This has been a strange summer for me. Essentially, because it feels like an actual summer. I’m not running around like a madwoman and working myself into exhaustion. I’ve been able to spend time with friends, family- even read a few books.
When the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale came around this year, I started getting flashbacks of a very unhealthy period. This wasn’t anything to do with the sale itself, but everything to do with where I was at the time I first learned about it. Because – at the end of the day – the sale is just a sale. It’s a clever, albeit lucrative, marketing campaign from a retailer with an incredibly loyal client base. But, if you’d asked me about it three years ago, you’d have thought it was my life.
My job was centered around helping bloggers optimize their websites and increase their affiliate earnings. Since the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale was the biggest earning opportunity of the year, it felt like how I’d imagine tax season is for accountants. I spent weeks researching keywords and best practices, writing guides on how bloggers could capitalize on the sale. And each day, I’d login to our dashboard and see people’s commissions soar. My face looking at the numbers was probably similar to the dollar sign eyes emoji. Before I knew it – I was pulled into the madness.
For a couple of years, I’d plan an entire month of content around the sale. Was it worth it? I made money, yes. But a significant portion of it went to pay down what I had spent to promote the sale – products, advertising, etc. It felt almost shameful to celebrate any small success over something so trivial.
Despite having more free time to dedicate to the blog this year, I made a decision not to plan any special posts around the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I created a few landing pages several years ago that still get organic search traffic, so I just updated those with 2019 details.
I’ve been helping some of my blogger clients and friends with their NSale content recently. A few have expressed how frustrating it has been to see their traffic and earnings go down compared to previous years. It broke my heart a little to see how personally it was affecting them. They blame themselves for doing something wrong or not doing enough. It’s hard to watch other people’s rising success, while feeling like you’re at a plateau or on the decline. The comparison game is one no one truly wins.
I explained to them that there are so many external factors at play; there is no right way of doing things anymore. The fact that tens of thousands of bloggers are getting the same SEO “advice” from one affiliate network about how-to post about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale only means that Google is seeing a lot of duplicate content. The market is over-saturated and diluted. Bloggers are promoting the same leopard-print cardigan on Instagram, not considering that by the time they can actually wear it, the product will be sold out and non-commissionable.
I’ve said this for years, but the influencer marketing bubble is going to burst. We may be reaching the tipping point now. Anyone who lets page views determine their worth will be sorely disappointed. My advice would be to worry less about growing your numbers, and more about what value you are offering to your current audience.
That’s the crossroads I’ve been standing at for awhile now. What is this site for? Who are my readers? What matters to me? What do I want to leave behind when I’m gone? I love fashion for the sake of art and self-expression, but I’m not here to convince anyone that buying something from one sale will change their life. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is a means to an end. Anything I earn this year will help subsidize a trip to visit my birth family in Korea and give me more freedom to focus on writing and building VISIBLE.
That’s the thing about blogging — if it’s not making your actual life better or helping you feel more fulfilled, what’s the point? Early Access starts in an hour. I’ll be watching Rocketman with my dear friend Sevi. I’ll never forget the day I met her. It was at a blogger event five years ago. Everyone was taking pictures and posting to Instagram when the Cupid Shuffle started playing. I looked around, but no one was getting up to dance– except for Sevi. We ran to the dance floor together and have been inseparable ever since.
That’s how I want to see life. Not as a game, but as a dance. Even if you forget the steps, or stumble along the way, if you’re enjoying yourself and have people with you that make you smile… I think it was worth it. And doing it in cute shoes you bought at some sale is just an extra bonus.