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Monday, 18 January 2016

BLOGGING | The rise of the Blogger

I still remember when I first started blogging.

Although creating a magazine for my dissertation at university gave me a final push to begin blogging - I'd planned to coincide the two - there was a time when blogging first came across my radar, back when blogging was finally becoming a 'thing'.

It was back in the day when More! Magazine was still an actual magazine, and they had created something along the lines of a blogger group where we could chat to other wannabe bloggers.

Now, when most people think about the rise of bloggers and the ones that really set the bar, they automatically think of people like Lily Melrose (LLYMRS), Poppy Disney and Zoella. 

But not me. I think of the girls I spoke to on that Facebook group, how the majority of this small group of us all created or began to create blogs at the same time. Amazingly, the majority of us are still going and to this day, these other girls are still my favourite bloggers.

I don't think we were the ones to launch blogging, no way, it's almost impossible to find out who that would be as many blogs seemingly just sprung up from nowhere! And some of us may not be as famous as the bigger bloggers but, to me, it was these girls who launched blogging 'for me'. 

So to celebrate what I think is the rise of blogging, I'm going back to basics and interviewing some of these special ladies. I think it's about time we stopped comparing ourselves to bloggers like Zoella and started celebrating what makes us bloggers special!

So my first interview is with the lovely Tanya Howard from Glamour Glitter Gloss who I love! Tanya is so lovely and absolutely hilarious and whenever I've seen her at blogger events we've always had such a laugh together. I'd kill to go on a night out with this party animal!

Although there was a time when she debated whether or not to continue her blog after it was deleted by Google, I'm super glad she didn't because I really love her blog. I really like her beauty reviews and her mix of lifestyle posts which is why I just had to interview her for this series of posts.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Blogging | The rise of the Blogger; Formidable Joy, Formidable Joy blog; Let’s focus on the very beginning, when you first launched your blog.

What made you want to go into blogging? Were you reading any other blogs at the time? Was there anything in particular that pushed you to take the plunge and actually create the blog, rather than just thinking about it?
I was an active member on the More Magazine Facebook page and they had a competition to be a blogger on their website. I applied but did not get selected but it turned out for the best because you were very restricted in what you could actually post so I decided along with two other girls I met on the page to start our own blogs where we could be free to post when and what we wanted.

Is there a story behind the name you chose?
This is actually my third blog name. I chose it because I write about a range of topics so I didn’t want to pick a name that stuck me in a particular niche, and it’s also as simple as I like to think I can be Glamourous, I love a bit of Glitter and at the time of starting my blog I never wore lipstick, only lip Gloss.

Do you remember your first posts? What were they about?
I couldn’t tell you what I first posted about because I had to restart my blog three years ago because when I bought my dot com Google messed up and deleted my entire blog. Three years of work gone in an instance, at one point I wasn’t even sure whether to restart or not.

Did you ever think you’d still be blogging five years on?
Definitely not. It was just a bit of rambling on the internet that I never thought anyone would want to read and I just imagined my interest in it wavering soon enough.

Do you feel like your blog is still the blog you wanted it to be five years ago – are you still covering the same content you’d wanted to when you set it up?
I always wanted to write about a range of topics because personally I get bored reading about the same thing over and over. I have stuck to this but I want to get a bit more structure in the way I cover the topics.

How much do you personally think the blog has changed over the years? Are you happy with its progress? Do you feel like you’ve done what you wanted to do?
My photography has vastly improved from when I started and I am finally happy with my layout. I have been lucky enough to work with some great PRs and have great opportunities and see this as great progress with the blog and I’m very happy with the way things have gone.

Can you see any major differences when comparing your first few posts to your most recent ones – if looking at them, what would you say?
From what I can remember from my old blog I can definitely see improvement on how I write, the photographs I take and the way I portray a post.

What are some of your proudest moments of blogging so far?
Some of the highlights would be meeting Gary Cockerill, working with Dowal Walker PR, meeting my best friend and some amazing bloggers, attending Christmas In July, reviewing the Bluewater cinema, attending an London Fashion Week’s after party and Disaronno wears Versace.

