Becoming a Blogger
I have decided to compile a hefty article to cover 10 tips for those who may be interested in becoming a blogger. It has been a year since I began this journey and would like to share my experiences. I decided to break down this post into several sections to group relevant pieces of information under specific headings. I know this post is lengthy, however, I did not want to break it into several posts as some bloggers do or make it closed information sent to users against payment. I decided to combine everything into one large post so that anyone looking for information can find it in one place and doesn’t need to search for it all over the place. The journey has not been an easy one and this post is mainly aimed at those who are considering going into blogging as well as to those who wonder what it is that bloggers do.
Please keep in mind that all the following information is not an official rule book, as truth be told, there really aren’t rules to this type of work. These are all some of my personal pointers on blogging which I have looked into and tried out. You may choose to look into them and some may work, whilst others may not be something, you’d be interested in. There is no concrete “how to do” book to blogging. It is pretty much a discovery process that can be overwhelming but also very exciting once you get the hang of it. Keep in mind that this work is constantly evolving so some things which worked a year or 3 years ago, may not work today.
Every person chooses (if they are lucky) to do a job that primarily makes them happy. I chose to be a freelance creative director & content creator, presenting my work in a blog. My interests are vast and so are the topics I cover.
I chose this work because it allows me to choose what to use my energy and time on. In my case, it allows me to create and discover topics, people, and most importantly myself. I am not here to change the world, no one person could. I am here to make the most of the time I have.
My aim is not to be someone’s idol. I would probably feel like a failure if I was told I was someone’s idol, as that would mean I didn’t succeed in the main aim of my work; to provide information to those who seek it and hopefully inspire them to discover themselves in the process. I don’t believe in idols because we should be our own idols. The person you were yesterday should teach and motivate you today, in becoming the person you envision to be tomorrow.
My blog has been my motivation to learn things I otherwise wouldn’t haven’t pushed myself into. Just in one year, I have learned web development, photography, editing, video making and video editing, the working of social media and advertising. And those are just the skills, not to mention the number of people I have met and most importantly, the lessons I have learned firsthand about myself and others.
Blogging isn’t a science or a subject which can be taught at school or university (so far). It is an industry that has evolved due to the popularity and the easy access to the internet, specifically social media platforms.
Difference between influencers, micro-influencers, and bloggers
It is important to understand the difference between influencers, micro-influencers, and bloggers before I continue to talk about blogging. What defines and makes an influencer is not quite set in stone nowadays, mainly because of the constant development in the industry in such a short amount of time. Traditionally, the common definition is that an influencer is a person who is well-known in a specific field, for instance, an actor, singer, athlete, politician, doctor, and so on. It can be absolutely anyone who has a large following (in countries where the influencer market is highly developed, influencers are those with at least 1 million followers). Due to that high popularity, brands and companies want to advertise and work with that person to tap into their fan base of millions of users.
Here is a little breakdown of how the marketing industry has developed in the last decade or so:
- Brands work with models.
- Brands work with famous people, the Traditional Influencers who have over a million followers, such as singers, actors, bloggers, socialites who may have not done anything to contribute to being fame but simply were born into a family with an established name in the public, etc. Basically, the traditional influencers are those who became famous and due to that fame in their field, automatically became influencers.
- Brands work with bloggers who have a specific, niche and loyal following. This allows brands to communicate to sections of the population not just by showing a product but showing an experience through a blogger they trust and follow actively. It may seem obvious but I will mention it as some seem to forget the elephant in the room when it comes to bloggers, bloggers have a blog. They are primarily writers and use written content as a medium of communication. Their social media profiles aren’t their main focus but are only channels that lead to their own websites, which is a perfect explanation as to why bloggers would normally have a social media profile in just about any social media platform.
- Brands work with micro-influencers, those who have under a million followers and who are creating their popularity by choosing to be an influencer, without any prior fame or popularity from a different occupation. Micro-influencers are totally dependable on their social media presence, which makes it their primary hub and usually they focus on one or two social media platforms.
In this mix you also have vloggers. They can have their own websites like bloggers, but the majority post their videos on Youtube, as it is the video central hub with a great number of users. Vloggers fall under a category of their own, as the work of a vlogger is a mix of both a blogger and a micro-influencer to some extent.
Traditionally, being an influencer is not a primary occupation. Every influencer became an influencer because they have a high following and became well known prior to being an influencer. Their today’s label of being called an influencer came to be an automatic label given to them, as opposed to being a micro-influencer as a career option.
Due to the popularity of the internet and social media platforms, certain industries have had to change their approaches towards marketing. Advertising companies have adapted their techniques in order to stay with today’s trends by not only using well-known people in their ads but working with specific people from the public who have their micro and niche following. Brands use a combination of old school advertising techniques by working with celebrities, today known as influencers, together with bloggers who introduce their brand to smaller circles and not only provide an advert but also give a more personal and detailed introduction to their following. If you’re wondering how micro-targeting works through bloggers, followers of bloggers usually follow that specific blogger for 3 main reasons; they like their content, they connect to their style of content and they trust their opinion. The majority of bloggers may not have millions of followers, however, the ones they have are loyal. These loyal followers will spread the word about something a blogger talks about and therefore the information will spread amongst their network.
Bloggers on the other hand are very different from influencers. A blogger’s work is mainly the work of a freelance writer or journalist in combination with the work that influencers do. Bloggers have a certain market of followers, for some, it can be very specific whilst for others very broad. Their work most of the time consists of concept creation, organization, research, content creation, making sure that all those involved get their part done, and finally putting all the pieces together to create a blog post. A lot of bloggers are also part-time or freelance writers for newspapers, magazines, or for other blogs.
All bloggers are influencers but not influencers are bloggers. This is a phrase that has been mentioned by most people working with bloggers and influencers. Bloggers may not all have million of followers, however in the eyes of the industry bloggers are also considered to be influencers (if you have over a million followers and readers than you are an influencer, if you have less, than you are a micro influencer). It could possibly be that the industry knows just how much work actually goes into a creation of a post and even though every blogger may not have millions, their following is very specific which makes it a readymade audience for brands to target their products. There are many top influencers today in many fields and most of them have started off as bloggers. So, there is a direct link between bloggers and influencers, however not one between influencers and bloggers.
Becoming a Blogger – 10 essentials to look into
1. Why do you want to be a Blogger?
Although this question may seem predictable, it is also the foundation of your path. There are many reasons as to why people decide to start a blog, whether in hopes of becoming rich and famous or to make a difference, or for self-expression, or any other of the countless reasons. This question shouldn’t be taken lightly. Running a blog is highly time-consuming and will require you to learn skills you may not have thought of learning before, as well as facing the public. So, make sure the reason as to why you want to do this is solid and will carry more importance than anything else that may come your way.
