2018… what’s next? 

This isn’t a post about New Years Resolutions or goal setting. I’m planning a seperate post specifically on that in the next day or two. But in this post I want to put down on paper (virtual paper of course) what general direction I want to take in the next twelve months.

In January 2017 I began my IG account as nothing more than a way to improve the relationship I have with my body. I never imagined it would become a source of inspiration to others, or that it would capture the attention of the Irish media. But over the course of the past twelve months you guys have made it clear to me that it has, and that’s opened up a world of opportunitites to me that I’d never envisaged before.
Now I find myself wondering… what next? Where do I want to go with this? What do I want to do with it? What is my brand, and what is my message? What kind of content do I want to produce, and what platforms do I want to use to share it? What do I want my contribution to be? Who do I want to reach and what do I want to say to them? And where do I see myself fitting in the increasingly ovrecrowdd world of digital influencers?
These are pretty big questions for a girl who’s only now celebrating one year therapy free. But I feel like my mental health is in a strong enough place right now to withstand a little pressure. So I’ve been thinking and wondering and pondering and musing and I think I feel pretty clear about what direction I want to take in 2018.

Website

My current website is a free WordPress theme that I’ve customized and managed myself. It’s served it’s purpose for 2017 well enough, but I’ve reached a point now where it’s not cutting the mustard anymore. So one of my first projects of this year will be to give my website a new look using a professional designer to create something very clean, cool, interactive, interesting, highly functional and responsive. I’d like to model it off the current website used by Grace Victory, which I just luuuurv. I’d like to have clearly definied sections for each of the topics I love to talk about, including the new content I’ll be prducing this year.
Blog

This year I’ve gone through phases of blogging regularly and not blogging at all. I think I felt really stressed under the pressure to blog every couple of days, at one point I was posting three blog posts a week, every week, for two or threee months in a row. I hated that. It felt like I was just churning out content for the sake of consistency and that just killed every once of creativity I had. It became a chore and eventually I just cracked up and deleted everything!
For the last couple of months I have barely blogged at all, but I miss it. I enjoyed blogging when I was producing content that I cared about and was proud of. This was where it became tricky for me though. I loved blogging about body positivity, self care and mental health, but I also loved writing about plus size style too. I think I felt those two areas were mutually exclusive and I had to be eiher a mental health/self love blogger, or a plus size fashion blogger. I couldn’t quite figure out how to be both.
I still haven’t really figured that one out just yet, but I know it can be done. So this year I’m just going to focus on blogging about whatever the hell I want. If that means I only post one blog post a week, that’s ok. If some weeks I post three times, that’s ok too. If it means it’s 50% fashion and 50% self love, or 12% fashion and 88% self love, that’s perfectly fine. If it means some weeks I post more often than others, that’s no problemo. I’m not gonna restrict myself by sticking to a rigid schedule or dampen my creativity by forcing myself to follow some sort of tried and tested formula. I’m just gonna blog about what I want to, when I want to, and hope that you guys like it!
Content

So I’ve just discussed the fact that I definitely want to continue to include plus size fashion and style in my content. This is because my journey from body shame and self hate to body positivity and self love has been marked largely by a fudamental change in how I see fashion and how I dress. So yes, fashion will always be something I love and want to talk about, but it will still have to take a back seat to some of the more thought provoking topics that are very close to my heart.
Body positivity, self love and self care are really what I want my main body of content to focus on. I want my website and other platforms to be places that you guys can visit when you’re feeling low and in need of inspiration. I want my content to be instructive, full of helpful advice and packed with resources that will help you overcome the challenges you face.
I’m also thinking of adding some extra content that’s not really related to any of the above. I’m thinking book reviews, travel posts, parenting posts and just general lifestyle stuff.
Platforms

Right now my main platform is Instagram. I can’t see this changing any time soon. In fact, I don’t want it to. I love what Instagram allows me to do and while the change in its algorithm has had a majorly negative effect on my growth, I’m very happy to keep focusing on it.
That being said though, I definitely want to build my audience on Facebook and Twitter. I think Facebook is great for sharing links that send a message thats in line with my own. And Twitter is brilliant for having conversations with other tweeters and keeping up to date with trending news. So for these reasons, I definitely want to promote those platforms more. I think I’ll do this through offering exclusive content on those platforms instead of my IG, such as giveaways, freebies and ootd details etc.
I also want to start my own YouTube channel this year. As with my feelings around blogging, I’m not going to put myself under pressure to post a new video every week! I’ve never filmed or edited a video but blogger friends of mine have told me how much work is involved in producing even a five minute video, so I’m going to ease myself into it while I learn and develop my skills. I visualise myself posting videos about everything from self care to hauls and any thing or everything in between. Again, the plan is to create what I want, when I want.
Collaborations

2018 is going to be the year of collaberations! There are so many great bloggers and influencers that I’m just dying to work with on areas like fashion, body positivity and mental health. This will hopefully come in the form of guest contributions, videos, podcasts and giveaways. I want yo work with women whos work I enjoy, admire and respect. I’ve got so much to learn and working with others is definitely something I think I could learn a lot from.
Sponsorship

I haven’t worked with brands before but it is definitely something I’d love to do in 2018. Because my message is quite a strong one in relation to body shame, beauty standards and diet culture, I wouldn’t be interested in working with brands that I feel don’t share that message. But I’m glad to say that more and more brands seem to be turning their backs on old outdated marketing strategies for newer, more inclusive ones. I’d particularly love to work with small Irish brands.
This is something that intimidates me a lot. When I think of sponsored posts I always think of influencers with 40k+ followers and cringe at the idea that I could possibly get that kind of work with my teeny tiny 2.8k. But then I remind myself that my followers are a very specific group of people, a market that some brands (plus size boutiques for example) might be keen to target, and that that may be worth more to brands than I think.
I plan to start by contacting agencies that represent digital influencers in Ireland. My following may be small, my website may be basic, but there are no other influencers in Ireland right now who do what I do or have the specific audience that I have. So I need to keep reminding myself of that and start selling myself and my abilities to the agencies that can help me achieve this goal.

Newsletter

As you may know I recently launched a bi-weekly newsletter. This was something I really wanted to do for the longest time but I kept putting it off because I felt I had to wait until I had more followers. Eventually I got fed up with my own nonesense and I just started it. I’ve only sent out two editions so far but I’m loving it already.
I want my newsletter to play a big part in my work for 2018. Ideally I’d like to get my subscriber numbers up to 1k by the end of the year but I won’t get too bogged down in that. I think the main thing I need to concentrate on in relation to the newsletter is consistency, and ensuring that it provides subscribers with exclusive content. This is tricky. It’s hard to come up with ideas for exclusive content all the time. But I think its doable and have some very exciting ideas for the months ahead.
Workshops

In November I held my first body positivity workshop in Dundalk. Workshops are something I’d wanted to do for months. Once again I kept putting it off until I had more followers. The fear of a bad turnout terrified me. I was really nervous about it but i needn’t have been. It went so well and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I’m eager to hold more workshops in 2018, most likely in Dublin. I will probably hold one every three months in a different location in the city. I’m pretty happy with the structure of the workshop that I held so probably won’t make any major changes to it, but I would like to incorporate some guest speakers and make a little bit more of an event out of them.
………………………………………………………………………………

So that’s that really. It’s quite a lot isn’t it! Im definitely going to have to ease myself into some of these changes. I dont want to try to do too much too fast and end up losing the will to live. But I have to say that I feel really good about the direction I want to take in 2018, and I’m incredibly excited about what lies ahead!

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