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It’s my eighth blogging anniversary and I’m celebrating by sharing everything (okay, maybe not everything) I’ve learned from blogging during these past eight years!
Tomorrow is my blogging anniversary. I’ve been blogging for eight years. EIGHT YEARS!!! What started as a hobby has become a business. In these past eight years, I’ve learned so much, not only about blogging, but about myself. Sure, it hasn’t come without its struggles and its thoughts of, “Why am I doing this again?” But I can’t imagine doing anything else. Blogging has been the creative outlet I’ve craved for so long and it’s been such an awesome experience.
So today, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned about blogging these past eight years. I wanted to share the struggles, the wins – all of it. Bloggers don’t just take pretty pictures, write up a post, and hit “publish.” If only it were that easy! There’s so much more involved. Through all of the hard work, I’ve learned so much about this crazy industry and, also, myself.
It’s hard work
Oh, you didn’t know? Yeah, it’s not just about writing down some words, popping in pictures, and hitting “publish.” Unless you’re doing it for a hobby, don’t expect the money to just fall into your pocket. You need to work your butt off! You need to promote, promote, promote. Share the hell out of your posts, use all the hashtags, and do whatever you can to get on brands’ radars.
But wait! First, you have to create your post. That means, spending time developing ideas, taking photos, editing photos, writing a solid post, getting that SEO in place, and scheduling social shares. It’s a process, but in the end, the hard work has been so worth it. Even when it seems like it’s not!
Since the beginning, blogging has given me a sense of community. I’ve connected with women that are incredible human beings! The best! The support and friendships are nothing that I ever experienced sitting behind an office desk. These girls are killing it with their blogs and social media platforms. They’ve become inspiration for me and I’m lucky to have found a spot in their circle of friends.
How to say “no”
When I first started working on product reviews, I basically welcomed every opportunity. I mean, if I didn’t get compensated, not even with product, at least I got exposure. Right? WRONG! I’ve become aware of how many brands think they can sucker bloggers into writing for them for free. Not cool, guys!
Time is definitely money and I don’t have time to work for free. Especially when I put a decent amount of work and dedication into each blog post. And it goes beyond that point because each post makes its way to my social media accounts – every single one! Free promotion? I don’t think so! Guys, it’s totally okay to say “no.” Pass up those opportunities because there will be better ones!
How to say “yes”
“But, Jess, you just told us to say ‘no.'” I know. But now comes the fun part where we grab opportunity by the cojones and run with it! So, a lot of bloggers say that you shouldn’t work for product. But if it’s something I’m going to use anyway (Not gonna lie – I love when people send me free food), I’ll make an exception. Especially if it’s from a brand I’ve been dying to work with! It’s a great way to develop a relationship with brands and work with them on a continuous basis. And negotiate. Aim high so you can negotiate an offer that works for both of you.
Rejection happens and it sucks. For instance, a foreign PR company recently e-mailed to use one of my images in press material. They asked for my rate. I did some research on what I should charge because, quite honestly, no one’s ever wanted to buy one of my images from me before. They responded a few days later that it wasn’t in their budget and that was that.
It’s going to happen. You’re going to pitch brands and they’ll probably throw you some interest. Then, you’ll start talking dollar signs and things will start to shift. All of a sudden, your great idea isn’t so great anymore and opportunity slams its door right in your face! Just keep opening doors because, eventually, there will be a brand behind one of them that wants to work with you!
I’m ending this post with the biggest lesson I’ve learned from blogging – my worth. It all goes hand-in-hand with everything I’ve already said. After so many years, I know what my work is worth. I know when to say “yes,” when to say “no,” and to be proud of my accomplishments (like those features!). I’ve come a long way, baby, and I’m going to keep working at it!
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