“So what do you actually do?”
A question I’ve become oh so used to hearing, time and time again. Questions – fine but passive aggressive comments like “I just don’t understand who care’s about what you think” not so much. The term ‘Blogger’ and ‘Influencer’ gets batted around quite a lot these days, in both positive and negative lights. So as this is a question I get asked a whole lot and I’m sure this goes for most bloggers, youtubers and influencers out there, I thought I’d address the question, explain what it is I do on a day to day basis and give you a behind the scenes peek into the kind of things I get up to.
Firstly – yes, I am incredibly lucky in the fact that I sometimes get to go to lovely dinners and events and get sent PR packages and products to try out however, that did not happen over night. Blogging for me started as a hobby, an online diary of sorts where I could chat about my favourite trends and recent travels. However, since it started (back in 2014) it’s become my own little business. Yes it’s still only small in comparison to many others and no I’m not quite ready to leap into the world of full-time blogging but for me, where I am with it right now is something I’m pretty damn proud of. With that said I get really annoyed when people tend to assume that no work goes into it and that I just waltz around London goings to events and attending press trips…how I wish this were true.
I had my blog up and running for about a year before anything like that happened. I worked hard and slowly but surely began to meet other bloggers and establish relationships with PR companies which led to collaborations and partnerships. I sat and I wrote my blog because it was something I simply loved to do, I didn’t do it in the hope of bagging some freebies (I didn’t even realise that was a thing back then) I did it because for me it was a form of escapism so when that perk did come along I was thrilled! Blogging and this little blog is somewhere I come to share, to vent and to (hopefully) inspire. Everyday when I view my traffic analytics I’m always stunned that people do actually click their way to this site and read what I’ve got to say, I don’t know why you do but you do so… thaaaaanks! As I said, I’m not quite ready for the full-time blogger life so alongside maintaining my little corner of the internet I also have a ‘normal’ job in order to pay the rent/bills and other necessities, yet still “get yourself a proper job” is another comment that seems to be thrown out there a lot. Blogging is a very individual thing and no it’s not a traditional job there’s no job description, job titles or contracted hours but believe me when I say that a lot of work, time and effort goes into it. So to help demystify the world of blogging and influencing, I’ve answered some of the questions you guys seem to want to know…
– a regularly updated website or web page,
typically one run by an individual or small group,
that is written in an informal or conversational style.
I thought I’d start off with the technical dictionary definition, which does a pretty good job of summing up what a blog actually is.
It’s a small corner of the web that a person owns and writes about things they are passionate about.
I suppose arguably the integral part of any blog is the writing. Now by no means would I ever consider myself to be an actual ‘writer’ but essentially it is what I spend the majority of my time doing. My writing process starts with jotting down ideas in the morning when I wake up, anything and everything I think might make an interesting blog post I’ll scribble down to come back to at a later date. Once I’ve picked one of the topics to focus on, I then grab my note book and write down a few notes on the subject, exploring different possible avenues and any angles I could look into. Once that’s all done I then get onto my laptop and start typing. Writing the post will usually take around 2 – 3 hours from start to finish with a number edits and revisions.
Again, another profession I don’t for one second claim to be a part of is photography however, as I quickly learned the photographic content within a blog is super important! At the end of the day, people see pictures, it’s the first thing our eyes land on whatever we are looking at and so simply put, I want those pictures to be good. Whilst I realise some blogs aren’t quite as photo heavy as mine, I take great pride in my photography. Along with my own captures I’m also lucky enough to work alongside some amazing photographers that help me bring my vision to life.
Whenever I’m thinking of a post I always think about the overall layout and look first. For fashion I’m thinking which locations will match the outfit, for food – which angle will compliment the dish. Whether it’s behind the camera, shooting travel destinations or in front of the camera, modelling my latest #outfitoftheday I’d say per post around 100 pictures are taken with on average 5 – 10 being used in the final blog. Once I’ve picked the ones I’d like to feature then starts the editing, adjusting contrast, exposure and of course the holy grail *photoshop* this all takes a whole lot longer than you might think.
With social media literally taking over the world right now, it’s important for any business (not just bloggers) to know their way around the multiple different social platforms. Blogging is much more than just maintaining and updating the blog itself now a days. Writing and posting the content is step one, the next is to do a ‘social push’ posting updates across all of your platforms, namely Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (snapchat too if you fancy it.) For me when each blog post goes live I will follow it up with 1-3 pictures on Instagram, an article share on Facebook, several comments and conversational posts on Twitter highlighting the article and finally snapping some videos for Snapchat and Instagram stories. This in between all the general upkeep, posts and interaction. Social media is a round the clock job!
