Adding to my almost non-existent “blogging” section on here today. Some of the things people have said to me regarding blogging have been pretty hilarious. Mostly on the ease of it, how cool it must be to get “free stuff” and also asking if I can get them “free stuff” too. No hun, it doesn’t work that way. I thought I’d write about the hilarious difference between the glam expectations and the exhausting realities of blogging. I have so much to write about that I almost split this into two posts. But instead, it’s just going to be really extra long so grab a cup of coffee and get ready to read.
Working with brands / “getting free stuff”
I just want to start with saying that if this is why you started blogging or why you’re planning on it, you will be bitterly disappointed. You should be blogging because of a passion to share something with the world. Admittedly, it is exciting. I remember the first email I received regarding a collaboration with a brand. I told absolutely everyone who would listen because I was just so excited that someone had noticed my blog and wanted to feature their products on it. The more emails you get, the more you learn about awful collaboration deals, rude PRs and brands that like to ghost you.
Working with brands isn’t easy and it’s so important to know your worth as a blogger. I admittedly get most of my collaborations through companies reaching out to me. I know a lot of people who are experts at pitching to brands though, which is something I need to work on myself. The expectations are that you receive a steady influx of emails regularly about working with brands and exchange some small talk. The parcel arrives, you upload your blog post, get some feedback/social media shares and the payment (if a sponsored post) comes through in the promised time arranged. Sorted.
The reality is your inbox will be dead for a few weeks, then you’ll get a load at once. Several saying they need these specific requirements (often a do-follow link which is a no-no) and it needs to be uploaded by this date. OH and by the way, of course they don’t have a budget. You’ll also get your regular “grow your Instagram for just £5!” emails, which of course are weird companies encouraging you to buy followers and likes. Then there are the really odd companies who seem to think that a collaboration is offering you A HUGE 20% OFF EVERYTHING for you to promote their stuff when you wouldn’t normally be buying their crap anyway. How. Is. This. Beneficial. For. Me? I don’t even bother replying to these emails with a rant anymore, not worth my time. Binned, see ya, next.
That opportunity you were REALLY excited about by the way, will not happen. You’ll give the PR your address and choice of product and wait by your front door for two weeks. Send a follow-up email or two about when it’s arriving and then accept your fate. Ghosted faster than by the 6ft 2 hunk on Tinder. Did they stop the campaign? Did they find someone better? Who knows. Oh and it’s quite rare a company will actually pay you straight away, or even on time. Be sure to state your late fees on your original invoice, that usually gets them moving a bit faster.
I recently wrote a post on blog events and how some people get them so wrong. You can find that here if you want something a bit more in depth. Events are fun and I do enjoy attending them. I love networking with other bloggers and sharing my passion with people who truly understand it! The expectations are basically derived from bigger influencers who seem to go to all the huge fancy pants ones. Filled with instagrammable flower arches, expensive cocktails and food that’s so cute it probably won’t get eaten. Not to mention goodie bags filled with new makeup releases, jewellery and something adorably personalised.
I mean the reality is pretty sweet when they’re good events. You often get some sort of free food or beverages and something to take home with you. They’re definitely not as glamorous as those huge ones in London though. A lot of the time the lighting is awful to the point of having to up the exposure on your shots to the high heavens. Can’t have it all though, can we? Also they are totally full of people on their phones covering the event or just trying to get the perfect picture for their Instagram/blog. I’m not one to be on my phone as I’d rather be engaged in what’s going on so I can create good content. I am guilty of being a serial snapper on my trusty Olympus. More than often I stay behind the camera, though.
Blog Post Ideas, Scheduling & Organization
Us bloggers do have a lot of stationery – notebooks, diaries, sticky notes, you name it. If inspiration comes, it needs to be written down as you know as soon as you walk into a different room, it’ll be gone again. That doesn’t mean we’re ALWAYS on the ball with organization though. I’ve got to admit, this is probably my strongest area in blogging. I have a 3 day per week schedule that I very, very rarely stray from. I have my content planned usually at least a month in advance. It can shift around a bit sometimes depending on inspiration, brands contacting me looking for a quick upload and what photos I can take. For the most part, it is set in stone. I know a lot of bloggers struggle with this, though.
