When someone asks me, “What do you do?” and my answer is, “I blog!” I get a lot of confused looks, awkward comments, and eventually a “No, I mean for work…” response.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about blogging and what exactly it is that bloggers do. After trying really hard to explain to friends, family, and strangers alike, I decided the best way to conquer this task was by blogging 😉
BLOGGING IS A BUSINESS
Let’s lay it out there: Blogging is a LOT of work. For some it is a hobby, but for others, it is a full time job – normally on top of a 9-5 office job. No matter how much time you spend on blogging, the time you spend will be challenging because your blog is your business.
Cara from Never Skip Brunch explains, “We are essentially content curators, photographers, social media managers, editors, writers, marketing strategists, the founders / creators of our own brand, and of course the list goes on depending on the niche.”
Lizzie from Lizzie in Lace agrees, stating, “You have so many tasks to fulfill on a daily basis and so many hats to wear. People get the impression that bloggers only take a photo and post it, collect free stuff all the time and that we just lay around all day, which is certainly not the case. A lot of people seem to think that no time at all goes into blogging when, in reality, ALL of our time goes into it (photographing, editing, writing, promoting, book keeping, scheduling, brainstorming, meetings, emails, social media, research, learning new things, etc.) – it never ends.”
Caitlin from Caitlin Eliza adds, “Followers don’t see the 30 awkward photos taken before the perfect shot is captured or the writing and rewriting of blog post content until it’s exactly as desired. Much much more goes on behind the scenes than merely posting a pretty photo to Instagram. It takes effort, planning, and most importantly it takes passion for loving what you do and at the end of the day, that’s what makes it all worth it.”
I easily spend over 40 hours a week on my blog between all the work that I do. We focus on conversions and sales just like other online businesses do, but somehow we do not get the praise that they do for their hard work and entrepreneurial drive 🙁
For most bloggers, EVERYTHING is done in-house. Alyssa from Alyssa J Freitas lists writing, photography, coding, promotion and collaboration as necessary skills for bloggers. I would personally add book keeping (who would have ever thought my horrible accounting class in college would be put to practical use?!), brand management and data analysis to that list. I’m doing the work of an entire corporation for my small business!
My personal pet peeve is when I hear “All bloggers care about are cute Instagrams that get lots of likes.” That post is a business promotion, the same as a billboard, a magazine ad, or a TV commercial!!! The business just happens to be a blog and the platform just happens to be Instagram. Also: The amount of likes shows the amount of people who viewed that promotion. Each person who views that promotion is another possible sales conversion AKA possible money toward my rent and utilities. It’s not vanity, it’s business.
Paulina from Navy Striped Peonies writes, “Bloggers don’t do what they do for vanity! We genuinely love building a community and interacting with others. Most of us aren’t conceited or materialistic. That’s an assumption lots of people make.”
Marisa from Sincerely Mar agrees. “Being a successful blogger takes a business mindset. You have to learn to market yourself and your brand in the best way possible. Behind the Instagram photos is tons of content planning, market analysis, and creativity to create an authentic brand of your own!”
We are kick-ass businesswomen who dress super well and love fun products, that’s all there is to it!
WE GET COMPENSATED BECAUSE WE WORK HARD
Has anyone ever questioned why you received your pay check from your job? You put in the work and you get rewarded for it. Why would anyone see an issue with that? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you question why bloggers receive compensation in product or money for their work. We work very hard and we have to pay our bills the same as you 🙂
Jackie from Something About That says, “None of the “free stuff” we get is ever “free.” You’re expected to put work (photography, writing, social media marketing, etc) in to showcase product or an experience. More importantly, it takes so much work to get to a point where people will send you those things in the first place. It’s a lot harder than it looks and if it looks easy, it’s because we’re doing our job.”
Whether it is product, gift cards, cash or something else as compensation, bloggers are legally required to disclose when we work with brands, just as advertisements for other companies require proper disclosure. If we are viewed the same as other businesses by the government, we should be viewed the same way by everyone else!
