“So what do you do?” It was a question I’ve had many times over, and every time I pause before giving an answer. This time was no different. It was a noisy bar and the person asking was seven sheets to the wind. Not sure if they were really bothered what my answer would be, I quickly weighed up a reply in my head.
Do I go for my fail safe Social Media Manager? After all, I am now fully qualified and so it feels like a perfectly valid answer, or do I go for the pre courser, the role I cut my teeth in, in all that is social media; a blogger.
Feeling in the mood for debate, and sensing one looming with said person asking, I replied “I am blogger.”
There was a pause.
“I don’t get all that blogging malarkey, what is a blogger?” was the eventual reply.
This time it was my turn to pause. I needed to give a full and valid reason for being a blogger only in laymen terms, while giving the profession the justice it deserves. Simply because that’s what it is to me – it is a profession, after all I gave up a career, a 9-5, for blogging.
Yet that title is never one which can be translated into a sentence and be done with. It needs explanation and clarification.
So that’s what I did……
“well, I share my opinion and snippets of my life on a website which I built and maintain myself. Sometimes I share reviews of a product which a company has sent me and sometimes I just waffled about things which are going on in my head.”
And the debate continued.
“That’s not a job though, that’s a hobby. You can’t make money blogging.”
3 years ago I’d have completely agreed, it was just a hobby. An outlet to share my professional training and to keep it fresh in my mind while on maternity leave. Which it did. But pretty soon I was being contacted by brands to review their products on my blog. I only ever accepted things I thought were relevant to my readers or I needed, it helped keep me in my niche and stopped looked like a total advertising platform.
12 months in though, my social media followers were building up nicely and soon the offers for sponsored posts were pinging into my mail box. I was being paid to write a blog post by companies. My little blog had become a trusted advertising or brand awareness referral platform for other companies. My hard work had paid off.
It’s still a little difficult to explain if you don’t fully know how the internet works. In a nutshell, companies collaborate with bloggers to help spread the word about their product or service. We have direct access to readers who follow our blogs on social media or receiving our latest blog posts straight via email. It’s a much more personal way of reaching people; Our experience with the brand or company we are collaborating with is bound within a story within an underpinning back history on what is going in our life.
Almost like having a chat with your mates, telling them how great something is (or rubbish) having moan about life or shouting from the roof tops how great it is. I’ve turned down work offers which I don’t think I can find anything interesting to write about or doesn’t fit with anything which is going on for me right now. I’ve refused to write about products or experiences which I have no interest in or I wouldn’t want to recommend to a friend.
A lot of my day is spent replying to emails with a polite thanks but no thanks. So don’t ever feel you’re being fed a line, if I tell you I liked it, I liked it. If I write about it, it’s because I’m interested in it.
Plus, it’s actually a lot harder to tell a lie than share a truth.
And don’t EVER think that blogging is all about the free stuff, it’s NEVER free, any product I review has been exchanged for my time spent putting the product through the nitty gritty, writing a blog post, photographing and editing, sharing and promoting across my social media and the time spent maintaining my website. Most of the time the product I’m sharing doesn’t equate to the cost per hour spent doing all the above.
Which is precisely why I will thing long and had about whether I want to review it. My time is precious.
I’ve been criticised for over sharing and ‘spreading myself all over the internet.’ Which I don’t disagree with one bit. You do have to give a little bit of yourself away to draw your readers in. It’s the curiosity of humankind which makes a blog such compelling reading. A little like a reality TV show, I guess. But the pros far outweigh the cons, the messages and feedback of support and thanks I get as a blogger keep me reaching for the keyboard and sharing my story. And while I do sometimes find it difficult being so public, especially with my current situation.
It’s also the most cathartic thing I can do both for myself, anyone else in a similar situation and for my family and friends who wonder what’s going on in my busy little head most of the time!
Blogging isn’t for everyone but it is for me, the hours are long but the rewards are fantastic!