It’s a Hard Knock Life

I’m back with another opinion piece, since the last one about the bloggers vs journalists was so popular. If that is what my readers want, I’ll be more than happy to give it to you. Your wish is my command! Don’t worry, this is not one of those posts where I’m going to whine about how tough the life of a blogger is. I really hate that when I see popular bloggers complain about this and that. Damn it, you can go to the greatest shows, meet the most fabulous designers, get stuff for free, travel the world, … and more importantly; get to do what you love every single day and make money out of it. Sounds more like heaven to me.

So no, I’m not going to complain, I’m more of a positive gal. I love blogging. I’ve been doing it for about a year now and I wouldn’t want to imagine life without it anymore. It has become a part of who I am and I’m going to continue doing it as long as I’m able to.

Blogging?

No, the reason I’m writing this post is I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t understand what blogging really is, or how much time us bloggers spend on it every single day. They only see the glamourous side in which we attend chic parties, drink and eat at heart’s content, receive goodiebags afterwards or goodies in our mailbox. I agree, blogging is one hell of a ride, a really fun ride! But what most people don’t realize is that the glamorous side is only a little part of the story.

Maybe that is partially our own fault, because we don’t share those things. You don’t see us posting pics of ourselves, still awake at 2:32 am (the time I’m writing this post) writing posts for the next day. Because nobody cares about that. But this doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Nor do we mention how much money some invest in it. A domain name, hosting costs, business cards, gasoline, the site design, equipment (camera, laptop) etc.. are all things you have to add to the equation when you’re thinking about starting a blog.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discourage people to start one. Quite on the contrary, I’m trying to give some advice to prospective bloggers as well as  bloggers who just started out. Advice I didn’t get when I first started out. To me, starting a blog is kind of like getting a dog. It takes some preparation. You need to make a list of all the benefits and disadvantages you might experience in the future and then see if you’re still the right person to take care of it. A dog takes a lot of time and effort; you need to feed it, train it, take it for a walk, clean up his mess, etc and invest in it (food, pillow, leash, vet, ..). A blog is exactly like that. You need to update it on a regular basis, try to improve it by asking for feedback from your readers or friends, be on the constant lookout for things you think are interesting to write about and invest money in it as you grow.

Blogs and dogs

My advice here is to treat your blog like a dog. Raise it like it was a puppy. Before you get one, take some time to think of a good and catchy name for it, think about what you want to write about and what audience you want to write for. Also, you can’t have it all at once, so don’t go asking pr companies and brands for free products a month after you started out. Give it some time and let your writing skills unfold and see if blogging really is your thing. As you learn how to manage a blog that is both personal and well-written, you will start to get more readers as well. And that is when you can start contacting pr agencies/brands, if they haven’t contacted you first by that time. The number of readers is what interests them, so when you’ll able to offer them a reasonable amount, they’ll be more than happy to add you to their press lists. For example, I started in May and I did all of the research on brands etc on my own. By the time I got my first invite for an event in October, I had already reached about 5,000 readers a month. After that more press agencies started to contact me and vice versa and here I am today, rushing to one event after another and occasionally even helping some of my blogger friends (who I think have great blogs) get in. Secretly, I’m a blogger smuggler, but don’t tell anyone! ;)

Talents and comments

Want to get noticed? Dare to differentiate, be different than the rest. What makes you, your style or knowledge about the subject so special? Got any talents? Don’t be afraid to use them! For example; good in drawing? Post fashion illustrations! Good in writing? Try to interview relevant people. Good in talking? Create vlogs. Do you know all the best addresses to shop/eat/go out? Share them! Good in cooking? Recipes please! Are you an expert in vintage? Share your secrets on how to spot the perfect vintage garments! As you can see, there are so many possibilities to add your talents to the game. And seriously, what’s wrong about sharing something you’re good at?

Also, I’m pretty everyone has an opinion, so don’t be afraid to share it! This can be in opinion posts like these or in the products you review. Your readers need to feel they can rely on you, so tell the truth if you’re not fond about a particular product (even if you’ve got it for free). And when you’re sharing that opinion of yours on other blogs, don’t hide behind the “anonymous” status. This status is mostly used by haters to leave mean and often ridiculous comments. It’s unfair and disrespectful towards the blogger. (Negative) critique is perfectly fine, as long as it’s polite and that it’s substantiated with good arguments, so that the blogger knows what to do to improve his/her blog. Commenting on other blogs is always a do! That way, you can leave your link for other readers to discover and expand your readership. I don’t visit as much blogs as often anymore because of lack of time, which is really a shame. I should follow my own advice more! :p

Freebies and relationships

Another thing I definitely have to add is: Don’t waste your time on blogging if you’re just in for the goodies. It ruins the industry and what we, bloggers, stand for. In fact, it really pisses me off. We are very sensitive about that and will sniff those blogs out like rats. We’re a very close community that are very open to newcomers who share our passion, but we won’t let anyone mess with our good name. The last thing we want is a situation like the one that’s now going on in the Dutch beauty blogosphere, where some of the biggest Dutch bloggers formed a union of bloggers where you have to go through a selection and pay a fee if you want companies to even just consider contacting you. I think it’s ridiculous, but I do get where they’re coming from. I’ve had the chance to speak to some pr-people from Holland and they did say that the Dutch blogosphere is booming (more like overdose) and that they get tons of emails from (small) blogs asking (or practically begging) for products. As I’ve indicated before, that’s a total no-can-do! It’s better to build a long-term relationship with the brand; discover what they and their brands really stand for, how they manage their business (each agency/brand is different), what you can contribute etc. You always have to look for a win-win situation. That way, you’ll both be happy and you can be sure the collaboration will be continued in the future.

