Hello! I hope you’ve had a brilliant bank holiday weekend. I’m back today with a very unexpected blog post and I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one. The reason I start every single YouTube video with exactly the same sentence is so I don’t spend ages figuring out what to say (which definitely helps, although often instead I’ll spend ages faffing with my background or realise I’ve forgotten to charge my battery, so I reach for the spare one only to find I have forgotten to charge that one as well, and by then my coffee has gone cold so I decide to make another one and then it’s time for bed…) You get the idea. Let’s rewind.
A few weeks ago I was on a weekend break and I woke up to a twitter notification announcing the short lists for the Blogosphere Awards. When I clicked onto it and saw I’d been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year 2019. I could not believe my eyes. I was speechless. Several weeks later I’m still pinching myself. I’ve been nominated along side four very talented and amazing bloggers: Steph, from Nerd About Town, Zoe London, Vix Meldrew, and Shloka from The Silk Sneaker. You should definitely invest some time checking out their content if you don’t already know them.
It was the day after April fools day, and the previous morning I’d played a little prank on my friends by putting a letter under their hotel room door on the hotel’s headed paper saying that they were being asked to vacate the hotel due to complaints from guests regarding them playing George Ezra too loud in the early hours of the morning. Which they fell for! Honestly I thought signing off with ‘Au Revior’ might have given it away but it turns out they skim read it and focused on the evacuate part! Opps… I’m a bad friend. So when I saw this tweet my first thought was they were getting even with me and it was another practical joke. I had to click through the tweet several times before I could believe it was real.
I spent the rest of the morning in a happy daze, the sort where you can’t really concentrate on anything because you keep feeling excited. Also my good pal Luke was nominated for Instagrammer of the year, which was the icing on the cake. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.
Now I want to touch a subject that’s been weighing on my mind recently and I feel like I want to get it off my chest without this turning into a negative post. I just want to share these thoughts in the hope that they will help some other bloggers / creatives who might be reading this and also tell you why this nomination means so much to me.
Something I’ve been talking about recently on twitter and Instagram is I’ve noticed a few bloggers who’s content I’ve loved reading completely vanish in the past few months. Their blogs are no more and they don’t seem to be on social media any more. Only a year or so ago, twitter would be full of bloggers having banter, whether is debating dinner choices or discussing a new fragrance, the community was there, and it was a really welcoming and supportive one. I honestly think if I hadn’t found some of these guys online and had their support I would have given up a long time ago.
I’ve seen a handful of bloggers (mostly male – I realise this may be a coincidence or other blogging genres may be exactly the same but these are the ones I’ve noticed) hint that they’ve lost all faith in the blogging world because of opportunities going to the people who have a large following on Instagram, which a quick check on social blade informs us they have gained by using ‘bots’. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, have you ever had someone follow you, like a few pictures, write a generic comment only to unfollow you a few days after you’ve followed them back? Well in most cases it’s because the person has paid for a service to do that, so any engagement they’ve had with you has been fake and essentially they’ve tricked you into following them. And after speaking about this on my Instagram stories I received a few DM’s confirming that this is the reason why some people have given up and others are considering it.
I also had a friend recently say to me that they ‘don’t follow any male bloggers because they all have fake followings’.
Now personally I don’t use the title ‘male blogger’ any more because most of my content is suitable for everyone (providing you like bargain stores, random hauls, travel, gin and most importantly can put up with me) and I don’t want to limit anyone taking the time to look at my content to any particular niche. But when I was starting out this was the category I guess I felt I fell in to more so for my love of fashion and these were the people I was most likely to compare myself to.
If I think back to when I was starting out, I would look at other guys Instagram accounts and see classic photographs of them outside the white Georgian houses of Kensington sponsored by high street brands and feel pretty intimidated by how fast their following was growing. I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t help but compare myself and question what I was doing wrong. Within months people who had started out at a similar time to me had passed 10k followers (which on Instagram gives you the ability to add ‘swipe up’ links to your stories, a hugely beneficial tool to promote your own content, share things you love and be more appealing for brands to want to work with you.
I did feel pretty disheartened by this at the time and felt like there wasn’t really a place for me. I’d been followed only to be unfollowed by people I thought might actually be interested in my content and it felt awful. I want to acknowledge that because I know it’s how a lot of people are currently feeling.
As I say I don’t want this to become a negative post, but I just felt like I had to mention it as it makes me appreciate this nomination so much more knowing how hard I’ve worked for every single one of my YouTube subscribers, Instagram followers, or blog readers and I hope it shows anyone reading this that you don’t have to have the large following, a new outfit every day, or anything else that you think could be limiting you in order to achieve something.
I also think it’s always a good idea to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come every once in a while. I guarantee if you take the time to look back you’ll be amazed at some of the things you’ve achieved. This time last year, 20k subscribers on Youtube or a Blogosphere Nomination are things I could only dream of and I feel incredibly lucky that somehow people have stumbled across my content and stuck around regardless of my inability to call Poundland by it’s actual name or my sweat issues (anyone remember the mattress review during the London heatwave where an anti sweat pad had managed to slip down my arm just in time for the thumbnail? Thinking back perhaps the sticky side was meant to stick to my t-shirt and not my armpit).
If you put all of your energy into creating the content you enjoy, and stop worrying about what other people are doing or numbers I promise you will feel a whole lot better and people will start to notice you. Personally I am really missing some of the raw, real and genuine blogs I used to read, and in an age where we as men are encouraged to be more open and ‘talk’ more I hope they make a return, and I’d encourage anyone thinking of throwing in the towel to persevere.
To end this post I want to say a massive thank you to anyone who took the time to nominate me. If you would like to vote for me for Blogger of the Year 2019 here is the link. It means the world. And of course to wish everyone nominated this year the best of luck at the awards. I’ve heard there is going to be a gin bar so we are in for a good night!
Photography: Mooie Fee