to ‘real fashion bloggers’, YouTubers, reality TV stars, celebrities, the head honchos at the high-street fashion brands – that’s easy to do.

For some of us, affiliate bounce-backs and collaborations with fast-fashion led brands are our sole sources of income. So it’s in our interest to throw our hands up and say, ‘I’m not THAT influential,’ or, ‘I’m a very very small cog in all of this,’ or, ‘Everyone else is doing it,’ but at what point do we stop?

Fast fashion, over consumerism and the acceleration into this, ‘buy, buy, buy’ capitalist economy IS ruining the planet and it IS ruining the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

At what point do we quit the Primark Hauls? When a factory, making cheap garments for the brands we constantly shop, collapses and kills over 1,000 people because profit would’ve been minimalised if the working conditions were made fit for purpose?

At what point do we stop sharing 100 links to the newest items in ASOS, Topshop and New Look? When the fashion industry becomes the biggest producer of carbon emissions, instead of *just* a quarter of it?

At what point do we stop telling everyone that THAT cotton leopard print dress is a must-have? When you realise that producing 1kg of cotton in India consumes 22,500 litres of water? And I’m sure you know just how quickly the world’s water supply is depleting.

It’s hard to see whether ‘haul culture’ has led to the rise in the consumption of fast fashion or whether it’s the other way around.

With a study that shows over a quarter of 16-24 year olds would not wear an item of clothing more than once, it could be argued that for some influencers, their core audience are demanding more hauls, newer outfits and exposure to new styles.

OR are those same audiences just being convinced that they can’t wear an item more than once because their favourite influencer would never?

The fast-fashion industry and its problems is a complex and oft-political issue. One that most of us would much rather bury our heads in the sand over. 

When austerity, climate change, world politics and Drake’s stupid little beard are being shoved down our throats, causing us distress, is it any wonder we turn to social media, Instagram especially, to escape? To see people living their ‘best lives’? To then emulate living our best lives?

But change HAS to happen. Watching Stacey Dooley’s documentary and The True Cost on Netflix, it becomes glaringly apparent that something has to give. As Doomsday Preppers as this sounds – time IS running out to make a difference.

And of course, we could bury our heads and blame others, or continue to promote high-consumerism. It would mean for some of us, that our bills are paid, our Instagrams are always looking fresh and our followings continue to rise – because nothing screams success than someone who appears to have a lot of STUFF.

Or we could change.

And I don’t mean suddenly becoming Eyal from Love Island and fucking off to a Shepherd’s Hut, wearing a potato sack and using only products made from oats.

No, I’m not on my high-horse here. I’ve done the Primark Hauls, the Insta Story swipe up links, the photos posed entirely in clothes made of synthetic fibres that I’ve only JUST learned give off micro-fibres when washed, that pollute our oceans.

Colour me cancelled. Because I’m not here to ‘cancel’ anyone for doing what I’ve been doing constantly up until I finished those documentaries, read a billion articles and blog posts, about 6 and a half hours ago. 

But we can make changes that not only protect our online spaces (wallets) but that also influence a change in other’s consumption habits for the better.

As influencers, I always think there’s one clear message we should keep in mind and that’s, ‘what is our legacy?’. When this online sphere evolves into its next stage, what do we want to say we contributed?

Yes, styling clothes, unnecessarily triple-cleaning our houses with toxic chemicals or filming hauls may provide people with an ‘innocent’ way to escape and unwind but if we’re, in ANY way, contributing to the degradation of our planet, or the degradation of the lives of those who make our clothes and products – like the farmers dying of brain tumours, or the children of those farmers born with severe disabilities due to exposure to pesticides, then that will be our legacy.

It’s unrealistic to expect every single influencer or person on this planet to stop making the content they enjoy making or that they rely on for their monthly wage but there ARE steps we can all take.

It’s unrealistic to expect each person to stop shopping fast-fashion because for some it’s the only way they are able to clothe themselves. 

But for those of us that have the privilege of choice and the privilege of a platform, here are some things we can do.

Moderate How Many Links We Share For Things We Don’t Own Ourselves

We don’t need to see daily lists of 50 things that could be bought for under £50. Especially when a big part of the problem is the illusion of the, ‘must-have’ and how the fashion industry has evolved from seasonal drops to tri-weekly ‘new-ins’.

Sure, there may be something you think everyone will love, that’s super accessible and will work well in their wardrobes but why not link to things you already have, wear and love? Things that you can prove last?

Style ‘Old’ Items

Use your platform to show that good quality pieces can last. Sure you may want to show new items – but why not show how those new items can be worn with your old faithfuls? This is something Instagram fashion extraordinaire Erica Davies has set out to do.

Say No

To the unnecessarily excessive ‘blogger mail’ packages that you’re not *that* bothered about. To the collaborations with companies who are not transparent about their supply chains. 

I know that’s easier said than done if your entire influencer income comes from these companies – biting the hand that feeds springs to mind.

Promote Ethical Brands

But mindfully. It makes people feel like shit when others get on their high horse and tell them to spend £100 on a jumper that will last when they’ve only got £100 to last til payday BUT there are actually quite a few high street brands that are changing their policies and becoming more transparent over how sustainable their products are. You just need to know where to look.

Educate Yourselves

Because then you can educate your followers too. Watch the documentaries. Read the blogs, articles and books.

Swap!

Lots of bloggers have set up clothes swaps before where you can rock up with a bag of unwanted items and swap them with bloggers who may have some items you’ve fancied. 

If you don’t know of any nearby – set one up, even if it’s between friends and family.

I am going to try and organise something like this soon and I’ll let you know when I’ve managed to sort it.

‘NoShopVember’

This is most definitely already a thing, but I am not going to buy any new clothes for the rest of the year. Yep. I’ve deleted the apps off my phone and to be honest, I can’t really afford it any way.

Any photos I post on Instagram of myself will NOT be in new clothes, they’ll be of me wearing ‘old’ pieces over and over again and I’ll be using the hashtag to show that we don’t HAVE to always have the newest clothes just for the likes – hopefully you’ll join in too!

Just Take Some Time And Have A Think

Change doesn’t happen over night. If blogging is your business and you need affiliate income and high-street fashion collaborations to pay your rent, it’s absolutely impossible for you to fuck it all off straight away.

I know I can’t afford to! But I’m going to fulfil my contractual obligations and then I’m going to take some time to think.

We could all take some time out from chasing certain brands. Some time to re-strategise. Some time to research brands we could try to align with instead.

But more importantly, take that time to reflect on what you’re using your platforms for and who and what you are influencing.

Is it excessive consumption? Is it the pursuit of fast fashion? Is it the feeling of being a ‘must-have’ influencer? Or is it to be the change you want to see in the world?

Here are a few things you can watch, read and share to help you make these changes…

World Water Day report on cotton production in India

The Fashion Revolution website is a great resource that publishes a yearly ‘transparency report’ which rates the world’s biggest fashion brands supply chains – more importantly, how transparent they are about how their clothes and materials are made and supplied.

‘You Will Never Be On Trend,’ My friend Laura’s blog post which inspired me to look into things further.

Tolly Dolly Posh is a great blog I discovered today with reams of information and practical ideas.

Stacey Dooley Investigates Fast Fashion

The True Cost on Netflix

The World’s Water Crisis (Explained series Netflix)

My post on attempting to curate a capsule wardrobe and shop less.

I’m a total newbie to all of this, having preferred to bury my head in the sand before (hey don’t judge me, I’m not judging any of you!) so please send any further reads, tips or resources my way.