Passion and patience

Blogging is something you have to do out of passion. That can be about practically anything, as long as there’s an audience for it. But I’d say passion is the main key to start blogging, and more importantly, continuing to do so. Most blogs only last a couple of months, because those ‘bloggers’ notice the goodies aren’t going to come their way for nothing, that they lack the essential passion or patience to keep it up and that it’s just hard work. No passion = no fun = quitting; which is actually a shame for the time you’ve already invested in it. (Btw, it’s already 4: 20 am now, just saying..)

Networking

Next to doing research, taking pictures and the actual writing, I’d say one of the biggest tasks in blogging is networking. It’s extremely important and therefore a worthy reason to attend events. You can get to know the people behind the agency/brand personally, learn from other journalists and meet fellow bloggers! Getting to meet people with the same passion is one of my favorite parts of blogging. You might’ve just met that person, but because of the common interest you have, you can talk about it for hours. It’s like you’re instantly connecting. I like how the bloggers I know are so open and welcoming, even when I first started out. Those contacts usually started superficially on Twitter or via commenting on blogs, but I’m happy to say that those relationships have evolved to something more personal, to friends even? They’re all just so much fun to hang out with and I’d be more than happy to make the bloggers meet a tradition in the future. And yes, there’s still room for more talented and dedicated bloggers. I would never want to turn out like some of those ‘more experienced’ bloggers who think their blogs are the best and that there’s no room for new talent. Fashion doesn’t work that way either. It’s a continuously evolving process and that is what it makes so interesting. Blogging is no different.

So if you still think blogging is totally your thing after reading this post, I’d say what are you waiting for and get it out there! I’ll be more than happy to meet you at the next event!

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25 Responses to It’s a Hard Knock Life

  1. Leuk artikel, en je hebt volledig gelijk. Sommige mensen denken dat bloggen supermakkelijk is, maar het is vaak toch wel een hele klus. Gelukkig blog ik alleen als ik er zin in heb, is ook maar een hobby uiteindelijk ;)

  2. Goed stuk, met niks dan waarheden. :) Vriendinnen doen soms lacherig als ik zeg dat ik blog (just for fun trouwens, pas gestart in feb/maart)… maar hey, er kruipt werk in hé! Niks dan respect voor de bloggers, klein of groot!

  3. Hallelujah! You said it sister :)
    Ik zei het je al: als er nog een vriendin zit te zagen dat ik zoveel krijg, stuur ik haar meteen dit artikel door! Veel mensen willen inderdaad enkel de positieve kanten zien. Mijn ouders daarentegen zien hoeveel tijd erin kruipt en daarom mag ik elke dag wel op wat gezaag rekenen ;)
    Een van mijn favoriete dingen van het bloggen is ook dat ik super mensen heb leren kennen die inderdaad ook vrienden zijn geworden! Daarom ben ik ook heel blij dat ik jou beter leren kennen heb :) x

  4. Superleuk artikeltje, leuk geschreven en oh zo waar… x

  5. Superleuk artikel! En idd helemaal waar!

  6. Great article, and full of the (ugly) truth!!!

    So many people are starting blogs these days because they hear stories of freebies and front row at fashion shows and parties, but they never think about how much time and hard work goes into what we do. Hopefully this will open the eyes of some new bloggers…

    But for those who stick with it, the rewards are great!

    Ik hou van je opiniestukken, doe er maar nog wat meer :)

    Big kiss,
    Alex

  7. Touché, ik kon het niet beter hebben gezegd!
    Eén van de beste artikels over dit onderwerp wat ik tot nu toe gelezen heb!
    Ik denk dat het voor velen inderdaad een soort van ‘shock’ is als ze zien hoeveel werk in het bloggen kruipt! En ja, i.v.m. de goodies, je weet wat we erover denken hé! ;)

    x Krizia

    http://www.krizia-shark-attack.blogspot.com

  8. Great post! It’s really the truth!
    x

  9. well i hope one thing:: I do not want to be Pavlov or Skinner, but you are right a blog can perfectly be compared with behaviorism: trial and error. (although I do not want to give my blog some electroshocks). so fabulous to read this post girl, love the fact that you are so honest and giving some great advice. i really enjoyed this post. and you know what you are talking about. didn’t know about the situation with the Dutch bloggers, But i do realize that they are different than belgian bloggers…. really hope that I can meet you guys next time. you sound so sincere, honest, warm, passionate about fashion and blogging.

