I'm not an "influencer" because I don't care if I influence you or not

Want to know some of my skills? I have an understanding of SEO and have experience using MOZ. I'm also comfortable using Google analytics and in-app analytics like Instagram Insights. I keep up to date with relevant privacy laws like GDPR, as well as regulations from the ASA.

 I'd struggle to design a website entirely from scratch but I have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. I run two websites simultaneously, and the associated business social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have experience using social media scheduling apps like Buffer and UNUM, dozens of design apps, and have used the online mailing service Mail Chimp. I've been to networking events and I use online networking platforms and directories. Entirely on my own and just for fun, with no specific intention to even have an audience,  I've grown to a combined following of 19,800, which is consistently growing and tends to be ~2% engaged. I've collaborated with brands I adore: Charlotte Tilbury, Pixi by Petra, Drunk Elephant to name a few. I've participated in advertisement campaigns with big brands like Kalms, L'Occitane and Moonpig. 

I've heard that, apparently, that's no easy feat. At the risk of sounding very arrogant but this is a genuine question: why doesn't it feel like it? 

I started my blog in 2016 when I was at University (spoiler alert: only a couple of months in I had dropped out) and I was very anxious, nervous and I literally didn't speak to anybody. I needed something to fill my time, and starting a blog is something I'd been pondering for a while. So I just went for it. I had absolutely no agenda other than to fill my time. I had no ambition for my blog, I didn't expect to become the next biggest influencer and the potential to work with brands I love didn't even cross my mind. I just wanted a space to put all of my thoughts into. Over the past 3 and a half years, I've picked up all of those skills I listed, quite frankly, effortlessly. I can't pinpoint a time I learned anything because it's all things I've picked up along the way. I don't have an 'official' background in marketing. I don't have a degree, I haven't done any certified training and I haven't - and will never - sign up to one of those 'influencer courses' that promises to teach me how to craft a monthly newsletter with bells and whistles on. I'm grateful that my learning curve has had an undirected flow, led only by creativity and an enjoyable hobby.
"I've collaborated with brands I adore...participated in advertisement campaigns" 

You see, I tend not to do things by halves. I was in a car accident in 2015, took my injury claim to court (and won, my boyfriend and I had a lovely holiday with the damages, thank you for asking) and I was fascinated by the whole legal process. I remember thinking to myself, 'that's quite interesting. I'd like to know a bit more'. So what did I do? I went to Law School. I graduated last year with a law degree and will be going back to study for my Master's of Law. See what I mean? I just can't seem to have casual interests. I am a perfectionist; it's all or nothing for me. 

I think if I allowed myself to get bogged down in the technicalities of blogging and social media, I wouldn't enjoy it any more. And what a way to kill the creativity, without which I wouldn't have learned all of those skills I listed above. At school, a teacher (who sadly recently passed away in her late 30s, from cancer) who taught me in a subject I was really passionate about - and, if I do say so myself, had a natural talent for - told me in no uncertain terms do not study it at University. She told me it would have totally destroyed my love of the subject. I reckon she was right, I didn't study it at University and I still heed her advice today. 

I think a couple of years ago, when I started to put more time and effort into my blog, had I decided to learn the 'tricks of the trade', I wouldn't still be doing this. I have no doubt that learning social media marketing techniques with expert precision would have been beneficial, but I firmly believe it would have killed off this blog. I know a few people - PR and marketing graduates, bloggers who earn their main income through 'influencing', journalists etc. I admire them, more power to them, but I have no interest in getting on their level. I simply don't want to kill my own love affair with the creative side of blogging and social media by becoming too invested in the business of it. I've no doubt I'm capable (do I sound arrogant again? Sorry.) but if I had chosen to pursue it, I would have been frustrated if I didn't understand something, became obsessive over staying up to date with the latest practices and regulations; I probably would have given up a lot of my free time and money to attend courses, so much so that I would have come to resent it. My perfectionist and competitive nature simply does not allow me to be competent at something. I need to do something really well and learn it inside and out, or I don't want to know it at all. It's a blessing and a curse, I admit. 
But, let's talk about what's in the title of this article: I don't care if I influence you or not. I don't mean that to sound as blunt and cut-throat as it does. My point is, I'm not putting anything online consciously thinking I want people to absorb my advice and recommendations. I honestly don't care if anyone reads what I write. The fact is they do, and I'm grateful, but it's merely an added bonus for me. The rewarding part of blogging and social media for me is the conception of an idea - whether it's spontaneous, or a general brief given to me by a brand - the process of it snowballing into a bigger idea, setting up the photographs, writing the content; then seeing the finished piece. That's the reward. What happens to it after that is really neither here nor there for me. 

I'm very fortunate that I've had some blog posts get attention all on their own, rank highly on Google without much input from me (it's usually posts with make up swatches. I think it's where people are Googling looking for swatches) and I've found other websites linking back to mine. I've learned some tricks along the way to promote that kind of circulation, too. I'm pleased about that - obviously I'm not going to complain! But I simply do not get the same enjoyment out of seeing statistical growth as I do out of the creative elements. Even when I am participating in advertising campaigns with companies, my priority is creating aesthetically pleasing and authentic content. That sounds so cliche, doesn't it? It's true though. I have an awareness that the purpose of the content is to drive clicks and conversion but - perhaps wrongly - it's not my priority. I participate to get creative, by creating content to a brief, and with a purpose. I can only describe whatever comes next as an exciting extra.

I just thought I'd share some thoughts after seeing a new lot of pricey 'influencer courses' doing the rounds. I'm not criticising them, I'm sure most of them are interesting, informative and bloggers genuinely benefit from them. But I'm just not interested in learning the technicalities or hearing about what hash tags I should be using on Instagram. I'm grateful when I pick up new skills along the way - learning organically by experience, trial and error -  but I've deliberately stopped myself from getting too invested, and concentrated on enjoying creating content.

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 Disclaimer: links may be affiliate links and PR samples will be marked with *. Items marked with ^ are products I have received previously in PR, but this particular product was purchased by myself. 

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