Blogging

Blogging With Authenticity: 7 Ways to Keep It Real As a Blogger

When you’re just starting out as a blogger, there’s a lot of pressure to attract people to your blog, let alone read your content, leave thoughtful comments, and continually come back time and time again. Since the blogging industry has become very saturated and hella competitive, many bloggers feel that they need to resort to extreme (and fake) measures to stand out. Whether it’s buying followers, portraying the “perfect” life on social media, taking on questionable sponsorships, or posting content only to appease others, we as bloggers face these challenges every day. For me, it’s incredibly important to be as real and authentic on my blog and social media platforms, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I blog with intention and purpose, which helps me stay focused on what’s right and what’s not right for my blog. In this post I’m sharing 7 tips to #keepitreal and stay authentic as a blogger.

Blogging With Authenticity

 

1. Embrace your uniqueness

Don’t try to be someone you’re not!! We’re all different in our own little ways, which we need to learn to embrace, not hide. Everyone is different and although there are hundreds of thousands of other people that may be writing about the same topic as you, no one can ever share YOUR story and give the same advice YOU have to offer. Your voice is unique!

I’ve personally struggled with embracing what makes me different for many years, desperately trying to blend in with other bloggers, thinking that was the only way I was ever going to stand out. But how can you stand out when you’re trying to blend in?

Look at it from a personal branding standpoint: What makes you different? What are your strengths? These traits are what will set you apart from the rest of the pack.

2. Blog with purpose

Understanding your motivations for why you blog will not only clarify your message to the world, it will make this whole blogging thing a heck of a lot easier. I went over 4 years without any kind of purpose or message behind my blog, besides sharing my outfits and thoughts with the world. How vague. I ended up reaching a point where I felt completely lost and insecure about In Search of Sheila and where it was heading. Then I spent some time figuring out my values as a person, which helped me define my purpose for blogging. Now I know exactly what kind of content to write and who I’m writing it for. As long as it fulfills my mission statement, I don’t question whether it “fits” my blog or not.

3. Stay humble + build relationships

Don’t think or act like you’re cooler than your readers or other bloggers. Engage with them! Respond to comments on your blog and social media accounts and check out THEIR stuff too! We’re all in this together and just because you’ve been doing it longer or think your content is “better,” doesn’t give you the right to be an online snob. Trust me, we can catch vibes about bloggers and influencers who seem closed off and “too good” for their followers.  You will actually maximize your reach and grow your blog quicker if you take the time to build relationships with the people who are genuinely interested in your content.

4. Choose to grow your blog organically

At the beginning of this post I listed some extreme measures that bloggers can take when trying to grow their blogs, such as buying Instagram followers. Did you know you can buy likes and comments too? WILD! Crazy to think that there are bloggers out there whose entire following was bought. ::Shakes head:: I’ve never bought followers and I tried a comment pod a while ago and was instantly turned off by them. And to be completely honest with you, I recently tried to join a few because I thought that was the solution to why my Instagram wasn’t growing. Thankfully, I found a better way.

Now, I’m not going to tell you what are the right and wrong ways to grow your blog and social accounts (in this post anyway), but I will offer this bit of advice: at the end of the day it’s not about the numbers. A blogger’s worth is not dependent on how many followers or comments they have. Believe me, I used to get so frustrated that my Instagram wasn’t growing. Now I wish I had LESS followers, because only a select few engage with my posts. I cherish cultivating genuine relationships with my readers, rather than boosting my stats.

5. Be mindful when working with brands

Sponsored content is wonderful and I am all for it. I mean, blogging IS a business if you want it to be and we SHOULD get paid to write and provide our honest reviews. Keyword: honest. When deciding whether a sponsored opportunity is right for you, carefully decide if it fits in with your blog focus, mission statement, your readers, and most importantly: you. 99% of the time your readers will be able to tell if you are genuinely reviewing a product, or if it was totally forced. (Hint: you want the former.)

One way I decide whether or not a sponsorship or collaboration is right for me and my blog is how I initially feel about it. If it’s instantly a HECK YES! then I’m all in. If I’m feeling unsure or questioning it in anyway, it probably isn’t a good idea. My gut is always right.

