I wanted to write this blog as a sort of off the cuff response to some of the negativity surrounding the blogging community in the past few months. I usually turn a blind eye to things like this; however, this time round, I felt I should stand up not only for this incredibly prominent industry, but also my friends, fellow bloggers and those who inspire me. Some people might not understand blogging and think that we are wasting our time online, but you can’t deny the fact that influencers are taking over the digital landscape – slowly but surely.
You may or may not have heard about Vogue’s arbitrary article last year suggesting that Bloggers and YouTubers are ‘pathetic’ and should ‘find another industry’, and quite frankly it is comments like this that anger me about people’s day-to-day jobs and livelihood. These people dedicate a lot of time, effort and money to their own ‘brand’ identity and blog, and just because they work for themselves, doesn’t make them any less of an entity in the world of business and marketing. In fact, bloggers and YouTubers have such a large and genuine following that they are more influential to millennials then a ‘regular’ celebrity ever will be. And if you’re clever in your marketing, you’ll use this to your advantage.
I’ll be the first to admit I am not a full-time blogger, and that this is merely a hobby: I work full-time and try to blog as much as possible which changes week in week out, because hey, that’s life – but I do feel very strongly about this industry which has opened so many doors for me, introduced me to new and influential people and allowed me to try different and exciting things that usually I would never get the chance to do… so I thought it was about time that I personally stand up against the criticism.
To me, the niche of blogging falls under the ‘Digital Marketing, Social Media & Content Creation’ umbrella which is ever-changing and will continue to do so with the invention of new social platforms, creative agencies and brands in general. Track back 10 years, and no one could have predicted how big the blogging scene would be, or that you could even consider it to be your full-time job which to me is just a massive indication of how far this industry has come – and there’s no chance it’s stopping there.
For most people working in Marketing now, creating content, writing blogs and maintaining a website, are generally just part of our day jobs and something that we can do with our eyes closed (apart from the hoops we have to jump through, the people we have to OK everything with, and the endless proof reads we need to do…) but you get the picture. I didn’t study Marketing at university, and everything I know is self-taught or learned through previous roles, but I don’t think that has hindered me at all in my career or for my blog.
Most of the bloggers I know personally, alongside those I read a lot of, work in Social Media, PR, Outreach or Marketing (ordinarily in the digital sector) which comes as no surprise, as this crazy world is clearly an innate interest. To me, there is a massive overlap of what we learn day to day inevitably helping us to create our own content, build our own websites and promote our brands… and vice versa.
Working in the industry helps me to appreciate how hard full-time bloggers work to make money, increase traffic to their blogs and create engaging posts that make people want to come back time and time again. I only blog when I have time and sometimes still feel completely overwhelmed with the pressure of it all and want to call it a day, so I can only imagine what full timers go through. Let’s also touch on the fact that brands sometimes will only work with bloggers if they have over 2k, 5k, 10k followers on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, regardless of how good their content is. To get to that point can takes months, even years, and a hell of a lot of engagement across numerous social platforms that we’re meant to be able to manage ourselves – but how can we do this when the majority of us work full time? Well the fact is, a lot of us struggle.
Sure, we can schedule tweets, photos and Facebook posts, but sometimes they come across as so automated and transparent that it can actually do you more harm than good.
And then comes the expense…
Yes, technically it is free to set up a blog; but what about when you want to buy your own domain because having .wordpress or .blogspot looks unprofessional? It costs. And what about if you want a blog template that is a bit more fancy and personalised and isn’t a standard, generic one from blogger? It costs. And what about if you want to up your photography game to not be left behind when everyone else’s blogs looks über glossy with beautiful photos? It costs. So you may think that bloggers and Youtubers have it easy, but in reality, they have to invest in a lot of equipment for sometimes no return for the first few years.
And then there’s the technical side of it all…
How do you make one blog rank higher in Google search terms? How do you get your blog noticed when you work 40 hours a week? How do you increase traffic to your site, remain genuine but keep people wanting to read more? How do you know what to class your blog as if you’re touching on a whole range of different topics? How do you up your Instragram and Twitter followers without wanting to gauge your own eyes out at how hard it can be. And how can you use your SEO knowledge to up your DA and get on the radar of the bigger brands?
You can see where I’m going with this… Not so easy right?
And those are just some of the questions that bloggers face on a daily basis amongst many, many more. They also have to be constantly on the ball replying to comments, tweets and emails, but also not letting the negativity that comes with it all affect them. When you work in an office, you will rarely get a colleague calling you fat, ugly or telling you they hate the way you did your makeup: But for online influencers who put their whole life on the internet, this can be a reality. It’s hard enough harbouring your own insecurities on a daily basis, but when you create something that you hope people are going to love and relate to, the occasional antagonism can be quite overwhelming.
As I’ve said, I can only talk from my own experience as a part-time blogger, and I’ve been lucky enough to have had quite a positive experience overall, but I think something needed to be said for people who don’t believe that permanent bloggers have a real job, that it’s easy and they should find something better to do – quite frankly, these people work all hours under the sun, dedicate their evenings and weekends to creating content that their audience will enjoy, and have to find the motivation to keep doing it day in and day out. But thank god they do.
So if you think blogging is easy – think again!