3 Important Things to Know Before You Start a Career in Blogging
Over the past few years of my blogging, I'd like to say, career, I've gotten numerous emails asking me for advice about starting blogs. Most of the time, the emails I get always have one end goal: To start a blog and make a living out of it, much like me. Most often than not, these people have a certain expectation of the glamorous life a blogging career leads and I don't blame them. Blogs are so often contrived and filtered to the point where it gives a distorted view of the seemingly perfect lives of the people who own them, and with reason. No one wants to air their dirty laundry for the entire world to read and gossip about, so everything is tailored and filtered to an extent -- and that's not to mean it's a lie or a fake, it just means you're not seeing the nitty gritty ugly details that happen behind the computer screen.
The first rule of thumb when online: take everything you see or read with a grain of salt. And that applies to this blogging tips series I'm starting. Why? Because I'm not an expert. What I'm about to tell you is all based on my personal experience throughout the years and here's the clincher: just because it works for me doesn't mean it'll work for you -- Why? Because everyone has a different journey, no two people will ever be the same. Treat my blog posts as a guide, but don't make it the be-all and end-all of your blogging journey. That being said, let's get to my first set of blogging tips before you start a blog or a career in blogging!
1. Know your reason for blogging.
I cannot stress this enough. Be it to just blog for the sake of blogging or blogging to start a career out of it -- you have to go into it 100% committed and passionate, especially if you want to start making it your career. All the best blogs are the ones that go into it with genuine intent. You should be blogging to share -- share your life, what you know, your opinions, your thoughts, your plans, your dreams, sharing something you're an expert in, sharing tips, sharing information that will be useful to other people. That's what blogging is about. If you're going into it just for the perks, the freebies and sponsorship -- here's the ultimate Truth Bomb: you won't get anywhere in the blogging industry if you only want free stuff.
For example, a few years ago a blogger emailed me asking me to promote the debut of her fashion line, even asking me to be a model for it. I thought, "Hmm, why not? If I like her clothes, then sure!" Well, I didn't (like her clothes), so I respectfully and politely declined. I was browsing through her blog when I noticed her entire blog content was basically a huge self-promotion of "Look at me, I'm a model/designer/blogger! You should sponsor me!" and she wasn't subtle about it either, having had her contact details sprawled across her blog, specifically for sponsorship. If you think I'm being judge-y (and I admit, I felt so judgmental too), well I had a friend who had an online shop and one night she started tweeting about a blogger who had the nerve to keep asking for freebies without even a proper proposal, just out right acting like my friend would "sooo benefit" from giving said blogger free stuff. I messaged my friend and said, "Can I just guess? Is this _________?" and she said "Yes! How did you know?" It wasn't that hard to guess because this blogger just stank of "freebie hungry" perfume. Needless to say, this blogger actually never really made it anywhere. She wasn't that big to begin with, but she was definitely trying, and I suppose she thought getting freebies was the way to do it!
"Yeah, yeah Camie. I get it. I'm not in it for the freebies! I just really want to blog!" Read on, my child...
2. Know it takes dedication, hard work and realizing it's not as glamorous as you'd like to think
Blogging isn't as "chill" as we'd all like to think. You need dedication and hard work to keep-up with it if you want to be a "serious" blogger. Content and consistency is always king. Great content that is relatable, informative or interesting is what will reel your readers in. So, imagine needing to come up with content at least 3-4 times a week each month, covering events, shooting products, writing honest reviews for products/services, etc. all while budgeting the small amount you initially start getting paid.
That's another thing, the pay? Not glamorous AT ALL. It can be, for few lucky people but let's not bank on luck. This is also why most people I know make the smart choice of not making their blogs their sole source of income -- which I will admit pressured me into applying for fashion retail jobs in the past, but I never pushed through because I'm stubborn and refused to go for a job that I knew wouldn't make me happy and take time away from my number one passion: blogging. So, you can go either full-time or part-time; it depends on your work ethics as well, if you're able to focus on two jobs or would rather focus on one. That is entirely your call. If you can afford to work as a full-time blogger while not earning much, then give it a go. Your life, your choice.
As for myself and making my blog my sole source of income, I would say I was lucky enough that by the time I graduated college, my blog was in a place where I could earn some kind of money from it. Considering the fact that before I graduated college, I've been blogging even before I got to high school; albeit those years was mostly blogging for fun. About a year and a half into my blogging career I couldn't live off the money I was earning -- at all. I was getting work but the pay wasn't coming fast enough to be able to afford my wants, just some of my needs. The reason for this? I didn't dedicate 100% of my time to blogging. I neglected it in a way, which resulted to decline of reader traffic. I started getting more work when I decided to work harder at my blog. Again, content & consistency is king.
3. Know to throw all your expectations out the window
Let's get realistic here. Blogging success doesn't happen overnight. I don't know any successful blogger who got overnight success. So when you've been blogging for one, two or three months and you're still not where you want to be, don't be discouraged! Sometimes blogging success comes slowly. Just because this blogger did this & that, doesn't mean it will also happen for you. It's important to not compare your journey to others.
For me, I would say it took from 2002 (when I started blogging for fun) until 2011 before I could say I was ready to start a blogging career. 2011 was when I signed on to be one of Nuffnang Philippine's talent bloggers -- which kind of sealed the deal for me for them to basically say "Hey, your blog is worth something!" because an advertising agency actually thought my blog could be monetized. But success doesn't mean just about the money, it also means readers and engagement. Mind you, I was only earning a little bit when I signed on with Nuffnang. But I considered myself a successful blogger because I blogged from the heart, and I had readers who engaged with me and I had a relationship with.
"But, what if I become like those big time bloggers like David Guison who got successful really fast?"
David Guison, believe it not, didn't get overnight success either! He too had to work on his blog before it even got a lot of readers and attention. He told me he started blogging in high school, and then started to seriously blog in 2009, and for a year his blog didn't get a lot of readers. In 2010, he got his very first sponsor -- back then he had no idea bloggers could even get sponsored. The rest is history. He too had to work hard to get where he is now. The reason I look up to Dave is because of his dedication to be consistent. I struggle with this and I'm currently working on it.
So, I think these 3 tips just about covers what you need to know before you actually start your blogging journey. It's basically more of preparing you for the good, the bad, and the ugly! It's not always going to be rainbows, cupcakes and roses. Sometimes, it's just the harsh reality that much like everything else in the world, it does take hard work before you get anywhere.
I hope this was helpful for you especially if you've been wanting to start a blog. As per usual, if you've got any follow up questions then don't hesitate to ask! If you've got some input as well, don't be afraid to let me know your opinion! I'd love to talk and discuss with you :)
Stay tuned for the next series which I'll be tackling the different platforms you could use to blog. But if you want to go ahead and do research (which you definitely should!!!) the different popular platforms for blogging are: Blogspot, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org, Tumblr, Squarespace.
'Til the next series! :)