“What is a lifestyle blog?” This question comes up in my life a lot. Most recently, at two very different events.
The first was at a networking event for all sorts of professions and the consensus around the room was one of blissful ignorance. Lifestyle blogs just weren’t on their radars – and why should they be? Most people in my age group, working in a corporate environment, are only on a couple of social platforms: LinkedIn for business and Facebook for keeping in touch with friends. They’d never met a blogger, but were genuinely interested to know more.
The second was more surprising – and the tone of voice was more sinister.
I was at an event for bloggers. It was in the centre of London’s Soho and we were at a product launch. I was utterly lost in a crowd, not knowing anyone and feeling incredibly vulnerable and alone. For some reason I find it difficult to make conversation/friends in this situation, specifically with other bloggers – which is odd as I’ve made a successful career and built my own business in recruitment, all through networking.
I approached a small group of bloggers and introduced myself. They reciprocated and we started discussing our blogs. Theirs were travel, food and fashion respectively.
When I gave my response: “Lifestyle”; they all, without exception, rolled their eyes. “Ahh, lifestyle, don’t you just love that category? I wish I had a lifestyle blog” (HEAVY sarcasm).
I was thrown. WTF? What did they mean? Are lifestyle blogs really looked down on in this weird, made up, online world of ours? Is there a blogging hierarchy which I was unaware of? And who is top dog in this new world order? Does the travel category command a higher respect than beauty?
There are very few professions these days that people respond to with positivity and enthusiasm. Can you think of one? Bankers? Estate Agents? Recruitment Consultants? Nope. Even teachers and doctors come in for some stick.
But to have to justify yourself to peers in your own industry? That’s warped.
I stayed in the group for a few more minutes and then made my excuses and sloped off home, feeling completely deflated and vowed never to attend that type of event again.
I’ve picked myself up off the floor now. I still don’t really get what happened that night or what was going through the heads of my fellow bloggers, but I’ve decided to refine my ‘elevator pitch’ so that I can describe what it is I do (aside from the recruitment day job), so that I don’t find myself in either the first or the second situation again.
I can only speak for my own lifestyle blog obviously, but my definition is this:
My lifestyle blog is about the fun, food, fashion, beauty and wisdom of our fabulous 40s and beyond. Which means that I write about whatever the hell I feel like writing about, but I write FOR people like me – 40 plus women, and quite a lot of men too (according to Google Analytics).
It’s a blog about my life: the issues that are important to me; my personal development (that’s the ‘wisdom’ bit); the products I love and the adventures I have along the way. My life is far from perfect, probably a bit like yours (no offence intended).
And although the word ‘Maven’ means expert, it’s a word nuanced with sarcasm and with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I’m no expert. I’m just blagging my way through life like everyone else. Perhaps a little more mindfully than some, given the number of books I’ve inhaled on the subject.
I started my blog as a way to build a community of like-minded people and to have an outlet for my random thoughts, and to fill the gaps between recruitment assignments.
What it is has turned into, is a way to have more a more fun-filled life. Without the blog, I would not have had a medical grade facial; starred in an online campaign for L’Oreal; worn many beautiful clothes and trialled exclusive skincare ranges; done some crazy exercise classes; had my hair cut by one of London’s best hairdressers; stayed in beautiful accommodation for a weekend in London; learned to cook street food; or been able to take better photographs and many other experiences besides.
If my 20s was my decade for establishing a career and partying; and my 30s was about having kids and a steady income; then my 40s is about adventure, self-development and fun.
Lifestyle Maven has allowed me to have more fun. After all, there is only now, only today.
And if not now, then when?
PS: I really hope you’ll leave me a comment below to tell me how wrong I am, and how my experience of the blogging hierarchy was a one-off.