Before I began my blog, I was one of the many people who scrolled through my social media platforms wondering what on earth are all these people doing and why on earth do they even get paid. Yes, I am guilty of having a negative perception of something I didn’t understand. So, I totally do understand how people from the other side look at all of this. But instead of simply sitting and letting my perception settle in my mind as an opinion, I decided to look into this.
I have always wanted to have something of my own for self-reflection. This probably came from a combination of never quite fitting into any surroundings and having more of a wide type of thinking rather than a linear one. A little background on me: I am mixed, and I grew up in a country which natively I wasn’t from, so in many ways, I stood out. Understanding who I am and getting to know my identity has always been a big aspect of my life. Yes, I am a person who asks the bigger questions in life on a regular basis, and what is important to me is to make the most out of life, but I’ll leave my life story for another time.
My point is, I always wanted to have something of my own, where I could express myself and a space that was open for all. The only thing that didn’t click in my mind back then was that blogging was just that. When I began looking into the topic from all aspects, I realized that this is what I have always wanted to do, and people actually do this full time. and getting paid for it was a bonus. By the way, yes, I did feel a tad guilty for having a wrong perception, but the guilt wore off pretty fast as I actually walked that extra mile and decided to look into the topic and not just judge it from the first appearance. And now, here I am. A life blogger, writing a blog post about becoming a blogger.
I would not suggest starting blogging if your main objective is to be accepted and liked by others. That is the only target you will never reach in any profession, especially being a blogger.
Besides, if everyone had the same taste and opinions and there was a universal formula to win the crowds over, blogging would most certainly not exist. Being a blogger means sharing content that interests you and will be viewed by those looking for that content. The only way blogs can exist is because everyone has their own unique way of looking at life, their own taste, and opinions. Through your blog, you share content and connect with those who have similar interests, enjoy your work, and share your interests. So, in a way, it is a good thing that we don’t all think alike.
It is very important to know exactly why you want to become a blogger because the reply to that question will be the foundation of your journey. Your response will be your goal, it will be the driving force powering you to keep going when things will be far from what you expected, and it will be your compass not to get sidetracked.
In business terms being a blogger means you are self-employed or a freelancer. This work gives you the first and last say, together with decision making. It also carries along with the burden of dealing with problems and being your own critic. It is all and entirely up to you. If things aren’t moving forward, you need to find ways to make things happen. If people aren’t answering you, you need to follow up or change your plans. You also decide on what your blog will focus on and how it will look. You need to make sure to be ready to approach and confront people, as you are the brand, and getting things moving along depends on you.
Looking at the work of bloggers today, one may think it’s not something for everyone. However, I think it all depends on the individual. A blog primarily is a reflection of someone. Some like a fast-speed lifestyle and their blog will reflect that others may prefer something slow-paced and their blog will reflect that too. Everyone is different and for every blog, there is an audience out there.
2. The focus and intent of your Blog
Once you have a concrete reason as to why you want to be a Blogger, you need to look at focus areas of the content you want to be working with. For some people, it’s pretty straight forward. For instance, a makeup artist who wants to become a blogger and cover topics only related to makeup and beauty would naturally have a beauty blog. This is important because depending on your focus area, you will then be able to look into groups, people, brands, pages, and communities with which you can present your work and even work with.
You have the right to choose the bottom line of what your blog is about, how open you are, and what it all means. I would not suggest going into blogging if you plan to have a mask on. The public is already overloaded with copies and masks, so being just another person hiding behind a mask, might not get you too far. The public wants to see something different. They want to see you. It is very hard to pinpoint and say that there is a formula to being a blogger, however, there are basic principles, but the actual building blocks are dependent solely on you. It is all about being yourself, because every individual is different, and viewers want to see that variety. The essence of blogging is about reflecting who you are, how you see things, and what your passions are.
I have a Life blog and the reason why I chose such a broad topic is that I have a variety of interests in life. My blog is a reflection of who I am and those things that interest me.
My blog also has a Beauty, Fashion, and Travel section. No, I don’t think that beauty and fashion are the most important things in life, but I do think that they play a big part in reflecting who we are. For both men and women, they are also means of self-expression to the world and which to me is a very important part of an individual. I am also a believer that the fact that we are given the choice and the opportunity to buy and look as we want, is in itself a luxury. There is no need to look a certain way, even though trends tend to push us into thinking that. It is a choice we are given. I didn’t want the beauty and fashion sections to be commercial. I think we are overloaded with choice when it comes to clothes and makeup products, to a point that almost everyone is selling just about anything.
Don’t get me wrong I have had my fair share of questionable expensive investments into outfits, but to this day I have the same, if not more of an appreciation towards those items. I see fashion and makeup as a work of art. I love seeing the idea of a person come to life right before your very eyes. I honestly can’t see myself having the largest wardrobe, simply because I am more of a practical person with a touch of minimalism. I have items that I may wear once in 3 years but those are items that I have a small amount of and they symbolize something to me. Otherwise, when it comes to shopping, I let my shopaholic self get crazy with the online shopping cart, I then leave everything as is and only the next day go over all the chosen items with a fine comb to make sure I get items which I will be making use of. I can’t stand a wardrobe or drawers which are stuffed with no extra space and second to that is having items that just sit there. I would rather give them to someone who I know will appreciate them.
I am also a huge fan of food and travel and those are also fields I will explore with just as much passion as I have for beauty and fashion. I didn’t want my blog to give the impression as though I know best and a feeling of it being commercial. There is nothing wrong with a makeup artist having a blog to teach people about makeup, or a stylist teaching and introducing certain brands to people who are looking into tips on styling or new brands to choose outfits from. But I am not a makeup artist, stylist, or fashion designer, however, all those fields interest me and play a role in my life.
Travel is a huge passion of mine and I hope to discover more parts of this world and learn about the history and cultures that this planet has. Maybe due to the absence of my roots towards a country and people, but I am driven towards knowledge, and knowledge that comes in the form of discovery is the best kind. There are also many other topics I cover from time to time that fall under Life, however, I am aware of the fact that not everyone focuses on certain topics as I do, so I make sure to have a variety of topics on my blog.
I truly enjoy reading other bloggers’ work or viewing their vlogs because in some way their work shows me that we are finally exiting the era of stereotypes and people feeling like they have to meet the standards set out by others. A lot of time, effort, and soul goes into creating content, and the scariest and most exciting moment is hitting that publish button. Especially with certain topics that I love to write about, which are very deep and definitely not everyone’s piece of cake. Those kinds of topics are my passion and I never know what response I will get. To me, that content is not about competition or trying to be the one with all the answers. Deep down, under all the heavy words, it all comes down to society and the individual. As I said, they may not be topics as easy on the eye as beauty or fashion, however, anyone of us may find ourselves in a situation where that content may just give us a different perspective on life and the appreciation of ourselves.
The intent of your blog is also an important factor to consider from the beginning, and to also revisit this topic as you begin your journey. The intent may change as you may realize that the initial intent you had in mind either doesn’t interest you anymore or you have discovered a new intent you would like to try out.
