Having a blog is a curious thing at times, it’s almost like I have this tiny space on the internet where I write letters to strangers. Sometimes to share good news, or things that have helped me, other times to share memories or material things I love. Or, even just to settle my overcrowded mind, in hope that someone will read and feel that the same…
I suppose it’s harder to talk about behind the scenes, as humans we’re naturally drawn to what’s pretty and polished, kind of like magpies. Alongside this, it’s become easier than ever to ‘fake’ a persona, did anyone see that recent article where a blogger was found to be faking everything, including likes, views, and followers?
The only valid word for that is ‘fraud’ and there are times I worry that this will ruin it for people who are genuine. Let’s be honest, it’s tough when engagement drops isn’t it? Or when you spend 5 hours on one blog post, only for it to receive very limited interest.
When you start taking blogging more seriously, the natural choice is to start reading articles about how to improve. They often follow a similar pattern, encouraging you to complete a daily tick sheet and encouraging you to stand out. On the other hand, standing out in a market which is not only overcrowded but becoming more so each day, times are tough. I adore my blog and forgive me for saying this, but sometimes it feels like a luxury I’ve worked hard to achieve.
What people aren’t quick to point out is how tough getting paid is; it might seem that ‘Miss Magic Pants‘ has #AD after every Instagram post, but for the rest of us, that isn’t reality. To gain regular paid work, you need the following:
*A strong Domain Authority (you can read about that here)
*A reasonable social following, or strong engagement and/or high page views (confirmed by Google Analytics) however, these numbers depend entirely on the niche you blog about.
*Examples of previous work; why should this company work with you over someone else? How can you give something a unique stance?
*Consistency, patience, and complete acceptance that some months you won’t get paid. Regardless of this, you need to remember that not being paid is better than losing followers because you post irrelevant content.
*Thick skin, one thing about business is that you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Hearing no is really tough at times, alongside the fact it’ll feel like everyone else got an invite, apart from you. Keep in mind, it’s nothing personal, it’s simply just the way the cookie crumbles.
Alongside all this, there will be some days where you just want to give it all up. Trust me, after 7 years of having a blog, there have been many times I’ve thought to myself ‘What is the point?‘. Then I find that there’s always a point, even if no one replies to my tweets, or my inbox is empty and I’m staring at a blank screen. The primary differences between people who are successful and those who aren’t successful are the effort, consistency and hard work that’s put in.
Running a blog as a business isn’t just typing a few words and shoving in some stock photos, before then waiting for people to spend time reading it…
Blogging well is a fine craft, I’m in awe of people who have the time, effort and creativity to keep producing excellent and engaging content. Alongside the people who are not afraid of being a little bit controversial, I made a choice to keep my brand true to me, I’m not a confrontational person in real life, so I’m never going to pretend to be that online.
I won’t lie that sometimes it hurts not to be invited. There are times I’m frustrated that I’m not based in London, or I don’t have the branding to work with certain companies, or someone else got paid and I didn’t. The trouble only starts when you let these feelings take over, if you aren’t enjoying blogging, then you must take a break, sit back and review everything.
You don’t owe it to anyone to be online 24/7 or create content 3 days a week.
There are times when it’s extremely hard work, lonely and very anti-social, on the contrary blogging opens doors for friendship, conversation, and incredible experiences. I’ve been to events where I’ve wanted to turn and leave due to crippling anxiety and the fact I was unable to strike up a conversation with anyone. I’ve also attended event’s where I’ve returned home late, due to the fact I was completely caught in the moment enjoying the company of my peers.
What you might not know is…
*Once, I reviewed a restaurant and got so drunk that I fell up the stairs trying to leave – To the absolute horror of G who was trying to usher me out.
*The fact that sometimes my inbox is completely full of nonsense, I get many e-mails from ‘budding writers’ wanting to share content (which nearly always link to companies with zero relevance). Alongside ‘please insert my link’ e-mails, which more often have a very aggressive follow-up strategery.
*I’ve been moved to tears and completely overwhelmed by some of the ‘job’s’ I’ve had the pleasure of working on, the ‘pinch me‘ moments are such incredible highs.
*I still work as an Insurance Broker 4 days a week, I made a choice to live off a lower salary and I’m thankful that I’m able to do that. This isn’t the reality for many people, freelance is more up and down than a rollercoaster, plus there’s no ‘sick pay’ or ‘monthly paycheck’. I’ve said this before, but I do firmly recommend having some savings and regular income behind you, before making the leap.
The one thing I will always stand by with blogging is, stay true to you and you can’t go wrong.