I hardly ever follow blogs.
Oh, I READ blogs, obviously: mostly by clicking links as they pop up on Twitter, or hitting up the Bloglovin’ ‘Explore’ page, and seeing what it has to show me today. (Which is normally exactly the same thing it had to show me yesterday, now I come to think of it. Why do I keep doing this?) I find a lot of cool stuff that way, but, real talk (Did I just say “real talk”? Who even am I?), it’s normally the kind of “cool” (Does anyone even SAY “cool” any more?) that makes me go, “Oh, cool!”… and then move on.
What I DON’T often find is the kind of cool stuff that makes me think, “Now that I’ve found this blog, I must never let it go: here, let me just carve its URL into this handy piece of rock, so I might remember it forever.” Or, alternatively, to follow it on Bloglovin’, which, despite its insistence on showing me the same “popular” blogs so often that I wouldn’t actually NEED to follow them, even if I wanted to, is still my preferred method of blog followin’.
What DOES make me want to follow a new blog I’ve just discovered, though? I’m glad you asked, because I just so happen to have written an entire post on that very subject. For those of you who like your advice concise, though, I’ve managed to sum it up in just three words: so the one thing that’s guaranteed to make me want to follow your blog
to the ends of the earth on Bloglovin’ is…
A great story
You’ll notice that I’m NOT saying “great writing” here. That’s not because I don’t think writing is important, obviously: far from it, in fact. If I click through to your blog, and it’s littered with spelling errors, or written entirely in lower case (Sorry: I know I’m going to offend someone by saying that, but it’s a pet peeve: if you write all in lower-case, I imagine you saying the words in a baby voice. Which is really off-putting, because can you imagine a baby writing a blog? Exactly.), I’ll never get to know what your story is, because I’ll have hit the “back” button long ago.
So, writing is important, but your story is different from your writing: your story is who you are, what you’ve learned, and I’ve obviously been watching too much American TV, because I’m also going to say “the journey you’re on”. Now let me just take a second to unclench my hands, because writing the word “journey” in that context makes me cringe a little, but it’s the best way I can describe it. I follow your blog, because I’m interested in your journey: it’s as simple as that.
It IS simple, too. Your journey doesn’t have to be an exciting one: you don’t have to be going through some major life event, or travelling to (literal or figurative) far-off lands. In fact, you might not even know where you’re headed yet, but that’s OK – as long as you let me follow along, and find out as we go. Obviously good writing plays into this, because a good writer can make even the smallest “journey” (Why can’t I seem to stop saying it now?!) captivating, but what I’m mostly trying to say here is that I rarely follow bloggers who don’t have a story – even a very ordinary one – to tell.
I rarely, for instance, follow blogs that are just filled with product reviews, because there’s no need to: I only read product reviews if I’m thinking of buying the product being reviewed, and I find the reviews through Google when I need them. I do, however, follow bloggers who mostly do product reviews, but who also tell me a little bit of their story in the process, because that way I feel like I’m getting product recommendations from someone I “know” – and who I’ll still want to hear from even if they stop writing reviews. No story? No follow. Or probably not, anyway……
It’s the same with fashion bloggers: for the most part, I tend not to follow the ones who ONLY post photos, without any text to accompany them: or – and I’m just going to say it – who only post a few lines of that always-upbeat fashion-blogger-speak that has an exclamation point at the end of every sentence, and always says something like, “Hello lovelies! I’m so excited to share these photos with you today! I’m obsessed with this dress! I’m so grateful for autumn! I’m #SOBLESSED!” Seriously, I feel like there must be some kind of “fashion blog” generator out there that allows you to type the words “dress” and “autumn”, select the level of over-excitement you want to convey (On a scale of 1- “autumn”, probably), and get a ready-made 3-line blog post. Yes, I’m aware of how bitchy that sounds. If I’m the only one who’s ever thought it, though, I will eat my hat. And I don’t even LIKE eating hats.
(I’m now thinking that if there ISN’T a fashion-blog generator already, someone should definitely make that happen. We could call it “Hello, lovelies!” BRB, just off to trademark that…)
Where was I? Oh yeah: I don’t normally follow those blogs, because they don’t give me any sense of the person writing them, or – wait for it – their journey. I mean, they’re basically just like catalogues, aren’t they? Beautiful ones, granted, but still just catalogues, and I might flip through a catalogue if one drops through the door, but I’m not sitting there waiting for it to arrive, or wondering how I can subscribe to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not turning my nose up at catalogues, or blogs-that-are-like-catalogues: I enjoy flicking through them as much as the next person. “Flicking through them” is all you can really do, though, isn’t it? You pick them up while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, or when you’re in the mood to maybe buy something, but no matter how great the photos are, or how many things you buy from them, you don’t really feel a “connection” to them: so I MIGHT follow bloggers who have amazing outfits, but no story to go with them, but I’ll probably unfollow them again a few weeks later, when I realise I’m not actually opening their posts.
Of course, that’s just me: everyone gets different things from blogs, and I know the “no text” style is one that works really well for some people. Not every blogger wants to share their lives with the internet, after all, and not every reader wants to hear about it: some readers DO just want to look at the photos, and that’s as valid a reason to follow a blog as any other. As for me, though, I need a little bit more than that: I want to know your story, and if you’re willing to share even a little bit of it, I’ll be willing to overlook almost everything else.