..and some of your toughest?
Life getting in the way and causing me to take time out from blogging and then feeling writer’s block on my return. I always feel like people will give up on me if I don’t blog constant enough.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Blogging | The rise of the Blogger; Formidable Joy, Formidable Joy blog; Glamour Glitter Gloss
Tanya's new blog business cards

Have there been any points where you’ve just wanted to give up? If so, what made you carry on?
I think every blogger has had a moment where they’ve questioned whether it’s all worth it and should they carry on. I just remind myself that I enjoy blogging, I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing opportunities and meet so many new friends through it and I don’t want that to stop.

What have been some of your favourite brands to work with and some of your favourite opportunities?
Dowal Walker PR, who look after La Roche Posay and Paul & Joe. The PRs, the make up artists and brands representatives are all such lovely people. I’m actually in the process of planning a night out with one of them.

Have you ever had to deal with any particularly tough brands or had any problems working with a company?
I’ve been pretty lucky and can’t think of any particularly tough moments, I’ve had the standard uninterested PR/brand rep not bother with me but it has never really bothered me.

Are there any blog posts or campaigns you’re particularly proud of?
I wrote a controversial post on the No Make Up campaign for Cancer Research calling people out that were ever so proud of themselves for posting a no makeup photo but made no mention of the reason behind it and were just waiting for the compliments to come in.

What do you think you’ve learned from running a blog for this long – have you improved your photography skills or taught yourself HTML for example?
HTML still goes right over my head, I definitely need to learn about that at some point but so far it hasn’t affected me not knowing. My photography however has definitely improved and I’m really happy when I look at my photos now.

What do you think about your blogs presence among some of the other big bloggers – are you happy with its success? Do you ever find yourself thinking about your blog compared to other blogs launched around the same time as yours?
I don’t like to compare my blog to anyone, I think success is measured in different ways. Too many people get hung up on the numbers game, but if you’re happy with your blog and have great readers, what’s not to be happy about.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Blogging | The rise of the Blogger; Formidable Joy, Formidable Joy blog; Glamour Glitter Gloss
 Meeting Tanya (along with Lisa, Bex, and Charlie) at a SheSaidBeauty blogging event

How do you feel blogging has changed overall since you began? Do you feel like it’s hit its peak, that there’s no room left for anymore ‘famous’ bloggers? Do you feel like blogging is going to calm down a bit now and focus more on what blogging was about when it first began as opposed to gaining followers, getting Instagram famous etc? Or do you feel like blogging as a whole is still quite new and that there’s still a lot more phenomenon to come?
Blogging was quite a small unknown world when I first started and it’s blown up in recent years. I think a lot of people jump on the bandwagon hoping to have the success of big Youtubers like Zoe Sugg overnight and expect to be handed everything on a plate straight away. People don’t realise the work that actually goes into it! I definitely don’t think it’s hit it’s peak yet though, I think blogging will dominate the social media scene even more especially with bloggers and vloggers being a lot more visible to the world, working in tv, with big brands and so on.

Do you still think you’ll be blogging in five years’ time?
To think I’ve been doing this for five years already is pretty crazy in itself so why should 10 years down the line be any different. As long as it’s something I enjoy, something I meet new people from, something that improves my life with amazing opportunities I will happily carry on blogging for as long as possible.

What do you see next for your blog – what are your short term and long term hopes and plans for it?
I hope to make more time for blogging, although I have been doing this for so long I still haven’t quite worked out that perfect work/life/blogging balance, but maybe this is the year to do so. I’m just happy writing content I’m proud of, meeting new people and brands, and having my little space on the net that’s all mine.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Here’s to another great 5 years, and I hope we’re all still going through it all together. The original blogging crew :)  

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  1. What an interesting post. Oh wow 5 years?! I am nearly at 3 years! Best of luck for the future!

  2. Great interview....Lol!! I totally remember more magazine.....even then secretly Wed all be sneaking peeks at position of the fortnight!!!!
    Must have made you gutted when you lost 3 years worth of blogging. .I've just hit 3 years too and to think of losing all that...ouch...So kudos for carrying on...and for many more years!!!
    Claire :)


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