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The other day I was scrolling back through old blog posts only to realize that I’ve had this blog for over 11 years! This was before most people knew what blogging even was and most companies barely even gave the idea of sponsorship and influencer marketing a side-eye. In fact, the term “influencer” wouldn’t come around for several more years and it was not the kind of thing people would dream about becoming a career. When you really think about that and how far that world has come just in the last few years, it’s mind-boggling. While I don’t usually consider myself an “influencer,” I thought it would be fun to look back on this blog and my experience watching this world open up.
2011 – The start
When I started the blog in 2011, it was merely a way to document where I was in life. I was enjoying reading blogs and thought starting my own may be a nice outlet. I had just left my full-time music industry job, went full-time working retail, and was spending every other moment managing *that* band. I felt the momentum and knew things were going to start spinning faster so thought it may be fun to share some of that. What I didn’t know was that things were going to spin so fast that within just 2 months of starting the blog, I would lose the band, fall flat on my face, and this space would become my therapy. Starting this blog became my saving grace.
2013 – The pick-up
I stayed pretty consistent with blogging in 2011 and 2012, and I believe really started to feel more confident with my words and the tech; I found my voice, in many ways. When I look back on the stats, it actually appears that 2013 was my best year. This was when I remember brands understanding that sponsoring blog content could prove mutually beneficial. They’d send free product in exchange for a post or mention, and if you were really lucky, you also got (an albeit small) paycheck.
2015 – The disappearance
I started a charity fundraising tour this year. Shout out to anyone who remembers (or who I met on) the 50 States in a Year tour. This was a pivotal moment in my life and year that I’ll never forget, even as it often feels like a messy blur. I put way too much on my plate with no support so blogging took the back burner. I was blogging for the tour, planning events, driving all around, getting an RV fixed, and trying to hold a crumbling friendship and the tour together. It’s no wonder the blog wasn’t a priority, but I also think something happened this year… this is the year that really shifted people.
This is the year when blogging became a way that many people were not just able to pay their bills but seemed to be making a living as brands were finally realizing the payoff. While everyone else poured themselves into their blogs and watched them grow, I fell behind.
2016-2018 – I refuse to give up
When I returned from the tour, landed a new full-time job, and moved to a new city (and state), I also launched myself back into the blog. I found it harder to get brand deals as the gap between the small-time and the big-time was growing larger. These are the years when brands understood Influencer Marketing, but they didn’t appreciate micro-influencers as much. They wanted the big names and the big numbers, and not having them often left you feeling discouraged and in the dark. I even started a new blog, in hopes that starting fresh and rebranding was actually the solution to growth (it wasn’t). This was also the time when I started wondering if I could keep doing this. I didn’t necessarily want to give up on blogging because I enjoyed writing, but I wasn’t sure how to find my spot in the world of “how-to” posts.
It’s been about 3 years now that I haven’t actually tried to push this blog as a space to make an income. It feels weird to say that because it didn’t start that way, but it is how it progressed. Sure, I get lucky and have some opportunities come my way that put an extra few bucks in my coffee fund and I’m grateful for each one, but the world of Influencing looks very different. Instead, my “influencing” has transitioned more to my yoga teaching, YouTube channel, and podcast growth. I’ve started writing on this blog more just for myself again like I did back in the early days and with a lot less pressure.
I’m not sure what Influencer Marketing will look like in the future, but I do think it’s safe to say that it’s going to hang around a while. My only question becomes, is it sustainable or do you get it for a season before it fades away like a memory?