Banned Blogger and Proud
Bloggers and social influencers have come under fire this week, thanks to a certain Irishman. Who instead of simply saying “no thank you, it’s not for us” when approached by a YouTuber, he chose to instead publicly shame her and ban all bloggers and social influencers from his establishment. Now I could go on and on about what a complete douche he is, but I won’t. Some people will find what he did hilarious, some will be disgusted and see it as nothing more than online bullying. Whichever camp you sit in, I’m not going to change your opinion on this.
However, what left me stunned was the general opinion when it comes to blogging and social influencing in general. If you check out the comments on his response, you can see there is a lot of hatred out there for bloggers and the “free stuff” we apparently try and rip brands out of on a daily basis. My fellow bloggers reading this will (I hope) share my shock and sadness over what has happened this week. For all you non bloggers out there though, that maybe don’t have an understanding of what this job entails (and yes, it IS a job), I thought I’d just take a little time and give you an insight into what my day looks like now as a blogger and freelance writer.
IS BLOGGING ACTUALLY A REAL JOB THOUGH?
First of all let me start by saying that digital marketing – such as social influencing and blogging – is a recognised form of marketing used and valued by many brands. Similar to big martketing campaigns, we are used by companies and PR’s to showcase their products. It’s all just on a smaller, and more local level than national campaigns. Most bloggers will slip these kinds of posts in amongst their own content, whatever that may be.
For me as a parenting and lifestyle blogger, that includes craft ideas, days out, books reviews etc. All of these are mine to share and not endorsed by anyone. Now and then you will see a review pop up that has been commissioned by a brand and these are easy to find, as they will come with a disclosure at the bottom telling you exactly under what terms I have been asked to post the review. This is a legal requirement and will ALWAYS be there. If it’s not, then it means the post is 100% me.
Now, one of the things I have been challenged on is that most of my reviews are positive, and I agree. On a whole they are. This is because – to be brutally honest – I won’t just accept anything that’s offered to me. I will only accept an offer to review a product if I think myself or a member of my family will love it. Else, why else accept? No one wants to be stuck with something that they do not want, but will take hours and hours of work to create and promote.
This bring me onto what creating a post actually entails.
WOULD YOU STILL SAY THIS IS FOR “FREE” STUFF?
Before I became a blogger, I had a naive idea that I would simply write posts and publish them. End of. I wish that were true. In reality this is what it really looks like:
- Emails back and forth with the brands agreeing terms. Usually between 5 – 15 emails. I often have to promote my blog, showcase my writing and photography skills and provide stats and data analytics to ensure I am ‘value’ for money
- Negociation skills are key at this stage as many people will want the world – deliverables that take hours upon hours of work – in return for a £10 product. Marketing, photography and copywriting all for £10? I’d like to see them get that with corporate companies. Anyway…..I digress.
- Product arrives (you have to wait until this stage before continuing, as some things just never arrive)
- Plan out content of post – will it be a straight review? A tell a story? Day out? etc.
- Photograph product (with equipment that costs a lot of money) – if there are kids unvolved this takes a LONG time
- Edit pictures (using software that usually has a licence cost)
- Draft post
- Final edit of post
- SEO optimise post
- Create header image
- Create pinnable image
- Add in alt attributes for all images ensuring they are sized appropropriately so not to slow down your site
- Publish post (on your blog which usually has a monthly hosting cost)
- Go back to brand
- Share to Facebook, respond to comments, engage
- Share to Twitter, respond to comments, engage
- Share to Instagram, respond to comments, engage
- Share to Pinterest
- Respond to comments on the post
- Share anywhere else I can think of, as if people don’t know it’s there then no one will read it.
And this is just the reviews. Alongside this there is my own content. For which a craft post for example will take a long time setting and up then clearning up after. A video takes hours to edit and put together. Keeping on top of social is an uphill battle to say the least.
Then there is the day on day stuff, like: searching for work, pitching for jobs, creating social content unrelated to the blog. Networking, researching, looking for ideas and scoping them out. Looking for tools to help the blog, taking stock pictures as ‘go to’ images for non specific posts like this one. This is to name but a few of the things which fill my evenings. After all, I have two young children to look after during the day.
NOW LET’S TALK MONEY
The reality is that unless you are a ‘big’ blogger, many of us won’t get additional payment for a review. Often we will simply get the product in exchange for service. This can be as little as a few £ for a shampoo for example, or the entrance fee covered for an attraction. I’ve lost count of how many times people have told me how lucky I am because of all the “free” stuff I get through the blog. The reality is though that I work hard creating content, taking and editing pictures, creating a social media plan, making and editing videos all alongside creating and promoting my own work and trying to keep my audience engaged. But you know, it’s still free apparantly.
In reality though, break that value down to an hourly rate and….well, let’s just say I did that once and just got depressed by the number on the page. Personally, I do this because I love to write and love this little corner of the internet that I’ve created for myself and my family. I live in hope that one day, my social following will get big enough that I may be able to start charging for reviews and general content and be able to generate a regular income from it. I may be able to at least get that hourly rate up to minimum wage….now THAT would be living the dream. Could you imagine that guys response if that poor girl had actually asked to be paid for the marketing she did for his business though?! I shudder at the thought.
SAVE YOUR PITY (NOT THAT YOU HAVE ANY)
Now, let me be clear – this isn’t a pity post. I love what I do and am proud to do it. This little blog – alongside a little PAYE work and copywriting – helps keep a roof over our head. It allows us to save more almost a grand on childcare each month, and gives me the flexibility to be able to be here for my children while they are young. We have to be creative though if we want to earn money. With sponsored posts, paid advertising and anything else we can find to bring in an income while keeping a balance between earning money to pay the mortage, and not to piss off our readers by shoving too much sponsored content out there.
So, there we have it. A job I am passionate about, but one that has me working the longest hours I’ve ever done for the least amount of pay. And do you know what, I love it. I just find it frustrating that while one half of what I do in copywriting is accepted as a ‘proper job’, the other half of blogging is no where near there yet.
Now, if you’re still with me then (i) well done for sticking through my little essay, and (2) over to you. What do you think it is that stops people thinking of blogging as a real job?