Alright guys, its time for some real-talk so this post is going to be a little different then my usual beauty product recommendation or review. I wanted to write something that sheds some light on my experience of the real (and the ugly) side of blogging that nobody really talks about. No – life is not a perfectly minimalistic landscape of a skinny vanilla latte with this month’s In-Style magazine and Proenza Schouler crossbody bag, its actually a fucking shit storm if you ask me. Over the past three and half years my blog has grown quite a bit and still to this day I’m learning new tips and tricks but overall its been quite the rollercoaster experience. I’ve met some pretty great people and had doors opened to amazing opportunities that I never thought could be possible for myself. However, what really pisses me off to no degree that I actually had to mention this TWICE now, is that nowadays everyone is trying to be a blogger and get “free shit”. If that’s your only motivation as to why you blog then do us all a favour and delete your blog and do something more useful with your life. You have these really amazing bloggers who truly have a talent for something incredible and they get overshadowed by these individuals who couldn’t care less about the journey of becoming a successful blogger. I refer to these individuals as money hungry “blog leeches” who think that by taking a photo and posting it on their Instagram will get a company to sponsor them and send them their entire fall collection…..reality check….ain’t gonna happen tuts! With that being said, I feel like real bloggers don’t get as much recognition as they should or that there has just been too many misinterpretations as to what a blogger really does because lets face it – blogging is not easy whatsoever and for those who are thinking about becoming bloggers Im hoping this gives you an insight as to what really goes on behind the making of a blog.
Blogging is beyond time consuming. I honestly cannot stress this enough. Running a blog is so time consuming that you’re often struggling to find time to fit things into your schedule. Like many bloggers (including myself) who have not taken up blogging as a full-time career choice often have other jobs of their own. I work full-time and I’m in my 4th year of my business degree in university. As you can imagine I already have my hands full so setting aside time for my blog can often times be difficult. I remember at one point earlier this year I burnt out and got so overwhelmed with my schedule that I just stopped blogging for a whole 3 months. It’s not just taking a picture and writing a short blurb for your post. People don’t understand how much work actually goes into a post. First, you need to spend time testing the products. While you’re doing this, you should be brainstorming ideas for upcoming posts. Doing a photoshoot and editing can take up to 4 – 5 hours of your day. You need the right lighting and the right backdrops, then you take about 200+ photos just to get those 6-7 really good shots. Then writing a post shouldn’t be a “quick and easy” thing. You need to be detailed and honest – don’t just repeat what the product website says. People are not lazy, if they want that information they can just google it. People come to your blog for your own experience and recommendations. In addition to that, you must take care of your regular housekeeping which includes social media comments and follow-backs, responding to comments on your blog, answering emails, updating your blog, making sure all plug-ins and themes work properly. You need to regularly sift through your blog and fix broken backlinks or images that may have malfunctioned overtime. With blogging, you’re never really “done” once you hit that publish button. Theres always room for improvement and bloggers must always be ontop of their game if they want to stand out. Some bloggers offer new content on a daily basis, some do it weekly, and some extreme bloggers offer up content a few times per day. I get it, its overwhelming to try and keep up but its important to blog at your own pace and not set yourself up for disaster by providing frequent posts but shit content. Remember quality over quantity guys.
You need to master becoming a multi-tasking queen. I envy those famous bloggers who have their own professional personal photographers following them around all day. The reality of it is, that doesn’t exist in a regular blogger’s world. As a blogger, you’re also your own photographer, graphic designer, editor, marketer, stylist and many more. When I first started my blog, I really had nobody to give me guidance in terms of how to set up certain things. Thats one of the many things I’m very proud of today is setting up my own blog and teaching myself all the different tactics to use to make my blog successful and visually appealing. Over the years, I’ve discovered that planning is key and can be very difficult at times. If you initially don’t have a vision or mind-set, its very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and spiral so far from what your blog should actually be – in the end its just more of your own time wasted.