One kind of blog that has direct intent is the reviewer type. Bloggers whose main intent is to review products. You can find a variety of blogs as well as vlogs that have bloggers and vloggers who post content of their experience and rating on products. In my opinion, this is one of the most, if not the most useful type of content for brands. These people focus their time and work on giving their opinions towards products, which viewers may not only find informative but also the content can introduce viewers to new brands and products.
There will always be the question on how reliable the reviews are, in terms of whether they are saying things because they are being paid, or whether their review is based on their individual experience rather than the product itself, however, followers of reviewers usually pick a blogger or vlogger whose reviews match up to their experience and therefore they trust.
There are also those reviewers that are not vloggers or bloggers. They use their social media platforms to post reviews. These would fall under micro-influencer reviewers and not vloggers or bloggers. They may limit themselves to one or two social media platforms or even have an account with a separate application that is created purely for product reviews, such as Influenster. This application allows users to scan, post photos and review all and any type of product and even services. It also gives brands the opportunity to create campaigns and send products to specific users for review.
Once again, it all depends on what you want to focus your time, resources, and content on. Think well about what your passions are. I do use Influenster, mainly for reviews and I do occasionally review products on my blog, however, I don’t consider myself to be a 100% full-time reviewer.
In my case, my intent was to avoid my blog looking like what people expect a blog to look like, with a commercial feel. I see tons of bloggers whose websites and social media profiles are 90% if not all 100% aimed at selling this and “you should buy that”. You can find a lot of bloggers and influencers that advertise products that they don’t even use or simply do it because they get paid for the ad. I find nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It didn’t feel like it was me and if I had taken that approach I would firstly be lying to myself and to my audience.
When I began blogging, I followed many different accounts to get a feel of what’s out there. Shortly after I unfollowed many accounts that have a commercial approach simply because I found it too repetitive for my liking. Once again, this is my opinion based on what I am looking for, but truth be told, there really isn’t a right or wrong approach. It all depends on what you want to achieve.
My initial intent was a strictly informative approach. Later, I realized that there was something more I wanted to add to it, so I adjusted my sails and my intent became a mix of creativity and information. After a little while, I realized that there was something else missing and I added another piece. I wanted to take the opportunity and be able to give back to others. Today my blog’s intent is a mix of content that is informative, creative, and simply giving by sharing insights from my own experience with those that may be seeking something on a specific topic.
3. What resources do you currently have?
Once you have decided on your focus area, it is best to have a look at what others do so you can build a concrete plan and see what resources you have to work with. For me, blogging isn’t competitive because the way I see it, everyone is different and if everyone chooses their own approach to how they create content, then it will be different. If someone was to attempt at copying someone else, it won’t be unique, and the audience will know it. Besides, why would you want to spend all that time just to try and be a copy of someone else?
It is always a good idea to take a look at a range of bloggers in your focus area to get an idea of what could work for you. Use their work as inspiration for your own. There aren’t rules as such, but when it comes to your blog, you should feel comfortable with the way it looks, and as for content, you should feel comfortable in the style you use in your writing. If you decide to be a vlogger and utilize video as a medium instead of writing, you should also come up with your style. Looking into other people’s work is about finding what you like and what will work for you. At this point, it is like creating a mood board. Ideas that will slowly come together in the creation of your unique brand.
Once you have the ideas down of how you would like everything structured, it’s time to look at the resources you have. The number 1 resource which I think is crucial for any blogger is time. For me, the creation of the simplest blog post; which has 800 words and a minimum of 5 images taken by myself, would take a total of 12 hours to create. The time would include idea creation and planning, styling and set up, photography or video recording, research, content writing, media optimization, compiling of all the elements, and proofreading. A post like that is the most basic, and I hardly create posts as such.
So, time is crucial for blogging. It is a resource that regardless of how long you’ve been doing this for and how many of the other resources you may have, is one that is a constant priority. Other resources are more practical skills, such as website upkeep, photography, videography, photo editing, and video editing. These are all resources you either have a good handle on or can learn. Once again, learning new skills also requires time. The bright side is that you can choose if you want to learn these skills or work with someone who already has them. You can choose at what pace you want to learn them and there is no test or exam you must pass.
When I went into blogging I wanted to do everything myself, luckily, I actually had time for it, however back then it didn’t feel like there was ever enough time and that I will ever manage. I learned web development and built my site from scratch. At the same time, I self-taught myself to use photoshop and a number of other editing programs as well as decided to study photography in more depth. I had a background in photography from university, but back then my focus wasn’t on digital. I also taught myself to use video editing programs as when time went by I felt limited to text and photos and wanted another medium to use for my work.
It’s strange that only when I started the blog, did I feel how the illusionary walls of limitations of what I can do, crumbled. It feels like in the past few years I was hiding in a shell and I finally said “no that’s enough” to myself and let go of all the expectations from the outside world. Finally deciding to challenge myself and do something that I’ve wanted to do. Do I know everything? No. Am I an expert? Far from it.
As I said, I am in no competition with photographers, videographers, or bloggers. I happily take on challenges which I would never have even thought of taking on before because my blog pushes me to learn more and to challenge myself. I enjoy the journey.
4. Your Blog: Setup, Structure, and Content
So, once you know why you are going into this, what you want to focus on, and what resources are out there, it is time to begin building. Your blog is a space for your vision and your vision is a piece of you. How it looks, the words you use, the colors, the structure, every little bit is a clue to a stranger to get to know that piece of you that you are showing to the public. I say a piece of you as you have to keep in mind that although your blog contains your words, images, and your ideas, 1 post or the entire blog is only a fragment of who you truly are. I think this is quite important to understand this, especially when outsiders who have no clue as to who you are, freely judge you as though they know you inside out just because they came across one photo, post, or even your website.
Your blog will reflect what you want to share, but that does not mean that it is all that you are. However, it is your job to try as much as possible to portray a certain message the moment someone enters your website. This is branding. From the colors to the type of typography to the way all the elements are laid out, you want visitors to get an idea of what your blog is about, what it is you do, why you’re doing it, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to be different. Keep in mind that your audience is your visitors and your blog is the space you created, so it should be memorable.
When creating your website, this is the first time you will truly face a reality that may have not crossed your mind before. From the moment your blog will become public, even though it is your space, you have to see it as a brand. It is part of you, but you can’t allow the public opinions to affect you personally. Criticism must be addressed in a business manner. It is a harsh reality that I think every blogger has had to face once going public. And the more you grow, the harsher are the judgments. This is also where point number one of why you want to be a blogger is a good reminder to keep you on your feet.
Now about the technical aspect of your blog. Whether you hire someone to build your site or build it yourself, there are 2 main options for web building, using WordPress or alternative site builders like WIX and Foursquare.
