I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years, and while I am by no means a “super” blogger, I’ve been doing it long enough to know a lot about the industry, how it works, and the many, many misconceptions that surround it. Even though it’s now a legitimate, money making industry (it’s projected to be worth up to $15 BILLION by 2022), there are still a lot of people who don’t understand it, or they dislike it because they don’t think it’s a “real” job. While there is some validity in the disdain for bloggers/influencers (the entitlement issues that some have are at an all time high!), there is a lot to be said about the power of influencer marketing. Consumers are more likely to trust the recommendations of a blogger over a traditional branded ad, but like most things, the blogger should be vetted before you automatically assume everything they recommend is gold (and this is a convo for a whole nother day). I always get asked a lot of questions anytime someone learns that I’m a blogger, and unfortunately, thoughts toward the industry as a whole are cynical, if not negative (or there is a bit of a delusion that it’s really easy to be one), so I wanted to talk about a few of the misconceptions that are out there about being a blogger (and hopefully help debunk them).
Blogging isn’t real work.
Don’t be fooled by the end result of what you see on social media or on a blogger’s actual site. For many, it looks like that person just snapped a quick photo and posted it, but for the blogger, a lot of research (hopefully) went into them trying to get their perfect shot. In addition to knowing how to take pictures that will peak a viewer’s interest, bloggers need to know about marketing and advertising, PR, fashion styling, location scouting, graphic design, copy-editing, photography composition and creative direction (yes they posed for the photo but they had to know what they needed to capture), etc. And this is just for a general fashion/lifestyle blogger. Depending on their niche, a lot more goes into content creation beyond snapping a photo. This may seem easy to some but think about it: most fashion magazines have MULTIPLE people filling these roles on their editorial team and a blogger has to figure out how to do all of this solo or with maybe 1 or 2 other people. Trust, if the blogger is trying to do it right, there is strategy and a LOT of work involved.
You will immediately be rolling in dough.
Reality check for people that want to get into blogging to make money: you will have to create a LOT of content for free in order for people to want to pay you to do it. Like most traditional jobs, there is an intern/entry level position when you get into blogging, and it typically lasts (at minimum) around 6 months. Brands and businesses need to know that they can trust that they can pay you to help market their brand and that you’ll actually 1) create the content 2) create GOOD content that converts in some way. Sure, you can throw up a blog and do a million google ads but if no one knows your site exists, how exactly will you be earning money from these non-existent clicks? Making money at all levels from blogging is possible, but it takes time and a LOT a work. No matter how hard you try, you cannot skip over that fact-you have to put in work (aka gain experience) before anyone will want to hire you for it. There are a few exceptions where a blogger can come out the gate making bank, but just like with dating, you most likely will be the rule (aka doing it for the free 99) and not the exception, so be realistic when you start.
We only want free sh*t.
Look, the perks and gifts that can come along with being a blogger ARE nice, however, you’d be a fool to get into this industry just so that you can receive free stuff. First of all, somebody at a brand needs to like the content you create to even want to send you something for free (and if you aren’t creating quality content WHY would they??) What most consider free still has some type of work attached to it. Blogger mail typically leads to a product review, unboxing video or haul (it’s a gift, yes, but the giver wants to be thanked/shouted out in some way in return), and a free ticket to an event, restaurant or location usually includes social coverage and/or a write up during or immediately after. It’s not the hardest work in the world, however, this is additional content that needs to be created in exchange for that “freebie”.
With that being said, both the brand and the blogger should also make sure that the relationship is mutually beneficial should they decide to gift you with something. Brands lose out on product by just sending stuff or granting access to a blogger that isn’t aligned with their messaging and values, and the blogger risks losing the trust of their audience by promoting something that they don’t believe in just because they got it for free.
Blogger friendships aren’t real.
While there are definitely relationships out there that are solely for posting on the gram, a lot of bloggers actually do become friends with each other in real life. Speaking personally, there are quite a few bloggers that I work with and hang with in real life; we share tips and tricks re: blogging for sure, but we also talk about life and share personal milestones + moments with each other as well that have nothing to do with our blogs. Don’t get me wrong, it CAN be a fake industry, but for the most part, everyone is looking for a tribe within their respective communities and you can usually tell over time if the connections are genuine or not. If you’re wanting to build community and make new friends within blogging, it is absolutely possible.
Instagram is all you need.
Influencer marketing on Instagram is booming, so it’s easy to want to put all of your eggs into that IG basket but at the end of the day, you don’t own that platform and with the algorithm changes that seem to happen weekly, it’s getting harder and harder for your content to actually be seen by the people who would love it. I’ve also seen countless bloggers get hacked, and they either have to pay a ridiculous amount to a hacker to get their account back or start rebuilding their audience from scratch. These are things that can happen to anyone, however, imagine rebuilding a following on a platform where you’ve lost ALL of the content you’ve ever created because it never lived anywhere else besides your IG account. THAT would scare me more than anything.
Is having a separate blog more work? ABSOLUTELY. However, it does give you more leverage in the long run when working with brands (because if you weren’t aware, everyone that reads your blog doesn’t follow you on social media and vice versa so your audience and reach may be different), and the content you create lives on for as long as your site is live. You can tell richer stories on your own site, and this expands your reach to a broader audience (which is great if you’re a blogger that doesn’t have huge social media numbers). If you’re a blogger that creates Evergreen Content vs. just trying to push product or take random photos, what you create will stay relevant for a much longer time.
There are many more misconceptions when it comes to blogging but these were the main areas that come up the most. If you’re curious about the blogging industry, comment below-I’d love to keep the conversation going!