You are just a needle in a haystack. My god – there are millions and millions of bloggers and youtubers worldwide. You have your super famous influencers who honestly make a killing doing what they love (and is now their full-time career), and you have your regular influencers who are just your average bloggers starting out as a hobby. Honestly the influencer/blogger is a bloody hard and cut throat industry. As horrible as this sounds, but in reality you’re a nobody until you’re a somebody – this is beyond a doubt true. In the world of social media, blogging, and all things online based, its survival of the fittest. If you’re not ontop of your game, there are thousands of other bloggers who will surpass you. This is not meant to scare anyone or deter them from being a blogger but please keep in mind that in the beginning nobody will give shit about you or what you have to say so its crucial to keep up to date with the latest trends, don’t always produce the same content, be spontaneous and a risk taker and be yourself.
The “Give a Shit” factor. One of the key things in blogging that allows you to become successful is your readership/fan base. In reality, people can see clearly through your bullshit so the question you really need to ask yourself is “does my audience give a shit about this?”. If you know the behaviour and trends of your target market (your fan base) then you should be able to have an idea of what they like and what they don’t like. When I initially started my blog I wanted to blog about beauty, style, fashion, and everything else. This was clearly a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t “over blog”. Pick a topic that you’re passionate about and stick to it – people can see talent when its there. I discovered that majority of my fan base was more interested in my beauty posts than anything else. With that, I dropped the other categories and solely focused on beauty and style only. Which brings me to the sponsored end of blogging. Okay, i get it, we love getting paid to blog but you can’t just blog about anything and expect people to like what you say. Again, think of the “give a shit” factor. What is the point you’re trying to get across in your blog post? Do you think people will even care about it? You need to make sure the content you create on your blog is relevant to what your blog is about and to your readers. Personally, I refuse to collaborate with brands and companies that don’t have the same vision as I do. I specialize in beauty and style, I’m not going to work with a brand promoting mens items or adventure equipment like bicycles….it just doesn’t make sense and my readers couldn’t care less about that stuff.
There is often a high demand from brands. Just because a brand sends you a pr package does not mean you received a free gift. In return you’re expected to spend your time reviewing and promoting the product. Some brands can be very finicky with time and expect you to produce content right away – they will follow up with you. You need to be careful of this because if you start slacking then companies will refuse to work with you again in the future. This can really negatively impact your blog and close doors to huge opportunities down the road. Even though it is not written in contract, you should consider collaborations with brands as verbal agreements. Before you agree to accept a pr package, make sure you outline the rules and expectations the brand has of you. If you feel that you can’t meet their needs/expectation, its better to let them know before hand and kindly decline than to give yourself a bad image.
Social media, social media, and social media. When I initially started my blog I didn’t think it was important to have an Instagram account. I only focused on Twitter and that was a big mistake on my part. People don’t have time to scroll through your twitter feed and read about what you’re writing – again nobody gives a shit. Be prepared to spend a ridiculous amount of time on social media – this does not include your personal account. 98% of your social media time should be focused on Instagram alone. This should be like a summary of your blog told only in photos. It should be clean and simple. Don’t junk it up with random bullshit and stupid quotes about how you hate the world – nobody wants to see that. People are attracted by visual representations and its translatable in every language. People don’t need to read a photo to understand whats going on – they just need to look at it. Being very active on social media, including responding to comments, giving likes, and following back, will increase your blog’s awareness and help you grow tremendously. When you grow your follower base, you’re more likely to collaborate with brands. Brands obviously want someone who is influential and trustworthy. I’ve had numerous brands tell me that they have discovered my through Instagram which is why I always try to be as active as possible. Its important to set-up an impeccable first impression for your blog – which is usually through Instagram so don’t assume that you’re going to be successful by posting one photo a week. In addition to Instagram, make sure you’re active on other social media accounts as well. Don’t overdo it by setting up every social media account possible but stick to the most popular ones your fan base uses.
