In conversation with a rising blogger
Maria Joynson is a 19 year old blogger from London. In January 2016 she started blogging about beauty, although now she turns her hand at everything including fashion, food and a series of posts filled with helpful advice for new bloggers. With over 10.000 followers across her social media platforms and amazing feedback on mariaj.co.uk, Maria’s tiny hobby is becoming a huge part of her life. Together we discussed about her experience with blogging, standing out in the community, voicing your own opinion online and changes that need to be made in the blogging world.
- When did you start blogging and what made you do it?
I started blogging properly in January 2016 when I started working in retail. For the first time in my life, my free time wasn’t filled with studying so I decided I needed a hobby and liked the idea of having a blog. Also I was working with makeup so I would see all the new releases first, so a blog was a great way to put what I was learning to work!
- In one of your posts you talked about your experience of being a college dropout. Did your passion for blogging have anything to do with your decision of dropping out of University?
That’s a really good question! In a way it might have now that I think about it, blogging made me realise I had a much more creative side. Compared to the years before when I was always choosing to study very traditional subjects like politics and history. Three more years of politics really wasn’t appealing to me anymore.
- In the future, where do you think your blog will take you? Would you consider blogging as a full-time career?
Honestly, I have no idea. I think it would be a dream to have this as career and although I’m making a small amount of money from it at the moment it’s definitely still a work in progress.
- What are your favourite types of blog posts to write and what inspires you?
That’s a tough one because I love writing all different types of posts and I don’t think I can pick a favourite! It really depends on the images, if I’ve taken some good photos then I’m much more enthusiastic about writing the post. But I do really love doing travel posts, it’s like reminiscing on memories.
- Since your blog posts focus a lot on beauty, what do you think makes a good beauty review blog post?
I think putting across a balanced argument, especially when you’ve been sent the product. Obviously there are times when you’re completely in love with a product but that’s not always the case and you have to be honest to your readers. I also think detail is really important without making it like an essay, I always try to think out of the box and instead of just writing about how the product works I like to think about how it removes, applies, wears throughout the day and any knock on effects it has.
- How has your blog changed since you started it and what have you learned from this experience?
My blog has changed massively in every way, there are very few things that I do in the same way to when I started my blog because when I started it I had no experience to go on, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes to learn from! I think the main things I’ve learned are about photography, also I think people would be surprised at how much bloggers pick up about search engine optimisation and the world of digital marketing!
okay let’s compare my blog photos from this time last year to now … pic.twitter.com/rtMjZoYp46
— MariaJ🥑 (@mariajblogs) December 27, 2016
- How do you manage time and motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I think separation is key, blogging is very life intrusive in that you feel like you can never leave it alone so once you create time for yourself blogging isn’t like a chore it’s something you look forward to. I have no idea how I stay motivated, I think that naturally because I love it so much I always want to work on my blog. In the year and a half I’ve been blogging I can only remember one week where I was completely stuck for ideas and I think that’s pretty good going!
- What do you do to make sure your blog stands out in the community?
I don’t really know if I do stand out! I just constantly want to improve on my own work and I spend a lot of time making spider diagrams to create my own ideas. I think the creation of my ‘blogger help’ series has really helped with people becoming more familiar with me though!
- Do you hope to help people who read your blog and in what ways would that be possible?
This question actually ties in with the one above because I mentioned my ‘blogger help’ series. It’s the thing I get the most feedback on and literally every day I get tweets and comments saying that one of my posts from the series has been helpful. I started out writing a post about how to take blog photos if you don’t have a camera and it has s kind of spurred from there. I have this mentality that everyone can have a blog and I would’ve really needed these posts when I started out, so I have really been working on helping new bloggers recently.
- Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
If I’m completely honest, me! Every week I take a few minutes to go on my blog and view it as a reader and see what I would improve. You’d be surprised at how many things I find to change! Obviously I have loads of blogging inspirations, Victoria from In the Frow and Em Sheldon being another but I try to impact myself more than anything. I think if I look to others for inspiration or comparison I’ll end up comparing myself too much!
- Do you think it’s important to share ‘realistic’ content online and voice you own opinion and why?
Completely! I’ve done a whole post on sharing real life on the internet and I think it’s really important. Although I love to take pretty pictures and I wish I lead an ‘instagrammable’ life, I really don’t (nobody does!) . I’m always the one tweeting about my acne and being too lazy to get dressed and people respond to it because they can relate to it.
- Do you think the blogging community is over-saturated at the moment and would it be hard to succeed in the industry in 2017?
There are so many bloggers, I think sometimes I forget and it isn’t until I’m at an event that I realise just how many of us there are! Even though there are huge numbers of bloggers I don’t think it’s over saturated, ultimately if you work hard and produce good content there’s no reason why you shouldn’t succeed – it’s all up to you. If there were less bloggers it doesn’t necessarily mean you’d automatically do well, it’s very dependant on you.
- Are there any changes you would like to see in the blogging community?
Buying followers. I could just leave that there and it’d be self explanatory. It kills me that this has become such a trend when there are so many bloggers working legitimately to grow their following. It would be okay if social media sites were better at regulating accounts but it shows no sign of stopping.
- What are some future plans or goals for Maria J and how will your content develop this year?
I never really set numbers goals or anything like that because I don’t want to get trapped in just focusing on statistics but I obviously want to grow my blogs potential. Overall, I just want to improve, I want to work on creating better images and creating a variety of posts on different topics. I want my blog to be somewhere where someone goes and they can find multiple topics they’d be interested in. I often go down my own blog and read through my post titles and think “would I jump to read that?” if the answer is no then I need to go back to the idea spider diagrams!
- What would be your top piece of advice for an aspiring blogger?
Start a blog. It sounds pretty obvious but I get messages everyday from people saying they want to start a blog but don’t know how and there’s only one answer to that and that is to create an account and make a blog! I think people starting out worry too much about other people’s blogs compared to theirs. I’d say focus on what you’re doing and go into blogging for the right reasons – you’ll never know if blogging is for you until you sit down, plan some ideas and actually try it out!