Over the course of blogging for 18 months, I have come across comments that say "Blogging is easy" and "Bloggers just want free stuff". So, I am here to set the record straight for anyone who truly believes this. This post isn't meant to be angry or mean. I just want to be sure that there is an awareness of what it takes to be a successful blogger.
Myth 1: People only blog to get free stuff. Hahaha! Yes, I'm laughing outloud right now. Why? Because I honestly thought this was true prior to becoming a blogger. Let me give you a little insight on what it takes to write a good review and become a reputable product review blogger. First off, imagine that you receive a product for your family. You bring it home and before you try it out you have to take a ton of really nice pictures of it. Then, as you open it or assemble it you need to take more pictures. As you begin to use the product with your family, you have to analyze and then over-analyze how you feel about this product. Do you love, or maybe hate it? How are you going to express your dislikes in a good light? What about this product will you want to say to express to your readers what you like about it? Then you realize you missed taking certain pictures to back up your review. Let's say it's a baby/kid product. Well ,now you have the fun twist of not only getting your kids to try it out or like it (cue screaming baby), but you also have to get really nice pictures of it in use by your children all while chasing them around the house with said product. And this is just the beginning! After you have fully tested out and analyzed the product, it's time to actually sit down and write around 400-500 words about it, highlighting all the pros/cons and important details you want your readers to know. I dare you to try to come up with 500 words to describe a stapler or cleaning products! Do it! Plus, you have to sort through, edit and copyright all those precious pictures you took. And if there is a giveaway, well that involves a custom form and prize description for your post and well as validating a winner (yes, people cheat all the time!) and coordinating prize delivery. Don't let me forget to mention scheduling countless promotions across multiple social media sites to be sure the sponsor of the post gets the attention they deserve. After reading about this process, does it sound free to you?! If so, then you really don't value your time.
Myth 2: Bloggers are full of themselves. Yes, bloggers are people and most people at least like themselves, but trust me, we don't blog because we love ourselves so much we want the world to love us too. I mean, if I wanted everyone to love me I would find something that would make me a ton of money, because as we know, the masses of the world easily idolize people who have an abundance of money and as you read above, bloggers don't really bring in the millions. So...why do we blog? Well, just like people who work in other jobs, we blog because we like it and it's something we are competent at. Personally, I blog because I love researching a product thoroughly before purchasing it and figured I might be able to help others make decisions on products more easily. I blog because it makes me happy to share my parenting experiences with the world around me.
Myth 3: Bloggers are people who have nothing else to do.
Okay, again I laugh out loud! Why? Because this isn't even close to true for probably 99% of bloggers. Most bloggers work at least two jobs - blogging & family-life and many work even more. For example, I work outside the home full-time in corporate America. I also run this blog and I'm a wife and mother to 3 beautiful children. I often blog into the wee hours of the night or before the sun comes up. I know bloggers that have four or more jobs. Again, blogging doesn't bring in millions and we do it because we really have a passion for it! Would you choose to do something so time-consuming and often stressful just because you were bored? Probably not! Personally, I would love a little boredom :-)
Myth 4: Blogging is easy. Anyone can do it! Okay, so if the previous three points haven't convinced you that this is just not true, I'll dig a little deeper for you. Besides having to write 500 words about a stapler or shampoo, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a blog. Bloggers are constantly working with their blog layout and template, sourcing sponsors for product reviews and giveaways, networking with other bloggers to coordinate fun events for their readers, reviewing reader comments and deleting ugly spam so you don't have to look at it, learning about HTML and blog widgets so they can provide the optimal reading experience, promoting our blogs across other sites and blogs to increase exposure, staying up to date on the giveaway rules of the FCC as well as all the social media sites, brainstorming ideas for posts that their readers will enjoy, installing and managing analytics tools which don't even make sense most of the time and so much more. And again, the majority are doing all of this while juggling a already full-plate of responsibilities.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I too was a non-blogger just 18 months ago and I too thought all of these was absolutely true! Had I known then what I know now, I would have interacted more with the blogs I followed. A click of the "Like" button on Facebook, a quick retweet on Twitter, or a comment on one of our posts really means more than we can describe. It is our passion to reach out and share our experiences with people that drives our love of blogging.
So, the next time you see a post from your favorite blogger, please take 30 seconds and comment. Or if you see a Facebook post you love, just take a few seconds, hit "Like", comment on it and share it with your friends. Your interaction drives our passion. (Extra bonus: Fan interaction will bring you better giveaways too!)
Stay Tuned for my next article titled "The Truth About Blogging". Thanks for reading!