Blazer // Jeans // Blush Pink Shoes
Every year in March my little old blog gets one year older, and I am so excited to share that this month The Travelista celebrates its 5th Blog Birthday. I can’t quite believe that I have been blogging for half a decade (sounds pretty crazy when I put it like that). Since graduating, my blog has driven and shaped my entire career and despite the increasing pressures of the industry, there’s still nothing else I would rather be doing. It’s nice to take some time to reflect now and again, so that’s exactly what this post is about.
In the 5 years I have been running this blog my role and ‘defining title’ has changed so much. Firstly, I called myself a Travel Writer. I created The Travelista as a way to self-publish and get myself noticed as an aspiring travel writer (you’ll notice my first ever blog post was more like a newspaper article than a personal blog post). It was my dream to write about travel for the likes of Cosmopolitan and Conde Nast Traveller, so I started to call myself a Travel Writer from day one (fake it ‘til you make it right?). I managed to contribute travel pieces to a variety of magazines and bookazines, but it seemed that nobody wanted to offer me a job, or pay me a penny. I slowly realised I had to take a change of tack if I wanted to make money out of writing.
I decided to take a job as a Digital Content Executive instead of pursuing the journalism route, so I got to hone in my writing skills in the digital world. It was at this point I also changed my defining title from Travel Writer to Blogger, as I knew I wanted to focus on writing online. Back then it really was all about the writing, which suited me perfectly. I would post long, wordy blogs with a few bad quality iPhone photos, and that really was enough. It was raw and real, and people seemed to respond well to it (it even won me a Cosmopolitan Blog Award). I feel like that’s when blogging was in its heyday, before the rise of social media, Instagram and perfectly edited photography.
How I blogged back then would not be enough to survive in the industry these days. The benchmark of quality content is so much higher and if you’re not willing to put the effort in, there will be someone else out there who will. My friend Macca Sherifi hit the nail on the head when he did a blogger-related talk at World Travel Market last year called ‘Diversify or Die’. As extreme as it sounds, it’s kind of true. The people that once defined as Bloggers are now having to become Multi-Media Content Creators, producing beautiful videos, photos and social media content that supports the ‘words’ they have always shared.
All rings from Daniella Draper // Feather Ring // Topaz Ring / Open Circle Ring
In the past few years I have created a YouTube channel, learnt to shoot and edit videos and embraced the (once scary) concept of live vlogging through Snapchat and Instagram stories. People are now consuming their content in a very different way, and we ‘bloggers’ have to embrace it or risk falling behind.
The term Influencer is becoming the more common phrase for what I do and it’s a term we bloggers are better off embracing than rejecting. It makes me sad to admit, but it’s really not just about the blogging any more. Last week Hannah Gale wrote a great post about The Slow Demise of Blogging, sharing that she had decided to focus more of her time on Instagram and social instead of posting so regularly on her blog. She pointed out that people’s attention spans are becoming shorter and people now want to consume content in short, bite sized chunks. I thought she had a really good point and her post made me think about what I should be spending my time on too. Instagram captions create the opportunity to micro-blog, and you can reach your audience without taking them away from their beloved Instagram app. Video is going to be a big focus for me going forward, as well as investing in more photography sessions to make sure I am getting the very best photos for my blog and social channels.
All this makes me realise how much blogging and social media has changed in the past 5 years and I can only wonder where we will all be in another 5 years time. Will Instagram be dead and gone? Will YouTube be the only thing we watch? Is Vero actually going to take off? It’s all a big unknown, but my plan is to embrace the new media and allow my blog to grow and evolve with me through the different stages of my life. I’ve done a lot of growing up in the past 5 years and I want to reflect that in the content I create. Through all the uncertainty of the future of blogging, I plan to continue surfing this wave for as long as I can. Here’s to the next 5 years!
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every single one of you who is reading this post, and who has followed me and supported my blog over the past 5 years.
What did you think of my reflective blog birthday post? How do you think the world of blogging and influencers has changed? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do leave me a comment in the box below. Jess x
Photography by Matt McCormick
thank you so much! This has been very enlightening. I may have started blogging earlier, but you certainly know a lot more about the current trends in social media. guess i’ll follow your lead here.