Keep in mind that if you decide to hire someone, unless you plan to pay them for the upkeep of your site, you will also need to learn how to upload content yourself. I personally wanted to know it all myself not to have to depend on other people, but it is entirely up to you.
I first started off with WIX before I was taught web development (which unexpectedly led me to add web developer to creative director and blogger in my title, as I was offered to become part of a team at a Digital Marketing agency). Web builders like WIX and Foursquare have a high disadvantage from the aspect of Google crawling. WordPress, although harder to use, has got all the needed settings in place for Google to recognize and list your website on the internet. As mentioned earlier, you can have someone build your site for you, although if you intended to have access to the backend for content uploading, I do suggest that the person who builds your website would give you a crash course on how to use WordPress.
Regarding the structure of your blog and the way you want it to look, there is a huge variety of blog template sites that you can use as a foundation if you don’t have web development skills. I decided to study web development not out of pride, but rather because I didn’t want my blog to be structured like other blogs. I was never a person that fit into social circles, I always stood out and always had my own way of looking at things and expressing myself, so why would my blog, which is a reflection of me, all of a sudden blend in and is like the rest? Keeping that structure would be like me trying to pretend like I fit perfectly, which I don’t. Always stuck out like a black horse amongst birds. Besides, the normal blog structures always seemed way too commercial to me, and I wanted to go for something which resembled more of a portfolio.
There are some basic rules in web development which, regardless of what your website is for, you would need to accept and build by those rules in order for your site to function properly, but otherwise you can do just about anything and personalize your site to your heart’s content. Once I began studying web development, I realized that having a blog that looked like a portfolio may have been way too big of a change for the audience and would mislead them. So eventually I found the perfect solution of combining the two, which was satisfying to me and wasn’t confusing for the audience; that compromise between my blog looking like a normal blog and the site looking like a portfolio.
Every blogger knows that their main aim is to drive the audience towards their website. In order to do this, there are a few technical aspects of how websites get ranked on the internet, that every blogger should be aware of. This will help you to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is and meet Google’s requirements. Understanding how Google works, the importance of keywords, optimization, word count, unique content, and even the layout of your site for all devices, will increase your chances for your website to appear on searches. I won’t go into too much detail, however, there is a ton of information online, both basic and in-depth, for anyone who wishes to learn all the rules and look at the recommendations.
Keep in mind that you need to be organized as well as experimental. We all have our styles and goals when creating content. For me I have 2 main objectives, to create content that is different and to be as thorough as possible. Therefore, I choose to create 1 piece of content over a month, making sure I take the time to do all the research and most importantly, look at the subject from all the possible angles I can think of.
Blog schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
Organization plays a key role in making sure people know when to expect new content. You don’t want to randomly put content out there because you will leave those who are interested to have to wait and not know whether or not you’ll be putting anything out there. You may not want to strain yourself with a schedule right away, but once all pieces fall into place, try to have a schedule in mind that works for you and inform people about it. You want them to look forward to your next piece of content.
My schedule is a monthly one. I prefer to release one blog post per month which may be longer than the average blog posts but will also be filled with information. I also created a category subscription for my readers, so users can choose which categories they are interested in, to avoid them receiving emails about topics they are not interested in.
From time to time I may have 2 or 3 blog posts released in one month, however, I always try and plan my monthly post to be from a different category from those other posts which usually focus on collaborative work which may be time pressing. This way people won’t get spammed with emails, no one likes that. Also, if you know that you may have 2 posts from the same category released in a short period of time, think of unique ways of maybe doing a monthly email where both posts are mentioned so that your readers can receive 1 email instead of 2. Again, this is entirely up to you. Most times, you may have to adjust and adapt your methods according to the situation.
Method and style of creating and presenting your content (visual and text)
Building YOUR style, that in time people will recognize. Starting from the way your website looks, your logo (branding), your writing style, your final presentation of work, even the styling you use on videos, filters on images (if any), the text and colours or effects you use in your stories and the list goes on. All these are recognizable features that people will in time associate you with. It is something that you may envision as one thing and will in time develop into something different, which is fine. The more you learn and experiment, your style will develop with you. Just make sure to have something stable to be able to build on at the beginning. One thing to keep an eye out for our technological advances. For example, utilize subtitles on your vlogs and stories. Technology has given us the capabilities to connect with everyone globally, who may not understand your accent or who may be deaf. Such a small difference like subtitles can make such a great impact. We have the tools right in front of us. Use them wisely to connect with everyone who shares your passions and interests.
If you are not sure what it is that may describe you and your content best, have a look around what others are doing and create a list of things you like and don’t like. This will give you a good starting point of creating a style that you personally connect with, and most importantly will give you a vision of certain elements from the view of a user. Make sure to focus on the things you may not like and have some time to think about why you don’t like them, why they aren’t working for you as a visitor. There may be an element, such as the subscription box on a blog that you don’t like, however you do need it. It may be the fact that it is not the element which you don’t like but the style it’s in, or the fact that it’s annoyingly popping up, or covering your mobile screen or it simply doesn’t give you options of categories to choose from. My point is, think about what you don’t like because your opinion may not be about the element itself, but the way it’s presented. This means that you simply need to find a new way, your way, on how to represent that element.
Make your content as precise, easy-going, and accessible as possible.
Since the beginning of time, people go for an easy option. Not everyone likes to read, which unfortunately eliminates a portion of the population who will not bother going through your content. However, all is not lost. It is up to you to make sure that you deliver the information you want to share in a way that won’t have people turning away from your content. Keep in mind that even though users on your blog are readers, that does not mean they have the patience to read through an entire post only to find the actual answer in the very last line. Make sure to mix things up with the use of media or even videos.
When it comes to the actual content writing for a blog, there aren’t rules except for the keywords. In terms of organizing and the style, that is entirely up to you. I write posts myself without them being a collaboration, so there is no real deadline, I can spend days and weeks writing a post. I can work on several blog posts and add pieces of information when I get the inspiration on that topic. When the content isn’t tied to a deadline, you are flexible with the timing. When I work with a deadline, I allocate time for research and content writing. I usually work in the evenings, that’s when I find my mind the clearest and when I complete a post I never post it right away. I prefer to let it sit for the night and proofread it the next day. It’s always best to have someone else read through your work, but if you are the one proofreading your own content, the next morning will give your mind a chance to see the content with a fresh pair of eyes.
To be honest, this is a trial and error. You can get a good picture of how people act and react to your work by looking at the pathway from the side of Google analytics. It shows you the breakdown of which source users enter from, where they click and where do they leave. Whilst on the subject, I’ll go back to saying that people aren’t patient and sometimes not forgiving. Make sure that all your links and buttons work properly on your website. If something doesn’t work, people are less likely to click on it or even go on your site again.
Timewise, you will have your own rhythm once you begin writing. You will be able to calculate the amount of content you can write for a specific type of work and how long it will take you on research and content creation. For me a rough estimate is a minimal post of 800 to 1000 words, having minimal research (up to 2 hours) will take me about 4 hours to compile, excluding the proof-reading time.
