What Does It Mean to Be a “Blogger,” Anyway?
Story of my life:
“So, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a blogger.”
“Oh, awesome… But what do you do for work?”
“Yeah, but how do you make money?”
“You know, lots of different ways.”
“Like what? I mean, I don’t wanna pry but I really want to know…”
“Wellllll, there are lots of different ways to make money as a blogger. I sell products, I partner with brands that I want to share with people, I review restaurants, I have advertising space on my site, I wrote a book…”
“Ohhh, got it. But like, what do you DO on a daily basis?”
Lol, I get it. I get it. I am totally not trying to say that people shouldn’t ask these questions. I love when people ask me about my job and when they’re interested in learning more. I even loved when my Uber driver in Seattle wanted to know all about blogging until he then told me he wanted to start a blog about guns… Yikes, haha.
I’m not debating it. Blogging is a confusing business! It wasn’t even possible to have a job as a blogger until the last couple of years, which is why I especially admire those select few people who have been blogging for YEARS as a side hobby until they were able to turn their blog into a business. (Geri Hirsch from Because I’m Addicted has been blogging since 2005! I think it’s incredibly cool.) Pretty much, brands started realizing that blogs were a legitimate form of marketing (a really, really great way to market because they get a target audience AND a genuine, reliable marketer) and slowly but surely, making a living as a blogger started to become possible.
There are all sorts of blogs from fashion to fitness to lifestyle to food (food is a huge one, everyone loves a good #foodporn post), and pretty much everything in between. Mommy blogs are huge right now. Adventure blogs are awesome, travel blogs rock, photography blogs are beautiful, and there are running blogs, music blogs, DIY blogs, home decor blogs, beauty blogs, gender studies blogs, eating disorder recovery blogs, lawyer blogs, marriage and wedding blogs, VIDEO blogs on all of the above, and soooo much more. And then there’s YouTube but I won’t even get into that right now… Being a successful YouTuber is basically our 2015 equivalent to the 60s’ Beatles. Or perhaps more accurately to Britney Spears circa 2000, because the Beatles are just untouchable…
So when your blog happens to fall under the category of “lifestyle,” the details can be particularly hard to explain. I like to describe my blogging space as somewhat of an online diary… because that’s what it is. Sometimes I write on a whim about what I’m feeling in a singular moment (like yesterday’s post about travel), but sometimes my posts are planned out months in advance with professional photography, interviews, videos, edits and all that jazz.
Other than the fact that a blog is a place to express anything you want, however you want, whenever you want, being a “blogger” also has a lot more layers to it than that. It will always have those elements, but doing it full time sort of takes it to a different level. If I had to describe blogging as a business in one sentence, this is probably what I would say: Being a blogger is pretty synonymous to being a freelance artist: whether you’re a writer, photographer or a curator of information, your blog is a space to share an intimate look into a specific subject (or subjects) with a targeted audience that finds it way to you and grows over time.
More simply put (god, I’m wordy): Blogging is a form of freelance artistry.
That “artistry” can be anything from prose, photos, videos, look books, links to other information or, um, pretty much anything. That’s the awesomeness of it. There isn’t a whole lot of categorization, which gives a TON of leeway for creative exploration.
And then of course there’s the structure of it all. You can be the most creative and passionate blogger on the block, but if there is no organization then there’s really no oomph. There’s no room to make a business out of it, because businesses need structure, strategy and planning (a little bit, at least).
So not only are you a freelance artist when you have a bloggy, but you also have the responsibility of being the BOSS of your own website. You’ve gotta call the shots. Are you going to reach out to brands, or are you going to have a spot on your website where they can reach out to you? Are you going to work with a team, or are you going to do it all on your own? Is there a specific amount of time you allot yourself to get back to people, or will you fly by the seat of your pants? How professional do you want to make the space, and/or how laid back do you want to be about this whole thing?
Inherently, I don’t have the “laid back” trait when it keeps to doing something I love. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to dive in full throttle. I find that characteristic a lot with bloggers because if you’re going to try to grow a brand on the Internet you’ve gotta be pretty darn determined and you’ve also gotta have something you’re very passionate about sharing.
I spent the beginning of last week in Seattle with a handful of bloggers at an Eddie Bauer influencer summit (so much amazingness to come with that, by the way!), and one thing between most of us was pretty clear: we are hardcore people. We take on a lot (too much, sometimes), we are in a little over our heads, but at the end of the day we are happy because we spent the day doing what we freaking love.
All of this to say what I really wanted to say which is my new definition of blogging up there. Maybe one day it will be reworded in the dictionary, because this definition isn’t necessarily cutting it for me:
Other bloggers, do you agree?! I want to hear what you have to say. Let me know if you agree or if you think my definition is way off. Also people who read blogs, do you have any Q’s I can answer in my next post on a topic like this? Xox