I think it’s safe to say there’s quite a lot of misconceptions around blogging and bloggers in general. Influencers, content creators, whatever you wanna call us. We’re not painted in a particularly positive light sometimes are we? I mean, some of the naivety I can understand, considering this career is fairly new in the grand scheme of things and not something everyone fully understands yet.
I always feel a bit weird and awkward telling someone what I do. Especially if it’s an older person (sorry, totally stereotyping here) or someone I know that isn’t particularly “tech savvy”. I’m often met with a lot of “oh” or “so how do you make money from that then?” Which, before we continue, is none of your business really. But still.
Non-bloggers tend to think blogging is a whole lot of sitting around in cafe’s, getting sent a bunch of stuff for free and watching Netflix in your pajamas because you work from home and have nothing better to do. There’s so many different kinds of misconceptions around this industry.
And shaming people for not understanding is really not going to get us anywhere is it?
If you don’t know, you don’t know. You can’t force someone to not be judgmental but you CAN educate them in a polite way so they learn and know better going forward. How can you expect a 85 year old person, who’s never used a computer in their life to truly understand what you do without teaching them?
So, in the kindest way possible, here are some things I really wish non-bloggers knew and understood about blogging and bloggers in general:
Nothing is really “free”
I’m very fortunate to have been sent a ton of products over the years since I started blogging. Things I’d never have the chance to purchase myself or have even know about beforehand. I’ve been able to treat my Mum, Dad and boyfriend to gifts because of this. Again, gifts I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.
Trust me, I know how fortunate I am. But when people say we get sent “free stuff”, we rarely do. Of course Instagrammers with millions of followers get sent ludicrous amounts of stuff to their PO box from various brands. But I’m not talking about those today, I’m talking about us.
If a product is sent to us, that’s not where that ends. We have to take photos of the product, write about it, review it and promote it. Which can take quite a while. Products are a form of payment. You have to work for payment.
It actually is quite hard work sometimes
Don’t by any means think that blogging is the hardest job in the world. If I see someone state that it is, I seriously question where that logic has come from and can’t help but feel it’s a bit disrespectful to those people who actually DO have the hardest jobs in the world.
But… it’s also not easy. Not always. There will be smooth-sailing days where your creativity is flowing, your inbox is full, you’re motivated and inspired and things go well. But there will also be days where deadlines get on top of you, your creativity is at rock bottom, you’re not motivated, you hate your work, you’ve had a bad interaction with a brand, so on and so on…
Believe it or not, bloggers still have hard days at work. Just like any other profession.
It’s not a get-rich-quick-scheme
Bloggers put a lot of time and hours into their craft. Whether they excel at taking photos, have an incredible writing style or have become so successful they’re able to offer coaching to other bloggers, I can guarantee you it wasn’t an over-night success.
So dismissing someone’s blogging career so blatantly is quite disrespectful in my opinion. You wouldn’t do the same to anyone else. But I think that’s a problem with people’s attitudes to the freelance and creative industry in general. But anyway, people assume blogging is an easy way to make money. It’s not.
We are respectful of other’s property
Well, 99.9% of us anyway. There was pretty big drama a couple of months ago about bloggers (Instagram influencers more-so but some of which were also bloggers) using people’s London homes as backdrops of their images with a lot of people complaining about how disrespectful they can be.
Although I’ve never done this myself (I hate having my photo taken full-stop, regardless of backdrop) I did see a lot of bloggers hit back with how they’d never sit on / walk on / use someone else’s property. Especially without permission. There will always be exceptions but in general, bloggers / influencers are respectful of their surroundings.
Bloggers lives aren’t perfect – we don’t show everything
Now I don’t think this one would strictly apply to me because I’ve NEVER pretended my life was perfect nor have I ever only shown my “highlight reel”. I’m very honest about my mental health, my struggles and what’s going on in my life on social media and within my newsletter. That’s just how I prefer to be.
BUT some bloggers do prefer to curate their feeds to only show their best bits. And that’s okay, we all have a right to share what we want. But that doesn’t mean any blogger has the “perfect life”. There’s a lot going on behind the screen that you’ll never see.
Blogging is a real job
Ah… this old chestnut. If I had a pound for the amount of times you hear, “so what ELSE do you do?” when you say blogging is your job, then I wouldn’t need a job anymore. There’s lots of different pathways bloggers take for it to become their job. It’s nothing to be sniffed at.
The opinions of bloggers are becoming more respected by the day, with a recent study stating that 81% of the online population trust the opinion of bloggers, whilst 61% have bought something based off of a bloggers recommendations. Those are incredible numbers – which are only going to get bigger.
If you can accept advertising as a job, if you can accept coaching and teaching as a job, if you can accept graphic design as a job, then you certainly can accept blogging as a job. The very definition of “professional” is: engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.