Focus on Your Skills, Not Your Following


With all the attention fixated on mega-popular bloggers, it's hard not to focus on the size of an audience. So-and-so had 2 million Instagram followers. You-know-who, earns a million dollars a year. These metrics, while important in some ways, will not get you more attention. Followers just don't appear out of nowhere. They don't follow just because everyone is following.

Instead of focusing on your numbers, focus on your skills. Your writing. Your photography. Your fashion styling or curating. See what you can do to tell a better story.

I'm here to tell you that having a bunch of followers, or having no followers at all, will not give you that sense of accomplishment. The size of your audience is merely a result of excellent story telling, whether it's a unique story, or a story we've heard over and over. A story well told will always be listened to. I mean, how many times have we all seen The Wizard of Oz?

What do you need to do to improve your skills? Is it writing more? Taking a photography class? Is it learning more about the fashion industry? Practice?

So stop worrying so much about how many “followers” you have, and focus on doing the thing that really makes you happy. Trust me, the rest will follow.


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31 Responses

  1. Zuma

    Great post Jennine! It’s so easy to concentrate on others’ success what sometimes equals in our mind to our own failure. This is a wrong way of thinking, of course. The million-follower-bloggers did something right. And if we want people to listen to us too, we need to perfect our storytelling and presentation skills. Blogging is a skill and demands a smart approach and hard work. ️xx

  2. Carmen

    I agree with this whole heartedly, I know someone has put effort into their post through the writing and storytelling and illustrating amazing photos. All of which I am working on myself. <3 Great post!

  3. Accidental Icon

    This post is very timely as it is easy to get caught up in numbers. This creates stress and takes away from the real reason I started a blog: to experience the pleasure of really exploring something I love. You are right spending more time on telling the story you want to tell and less on the numbers is what gives great satisfaction. Realistically though I have to say there is a certain kind of thrill that comes from seeing the numbers going up. Like anything in life I guess there is a balance to be found. As long as you are not making comparisons to others and their numbers (and finding yourself falling short) I think a balance can be found. The focus on skill is really good advice and I try to take a different continuing ed course at FIT whenever I can.
    Accidental Icon

  4. Abbie

    Thanks for the advice, sometimes the whole following thing gets me down but I am going to remember what I love about blogging!! xx

  5. Stylendipity

    Agree wholeheartedly. My sense of accomplishment comes from writing a brilliant piece. Once I press “publish” that’s all that matters.
    Besides, just because they aren’t following you, it doesn’t mean they aren’t following you!

  6. Kaisha

    This is just what I need to hear, especially after setting up an instagram account. It has been almost a week and I have been getting followed by people who have one post that say ‘want to be instagram famous’. I just would like to have viewers who share the same interest and like my ideas or stories.

  7. Brittany Ann

    I’ve been stuck on about 20 followers/100 unique page views a week since starting my blog. It’s steady, but rarely increases. It can certainly be frustrating.
    I’m really bad at self-promotion though. We are encouraged to “be social” on (duh!) social media, yet so much is shallow and shameless. The hype-for-hype/follow-for-follow stuff drives me mad. I would rather one thoughtful reader than twenty who click only to promote their own blog, and I use this rule in reverse – if the person’s blog/post doesn’t resonate or inspire me, I can’t bring myself to leave an inauthentic comment just to promote my own site, or “like” numerous images that don’t mean anything to me.
    I would love more readers, but I’m patient.

    • Madame Ostrich

      Brittany Ann, I SO agree with you! I hate the “follow 4 follow” messages I get from other bloggers. It’s at times almost insulting when they post a two word comment and then 5 different links to their pages.

      I will read your blog! You sound like a likeminded woman!


  8. Aniqa

    Thank you Jennine for sharing your thoughts with us. I completely agree with you; we get caught up in numbers way too easily these days instead of enjoying in the process of writing and creating.

  9. Ann Krembs

    How is it that you always give the best advice at always the best time. I’m always wondering how to increase my following, but you’re right: focus on my skills and let the rest follow–so to speak!

    Thanks Jennine! I will try….

    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

  10. Sharron Gilty

    Been struggling with this aspect of blogging! Although I like social media it can be overwhelming at times. My goals in 2015 are to continue to focus on my writing and studying more about fashion. My photography could get better as well. This and all of your articles similar always get me motivated to stay in the “game” and keep pushing forward no matter how many followers I have! Thanks and you are truly appreciated!❤️

  11. Gracious Store

    I share your view that number of followers is not as important as what you have to offer those followers whether there are few or in multitude.

  12. Antonina

    Thank you for this post Jennine! Constant self-improvement, kindness and generosity will always bring results. To me, the point is in being useful to my readers, so I’d rather have 10 followers who benefit from my advice than a thousand who just browse through. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  13. Onianwah
    That is what I do now. I’m focusing on parts of my site that I can’t do myself. Hiring the skills I need and don’t have the time to learn. A story is what makes a good brand, a brilliant story more like. I have a story and know how to craft one and that’s what I’m working on these days.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  14. Nikki

    Yes! Do what you love and the rest will follow. No matter what happens you will have learned something from the experience.

  15. Melissa M. Futrell

    Thank you so much for this article! I have to agree with you that it’s not about how much followers you have. When I started out as a new author at the age of thirteen, I had to face many obstacles and build my audience. I worried that I didn’t have many readers like the people on Wattpad. But what I did was improved my skills more and interacted with other writers and giving them advice on their writing. By then in a few months, my readers went up by 1,000. So, basically, you gotta focus more on the quality and content in order to become successful, not just look and worry about how many followers you have.