Nothing in the blogging world is actually “Free”. Ah yes, many of you who have made it this far in my post will be shocked to find out that NOTHING in the blogging world is free. So your initial theory of “I want to be a blogger so I can get free shit” is incorrect. You may not pay a monetary value for the products you receive but you’re going to be paying a hefty price through your time. As I mentioned, many of us have full-time jobs or attend school so time is very valuable. When you have to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours a week to your blog…..it doesn’t seem free anymore does it? As I mentioned earlier, the planning process to produce a blog post is very lengthy and takes a lot of work. You have your product testing, brainstorming, photography, editing, organizing, writing, and many more aspects to consider so really just cause you’re not paying for a product with money doesn’t mean you won’t be paying for it through intangible methods. Attending blogger events usually takes up 3-4 hours of your time as well so be prepared to plan your social life around that.
Be prepared to spend your own money. You should consider your blog an investment, that is if you’re serious about blogging. Your blog will only go as far as you allow it without the proper tools. There are many platforms that allow you to set up a free blog but at the end of the day you’re building your own brand image. If you want brands and companies to take you seriously, you need to look the part. This involves investing some money for a domain, hosting, emails, and any others things that might make your brand more justifiable. I just recently got business cards for my blog and they’re a great networking tool to use at social events. You need to make yourself as memorable as possible. In addition to that, when initially starting out your blog, you don’t have any brands collaborating with you so you will need to have a decent budget for being able to constantly create content that will be appealing to your fan base and allow you to grow your following.
As a beauty blogger, your skin will suffer. Be prepared to feel like a lab rat. As glamorous as “beauty blogging” sounds it can really take a toll on your skin. If you have sensitive skin like me, you should be extra-warned! Don’t just review or promote any crappy products for the hell of it and certainly don’t review or promote products you would not repurchase yourself – your fan base relies on your expert opinion so don’t fake it just to post something. Late last year I received a collection of products from a brand *who I will keep anonymous* that gave me a very painful allergic reaction. Safe to say I have not used that brand since and I most likely won’t be using them again in the future. There have also been times where agencies will send me products without letting me know and if I didn’t like the product of felt that my fan base wouldn’t care much for it then I would not bother publishing it.
Everyone is not always going to like you. What a revelation that is ehh?! In true form you can’t please everyone so be prepared to grow thick skin because social media is a nasty place where people don’t think before they speak and will voice their opinions wether negative or positive. You will not always be on the same page as everyone else in terms of your opinion towards something but thats okay, as long as you stand behind what you believe in and you’re honest you should be ok. The blogging world is survival of the fittest and competition can at times get vicious. Everything is not lollipops and rainbow sprinkles (sorry to burst your bubble). Blogging can at times be very aggressive and people get but-hurt over others success and try to bring you down.
The blogging world is full of cliques. This is probably the thing that gets me the most. Still to this day I don’t understand why bloggers don’t stick together and empower eachother? Don’t get me wrong, I am so passionate about blogging and over the years I’ve met some extraordinary and amazing people all over the globe. I find that these “cliques” are formed online and they’re based on popularity and beauty. I’ve actually full on experienced this at a few blogging events I’ve attended alone where you usually find small groups of bloggers who cling together and they can be super friendly but unless you really go out of your way to insert yourself into their group and wait for acceptance you’re just not going to “hang out”. I mean isn’t the whole point of blogging to meet new people, network, and just surround yourself with things you’re passionate about? I’m actually extremely disappointed in the Vancouver blogging community because I feel like everyone is just a little too stuck up to let their guard down and socialize and network at blogger events. This was an eye-opener for me and probably will be for most of you beginner bloggers so just keep that in mind when you attend events.
And that bring me to a finish. For those of you who still kept reading to the very bitter end – thank you. I felt that I really wanted to get this out in the open and shed some light on this topic. Hopefully some of you learned something new and hopefully some of you were able to resonate with some things I’ve said, and for those of you who blog “for free shit” – please stop because people can see through that.