I started blogging and scrapbooking in early 2004 when I was a stay-at-home-mom to my three children ages 16, 5, and 1. Big age difference, I know! We lived in the country, had one vehicle (which my husband used to get to and from work 35 minutes away) so my days were spent looking after the little ones.
While I loved being a part of the scrapbooking community, I just was not able to devote the extensive time to creating that I wanted. I was longing for a different outlet, and decided to give writing a go. I’ve always loved journaling, have kept a written journal ever since I was 10 years old. So the prospect of being able to actually share my thoughts and ideas and silly stories about the boys lit a fire inside me that is still burning to this day.
Finding Your Niche
There were several other ladies I knew from the scrapbooking community that decided to dip their toes into the blogging world as well. I watched as these women struck out with blogs centered on beauty products and becoming fashion influencers. They were being contacted by all the name-brand cosmetic companies to work on campaigns and their following was literally exploding. Still others went the route of becoming food bloggers – sharing recipes of their own creation and putting together cookbooks and being mentioned on nationwide morning talk shows.
I’ve never been much of a fashionista – I wear what is comfortable and fits well. I have never been one to obsess (much) over labels – if you don’t count high school and having to have Jordache jeans and dressing like Madonna.
I loved to eat, and dabbled at becoming a food blogger as well – but I was never really great at writing down how I made something … I was the type that just took whatever was handy and threw it together to make something edible for the family for dinner. I could penny-pinch with the best of them, but didn’t mind splurging on a seafood feast now and again either.
I never was one to be put into a box and stay there, so to speak. I had a multitude of interests and, by golly, I was going to write about ALL of them! When my children were small, there were the trials and tribulations of sibling rivalry, then having a son diagnosed with ADHD, dealing with the issues that diagnosis caused for him and his education and development. We moved through the elementary school years into middle school and high school … my daughter married, divorced, and married again. The Mad White Woman transformed into Life in a House of Testosterone, and then simply Life in a House.
Knowing When to Change
As the years went by, and our lives changed and expanded, we quietly made changes to the blog as well. We focused more on making a home, and writing about raising a family and handling budgets and expenses as a one-income family.
I look back on those early years, and I see the changes we have been faced with, the obstacles that we have overcome as a family, and new challenges ahead of us. I still consider myself a lifestyle blogger, perhaps not nearly as famous as those with millions of followers – but I have my own little respectable band of followers – and I’m okay with that.
How the Influencer Culture is Changing
The very fabric of influencer culture has changed over the past ten years. I know many influencers who grew their numbers overnight by buying followers and using all the latest tricks of the trade to get top rankings on Google. Then there are those of us who choose to hold true to our platforms and just be ourselves.
We are the influencers who never waiver – what you find on our blog you will find on our social media channels. We use our platforms to promote causes we are passionate about – voting, supporting small businesses, supporting woman-owned businesses, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, climate change, using sustainable energy versus fossil fuels.
Being an influencer in 2020 and beyond is going to focus on speaking up and standing up for what you believe in. As the mother of bi-racial children, that is a topic that is important to me. As a grandmother, I worry about the planet that we are leaving behind for our grandchildren. So to me, supporting black-owned businesses and products that are eco-friendly and leave virtually no carbon footprint matters to me.
Influencers and the Holidays
If there is a particular time that influencers wield the most power, it is during the holidays. I have always been eager to put together gift guides that showcase the hottest toys, the most sought after gifts. It reminds me of the holidays every year when my brother and I would pour over the Sears Wishbook and create our list for Santa. By the time we were finished with that book, it was dog-eared and barely holding together, and we could tell you everything we wanted and what page to find it on.
Companies may find that they have more sales from influencers with millions of followers – but there are those of us with our loyal readers and fanbase, that are just as valuable. We are the influencers who are also customers. We are the mothers out buying the gifts for our loved ones, the same people who share their thoughts on a current product at the PTA meeting. We are not here to make millions as influencers, we are here to share our honest opinions and thoughts on actual products.
With all of that being said, I believe you will find that influencer marketing is going to undergo some valuable – and needed – changes over the course of the next year or two. The current pandemic crisis we are facing will continue, and we all will need to learn to embrace a new normal. Just what that is going to be remains to be seen, but you can rest assured that influencers such as myself who have been around for over 15 years will remain steadfast in our commitment to our readers to bring them our honest thoughts and real discussions on the matters that are important to each of us.