When I first opened my laptop and started writing about lipstick back in 2010, I could never have imagined how this blogging journey would evolve. It started as very much a creative outlet, a way to fill the evenings and a method of connecting with others that shared similar passions for all things beauty, but it progressed into so much more. Over the last seven years I’ve developed a passion for writing that had always been lingering under the surface, photography skills that I never knew were there and an innate ability to understand human connection. My life has changed considerably since I first pressed publish; alongside the growth of a new digital industry I’ve discovered new skills, passions and interests that have allowed me to carve a rather unique and diverse career for myself that means I’m fully in control of my working week. Although blogging takes up the majority of my time Monday-to-Friday, I’m often loathe to describe myself as a blogger; in fact, I often take five minutes to respond to the question ‘what do you do for a living’ because I’ve become so averse to using the words ‘I’m a blogger’. Bear with me, because here’s why…
THE LOOK OF CONFUSION
Although blogging now appears to be as rife and mainstream as having a Facebook account, it’s still relatively niche and can be described as ‘a slow burner’ outside of our little online bubble. Generally speaking, unless you work in the industry there’s a severe lack of understanding what a blog is and what a blogger does. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to turn a blank stare into a look of understanding, but describing yourself as a blogger often just brings about more questions that you can answer within a reasonable amount of time! I admit to having changed my response depending who I’m talking to, and I’m known to describe myself as anything from a beauty and social media expert to a digital journalist or brand consultant; sometimes I just can’t deal with the look of confusion that greets me when I say ‘I’m a blogger’, no matter how proud I am of what I’ve achieved under that pseudonym.
THE QUESTION OF MONEY
One of the most frustrating things about admitting you’re a blogger is the instant questions about how you make a living. I get it, I really do; it’s hard at face value to maybe understand how writing about lipstick can earn you a decent income, but having these awkward conversations is never fun. I feel like I’m justifying my existence and letting people in to my inner most secrets, just because there’s a lack of understanding as to the value we can bring. You’d never ask a lawyer or a journalist how they make money (or how much – but that’s a whole other blog post!) but for some reason it’s totally acceptable if you make your living online.
THE UNNOTICED SKILL
Saying ‘I’m a blogger’ simply doesn’t cover the huge amount of skill involved in running an online presence. As a blogger we take on numerous roles, including: copywriter, editor, photographer, social media manager, IT support, brand manager, industry expert, model, accountant, negotiator and so much more. It’s not just about being able to write a decent blog post or take a decent photo, but managing a complete online presence and ensuring as many people discover you as possible. You have to become an expert in digital media and working with brands, teach yourself how to run accounts and understand contracts – yet the majority of these skills are overlooked. As someone who has a degree, worked in brand development and management for a decade, and who has spent the last seven years building up two businesses, ‘a blogger’ often doesn’t really cover it for me.
THE MEDIA OPINION
If your only exposure to the world of blogging was through traditional print media, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re all vacuous young girls who would sell their soul for the latest Rimmel lipgloss. You’d also be forgiven for thinking we only care about making millions of pounds off vunerable teenagers, that we all buy our way to the top via a fake few thousand insta followers, or that we’d fake a life threatening illness to sell books. It’s safe to say the general opinion represented in the press isn’t a good one – and I really wish they’d celebrate the great achievements or campaigns for change bloggers are involved in, and how some young men and women are launching their own businesses before most have even finished school. The blogging industry really is amazing, and it’s changed the way we share and consume information forever; we just need to represent it more fairly and ensure it becomes a respected career choice, rather than it being about on par with reality TV stars.
THE DIVERSITY OF INCOME STREAMS
Although the majority of my working week is spent writing, editing and taking photos, it also involves a huge amount of non-blogging too. I run my own blogger network, Thirty Plus, which has boasts over 800 bloggers and has its own annual awards; I work as a brand consultant to help them understand the industry, develop new products and refine their marketing efforts; I educate brands and businesses on how to use social media and work with influencers; I act as an industry expert, providing both insight and opinion on the future of the beauty market via written quotes and public speaking engagements; I manage my podcast Made Online, sharing inspirational stories from across the internet. I wear a lot of hats and have a lot of knowledge, but often I feel like that’s not represented without me explaining in depth what I actually do. Bloggers are very often so much more than just bloggers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud to be part of an industry that evolves every day and has allowed me to carve a very specific career path – but the lack of understanding and respect for what we do causes all number of issues. Sometimes saying ‘I’m a blogger’ doesn’t represent the huge amount of time, effort, skill and money that goes into our sites, or the other skills or income streams we develop. Here’s hoping that 2018 brings with it more understanding (and positive press!) for people to get to grips with what we do every day. Because bloggers are awesome in so many more ways than you know.
If you’re a blogger, how do you describe your hobby or career? Do you think blogging should be taken more seriously, and that the media should celebrate the great achievements rather than focusing on the newsworthy negatives? How can we help to educate and inform people about the world of blogging?
By the way, how awesome is this Harry Potter mug? I picked it up in Primark for £6.00!
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