EVERY BLOG IS DIFFERENT
As every person is different, so is every blog! Even two fashion blogs will have marked differences based on the author and her personal style. A boho blog will be miles away from a preppy blog, that is for darn sure!
Outside fashion blogs, there are a million more blogs, focusing on anything from fitness to Disney to food. Kayla from The Summer Lover mentions, “There are a lot of different blogs out there in the blogging world, all written for different reasons. It’s about sheer passion about the subjects we discuss.”
No matter what your interest, there is a blog or a thousand out there for you! And, if there’s not, start one 🙂
WE HELP ONE ANOTHER
The blogging community is vast, but it’s a small world. Everyone knows of everyone – and everyone has an internet trail! As I’ve explained before, there are sometimes issues that arise between bloggers but that is a drop in the ocean of blogger interactions.
Annaliese from Southern Belle in Training breaks it down: “The blogging world can be the best of the best and the worst of the worst! I’ve met some of my best friends in real life thanks to blogging, and experienced some of the sweetest community. But I’ve also experienced mean girls at their finest, and watched blogging bring out people’s cattiness unfortunately.”
Katie from Bits + Bites has a similar view, saying, “Making friends within the community has been crucial for the success of my blog. Just as you have friends at work to get you through the rough times and to bounce ideas off of, you need friends to support you with blogging. Support one another, don’t compete!”
I personally believe in collaboration over competition and try to help out other bloggers in any way that I can – I offer blogging resources and coaching services. Chances are, if you ask a blogger how they got their start, they’ll point you to another established blogger who served as a mentor. Bloggers are girl bosses. I truly feel blessed to (virtually) work with so many amazing women!
YOU DON’T MAKE IT OVERNIGHT
You don’t write one post and gain a huge supportive following overnight. It takes lots of work as you read above, and it also takes time as well as patience.
I started blogging as a hobby and a way to boost my online portfolio, but when I started to get serious about it, I was a little disappointed by its slow growth. But I promise, that is normal!
Karen from Wanderlusting K suggests, “To rank well on Google, it takes time. First, focus on building your website presence via guest posting and collaborations!”
What separates the bloggers who succeed from those who don’t is merely drive. Most bloggers give up in the first six months, which is why most people don’t take blogging seriously. You have to stick it out and persevere through the challenges, choosing to learn about your desired niche and making adjustments. Eventually, it clicks!
Kayleigh from Young Cosmopolite discloses, “Blogging is based on two things — passion and education. A consistent source of drive tends to be a given for anyone who wants to be a creator. But the bigger and harder asset to obtain is educating oneself on what it means to be a successful blogger. It means watching YouTube videos and reading tutorials about coding and marketing, it means spending hours learning how to take and edit photos, it means always uploading and evolving a website and Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram. It doesn’t ever stop, and there’s always more you can do to achieve growth. You’re busy 24/7. You can always improve, and more than that, you can always improve in every single aspect of your brand. Blogging can be overwhelming, and it takes a lot of love, patience, and determination to succeed.”
OUR LIVES ARE NOT PERFECT
As tempting as it is to believe that our lives are the filtered version you see on social media, we are flawed humans who fail as much as everyone else. I try to be upfront and honest with my readers about my life to share my thoughts, feelings, successes and failures for that very reason. Celebrating an idealized version of humanity isn’t healthy!
Kayla is also passionate about this point. She says, “The blogger facade is just that – a facade – our lives are certainly not picture-perfect … I make it a point to be REAL on my blog and dig deeper than just macarons and peonies.”
WE LOVE BLOGGING!
We would not put the blood, swear and tears into our blogs if we did not genuinely love every second of it. I would never put my life on the internet if I didn’t strongly believe in what I was doing. The good times remind me of my potential and my strengths, and the bad times push me to better myself and learn from my mistakes. Blogging has toughened my skin and strengthened my resolve to be the best me I can be. I am grateful to have found a profession that allows me to use my coursework from Purdue, my work experience and my passion for life all at once!
Hopefully this has helped to clear up some misunderstandings you may have had about blogging! And if you have any questions, just ask us 🙂