Blogging is a world of its own and some people treat it as a heavily guarded secret. They are afraid that if they tell people how they do it that people will either copy them and use it to their advantage or will use it against them somehow.
I have met some people like that but I have also met lots of really lovely, open bloggers who are keen to bond over our shared hobby/side hustle and would happily answer any of your questions, should you ask them.
So, I’m here to tell you some inside secrets and give you an insight into what it takes to be a blogger/influencer and how we do it.
First, what is the difference between a blogger and an influencer?
Blogging and influencing can be a career all of its own now. Bloggers and influencers are slightly different but a blogger can become an influencer too if they build up enough of a following.
Blogging is slightly different to being an ‘influencer’. An influencer generally recommends products and places on their social media channels whereas bloggers tend to have their own website or use their social media channels to share stories and opinions.
Posted photos are often not taken on that exact day
Have you seen an influencer heavily made up, in gorgeous fashionable clothing, smiling in the sun at 8am on your social media? Yeah, they’re very likely not actually like that right that second. They’re probably curled up under their duvet just like you, hair messy, clothes all over the floor, putting off getting out of bed for work.
Social media content is planned in advance which will often mean spending several hours on the weekend taking photos in different locations and different items of clothing in order to create enough content for the week ahead.
You probably could guess this already, but don’t feel jealous if they post a picture enjoying brunch at 10am on a Wednesday. They’re probably stuck in their work office eating a Belvita bar and reminiscing about the glorious brunch they had at the weekend.
Remember, social media is an edited version of real life.
It takes several hours to create one piece of content
On average, a blog post takes approximately 3 hours minimum from start to finish to create. Writing, editing, proof-reading, tagging, using SEO, publishing, scheduling across social channels; it is a long process. If you add photographs on top of that then you are looking at another several hours of planning, prepping, capturing, selecting, editing, publishing and scheduling into blog posts and across social media channels. Basically, it is a LOT of work!
So please support your friends and people you follow on social media when they post content. It takes a lot of work that often they are not being paid for but are simply doing it for the passion (and probably with hopes that one day they could get paid for creating their content).
Just as you would support a friend’s small business, support your friends running blogs and vlogs. It is their small business!
Understanding the hashtags…
If you see #gifted on a post then that means that they have been given a product or experience as a ‘gift’ from the brand. This means that they have not been paid but have been given a sample to try out and post about with their opinion. Bloggers/Influencers do not have to give a good review, it is completely up to them and what they genuinely thought.
If you see #ad then it is likely that they have been paid in order to promote the product by creating and posting social media posts, Instagram stories or writing a blog post. Again, bloggers do not have to give a good review if they are being paid however they are more likely to choose their words carefully. After all, the brand is paying them to help promote their product – it would defeat the purpose if they were paying for bad publicity.
If you see ‘paid partnership‘ then that explains itself. They are being paid, similar to using #ad.
‘Brand ambassadors‘ are usually not paid for their social posts or blog reviews, however, they can often make a commission on purchases of a product made with their unique reference/discount code.
I personally won’t post about something if I didn’t actually enjoy it. I have tried products before that I have disliked and so spoken to the company and explained why I won’t be sharing their product.
There are also a lot of products that I pass up work on as they aren’t something that I would normally use. It is so important for bloggers and influencers to stay authentic otherwise people won’t trust them in future and it can damage a good reputation.
We don’t do it for the freebies!
Let me repeat: bloggers don’t blog for the freebies! Gifted products and free events are a nice perk but they are part of the job.
Bloggers are content creators. A lot of bloggers are also social media managers and content writers for companies so posting and writing stuff online is just a part of their daily life.
So when you’ve built up a decent following, are good at curating an aesthetic feed on Instagram (which, by the way, is the way that 70% of users discover brands, businesses and products nowadays), are clever with your writing and know how to navigate a huge marketing tool like Instagram, then, of course, people are going to ask you to help spread the word about their business.
When I’m offered a ‘freebie’ (see: gifted item) I have to consider whether I have the time to accept it. Because once I have received it I have to dedicate hours of my time to testing it, photographing it and writing about it. It is so much more than just ‘receiving a freebie’. Remember, bloggers are content creators.
Hopefully, these little tips have given you an insight into what being a blogger in 2020 entails and has helped you understand a little bit of the technical jargon. If you are thinking of starting up your own blog but have no idea where to start, read my post all about it here.
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