Knowing the amount of time spent on creating content is essential for pricing your work. I have no issues writing, especially on topics that I am heavily invested in, but at the end of the day, if you are creating content as a job or for a paid collaboration, you need to know the price of your work costs. As brands and companies may approach you to create a content piece for them so you need to know how much time you can spend on that specific work and how much your hourly rate is.
This was one of the toughest things for me to estimate. I found myself working on projects for which I would have given a rate that was lower than I should have given. It also became pretty demotivating because I realized that the time and energy invested in the creation was more than I charged for. It wasn’t their fault, it was mine. I searched online to see if there were ways to place a monetary value on content. Back then it wasn’t an easy thing to find unlike now.
Long story short, there are many techniques you can use to rate your work, however I will show you techniques which worked for me. One is towards your blog and the other towards social media.
Rate Card estimation for your Blog content
Break down all the steps you take to create content. Mine are as follows:
- Concept creation
Concept building, Planning
Prepare look (makeup, hair, and styling), Location preparation, Set up (photography or/and video)
- Media creation
Photos: Shooting, Editing, Optimization, Stories creation & Social Media images
Video: Shooting, Editing, Optimization, Stories creation & Social Media video
- Content creation
Research and keywords, Writeup, Proofreading
Now, you need to create a baseline for each element mentioned above. I found it easier to look at my past work for any similarities. Being a blogger, my first instinct was to see the word count of those projects. You need to start from somewhere, so I began with the length of the blog post content, for example (1,200 words). From there then I looked at all the other elements. How long did I spend on the concept creation section, preparation, media creation (whether it was just photos or video or both), content creation, and finally the composition of everything.
It is important to have a minimum for media. You need to have some sort of idea on the minimum number of photos or the length of a video together with the time you spend on the shooting and editing.
Once you have all that listed, think of an hourly rate and create an Excel sheet that will automatically calculate your final rate by multiplying the time of each element by your fixed hourly rate. This technique will help you define a baseline of the physical hours that you spend on a project.
Make sure to keep in mind to add any professional rates if you will be outsourcing a photographer or a videographer. Also, make sure to deduct that cost from your equation if the company will be providing that.
Next, you need to get an average of your readership. Normally you take the total of the past 3 months and divide the sum by 3. The reason being is that there are many variables that need to be considered in terms of who gets to read your content. Unlike social media, when you post an article on the internet, that information can get accessed at any time, and sometimes the information picks up readers not instantly but over time. Google does not index your content straight away but needs time to do so, however on the upside your content, if properly built and optimized, can only gain value the longer it is published.
The rate for the average number of users can be done using 1 of 2 methods. You either set a fixed rate, for example, €0.50, €1.00 or €1.25 (whichever you feel is more appropriate, however, you should keep a few factors in mind; such as subscribers and new visitors), and use this fixed rate to multiple by your average readership.
Or, you can set a range, for instance, €0.50 for monthly readership between 1,000 to 5,000, €0.75 for monthly readership between 5,000 to 10,000, and so on.
I personally opt for the fixed rate as I find it fairer because truth be told if your readership increases, it will be reflected as an increase in the total price.
Next is adding your social media influence to that rate. I personally don’t do this. Having worked and studied the internal workings of social media, I focus my prices purely on my readership and my hourly rate. To me, social media is a method of advertising and from experience, just because a user has a certain amount of followers, does not mean that that number is a guaranteed number that will see, read and engage with their next piece of content.
The methods of adding social media rates are just like for readership, with 1 of 2 options of either having a fixed rate or having set range rates in accordance with followers. Set a rate for the average comments, views, and shares (just like the 3 month period for your blog, social media usually counts the average of the past 10 posts or so). You can even add a rate for likes. Once you have the rates for all the above, add them to the base rate of your blog post and you will have the rate of a sponsored blog post.
5. Media: Photos and Videos
As a blogger, you mainly express yourself through text, but as science has proven, human beings get the most information through visual content. This is why photos and videos are pretty important to grasp the attention of a wide audience. In an ideal world, you would have a photographer whose work you love and a videographer who captures the image you had envisioned, and both produce the exact visual content you want to go hand in hand with your written content. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and maybe that is actually a good thing. The reason I think it’s good is that being a blogger means that you learn skills you may have otherwise not pushed yourself into learning and that makes you more flexible and allows you to adjust to certain situations when things don’t go as planned.
You are a blogger, and no one expects you to be a professional photographer or a professional videographer. However, knowing your equipment to be able to personally produce photos and/ or videos without having to depend on others will not only help you professionally but is also very satisfying. Of course, not everyone may be interested in photography or video production and that is ok. However, they are both skills that are good to at least have the basic knowledge of, just in case something happens, and you are left on your own to create visual content.
With today’s technology and smartphones, it is not a must for everyone to invest money into professional gear that you have no idea how to operate. I suggest using what you have available. Learn the workings of what you already have in hand before you tap into something new. At the end of the day, the result is based on the composition of knowledge, imagination, and equipment capabilities. This is something I learned when I was studying the history of film making. Back then they did not have the equipment we have now, however, the understanding of what they had to work with and the drive of creating what they had in mind, drove them to experiment and as a result created something incredible that the audience of their time never witnessed.
My suggestion is to avoid investing a lot of money into equipment just because it’s professional and begin by understanding how the equipment you already have works. This way you won’t feel the pressure of having to spend a lot of money on equipment that you don’t understand how to operate and eventually taking all that frustration on yourself and saying that this may simply not be for you.
I started off with my smartphone. I learned the capabilities of my smartphone camera inside and out before I decided to invest in a mirrorless camera. Keep in mind that this is all a process and you should take things at your own pace, one step at a time. Enjoy the process. All the large creations are all built on the basics, so make sure you learn the basics. Once you get a handle on your equipment, then you can begin exploring the editing world. I will be mentioning the software and apps I use next, however, before then, I think it is important to address the concept of editing. I am aware that editing has been seen in a very dark light over the years. To me, there is nothing bad about editing but the negativity comes from the misuse of the skill. Having said that, I honestly don’t care if someone wants to make their waist 3 sizes smaller, legs 1/3rd longer, and lips twice the size. It is their choice. Today, everyone has the means of doing that and everyone can spot modifications to images. I personally love photography and all the images I use, unless otherwise indicated, are all my own photos and videos. Over time, I have invested in equipment that helps me create certain shots as I truly enjoy photography.
Editing to me is not a tool that will create the image, but a tool that helps bring out something I was unable to do with the camera. The shots I use are the ones that are the closest if not exactly what I wanted to capture.
Another thing people may not be as aware of is that images can be modified during shooting and before even being opened in an editing programme. When you learn how the camera works and how it captures an object, you will know that angles play a big part in the outcome of the shot. Apart from the angles, the lighting also makes a big difference in the final shot. Knowing the basics of photography and video production will allow you to capture an image as you want it to be without having to rely on photo editing tools.