The expectations for this are having multiple blog posts written and scheduled ahead of posting days. Actually having particular posting days that you always stick to. Having a neat, tidy and pretty bullet journal. Scheduling promotions/Instagram posts and putting together and previewing your feed ahead of posting it. People seeing your new post and flocking to your blog straight away, what a dream.
The reality is staying up until god knows what time finishing a post to be uploaded first thing the next morning. Editing photos until your device conveniently runs out of battery. A bullet journal that you started in January but gave up on in January. Or if you didn’t, it’s now just scribbles and weird little notes and doodles from when you had frustrating writers block. Forgetting to schedule your promotional posts and having a week of bad blog traffic. Then proceeding to punish yourself and thinking no one wants to read your blog anymore and you should just give up.
Social Medias and Support
Oh yeah, having a consistent social media presence is a complete breeze, NOT. The amount of times I’ve nearly deleted myself off of everything is ridiculous. If it wasn’t for my blog and wanting to grow and promote it, I would be non-existent on the internet. I think social media is brilliant for a lot of things but it can also be terrible, too. I’ll write a full post on this another time as otherwise this part will be huge.
The expectations are that you’ll be posting fabulous photos of you doing fabulous things. Gaining followers, getting comments, having lots of interaction. Getting the perfect Instagram feed and theme without even having to worry about it. Shoving a filter on and the photo is great. Setting up other social media accounts for your blog and expecting everyone you know to follow and support them.
The reality is really different, your blog, your audience and your social medias will take a while to grow. I’m talking years of lots of time, effort and passion. That’s okay though, if that’s what it takes to get a genuine and engaged following, that’s what I will do. If you are genuine and passionate about blogging, that’s what you should do too. Buying followers and likes is never the way and it will come back to bite you. It’ll also take you time to figure out your theme and what you want it to be, if you want one at all. I don’t have one.
Themes are a hell of a lot more work on top of blogging and I personally like sharing personal photos aswell as pretty products. My blog and social medias reflect me and my life aswell and I like it that way. You’ll also find out that people on the internet will most likely support you a lot more than people you know. It’s a real shame but sometimes you’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt.
Photography & “You don’t need money to blog”
It’s true, you don’t need money to just blog. Although I’m really sorry to say this but it’s only true if you don’t want to grow or develop your blog that much. Hosting your own site, having your own domain, keeping regular backups of your work, it all costs money. That’s also just the beginning. If you want to be a blogger with a niche such as beauty, fashion or travel, you are going to need money to buy/do things to write about. Which also brings me onto photography, personally investing in a good camera changed my blogging game. Although, taking good photos is far more than just owning a fancy camera.
Imagery is such a huge part of what draws people to a blog post. There are lots of different factors to an image aswell – composition, quality, colour, how much space is filled and more aswell as lots of little subcategories. The expectations of this are buying a few cute props, chucking them on your bed with the product you’re reviewing and bam you’ve got yourself a perfect flatlay. Nope.
The reality is spending (wasting) a load of money on what you think will be fabulous props, they end up being too big or the wrong shade of pink which sends you back to the store. Your bed sheets are also not a good enough background so you end up having to find some pretty fabric or huge sheet of card. Also you have to try and balance some of the products or use some blu-tack. 3 hours and a breakdown later, you’ve got ONE average picture, well done!
Last But Not Least, the reality of Blog Admin
KEEP UP WITH THIS. YOU WILL REGRET IT OTHERWISE. The expectations are a few comments and emails to reply to, some broken links to fix. A media kit update here, an edit there and you’re done. The reality is putting all of this off every damn day and saying you’ll DEFINITELY sit down and do it tomorrow. I’m not sure whether it was the 26th or 27th email notifying me I had broken links that finally broke me.
So blogging, in reality, is hard. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think it would be. It takes up so much time and there is far more to it than writing a few paragraphs, taking a few pictures and woohoo you’re getting free stuff and have gone viral. Nothing like that, sorry pals. Honestly though, blogging has completely changed my life for the better. Despite the difficult and frustrating things about it, I can’t imagine not doing it now. I’m so proud of my site and how far I’ve come since beginning. I often think about the skills I never would have learnt, the lovely people I wouldn’t have met.
What’s the funniest blogging reality you were slapped in the face with?