6. Disclose

Disclosing properly not only means that you’re open and honest with your readers, but that you’re also keeping yourself safe from legal trouble. A disclosure is your blog’s “fine print.” It explains to your readers all the necessary and relevant information regarding products and services that you have not purchased with your own money. This applies to free products/services received in exchange for a blog post or Instagram review and/or mention; collaborations; affiliate links; and sponsored posts. You should also have disclosure and privacy policies on your blog that are clearly visible to your readers. (I have both under my ABOUT menu in my navigation bar.) Be transparent with your readers! And save your a** from the FTC.

7. Get a little personal

Ever wonder why influencers are becoming more and more valuable from a marketing stand point? Because we’re real people. We have real thoughts, feelings, and opinions. As readers, we love when our favorite bloggers get a little raw by exposing a snippet of their life with us. It shows us that you’re vulnerable, which means you’re relatable. And we like that.

A simple way to start getting a little more personal is on your social media platforms. I love sharing random thoughts and struggles on Twitter and I use my Instagram as an extension of my life where I can do more than just promote my blog posts. If you follow me on there you know I LOVE a beautifully curated theme, but I balance that out with my captions, that always come straight from my heart. A follower recently left me a a comment telling me I’m her favorite Instagram account because I care about my readers. Um guys!!! This is what I’m talking about. I truly do care about you and you can DM me any time with questions or just to get something off your chest.

Give your readers a behind the scenes all access pass to your life (okay, maybe not ALL ACCESS, but you know what I mean.) Remember that you don’t have to be “perfect,” especially on Instagram. If you’re struggling with ways to show a little more of yourself, reach out to me in the comments or shoot me an email.

What are some ways you like the keep it real on your blog and social media accounts? Comment your tips below and lets chat! And if this posted resonated with you, please share the image below on Pinterest to help others!

 

Related Posts

Why I Blog: My Purpose and Mission Statement
7 Things I’m Doing To Grow My Blog
11 Sure-Fire Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
Why Bloggers Should Create Community Not Competition

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  • Sepideh

    I’m still working on figuring my values and how I can align them with the purpose of my blog and I think that’s such an important part of it all – WHY are you blogging. Because that makes you more authentic and engaged with your own content.
    I try to be real and honest with myself. Even though I have targets of how many times I want to post on social media or my blog, I’m not going to push myself if I don’t feel inspired. I also try not to be fake and convey a positive message in my captions and social media without lying about it!
    http://www.elleisforlove.com

    • Sososo true! I know not many bloggers (or people in general) view identifying their values as an integral part of the process, but it’s the major thing that truly helped me. Now if I ever feel unsure about what content to work on or how to prioritize my goals and tasks, I double check with my list of core values.

      I used to be hard on myself about not posting a certain amount of times, but i was only really effecting ME and not everyone else. Since cutting back from posting 3x a week to 1x I have more time to promote my posts, work on my newsletter, and make time for self-care.

  • Loved this post and I agree with everything you said – specially about the number of followers. It can be so frustrating to see that your account isn’t growing but it’s important to remember that genuine engagement is what really matters! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

    • Yes, Ariadna–engagement > followers! As long as I’m growing my engagement, I don’t get tripped up with losing/not gaining followers anymore 🙂

  • Getting personal is a struggle for me sometimes. I often feel like my life is too boring for anyone to care about “behind the scenes” stuff. There is only so much cartoons and sweat pants with my son people will handle haha
    Liner Lipstick Life

    • I felt the same way too! My life is pretty simple spent at either work or at home, lol! But I try to glorify my simple life on Twitter and Insta stories because it makes me more relatable to other people whose lives aren’t that “exciting” either!

    • Agreed lol. I work, go to workout, blog and and free time I hang with friends and use that time to stay away from the computer or social media. But there’s always something we can share or other take away from us! =) What struggles do you face as stay at home mom, what does your son love doing, does he hate certain foods?! I think that stuff is always interesting!

  • Yes to alllllll of this. I take my authenticity to the point where if I don’t feel like posting, I refuse to feel bad about it anymore. Since IG is my favorite platform, this year I committed to being as authentic as possible, meaning I dont stop myself from cussing in my stories, my captions go past generic quotes or emojis, and I try to interact with those who I think I can genuinely relate to and vice versa.