As I mentioned earlier, to take your blog from hobby to business takes a whole lotta work! Blogs rarely become popular out of thin air, there’s usually an incredibly driven individual behind any successful blog, typing, editing and posting away. Think of the famous duck analogy – ‘calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath.’ That’s the reality. You may see the glamour on social media, the dinners, the press trips, the fashion hauls but behind that is hours upon hours of work. Blogging is a hugely saturated market and so it’s really tough to stand out and make brands want to work with you over hundreds of others. So on goes the marketing and PR hat. Through social media, word of mouth and networking you start to build new relationships, grow your audience and pitch yourself to potential partners.
The never ending inbox is something most working people will be all to familiar with, it’s as though every time you read and reply to one, another 50 come through. As a blogger emails literally come in all day every day, morning, night and weekend. Answering emails becomes a whole other job in itself but sometimes, amongst the admin and everyday updates comes a really exciting message which makes everything worth it.
Blog + Brand
So as with everything in the Blogosphere, the relationships between blogger and brand is something that has changed quite a bit over the past couple of years. There was a huge turn around a few years back where more and more people became disillusioned with the traditional advertising methods. Be it magazines, tv or runway – the photoshopped, unattainable images where just not selling the product as much they once were. Instead people started turning to bloggers, youtubers and social influencers for honest, relatable reviews and opinions. Therefore blogs became increasing popular with brands as a way to reach their target audience…yay!
How do you work with brands?
How I work with brands now is very different to how I worked with brands when I first started blogging. Back when I first started I was so thrilled that anyone showed any kind of interest in working with me that I jumped for joy and would write, post and picture whatever products they wanted me to feature. Obviously I still only wrote about things I genuinely liked however, I would ask for nothing in return. For me it was just exciting that a brand I liked knew who I was and wanted to work with me. That’s all well and good but as you’ve probably realised by now, blogging takes a heap of time and effort and so as I became a bit more experienced in the world of blogging and how other brands and bloggers collaborated I started presenting myself as more of a business. Sometimes there’s a contract, sometimes it’s just a verbal agreement. There are lots of different ways in which I collaborate with brands, each with a different set of requirements and goals. At this point I would like to make it clear that brand partnership or not, all the words and opinions I post on this blog are my own and are honest.
A few of the different ways in which I work with brands are:
- Gifting – After building relationships with brands and PR companies, some will often send any new or soon to be launching products for me to review or if clothes, style for a blog post. However this is entirely up to me, the majority of brands send me numerous packages each month and if I happen to love something sent then of course I want to share it with you guys, if not then that’s ok too. It’s not so much a collaboration but chances are if it’s a brand/product I love, it’ll probably make an appearance in some way, shape or form whether it be on the blog or social media.
- Sponsored – posts – This is where I am paid to work with a brand. This can be anything from writing an article for my blog, a guest article for their online community, social media posts or live Q&A’s. Often the brands I do paid content for are brands I’ve worked closely with before or have met numerous times at events or meetings. I take this very seriously as although they are paid posts I always want the content to be honest and fitting with my other blog posts. For example it would be really odd for me to post about holidays for the over 65s when this blog obviously isn’t aimed at that particular audience. Keeping my integrity and carefully picking which brands make sense for me to work with is really important, otherwise you guys would think I was a total sell out and probably stop reading – bad times.
- Press trips – I’ve recently moved a bit more into travel and it’s something I wish to expand more into next year. With that, I find press trip opportunities cropping up more often. These are when a brand, maybe a tourism board or hotel chain will organise a trip to show me (usually along with other bloggers and journalists) around a hotel, city, beach resort or spa. In return we provide content, posting pictures/videos on our social channels and writing a travel guide/ hotel review for our blogs.
When working with a brand, whatever form that may take, it’s essentially my job to promote and give them exposure. The better the job I do the better the relationship with the brand, hopefully leading to an ongoing partnership. Again, as with most professions word of mouth is everything! It’s always important to me to do the best I can with each and every post I produce be it sponsored or not. That way when people visit the blog they know the standard I like to work to.
So there we are, the answer to the frequently asked question. Don’t get me wrong blogging does have it’s perks and since starting I’ve been lucky enough to experience some truly amazing things, however none of this has been handed to me on a plate. It’s just me running this little blog, a one woman business if you will and that means I take on all the roles. So when you see me on Instagram swanning around with canapés and cocktails in my hand, it’s not because of a one off Instagram post, it’s down to hours of email answering, editing and scheduling. I work on my blog everyday alongside my ‘day job,’ social media and emails during the day then editing photos, writing content and planning by night. My hope is that if I keep on keeping on, I aim to reach a place where I am able to go into blogging full time *gasp* but for now I am just fine working my (not so little ) ass off and creating content you lovely lot actually want to read.
I hope this post has given you some insight into what I get up to when I have my blogger hat on. Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below, I’ll do my best to answer. Also if you fancy starting a blog – DO IT! It’s the best decision I ever made.