I am also not a big fan of filter overuse. Today many micro-influencers and bloggers use filters on their visual content. However, there are also many huge bloggers and influencers that do just as well without the use of filters. I prefer to use the technique of old-school photography and to bring out the tone and colours which the raw shot captures. Also, I find that filters are more commercial, and business-focused, similar to a company’s brand guidelines, as opposed to a more experimental and creative approach. Again, it is entirely up to you as to what you feel comfortable in using and the decision of how to present your final work should be based on what you like as well as what works visually regarding how you want to express your content.
Going back to whether or not you should invest in obtaining these skills, I pushed myself and overcame self-doubt and I am happier where I am now than a year ago when I thought that I was incapable of learning and that I would fail. From experience, I know that when you have the knowledge, you may not feel the knowledge you have, however when you don’t have that knowledge and there comes a time you need it, you will feel the lack of it immensely. I think having the knowledge of such skills won’t be a waste of time, and even if you end up working with professionals and won’t need to do all this work yourself, the journey of learning will allow you to also discover yourself from an angle you may have not even seen yourself from.
6. Software and Applications
Whether you already have editing skills, or you are a beginner, there is something out there for everyone and for any skill set level. If you have no solid background in editing, don’t worry. I have learned so much from having zero skills in the past year. All you really need to time and patience. There is a lot of content and tutorials online which can teach you how to do the most basic and most complicated tasks.
I will go through all the software and applications I use, as well as quickly mentioning the ways I use them and why.
Pixlr is a great tool I use on my phone and I normally use it as a final application. It is like a simplified version of Photoshop, which also has an online version, however, I prefer the phone app. I normally use it to save the final image, as it allows you to save images in a large format, as well as to customize which size you would like to save the image, and also maintains the resolution of the images.
Photoshop gives endless possibilities for their users. I only learned how to use it a year ago and mind you I wouldn’t call myself an expert. There is so much I still can learn. I don’t use photoshop for editing as most of the editing is done on my phone and the application of photoshop on the phone seems quite limiting when compared to the computer software. However, photoshop is my go-to tool when I optimize images for my blog, prior to uploading them. Till now it is the best software I have come across that allows you to save images relatively small and still maintains the image’s resolution.
Snapseed is also similar to Photoshop in its editing capabilities. Unlike other apps, tools such as brightness, contrast, saturation, curves, ambiance, highlights, shadows, and so on, are much smoother and gives you more control over the intensity you want to add or reduce. It also has a fantastic selective tool that allows you to work on a section of an image which is great for images that may only need partial editing, such as those with minor shadows.
Facetune is an app that carries editing functions, however also has tools for retouches. It has tools that many are familiar with such as removal of red-eye, brushes to smoothen tones, patch tool, reshape and refine, a smooth and erasing tool as well as a whitening tool. Facetune, as the name suggests, is an app mainly used for images that contain faces and allows you to retouch and adjust the image.
If you have an object on the image that you would like to remove, there is no better app than the TouchRetouch app. This app gives you a variety of options for removing unwanted objects from your shot.
VSCO is mainly known for the variety of filters the app offers. There are many that come free with the app, and others that are unlocked once you purchase the premium package. You may have noticed bloggers and micro-influencers having their social media feed images being kept in a specific tone by using filters. All images seem to be in the same style. This is by the use of filters, which has become almost a branding technique for bloggers and micro-influencers. Personally, I am not a fan of overusing filters. I only use filters if contrast, brightness, and saturation doesn’t bring out certain colours as much, only then do I turn to the most appropriate filter and usually use just a tint of that filter.
From all the things I have pushed myself to learn, video editing is the most recent. Camtasia is computer software that allows you to edit video footage. It is pretty much like Photoshop but for video in my opinion. It has many capabilities and to be quite honest, for a newbie like myself, it gives enough for you to explore, learn and perfect your skill set without overwhelming you with too much.
InShot is an app which allows you to edit videos on your phone. It doesn’t have as many specific tools as Camtasia, but it has all that you really need if you are video editing on your phone, especially if your footage isn’t too long and it’s a video you want to put together pretty fast and release. I am a big fan of this app as it gives you all the tools you need to recreate a short video, including adding open source music, giving you different screen ratios, allowing you to trim, speed up and slow down your footage. It also has a variety of filters that you can use in your video which adds a certain feel to your footage.
Canva is a great app and an online tool which allows you to create and personalize cover shots, banners and even featured images for IG Stories. It has a lot of tools to choose from if you want to add that something extra to an image.
UNUM is an Instagram feed planner. I post all my social media posts according to my Instagram feed, so UNUM allows me to input images and videos to better plan my feed. A feed planner not only helps you see how your feed will look visually but is very helpful in planning what content to publish and when.
Collaborations are a fantastic way to create a project which is compiled of ideas and work done by several individuals, coming together and using their skill sets towards 1 goal, the collaborative project.
The terms of collaboration are discussed amongst everyone to make sure everyone gets a fair share of the pie respective to the work that they will be doing. There may be some payment involved or some sort of barter system of payment in product or service but one definite condition of any collaboration is exposure. If 5 people are involved in a collaboration, each one will share that project with their audience, giving accreditation to everyone who was involved.
A collaboration can’t be successful if one member only gets both exposure and payment. The terms between all collaborators must be equal. If only 1 person ends up getting that much more then that person is not a participant, but rather a hired person. If someone is hired to do a certain part, then they would be instructed as to what is needed from their end. Unlike in a collaboration where everyone involved gets an equal say as well as an equal share from the outcome.
9. Brands and Companies
When it comes to working with brands or companies, each business and even project needs to be tackled individually, however, there are some things to watch out for regardless of the business you are working with. The main one being whether they jump towards your social media numbers, rather than your blog content and readership. I have had my fair share of companies that never went on my website, never read or looked at my content, let alone ask about readership, however proudly ask for social media numbers (in such cases, mentally I already have one foot out the door). This is something to definitely watch out for because if you face this situation, clearly the brand either does not know what a blogger does or even worse, doesn’t have much of a marketing concept for their brand or business.
If they don’t know what your work entails and are unfamiliar with your content, then clearly there will be difficulty in them understanding what you actually bring to the table. It is basically a situation as though each of you is speaking in a foreign language and none of you understand one another.
This leads to an even worse issue that it may very well be that they don’t have much of a marketing strategy, to begin with. This, of course, is not an issue for you, however, it is an alarming one for any business. A business that has conducted proper marketing research and has set a strategy for itself, would have set certain key points through which to make the strategy turn into reality. As a blogger, you would act one of such key points. A business that has done this would have gone through all your virtual footprints, studied your website, most importantly the nature of the topics you cover, the style of writing you use, and even the way visual content is presented. Only after seeing if your work would fit their brand, would they see you as someone that could play a role in making their marketing strategy take shape.