Jess Gibson says
Ah you’re welcome! Thank you for your comment
Travel is best when it’s represented creatively, whether through good photos, or videos or just amazingly descriptive writing. You bring those experiences alive and remind us that travel is so varied and vibrant and exhilarating. It’s people like you who make sure that pursuing new activities retains its essence and style even when we’re not able to actually go there. We can vicariously live through you, so that makes it all ok!
Jess Gibson says
Thank you SO much for this lovely comment Sarah. I am so glad you feel like you can travel along with me on my trips. This has made my day xxx
What a post! I adore how reflective this is, but not nostalgic – you embrace change which can be quite refreshing in this industry and I certainly cannot wait to see what the next 5 years holds for you.
Emma | HarmonyBlaze.co.uk
Thanks Emma! It was quite nice to write as I don’t reflect like this very often. I think we have to embrace change or risk falling behind. I guess thats the main message of the post! Who knows where we will be in another 5 years xxx
A really interesting read – I, too, got into this for the writing nearly 10 years ago and can hardly recognise the multimedia person I have become! Part of it has been interesting and challenging but part of it does make me a little sad. I think it’s important to live and reflect (as you are doing here) and so much of social media is now the opposite of that – it is instant and so much about image that I think it takes a tough person to survive it. But, like you, I’m going to surf the wave as long as I can – it’s creative and freeing and there aren’t that many jobs around that you can say that about! To the next five years for you! All the best, Abi
Thanks for your comment Abi! It’s nice to hear you can relate to all the changes. Starting a blog now would be COMPLETELY different to when we started ours. I can imagine it would be a lot more daunting as there are so many plates we have to spin. Lets keep surfing the wave! xxx
Congratulation 5 years of blogging! It’s incredible to think how everything has changed in that time and really sad that blogging has to be such a polished product. I much prefer reading a lengthy blog post to watching a video but I know I’m probably in the minority.
Jess Gibson says
Thanks so much Nicola! I know, it’s really mad to think ow much has changed. That makes me happy to hear you still prefer blogs as I still love making them so good to know people still want this type of content 🙂 I will continue to make them and trial all the new media too x
You have achieved so much in 5 years! It is crazy to think how a whole industry can change so much!
Jess Gibson says
Thanks Laura that is so kind of you to say! x
Loved this post lady, congrats on 5 years of blogging! I’m SO excited to see what the next five years has in store for you! <3 I completely see where Hannah is coming from with peoples attention spans and like you said it's always so uncertain with where the industry will go; I personally love reading my favourite blogs over breakfast and catching up with what's new! Here's to diversifying over the next 5 years girl!
Jess Gibson says
Thanks girl! Yeh Hannah made some really great points which made me think about my own future of blogging as well, it just so happened to coincide with my blogs 5th birthday hence this blog was born! 🙂
Angie Silver (@SilverSpoonLDN) says
Happy blog birthday, Jess!!
Thanks so much Angie! It’s so nice to reach this milestone 🙂
Marina V says
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Congrats, Jess, I love your blog and your Instagram posts!!! ❤❤❤
Aw thanks so much for your comment Marina, that is so nice to hear 🙂
Marina V says
Congrats, Jess, I love your blog and your Instagram posts!!!
Firstly, congratulations Jess on the 5 years of blogging. I really enjoy your posts. They are always so real and down to earth. As a relatively new blogger this was a great insight into how things have changed as I only really know the world of blogging as being super competitive and so led by social channels and following! Here’s to many more Birthdays for The Travelista!!
Hi Bejal! What a lovely comment, thank you. I am so pleased that my posts come across as down to earth. It’s definitely great for you to understand how things have changed as a new blogger. I would say it has become tougher to be recognised as there are now just so many bloggers out there, but if you’re producing beautiful quality content and an independent voice, I think there is still space in the Blogosphere to do really well! Good luck with everything and hope you continue following my blog. I have quite a few blogging advice posts in the Life section of my blog if you want some more advice x