I’ve been blogging for around 18 months now, and i’ve definitely learned a lot since publishing my first blog post. Blogging has opened many new doors, and I discover and experience something new pretty much every week. I love being able to share my experiences and inspire my readers, whether it’s to try a new recipe, travel to a new place, or even start a blog themselves. But blogging isn’t all fun and games – and it isn’t just about taking pretty pictures and looking good on social media. Blogging is time-consuming (for me, it’s pretty much like having another full-time job), and I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the industry and what us bloggers do.
So, I wanted to write a post explaining a few truths about blogging and exactly how much work goes into running into a blog. Whether you’re a non-blogger wondering what’s really involved in the whole blog thing (apart from the fun stuff you see on Instagram), or a newbie blogger wanting to learn more about what to expect, here are a few truths about blogging that may surprise you!
1) It’s so time-consuming!
What used to be a lazy Sunday with nothing to do but chill out, is now a Sunday spent writing blog posts for the week, editing photos, working on Pinterest, reading other blogs, scheduling social media, replying to comments, writing emails, and everything else. Running a blog is so time-consuming and you’re constantly thinking about ways to make it better. One tiny tweak (that no one will even notice) can sometimes take you 3 hours, and no matter how much work you’ve done, there’s always more to do. In the past 2 weeks, I think i’ve been to bed before 2am twice – and a big reason for that is because i’ve been staying up working on my blog. There are a lot of perks, but a LOT of time goes into it too.
2) There’s no such thing as ‘free’ stuff
If I got a pound or dollar for every time someone has said, “Blogging looks great, you just get free stuff all the time!” i’d be, well, probably much richer than I am now.
There’s a whole process that’s involved in creating the perfect blog post and tons of work that goes on behind the scenes. I can’t deny that blogging has a lot of perks, but, contrary to popular belief, the perks of blogging are rarely ever free. ‘Free’ implies that you’re getting something without having to pay for it. We may not have to pay for the clothes or hotels with actual money, but we do have to pay for it in time, which is just as valuable.
For example, you might see a blogger staying at a hotel for the weekend. It may look like all they’re doing is chilling at the spa in a fluffy robe, but for most people, that ‘free’ hotel stay generally looks something like this:
Pre-trip: Develop a blog post/trip idea, research hotels you’d like to blog about and find the right person to contact, perfect your pitch, reach out, probably get rejected a couple of times, get accepted, organize the stay and decide when you’re going to go.
On the trip: Check into the hotel, go to your room, leave your suitcases out in the hallway, take 20+ photos of the room to get 3/4 perfect shots, post to social media that you’ve arrived, explore the area and do a few fun activities, take photographs of what you’re doing, note down key things like what you’re doing and how/where you can do it, post to social media again, photograph the hotel, perhaps talk to the chef and try out the menu, sample the spa or health centre, go out for dinner in the evening and if that’s complimentary, take photos of that too. The next day, post to social media about what you’re getting up to, take a photo of your breakfast, check out, then maybe make a few final notes. Oh and in all of the photographing and note-taking, you’ve got to enjoy it too!
Post-trip: Collaborate your notes, conduct additional research about your hotel or destination, sift through 200+ photos from the weekend and narrow it down to 5-15 shots for the blog post(s), edit the photos, spend 1-3 hours writing the post(s), upload all the photos, edit the post, post it, promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and any other platform you use, optimize the images for social media, then go to Hootsuite and schedule the post for the following week. You’ve also got to deliver everything what you’ve promised to your partner, so you can’t just write any old rubbish – it’s got to be high quality & something that your readers will enjoy.
Jeesh! All of that for one blog post. And of course, you may have other work going on that you have to juggle too. I’m not complaining at all because I love what I do, but there’s definitely a lot that more than you think that goes into creating just one post, so it’s rarely ever ‘free’!
