Friday, 24 February 2017

Why I'm considering making my blog a PR free zone

Why I'm considering making my blog completely free of brand and PR company involvement.

When I re-birthed this blog into a plus size fashion space in 2012 I had a purity of purpose. I wanted to help women-identifying people feel better about their bodies. At this point I was in my late 30s and I'd been dieting since I was 10. Suddenly realising I could come off the hamster wheel was an epiphany in the truest sense of the word. Radical fat acceptance bloggers like Rachele Cateyes' and her blog The Nearsighted Owl had made me realise it was OK to really exist in a fat body. To live without shame, without apologising for my existence. Plus size fashion bloggers opened my eyes to the possibilities out there to clothe my body, but my heart belonged to the women who were there in their living rooms, wearing thrifted clothes and staring at the camera defiantly, goading the reader into 'Accept me or fuck off.' It was love at first read and that has always endured.

Once this tentative love affair with myself began I hoped to be the person to others that Rachele had been to me, to show women that it's OK to love and accept yourself by living in this truth myself. Falling into fashion blogging was a mistake, really. I was high on the possibilities. There was more out there than the Simply Be catalogue and Evans for the first time in years and I was giddy on it. I fell in head first. That love affair of being blessed with clothing choices has never really ended, but my heart always lay with radical fat acceptance.

Over the years I've tried to become what others have become and I don't do very well at it mentally. I tried to be a brand darling for a while, which made me completely miserable as a lot of my appeal is that I'm NOT the kind of person brands enthuse about. I don't aim for pats on the head from them any more, and that makes me happy. I realised long ago that I'm not the kind of blog or blogger who'll ever get critical acclaim within the field of plus size blogging, but time and time again I'm told I'm a blogger's fave or that I'm the reader fave. Why chase everyone else's dreams if they make me miserable?

I've seen blogging progress over the last 5 years or so to something where success is measured in financial terms, and blog readers are there to be milked. I'm not saying it's bad when others make money, it's just not for me. I'm not here to become rich off of you. I'm not here to sell you clothes - I'm just wearing them. If you want to buy them I do have affiliate links, and they earn me about £10 a month, so I'm hardly rolling around in fur and diamonds. I do have Google Adsense ads on my blog, but that makes me £90 a year if I'm lucky. But I'm OK with that - I'm not here to get rich and I never have been. There are a lot of things I *could* do to make more money but it isn't what I'm about. I did have a period before Christmas where I thought I'd be like everyone else and put out affiliate links everywhere, be one of those 'Link to buy in my bio' Instagrammers, but it didn't make me feel good. It goes against my original purpose, which is to give something, not take.

Over the years a lot of things have tried to divert me from my mission statement, and I now find myself in a place with my blog (and my life) where I need as much authenticity as possible. And here's why I've come to a pretty radical decision about this blog's future:

I HATE having to delete endless emails from Chinese rip off clothing companies who want me to do $10 sponsored posts. That cheapens me. 

I HATE being asked to use do-follow links in sponsored posts and review posts. 

I HATE people expect me to give up my time for next to nothing.

I HATE doing £20 dress reviews where I spend an hour taking photos, an hour editing them and an hour writing my post up. That works out at less than minimum wage!! This isn't who or what I want to be.

I HATE getting invited to a new affiliate network on a daily basis, all promising me I'll be as rich as Croesus.

I HATE being asked by companies to work for free with the implied promise of working together in the future, which ultimately never happens. 

I HATE being hassled by people two, three, four times about an 'opportunity' which rather than giving something to me, ALWAYS takes away from me - my time, my goodwill, my platform, which I've spent over 5 years building into a trustworthy space. 

I HATE having to measure my worth in page views and followers and all those stats. It's not what I'm about.

With the thousands of hours I've spent on this empty stuff over the years I could've learned several languages, researched ancient Egypt at length, written poetry, or a million other worthwhile things.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm taking my contact email off my social media profiles. I'm changing my Contact Me page to a please don't contact me unless..... page, and I'm going to state at length what I don't want to hear from people about. I don't want to spend any of my time thinking about cheap-arse sponsored post requests, dodgy companies trying to break Google/ASA rules, companies who want my time and exposure but who don't want to adequately compensate me for it, or any other crap which takes me away from what makes my soul sing. None of that soulless shit makes me happy. NONE OF IT. I'm just here to be a tiny light at the end of the tunnel, so people can walk towards their own light. If anyone wants to work with me, they need to respect my time and my mental health, or I'm out. I'd rather never take another thing from a brand or PR company than sell myself off in tiny pieces to the lowest bidder.

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

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I use affiliate links in my posts. It earns me a few pennies to put back into the blog and you pay the same price regardless.
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