I was idling scrolling through my Twitter feed whilst trying not to cough up my lungs with yet another autumn cold (will they never end?) this morning when a giant red image popped up on my feed. The type of image that screams STOP, THIS IS IMPORTANT, READ ME. It was from a PR company that I follow for some reason and on this giant red image were the words “The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday and the best time is at 2am (No, really).” It was advertising the fact that they can help you make the most impact on social media and how surprised you’ll be with the results.
I suppose I was supposed to be incredulous that the best time to post on Instagram is 2am in the morning in the middle of the week and in a way, I am. Who is awake at 2am on a Wednesday? Why are you on Instagram? What are you doing? And then I realized I was up at 2am on Wednesday with a sick family so I certainly couldn’t be judging, although I had my hands full of toddler vomit so wasn’t on Instagram. I can see how someone would be!
And then my thought was – why do I care?
When I started blogging I wanted to just get my birth story out there and write about the hard time I was having with postnatal anxiety. I just wanted to get my thoughts on the page and if no one read it then it was probably for the best. I didn’t even have social media then. But I made blogging friends – and they have been amazing, and with me every step of the way – but they instilled in me a desire for more. For people to hear my voice, for my words to matter, to be helpful and maybe even inspirational, if only to one person, just like they’ve been to me. Just regular people, normal mums and dads who are genuinely making a difference to strangers on the internet.
But to make a difference to people, people have to know you exist.
Then there’s the cost. You realize that running a good blog isn’t as cheap as you initially hoped. There’s of course the mandatory monthly hosting, and you paid for that snazzy theme you’re using so people don’t go blind when reading, and then you wanted a scheduler so you could save the two hours a week you spent posting blog posts Twitter (no one has time for that) and you realize you can spend another £10 a month here to make easy images and another £10 a month there and before you know it, your blog is a serious financial drain. What do blogs and babies have in common? They both cost more than you thought they would!
So you talk about sponsored posts. Adverts. Reviews. Now you’re getting something back, something tangible. Living on the invisible admiration of someone who clicked on your twitter post doesn’t pay the bills, but now – now it’s a business. I don’t make a profit from my blog and I’ve been self employed for 10 years so I don’t really have a job to quit anyway, but now I do enough sponsored posts to pay the blogging bills at least and not feel like my blog is actually a drain on my family finances. So I can afford all those little monthly subscriptions that make my life easier without feeling guilty. So I can just relax and focus on the writing. But am I doing that?
When I read that advert I realized I wasn’t relaxing and focusing on the writing. I don’t want to chase social media numbers and worry about why 62 followers on Instagram abandoned me this week, or why my twitter post has low reach. I don’t want to try and fit a bunch of artificial keywords in to a post so it rises on google. I don’t want to spend hours crafting the perfect pinterest image with a catchy tag line that’s not really what I wanted to write about. I really don’t care if my followers are reading Instagram at 2am on a Wednesday. I don’t post images at 2am on a Wednesday, that’s not me.
I’ve fallen out of love with my blog lately. It’s felt like a chore as I’ve tried so hard to please my ideal reader, which is what I’ve been told to do time and time again to make a blog a success. This is the first blog post I’ve written in a while that didn’t really have a purpose. It isn’t to help you, it’s to help me which is the entirely selfish reason that I started writing in the first place. It doesn’t matter if no one reads this, because it’s my blog and I’ll ramble on to myself if I want to.
I’m not going to stop doing my best to be informative, helpful and supportive. I’m going to keep working on my blog as best I can, and I’ll still be paying those blogging bills by working with great family-orientated brands, but I’m going to start posting more about me on my blog. More personal, more family, more things I care about. And hopefully at least one other person in the world will care about it too.