3) Bloggers wear many hats
As a blogger, you are a writer, stylist, make-up artist, web developer, photographer, videographer, editor, and marketer (among other things) all in one. I’ve learned so much through blogging over the last 18 months, but there’s always something else to learn and something new to master, so you’ve got to stay on the ball. My plan for this summer is to work on my YouTube channel and start vlogging. This is an area that’s completely new to me so I’m spending a lot of my time researching video editing, what makes a good video, what to vlog about, and studying other successful vloggers for best practices.
4) There are
thousands millions of bloggers trying to make it
We’ve all heard of Sincerely Jules, The Blonde Salad, Nomadic Matt, and the other huge bloggers who have ‘made it’. These guys make thousands of dollars for posting a picture on Instagram or writing a blog post, and of course, that’s pretty cool. But that’s only a very very small percentage of the tens of millions of other bloggers out there who are trying to make their mark. Blogging is a hard industry, so if growing your blog is on the agenda, you’ve got to constantly stay on top of things and find innovative ways to stand out from the incredibly saturated market.
5) Blogging is a business, as well as a passion
A lot of people get peed off when they find out that bloggers sometimes get paid for writing a post or promoting a product. But for many people, including myself, I do see blogging as a business as well as a passion. Most blogs start out as a hobby, but then when you’re putting SO many hours into your blog and you’re offering value to brands, I think it’s okay to receive compensation for it. Besides, we’ve all got rent/bills to pay and unfortunately, landlords tend not to accept outfits as a form of payment!
Personally, i’ll always disclose on my blog if the post is sponsored by a brand (FYI, sponsored generally means paid), and I make it a rule to never promote a product or experience that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy or be interested myself, whether i’m getting paid for it or not. That does sometimes mean turning down brands, which I never like doing, but you have to be true to your branding and what you believe in.
Of course, not everything is sponsored and all bloggers start from the (unpaid) bottom. My agenda isn’t just to make money, but if a brand can support my post idea then it does help, especially if I would otherwise incur the cost myself. Sometimes brands might not offer financial compensation, but the benefits (such as exposure on their social media channels, the opportunity to work with a great brand, receiving products you’re interested in, or the chance to experience something fun) might be equally as valuable.
6) Your office is wherever you want it to be
One of my favourite things about having a blog is that my office is wherever I want it to be! It’s often my sofa – and i’m often wearing my pyjamas – but other than that it can be a coffee shop, a patio, the park, an airport, or wherever else you can find Wi-Fi. Having a blog means you work for yourself, but it also means you have to motivate yourself to stick to a consistent posting schedule, and try not to fall behind when life gets busy (which i’m really bad at)!
7) Social media is integral to your blog
…which is why many bloggers are so active and post so much! Essentially, social media is one of your blog’s biggest support systems (other than the readers). When you see a blogger posting to Instagram twice a day, it’s not because they love themselves and they want to spam you with their life (I promise). Being active on social media helps you to get your blog out there and deliver value to your readers, establish your brand, connect with new people, and essentially, grow your blog.
When you grow your follower base, you reach more people, which increases your traffic and engagement, which makes you more desirable to work with because you have a larger audience, which leads to more opportunities and experiences. Whether you see your blog as a hobby or business, and whether your blog receives 10 views a month or 10,000, every single reader and follower counts. Consistent posting is key too, which is why tools like Hootsuite and Later are great as they help you to schedule posts in advance so they automatically post for you.
8) Your support means everything
Whenever I get a ‘like’ or a share or a message from someone saying they’ve read my blog post, I get this warm and fuzzy feeling inside and it instantly makes what I’m doing all worth it. Blogs are a creative outlet for the blogger, but they’re also for the reader. I always try my best to create content that you guys will enjoy, resonate with, and hopefully learn from. By reading my blog, whether it’s once a week or once in your lifetime, you’re helping me to progress and allowing me to keep doing what i’m doing, so thank you! Your support truly means everything, and I hope you enjoy what you see & read 🙂
What would you love non-bloggers or newbies to know about blogging? Let me know in the comment box below!