I have a background in business, marketing, branding, advertising, as well as human behavior, and human communication. I am driven to learn and every skill I acquire along the way gets added to my box as yet another tool to be used together with my innate creativity, for the next project. When I look at a project to do with a brand, I don’t want to simply spend my time creating pretty content. I want to utilize all my knowledge as tools, to make sure I present the work in the best perceivable way, as well as experimenting with the presentation to make it unique.
Every project is different, so instead of taking a ‘traditional’ approach of giving my set work framework to the company, I look forward to adjusting my methods of content creation to fit the brand’s branding framework. Therefore, every project is dealt with individually and even my writing style is adjusted according to what would fit best. However, I also keep in mind to remain within my own framework, such as not breaking my own fundamental rules I set out for my work; the main one being, choosing which brands primarily, is a good fit for me.
When it comes to the actual visual presentation, images, or video, I thrive on experimenting and trying something new. Making content come together by utilizing your skillset and making it work with a brand is challenging, however, that is also where the true creative director within me awakens and is ready to take on the challenge.
Brands and companies know that customers don’t want an image of perfection to be sold to them. They want real-life experience. Each client wants something or someone they can relate to and this is why the industry for bloggers has been growing every day. Each blogger has a certain niche market, so for brands, it makes sense to invest their resources, not only towards the traditional famous people on billboards approach but also make investments into several bloggers, each having their own market of viewers and readers who follow their work and trust their opinions.
Same as with collaborations, the terms to work with brands and companies have no solid structure. It is fluid and depends on all parties involved. When it comes to competing brands, bloggers can work with competing brands, unless they have some sort of agreement or a long-term plan mapped out with a brand. It all comes down to proper timing and content distribution, not to have 2 competing products following each other.
Some brands tend to give importance to social media platforms, especially Instagram and that is quite a lazy approach. Personally, I begin to question whether a brand is the right fit for me when they know that I’m a blogger and seem to have more interest in social media than my website’s analytics. I understand that judging someone’s reach by simply looking at a number on a social media platform is easy, but there are a lot of holes in that assessment. As we have seen, the platform’s system has a lot of flaws which I’m not sure if brands are aware of or they simply choose that platform out of convenience and trend, even though there are other platforms that are more transparent and reliable. Bloggers should always give a combined audience reach to brands and if needs be, highlight your blog audience from the mix. Social media is just an advertising channel to lead people to your blog. For micro-influencers, their Instagram account answers and decides their entire audience, however for bloggers it is just one of many tools. I always give brands my overall following throughout all my social media channels and my blog statistics, as I post content across all the platforms and I don’t think the others should be ignored or disregarded just because one specific platform seems to be trendy today.
As seen previously, the authenticity of Instagram is questionable, so brands should also do a little more leg work and look at a blogger’s total following rather than just Instagram. In countries where this occupation is highly progressed, brands and companies have a thick line that divides micro-influencers and bloggers. A lot of the time, applications are also different as they understand that blogger rates, as well as the time placed into their content creation, is usually three times as much as that of a micro-influencer. The output that brands and companies expect from bloggers is also different. Bloggers are seen somewhere in between freelance writers, influencers, and content creators. Many large brands require a blog post or a vlog for a specific project which only bloggers or vloggers can produce.
Even though in some places this industry is relatively new, audiences and brands don’t know the difference between a traditional influencer, micro-influencer, and a blogger, in places where the industry is highly developed, the differentiation of the three is very much recognized and there are broad lines which split them apart.
I am very selective with the brands I work with because I am aware that my work will not only reflect the product but also me, who I am, what I stand for and believe in. I make sure to work with brands and people I truly believe in and not just because it’s business. Truth and being able to be yourself, in a society that is constantly trying to force you under a label of beauty and perfection is exhausting.
When I looked at numerous bloggers and influencers, it was very clear to me what I did not want to become and what I did not want my work to show. I wanted my blog to be informative to readers and not simply be a space of ‘buy this’, ‘wear that’ and make money from sales. If I work with a brand, it is because it is in line with who I am, and I will make sure to deliver their message and brand to the public. I don’t aim at short term quick sales. I aim to introduce a brand in a very different light and on a personal level, to bring forth the information that long term and loyal clients truly look for.
My aim was not to have a huge following of fans who know nothing about me but like my content because society has labeled me trendy. Nor did I want others to look at me and want to follow in my footsteps or be like me. I wanted to inform people and motivate them to discover themselves, to not fear to dig for answers or to discover their potential.
I did not want to take the easy way and do what so many people do. In my life, half the time I don’t walk on the path that is paved right in front of me, instead I choose the harder option and create my own path, this time was no different.
There are many websites that provide a safe space for bloggers and brands to connect. Here are some:
A website that has created entire profiles for bloggers. Companies that sign up with them can perform narrow searches for specific bloggers and influencers to fit what they are looking for and connect with them to work on a project.
The Blogger Programme
A database website where bloggers, influencers and brands create profiles. Brands then post-campaign opportunities that the signed bloggers and influencers can search for. These campaigns have certain requirements from the brands which only profiles that meet those requirements can apply to be considered for the campaign.
Another website like The Blogger Programme, which is a database of bloggers, influencers, and brands. Companies post their campaigns and the system shows you the campaigns which your profile can apply for taking into consideration your location and the campaign requirements. Once you apply for a campaign, the brand will contact you directly on the platform and let you know how to proceed.
10. Criticism and Illusional Competition
Criticism on becoming a blogger
Criticism is something you will face from the moment you tell people that you are considering going into blogging. From my experience, most people don’t understand what the work entails, so something which to you may seem like criticism from their end is simply a lack of knowledge of the industry. On the bright side, this is a perfect opportunity for you to explain why this interests you and what the work involves.
Throughout your journey, you will find criticism, mainly from those who have no idea what it is that you do. If you want to take the time to explain the work to them, go ahead. However, I would suggest to pick and choose whom to share the details with, as some people cast judgement but want to know, while others criticize just for the sake of speaking and have no intention to listen or hear what you have to say.
I personally don’t take on the “haters gonna hate” approach. I think it’s meaningless and only spreads more hate. Instead, I prefer to focus my time and energy on doing what I enjoy. If someone, who has no knowledge of the industry, bluntly attacks me due to their perception of how I choose to spend my time, energy, and money, to me it is a sign of ignorance and I see no reason to spare even a moment to react. Just keep in mind one thing, brands and companies wouldn’t be working with bloggers if it wasn’t profitable and if there wasn’t a reason behind it all. The fact that they do that, shows that blogging isn’t all just pretty pictures, but is an actual job. Bloggers, who are freelancers, don’t earn money out of thin air.
A lot of time goes into content creation and brands and companies know what it is they are paying for. So just because someone doesn’t understand what you do and isn’t interested in understanding, that person’s opinion does not automatically become the price tag of your work. You are your own boss and the price of your work is what you set it to be.
