What is a Blogger?
When people ask me what I do for a living I used to shrink a little bit and quietly say that I work from home - and give as little detail as possible. I'm not going to lie it's a little bit intimidating to tell people that your a full time blogger because it opens me up to a plethora of responses like:
"Oh so you're just a stay at home mom then?" No.
"Is that even a real job?" Yes.
"Oh so do you get tons of free stuff?" followed by
"I should start a blog. It would save me a ton of money!" While I do receive products occasionally to feature in social media posts it's not free because there is always work involved.
"Do you actually make any money posting on social media all day? How much?" Yes, and None of your Bizzness.
and finally "What exactly does a blogger do?" So. Many. Things.
I've also experienced conversations with brands that go something like:
"So how many sales can we expect to receive from your Instagram post?" -I have no idea. I can put your name in front of thousands of people but what they do afterwards is totally up to them.
"If I send you this free product will you write about it on your blog and post 6 photos across all of your social media accounts?" *sends rate sheet.
"Can we use your photos on all of our platforms royalty free and make any changes that we see fit forever and ever?" see above.
Here is the thing. I LOVE to talk about my job! I'll explain what I do until I'm blue in the face because I believe that it is in fact a valid career choice. The purpose of this post is not to shame anyone for asking questions or showing genuine interest in what I do. I just believe that there are some common misconceptions about bloggers that I'd like to clear up.
Misconception number 1. They're just in it for the money (and free stuff).
Ha. Ha. Let me tell you what it looks like to get paid for just ONE blog post:
-I send out cold emails to companies that I'd like to work with.
-I get responses from about 15% of those emails and begin negotiations. Because brands often assume that I work for free I have to delicately but firmly present my rates.
-I get the campaign and wait for the product. I may go shopping for some items that will pull a look together or look great in a photoshoot.
-I scope out a location and do a photoshoot
-I edit the photos, write the post and add nifty little clickable links to every item.
-I promote the blog post on all of my social media accounts.
This is hours and hours of work just for a single blog post which is why it is difficult to say yes when the compensation is a "free" product. Products don't pay the bills yo.
It's also important to point out that most of the time, or at least in the blogger circles that I'm a part of, people start blogging because they want to help people. I know several bloggers that dedicate their time and share their most personal intimate secrets because they want people to know that they're not alone. This is an amazing time we live in where topics that have always been swept under the rug are being brought into the light because bloggers are willing to be open and vulnerable with their readers.
Sometimes success comes and sometimes it doesn't but I honestly cannot think of a single blogger I know where it's just about the bottom line.
Misconception number 2. Anyone can be a blogger.
This is actually kind of true. Start a blog, upload some posts and you are technically a blogger. It's becoming an INFLUENCER that is much more difficult. There was a lot of work involved in getting myself to a place where brands actually see a value in working with me. I'm not a professional photographer. Creating content that people enjoy was a learning process. It's taken years of trial and error. Growing an organic following and readership is not a walk in the park and is getting more difficult as things keep changing. Bloggers are constantly having to learn and evolve and roll with the punches - all while maintaining a relationship of trust of my readers so I read a lot, and take workshops (that are not free) and it shows because my work continues to get better and better (in my own personal opinion).
Misconception number 3. Bloggers are just glorified salespeople.
This could not be further from the truth but I've gotten this vibe from friends AND brands so it seems like it's a pretty common one. The beauty of bloggers is that they're REAL PEOPLE. We talk about and promote products that we love but we don't close deals. We can't promise that you'll get immediate sales when we post about your product. We are just a tiny cog in the giant machine of marketing and sales. What we CAN do is get your product in front of thousands of people in a very targeted demographic in a very personal way. 84% of women trust what bloggers have to say and for good reason. It's because we AREN'T just trying to sell stuff.
Sure there are people who will say anything to make money but they are the exception not the rule.
Misconception number 4. Blogging is easy peasy
Bloggers are some of hardest workers I know. I wouldn't say that running a blog is more difficult than a traditional job but it's definitely not easier. Starting a blog is pretty simple, but running a successful blog is not. We wear a lot of hats. We're content creators, photographers, stylist, writers, editors, marketers, SEO experts, graphic designers...
i could go on. It's a very time consuming job and while I love everything about it because I literally get paid to be creative. Easy is not a word I would use to describe it.
The idea that we sit at home and play on Facebook and Instagram all day is frankly, inaccurate. I spend a lot of time and effort putting together really good content, curating my social media feeds, and learning how to get better. Influencer Marketing is a multi-million dollar industry and I'm proud to be a part of it!
If you're still reading thank you so much for your support and for sticking around this long! I'd love to know what your thoughts on the matter are! Did you believe any of these misconceptions?
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Photos by Valerie Martinez Photography