As you've probably noticed, Alajode had a little makeover last month. And as you probably noticed if you read my post about the new look, I've been feeling pretty reflective about the whole blogging thing. Like, is it time I just stopped posting random things on the internet reflective.
It seems lots of bloggers - many of my good friends and favourite bloggers, including Anoushka, Albertine and Jess - have been having some scarily similar thoughts recently. I'd love to say it was easy for me to block out those thoughts and keep doing what I've been doing for the last 4 years(!) but the truth is it just wasn't.
I did a lot of thinking. For the time ever, I thought about my blogging journey to date. And I had a think about what I've really enjoyed and what I need to cut out.
Even though I could tell you a hundred things I've loved over the last few years, there's one event in particular that stands out above the rest. So taking the top spot is (drum roll)... my trip to Eindhoven last year. Not only did I get to experience some amazing food and meet some amazing bloggers, but it reminded me why I love travelling and exploring. I came back from that trip feeling energised, excited and inspired. And isn't that what blogging is all about?
That trip was organised by my favourite blogging network: The Cirqle. If you're a blogger and not yet familiar with them, you're going to want to sign up fast.
I've used more blogger networks than I count and, in all honesty, I've mostly given up on them. I rarely see anything that interests me and, if I do, find I can't meet all of their requirements or I simply don't fit the brief. If I'm going to take part in a campaign - and give up my time and possibly some money - it has to be worth it. I only want to persue partnerships that make me love blogging more - not less.
And that's exactly the kind of partnerships you'll find on The Cirqle. The trips are worth going on, the sponsored posts are well-paid enough that you're happy to put hours and hours into a piece to create something you're really proud of. Your new favourite post, perhaps.
Whenever I have a little bit of time or a gap in my editorial calendar, I hop on the site and browse because I know it won't be time wasted.
The Cirqle have a great range of brands on their books, too. It's through the platform that I've discovered some of my new favourite brands including Rosefield watches, Inez cashmere and Marie-Stella-Maris. Not only are the brands all carefully chosen, the campaigns they put forward are well thought out. When you sign up, you can connect all your social platforms and analytics so they can access your stats instantly, which means there's no need to worry about putting a media kit and keeping it up to date - something I really struggle with.
The Cirqle is based in the Netherlands and many of the companies they work with are too, but they also have brands like Michael Kors, H&M, DKNY and British Airways on the books. Plus, as well as applying for campaigns set by brands, you can pitch any of your own ideas for collaborations.
I know a lot of bloggers are going through a bit of a 'should I quit blogging?!' crisis at the moment and all of us get overwhelmed trying to balance all of the parts that go into blogging. From now on, I'm not putting unnecessary pressure on myself for this blog; it's not worth it. I'm going to only take part in things that I'm 100% sure about and ignore the little FOMO demons that tell me I might regret it. I won't.
I will, however, continue to work with a select handful of networks and brands that I enjoy working with, of which The Cirqle is definitely one.
Are you a member of any blogging networks? Have you signed up to The Cirqle?
This post was sponsored by The Cirqle, but you've probably heard me go on about them so much IRL that I really need to tell you all words and thoughts are my own!