Another thing that some people do is repost a negative comment or message on their stories. Whenever I come across these stories I can’t help but think how the person is literally showing their entire following that public opinion means more to them than their own self-appreciation. Why else would someone repost a negative comment if not to shame the person who made the negative comment and getting people rallying up on their side and continuing spreading hate. That’s not supporting.
Whenever someone sends a negative remark, it is up to each of us to make a call on how we will react. We need to take responsibility for the action we decide to take. And most importantly, it is best to question why such a remark would bother us in the first place. Understanding what bothers us about this remark will help not only cope with such criticism and hate but also give us a reality check as to what actually matters to us individually as well as professionally.
Negative comments will always be passed, especially when you end up reaching a larger audience. Before reacting, take a moment to understand your own reaction and keep in mind that whatever you decide to do, will be spread amongst other people. We are not responsible for other people’s actions, just our own reaction, however being a blogger, our reaction is a message which will spread to groups of people. Take a minute to think of the message you spread about your work and yourself.
Together with criticism, from the beginning of your journey and all throughout, you will also have to deal with other bloggers and influencers. This industry, just like any other has a bitter and sour taste of criticism and competition, however since blogging is essentially an extension of who you are, the taste of the two is a little different from most jobs.
You will face many different types of bloggers and influencers, and during events, you will begin to recognize the different types. You will meet those who smile at you from wisdom tooth to wisdom tooth, although you can feel that hatred towards you right through that smile, and when wondering why they are smiling, you notice the public looking and cameras flashing. You will meet those who preach certain empowerment and motivational speech online, on how we should all love ourselves and support one another, however when you are left with them one on one with no one around, they dig their noses into their phones instead of interacting with a fellow colleague. You will meet those that see themselves larger than life and spend their time around the same people, being busy constantly taking photos and videos and treating the room as a runway.
If you end up facing similar situations, don’t let them get to you. Everyone knows that competition is none existent in this field, and the fact that grown adults decide to see competition where there isn’t any is not a problem of yours. They are obviously facing some sort of conflict within themselves that has nothing to do with you, even though they are taking it out on you.
You will also meet those that come up to you and introduce themselves, who ask about you and what motivates your content. You will find colleagues who are interested in not only knowing you and understanding you but also want to work with you. You will find those who easily introduce you to their circles and would gladly sit and discuss the industry and the approaches they take and you in return speak of the tactics you use. It is not all a mean girl’s high school vibe. Those who truly love their work and are happy with what they do will connect with you because they know there is no competition in this industry. There can’t be. Competition can exist if all bloggers worked by the same rules. Those who choose to personalize their work, share their passions, and create content by reflecting who they are, are outside the competitive mind frame. You may all be working in the same field, but as an individual, each one is different and therefore so is your content different.
Final Thoughts on Becoming a Blogger
Although the industry is relatively new, it seems to have already developed and outgrown itself and is in need of restructuring or something new. This may be so as it is dependent on the internet and the access to information is a click away. If you look at the users of social media, you will notice just how many of them are bloggers and micro-influencers. Brands and companies also seem to be picking and choosing to work with those individuals who seem to fit a certain stereotype, which is a subject that has been raised by FOHR when they created their first Freshman Class Programme.
So where does it leave you?
Well, it all depends on what you want to achieve.
Seeing how there is an overflow of users promoting and trying to sell products through their blogs and social media platforms, doesn’t necessarily mean there is no space for more. We live in a consumer society which means that there won’t really be too many bloggers and micro-influencers for marketing means to promote brands and products. However, it may mean that this overpopulated industry may require you to become more creative in your content.
What about the stereotypes brands choose to work with?
Working with people who fit a certain stereotype is an old school and safe approach. However, with the countless amounts of bloggers and micro-influencers out there, brands should realize that working with a certain type of person who fits neatly into a ‘type’ will eventually work against them. Whilst working with a certain type, they will be neglecting and not reaching out to many other types of people, so they will need to adjust their ways if they wish to broaden their market.
Are bloggers and vloggers only there for marketing means to promote and sell products?
The majority of the time, yes, but that’s not a rule set in stone. The promotion of products and brands financially works to the benefit of a brand and the blogger. However, that does not mean that bloggers and vloggers can’t focus on other spheres of interest. You need to keep in mind that unlike micro-influencers who depend on meeting the standards of the public and keeping their rating on social media, bloggers, have the freedom and flexibility of creating any type of content and putting it out in their own personal space, their website.
My intent towards my blog wasn’t primarily to market or promote products and brands. I do document and write about projects I work on with brands, however, my main focus is the exploration and looking into subjects that are bigger and deeper. Topics that most people live their lives without even wondering about. I am a deep thinker and a searcher for truth, regardless of where it may lead me. But that doesn’t mean I do not enjoy working on simpler projects with talented creatives from time to time.
My blog, in its content, reflects who I am, a paradox that has many fields of interest and contains content from different ends of the spectrum, from creativity to scientific content, and somewhere in the middle of the two is philosophical content. I, myself am a jack of all trades by nature with a deep desire towards understanding life and the meaning of it all, however, my mind is also balancing between the world of creativity and logic. So, when I created my blog, my biggest debate was whether to focus on one field, for example playing it safe and making it entirely to market and promote brands and products, or to take the risky approach and create a mirror reflection of all that interests me. I knew that choosing the first option wasn’t going to make me happy, as it is not the full version of who I am, so I took the risky approach and chose the latter.
At the end of the day, your choice needs to be one that you are happy with. I am happy about producing content describing my experience, be it a philosophical type of content or content towards my experience with a brand. I create content that I feel connected with and could benefit someone. You need to decide what content you want to create and why. Running a blog takes up a lot of time and effort, so make sure you don’t find yourself creating content you don’t care about, if that is the case, then maybe it is time for you to ask yourself what it is that you care about and want to share on your blog. Keep in mind that your blog is a reflection and extension of you and your interests. You are always developing throughout life, so it is natural that your blog will too.
With every project, I learn, and with every concept that comes to mind, I face new challenges that I look forward to figuring out. Your blog is what you make of it. It is a sphere that you create and mirrors your personality and intent. Your blog is what you make it be. To me blogs are allowing people to do the most basic of human things, to communicate. Every blogger creates their own little world to which others relate to. Today’s technology has allowed people to express themselves in not just words or photos, but to even create a website which reflects that person and their interests, not to mention that people are now being paid for having to be themselves and to be able to live and do what they enjoy.
I learn something about myself throughout this journey and in my belief, life is all about making the most of our time here and figuring out the puzzle we call self. To better ourselves, to open up to the world, and become accepting of ourselves as well as of others. I think the time has come for this. This may not be for everyone. But I truly wish every single person reading, to think about what makes them happy, what makes them feel alive, and to take that path.