    • Soo true, Rubi! Why post if it’s not genuine?! Being more of myself on Instagram is something that took me a while to do, but I’m loving it! It’s good to know I can be myself online and have people still interested in my opinion and life lol

  • Sometimes is really hard to be ourselves. I would be writing something and then delete it because it sounded too silly. But that is part of my personality too… So some times I show that part of me and others… I try to be more serious hahaha. Great post!

    xx, Melissa
    https://elephantontheroad.com

    • Haha, I agree! I’m trying to infuse my in real life voice into my blog writing and it’s definitely more fun for me and allows me to connect with my readers!

  • Mitzi Perez

    In the two and a half years I’ve been blogging I have had to take a couple of breaks simply to remind myself as to why I started blogging in the first place. I’ve come across so so many amazing blogging friends who have been so sweet and always willing to help if I had a question. I’ve also come across a few who have their nose in the air and have been extrememtly rude to myself and to others. There’s just no need for it at all. As you said, there are millions of bloggers out there. I’ve preferred to stay real and genuine. I’ve only had one sponsored post so far and it was about giving back to the community and it was a hit. Since then I’ve just weeded through opportunities to see which are the best fit for me. IG is my biggest following and I’d rather have 600 genuine followers than 20k+ who you’ll never interact with and/or are fake. People can see right through it and it gives others a bad name. IG has definitely hurt my growth in the last few months but I can’t let it get to me. I share a little about myself in every post so my readers can get to know me better. I had a friend of 20+ years turn our friendship into a competition when she started blogging after I helped her get started and all. Don’t need the negativity and it almost made me quit blogging but I didn’t. Sadly that friendship ended because that just wasn’t healthy at all. I’ve moved on, rebranded and things are good.

    • Loving all this, Mitzi! It’s really important to position yourself in a positive place in the blogging community, otherwise it’s very easy to get wrapped up in drama and negativity (for no reason!)

      Also, I can’t believe your friend did that to you! Why ruin such a long friendship over competition??? In the end, you’ll always come out on top because you offered your help and stayed genuine.

  • Great tips! I definitely agree with #4. Amazing and helpful post as always. I learned a lot! 🙂

    • So glad to hear this Jennifer! Organic growth is the best strategy 🙂

  • Krista Aoki

    I love it when bloggers get a little personal! It’s how I feel super super connected with them, would want to have a coffee with them, and get excited about their work!

    • YES, totally! I love building relationships with bloggers.

  • Sammy Allan

    Such a good post! Particularly loved the part about choosing to grow your blog organically. That is what I want to do and am doing but its so easy to get disheartened when you see other bloggers stating amazing follower stats. Still as you said its far more important to have like 3 engaged followers than 300 who never interact with you!

    • Hi Sammy, thanks for reading! I agree that organic growth is the best way to remain true you and your blog. And it’s a great way to develop strong relationships with some awesome people!

  • Love how you have transitioned your blog and Instagram. It’s super cohesive now and I understand more of your brand now!!! Your also a great write and always give great tips! Yes, agree with personal. Sometimes I feel what I want to talk about is not that important or hard compared to a mom or a newly married wife but I know that’s not true and we all have different things we struggle with.

    • Aww, thank you for the feedback and helping me when I was mapping everything out, Katie! And yes, life is full of soo many struggles–there is always something everyone can relate to!

  • Jess Watters

    Another really good read, thanks Sheila 🙂
    I think being transparent and open is particularly important. I agree with what you said about it being legally beneficial and also helping readers connect. I also think it helps us as bloggers lower that feeling of inferiority – because we can be totally real about who we are..
    Thanks again 🙂
    Jess
    http://www.designedbyjess.com

    • Thanks Jess! I feel like a lot of bloggers put up an inferiority wall between themselves and their readers and it’s definitely something that turns me off. If I feel snubbed or not appreciated as a reader, I won’t feel connected with you…therefore I won’t want to read your content haha.

  • I love all of these tips great post.

  • Claire Zaleski

    Thank you for this post, Sheila! I recently started a blog, @ClaireIdelle-InFineFettle and I have fallen in love with this journey of trying to grow my blog but like you said… their can be a lot of pressure that comes along with starting out. Thank you for this reminder of being authentic with your blog and writing because that is definitely something I want even though the patience that comes along with it is difficult.

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