I get asked sometimes what it is like to be a blogger and often what it is exactly that I do. There are lots of places that probably have more professional answers about what bloggers do and how you go about doing what those things are, but I am here to tell you about what it is like to be a blogger to me.
Blogging isn’t all fun and free things like people imagine it to be and we aren’t all homely housewives that have nothing better to do. I have lots of things I can do! Trust me. My husband loves to tell me about all the things I could be doing with my time, but I love writing and for almost 15 years I’ve been writing online. I’ve never been capable of sitting down and forcing this epic novel out of my head, but I have a natural knack for writing, so blogging fits me. My blog, like all bloggers blogs, is an extension of myself – or my life.
That is why I blog.
Being a blogger is a busy business and we all run our business differently. I utilize only the time I get to myself for mine: an hour or two in the morning, a few hours in the afternoon and a few hours at night. This may seem like a good chunk of time, but you have to break down exactly what a blogger does. Here is a run down of what it would take for one post.
- Approx 1-2 hours to edit 10 photos that cover (est.) 2-3 posts.
- It takes at least 1 hour to write a review or 1-2 hours to write a great content post.
- 30 min – 1 hour to update all social networks (or auto set networks) with the new information.
- 30 min to email Rep for the company (if applicable) and update personal records.
At the low end you are looking at maybe 2-3 hours of work for 1 post and for reviews that doesn’t include the time it takes to review the product and photograph it. This can take a little while if it has anything to do with toddlers. Toddlers are like trying to catch a hummingbird in flight, it is almost impossible to get them to freeze long enough to shoot the photo and so it sometimes takes days before you can get ONE decent photo. If they don’t run away from you.
If you add in giveaways, those lovely giveaways that everyone wants, then you are adding in another hour to your week for every 2 giveaways you have. This is because it takes time to promote the giveaways, add them to linkies and contest sites as well as moderate, choose a winner, email the winner, email the Rep for the company and then ensure that prize is delivered.
Posting is only a small part of blogging though, even if it is the one major contributor to traffic and generally the only aspect anyone sees of our work. Another aspect of blogging that takes up a large majority of time is email. Whether this is emailing companies, groups, keeping updated with events, removing trash or responding to over 1000 people – email takes up a large majority of my time.
I run inRandom, but I also assist on Outnumbered 3 to 1, so I get a double whammy when it comes to emails. I spent approx 2-3 hours a day specifically on emails. There are probably some of you that are thinking, “That is impossible! You haven’t even responded to me!” When you get 1000s of emails a day that you actually have to read, it becomes more of an organizing chore. I have 20 some odd folders where emails funnel in from hundreds of different places and thousands of different people. In the morning I sift through everything, email anything that is in need of an immediate response and tag everything that I need to respond to. In the pockets I have during the day, or at night if that is not possible, I try to get to as many as I can. Sometimes this takes a few days because each day adds to the list and the longer you blog the bigger your Inbox becomes.
At intervals during the week I have to do what I like to call ‘background’ work. As blogs age and regulations become stricter, posts have to be cleaned up and regularly corrected for Google’s pending rank. A blog’s Page Rank is important because it is initially the doorway into establishing relationships with companies. The higher your Rank, the larger your influence and the more opportunities you have. It also has a lot to do with what is going on with the companies you work with as well. If a company changes things on their site, it may change the links on our blog. As we’ve worked with hundreds of companies, I am continually having to update or remove dead links, images and widgets that could cause our rank to decline.
For seasoned bloggers this can take a very long time. I’ve been working on our background for over a year now.
This is just the everyday work that goes into a blog. It doesn’t include all the time one needs to put into social media. You just have to imagine how difficult it is to keep thousands of people interested in you. No matter how interesting you are, or you think you are, trying to keep the attention of multitudes of people that are doing a billion different things on the internet… is a little daunting. But we like you and we really want you to like us, so we try our best. 🙂
I had a few readers ask me some questions on What it is like to be a blogger? today on Facebook and said I would answer here. So here are a few things you might not know!
Do you have a special calender or outline of what you need or want to do to keep you on track each day / week / month?
Absolutely. I believe most of us do, or we all should. There are way too many things to remember. Even without my tiny lapses in memory to do health issues I wouldn’t be able to keep everything straight without a calendar or list. I personally use Google Calendar for Events or date specific jobs, Google Docs to keep track of all incoming work from companies (who, what, when) and I also have a paper list that tells me immediate things I need to work on that day. I like this list because I can scratch things off. 🙂
How do you attract sponsors?
Attracting sponsors is a lot like dating. You don’t necessarily want to go out looking for them, or stalking them or taking anything that comes along just because you are lonely. The best way is to work on yourself, or your blog in this case. The more attractive your blog, your writing, and your message, the more you stand out.
Many bloggers work with networks which in turn work with sponsors, some of these include: Social Fabric, Mom Central, Social Spark, Mom Spark, She Heard, Clever Girls Network, Massive Sway, Global Influence Network and The SITS Girls to name a few. You can tell is a post is sponsored by looking at the disclosures where it is mandatory by law that a blogger discloses this information. By working with multiple sponsors on these networks, many other networks and/or individual sponsors locate us. Other sponsors are generally found by being referred through groups, applications or by professionally pitching a company on what you can do for them (ie: Ambassadorships).
How do you write a pitch letter?
Every blogger is different on how they write a pitch letter. You can look up a hundred different ways to write them and they’ll all be different. There isn’t a right way to write a pitch letter, in my opinion. The thing about pitch letters that gets me is that bloggers generally dislike anything impersonal and massively mailed out to thousands of people, so I assume that media people don’t like it when bloggers are mass emailing them impersonally without anything specific about their company. It goes both ways.
The best thing you can do is know the company that you are pitching. Take the time to read what they are about and for small companies, their ‘message’. Don’t just pitch a company because you want something. When you are writing your pitch letter think about why that product is a great fit for you and why you would like to share your experience with your readers. What is it about the company that makes you want to work with them? I’m an Ambassador for Little Tikes and it isn’t just for the toys. I have great respect for what they offer children in their products and the durability that has stood the test of time for generations of families. You are not only sharing a product or representing a company if you are an Ambassador, but sharing a reflection of yourself with your readers.
Once you know why that product or company is a great fit for you and your blog, you take the time to explain to them professionally, in less than 200 words, what that is and what you have to offer in terms of statistics and marketing. You can get great outlines by visiting Still Blonde After All These Years who has Pitch Templates available.
Though being a blogger is a lot of work, it is also very rewarding. The rewards aren’t the products, the trips, the food, etc. Though those things are also nice. The greatest reward in blogging, for me, is you. It is knowing that out there someone is listening, someone cared to know something about me or cared to know about my day. It is a great reward in realizing that I’m not alone, when I get confused about one thing or another. That there is another person in the world who is right there with me or has gone through similar circumstances.
That is what it is like to be a blogger for me. So the next time you see a post about anything from hair care to challenges I face in my life, know that each of them is taken with the same amount of work and passion that I put towards everything. I put a piece of myself in everything I write, tiny tidbits of my story in hopes that in the end it will find its way back to me through you.