Am I an influencer? Or a writer?

Am I an influencer or a writer? Helen Redfern

The latest edition of Blogosphere magazine has just dropped through my letterbox. And I’m in it. For the third edition in a row I’m in it as a book blogger. Or a book ‘influencer’. And I’m utterly delighted with that. I think it’s a great magazine. Very luxe. Informative. And fascinating as I love reading about the online industry. And it’s also got that satisfying ‘hot off the press smell’.

It’s funny though. Not funny laugh out loud but funny, strange and interesting, how my perception of myself has altered since I sent my copy to the magazine. Just a little bit. But enough to make a big impact.

A little while ago I wrote about how niching your blog is a creativity killer. In that post I said that there is more than one type of blogger. Broadly speaking there are those who want to turn their blog into an influential business. And those who want to share their writing and build a writing career.

In that post I said how easy it was for the latter type of bloggers (those who want to build a writing career) to focus on and follow the advice aimed at bloggers who want to become influencers. Because that advice is plentiful. There is an assumption, when you type into Pinterest ‘how to start a blog,’ that you want to start a blog to make money and work with brands.

It happened to me in the past. But I thought, in more recent times, I was aware of this and was more mindful. That I avoided that type of advice; discounting it as I knew it wasn’t relevant. But, guess what? It is still happening to me. I am still focusing on strategies that are more relevant to influencer type bloggers than bloggers who want to get published.

Don’t get me wrong I think there is a lot we, as bloggers who want to be published writers, can learn from the influencer-type-strategy.


I am not an influencer. I am a writer.

In a more recent blog post I wrote about how I was changing my online routine. This was after having a light bulb moment that is still rumbling on through my thoughts.

I am a writer. I am not an influencer.

[Can I just say at this point - I’m using the word ‘influencer’ as that is what the industry use - I am aware some people don’t like it and don’t like being described as such - forgive me.]

An influencer is someone who works alongside brands. They promote them on their Instagram feed, on blog posts or YouTube videos. I have nothing but admiration for the majority of these creatives. They have the ideas, they execute the ideas, they are photographers, salespeople, writers, copywriters, stylists….so many different things. And I love to consume their content.

I follow and admire so many of these people. You have one of the original YouTubers - Zoe Sugg. Then there’s Dom from All That is She on Instagram who engineers brilliantly creative Instagram pictures. And some of them feature brands. The Anna Edit - a blogger and YouTuber is someone I occasionally watch. And more recently Mrs Hinch. I even wrote a blog post about her and what we could learn from her rise and apply this to our own Instagram accounts.

Their creativity is primarily online. And I thought mine should be too via blog posts, Instagram posts and YouTube. Mrs Hinch is big on Instagram Stories. Zoe Sugg on YouTube. Anna is a prolific blogger. (It gets more confusing when you see all three have also written books.)

And I love doing all this. I love creating things to share online. I describe myself as an ‘online writer and creative’.


And this is a big BUT.

Why am I doing all these things? I’m using influencer strategies yet not fully embracing the concept because I know working alongside brands is not for me. I can’t even bring myself recently to write blog posts that contain affiliate links. Because writing about things you can buy just doesn’t interest me - even though I know it could make me money.

What I want to do is to write. And to share my writing journey through my social media.

What I’m actually doing is undertaking an influencer strategy so not allowing myself time to write. This means I don’t have anything to share on my ‘writing journey’ so I find I don’t have ideas for an Instagram post or a blog post or a YouTube video.

There’s another ‘but’ coming. BUT being a part-time influencer enables me to make an income before my writing is published. A huge positive. See! This is why I’m so conflicted. Writing a book is a long process so making some money from promoting an author’s book, or a vacuum cleaner or a brand of honey all helps me make an income whilst working towards my bigger goal.

But then these ‘side hustles’ take over. And I’m wondering how I could do more. And so the novel continues to lie dusty and unwritten.

It’s a circle. A circle where I have to remind myself on a regular basis of what my end goal is: to make a sustainable income from writing. Not from brands.

If you’re interested in reading about this further I will be exploring this is more detail in a future essay about online creativity on Patreon.

Am I a writer or an influencer? And how this affects what I do on social media.