Stephanie Toms talks about her career in blogging outside of the Big Smoke, because not all good things happen in London…
There are so many misconceptions about being an internet person (in my case, a blogger): contrary to popular belief my life doesn’t revolve around shopping, I can actually eat a meal without taking a photo of it first (just about) and I do have hobbies outside of the internet (again, just about). But one of the biggest assumptions people make about me personally is that – since I’m UK based – I’m obviously living in London. The big smoke: where else could one find success in the nation of tea and sarcasm? This couldn’t be further from the truth (not the tea and sarcasm bit, that’s true). In fact, I’m so far out of London that it would take less time for me to travel to another country than it would for me to get to Victoria station. Eight hours there. Eight hours back. I could be in the Bahamas by then: that’s what living in the middle of no where does to you. But damn, the wi-fi speed here in Cornwall makes it all worth it.
And realistically a semi-decent internet connection is all that you actually ‘need’ to succeed on the internet. In fact at first, all you really need is wi-fi and a bit of imagination. That last bit is key. I like to think I’m able to create different content to London bloggers purely because my life is based right by the sea; the inspiration is so different that original content is easier to come about. For so long I was trying to emulate images from some of my favourite London based websites, and all that time I was wondering why it never looked the same. Newsflash to all: it wasn’t the same. That’s why.
But who actually wants content that’s exactly the same as everyone else’s? I mean sure, it might be nice to attend fashion week every season, and I bet it’d be great to go to fancy press days every day and eat the free food, but I feel like being a non-Londoner gives me the incentive to be even more creative with my blog posts and the locations I shoot things. What sounds more appealing, a photo shoot on a cliff top overlooking the sea, or an OOTD shot in the middle of Elephant and Castle during rush hour? Rolling hills or another brick wall? No comment.
So, here’s my advice to those of you trying to break the internet: sometimes you do have to just bite the bullet and make your way to London for a day or two, even if it’s just to show your face to a few PR companies or meet up with some fellow bloggers. You know, just so people don’t think you’re some sort of internet anomaly like Smarterchild or something (hands up who remembers that old joker..anyone?). But even then I like to use this disadvantage to, well, my own advantage. Because let’s face it, traveling eight hours for a couple of meetings with brands looks pretty impressive, don’t you think? Brands know you’re putting in the time and effort, and you become more selective about who you work with. Authenticity in your content is kind of a big deal. And don’t even get me started on the amount of Candy Crush-in’ I get done in those eight hours. My high scores are impressive.
The point of this little ramble? No matter how amazing the London life might look to you, you don’t have to move to the big city to start reaping the benefits of running your own website. There are hundreds of thousands of bloggers in the world now (not to scare you or anything) so it’s important to find your niche to stand out from the crowd. If you can’t be that super glamourous style guru, screw it, go forth and be that completely non-glamourous farm girl with an extensive anorak collection. Guilty.
Follow Stephanie on twitter: @cocochicblog & find her blog here.