  10. Hear, hear :) Er kruipt zoveel tijd in mijn blog (die ik er zelf natuurlijk graag in investeer) maar voor lezers komt het vaak over alsof je dat op 1,2,3 doet ofzo :D het lezen duurt natuurlijk heel wat minder lang dan de posts voorbereiden. Ik ga niet ontkennen dat gratis spullen krijgen niet leuk zou zijn, maar af en toe verdienen we het toch wel, met al die moeite die we erin steken! :) Het irriteert mij echt wel als ik mensen hoor zeggen dat ze ook gaan beginnen met een blog omdat ze gratis spullen willen, dat is zo niet waar het om draait!

    brunetteblogging.com

  11. dit is echt super leuk geschreven! En het is ook nog eens allemaal waar! :) Volgens mij zullen diegenen die enkel bloggen voor de goodies toch snel door de mand vallen en het ook snel opgeven. Maar met echte passie kom je veel verder!

  12. You said it sister! Echt een heel leuk artikel om te lezen en totally true!

  13. Boeiende post! Mensen snappen idd vaak niet hoeveel tijd bloggen kost :) Ik blog maar 2-3 keer per week en toch ben ik er telkens uren mee bezig. Zo’n situatie als in Nederland zou ik vreselijk vinden, dan wordt het een soort select clubje. De blog community hier is veel aangenamer, zoals blijkt uit de reacties op de nieuwe fb-groep! x Catherine

  14. Big no, no to select groepjes, and lovely post, so much truth and it really is all about passion and maybe a bit about insomnia …. I myself often wonder how long I will be able to survive the late night working and early bird waking up to take care of my girls and keep on with my other jobs :)

    take care sweets
    and read you soon…
    xxxo
    Ti ha ha ny

  15. Heel+leuk+geschreven,+en+helemaal+waar!+Ik+hou+echt+van+dit+soort+posts,+keep+em+coming+;)

  16. Very well written article and just so true! Blogging takes time and passion. And if you’re in for the freebies and other stuff, it’ll just never last!

  17. Heel leuk artikel and so true! Voor mij is mijn blog puur een hobby, mijn creatieve uitlaatklep. Ik vind het altijd jammer om te zien dat blogs opgericht worden enkel en alleen om free goodies te krijgen en een paar maanden later die blog niet meer blijkt te bestaan!

    xx Kimberly

  18. such a great post!!I’ll bookmark it with the rest of the blogging tips that I collect.
    The question “what am I good at” is what I ask myself all the time (not only for blog related issues). The truth is I cannot pick up 1 thing that I am truly good at, plus I like presenting different things e.g. outfit posts, tips, my travel pictures, places to hang out and more.
    I believe in networking but I am so freaking shy to go and talk to other people. For example I’ve seen fellow Greek bloggers in some fashion shows that I attended recently, but I couldn’t just go and talk to them (that is a personal “syndrome” as I wasn’t that sociable and popular in the past and I also believe that we Greeks are somewhat snob). As for brand/pr agencies…my blog is still small (and even worse I don’t think I have any local audience dispite the face that I publicize my blog posts of a couple of local FB groups) and yet again, there is this shyness thing…So I guess, I blog because I like it. It means a lot to me if my posts “spark” a discussion, where people share their ideas for my post’s topic. This alone, makes me happy :)
    Thank you again for writing this post :)

  19. GREAT post, not only for blogging newbies, but for anyone who needs to be reminded from time to time, how to nurture the blog, the community, followers…and yes, sort of like a dog. I have both, dog and blog, and both are a huge responsibilty, need care EVERY DAY even if I don’t publish anything, both are on my mind almost every moment of the day, and both get my attention as soon as I have some free time. My dog is a miniature dachshund mix and I love him. My blog is a tiny insight into my world and right now I cannot live without it ;)

  20. love this post!
    congrats on making the IFB weekly roundup!

  21. Fabulous post, well written and very true!!I only wish I had a friend like you when I was getting my blog started, its ok though I figures it out! Congrats on being selected for the IFB links a la mode this week! :)

  22. I love blogging too! After following many for about a year and a half, i finally got up the gumption to start my own this year. I have to say my favorite part is forging relationships with other bloggers, but also how blogging has helped clarify my vision of what drives my love of fashion and design. I have chosen not to be a personal style blogger, and therefore I feel like my blog has become an online diary of all that inspires me. The challenge of creating original content is constant and I love it because I feel like it spurs me on to discover new things, people, art etc. I am a raising a puppy and I couldn’t be happier.

  23. It is so validating to hear how others like yourself also love blogs and understand how much we can gain in reading them. This is truly one of the most useful posts I’ve read on blogging; there is so much heart in it. Thank-you! :)

  24. I can read this post a thousand times :D. really well written and very honest and so true!

  25. heb nog nooit een uitnodiging gekregen voor een evening :-( ik ben waarschijnlijk al te oud , haha x

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