You don’t need to be a blogger for long before it happens, the dreaded myths about blogging. Someone says something to you about blogging that’s so wrong, you almost choke. Snort. You know what I mean. Auntie May says how cute it is that you play on Facebook all day, and Cousin George asks you how to teach him to get all that free stuff. Then Suzie gives you a “hmmmph, you didn’t ask ME to go see that movie with you…”
If you’re not a blogger, welcome to our daily life. So many myths about blogging. Misconceptions and assumptions. Sometimes the questions are easily answered and others have you running in search of the nearest margarita. Either way, we’re often on our own as far as getting those around us to take it seriously. I’ve got a husband and kids and some great friends who totally understand it and support me. Others aren’t so lucky. I asked all of them to give me their input on the top myths about blogging, so here’s a collection of the answers I received from others who have been there, done that.
Thank you to everyone who gave me their input and shared their thoughts via Facebook, messaging or email!
Sarcastic Myths from Bloggers
We just open our door and magically, free stuff appears! FOR FREE!!
Technically, I can open my door and frequently find stuff on my stoop, or smaller things in my mailbox. And sometimes not smaller things in my mailbox. I have a very sweet mail lady, but I think she secretly has a challenge to see the biggest thing she can get into our small community mailbox. The fact that I have to take photos of things I get is something I’ve tried to tell her but instead, I gave her a pen and hoped she’d be more willing to get out of the car and put the packages on my stoop. Under the doormat, hidden as well as a big box can be, like my delivery guy. But that’s all besides the point. None of it’s free when it’s in exchange for work, and it often comes with a promised check anyway.
Do you want to: go see this movie with me? go out to dinner with me? take this trip with me? I can take whoever I want, whenever I want! (And it’s all FOR FREE!)
Press and media events are not free for alls. We don’t always get a plus-one; when we do, it’s a bonus. When non-bloggers go on business trips, they don’t get to take along the wife or kids and friends. It’s WORK. Why people expect bloggers to be able to take others along is beyond me. We go to these places to work. Yes, it’s enjoyable — I will never complain about interviewing Chris Hemsworth or watching a movie — but I do those things to write my articles or share and promote on social media. It’s awesome to get a plus-one but understandably, my first choice is typically my husband. We all love to share our experiences with our fave people, but don’t get mad at us if we can’t.
I run this place. Don’t you know who I am?
Few talk about it openly but everyone has seen it. There are some people out there who take themselves a little too seriously. We’ve all been pushed aside in a photo line or heard someone rail a waiter over the water not being the right kind of sparkly. The staff is working hard to serve us and spent a lot of time putting this together; appreciation is the only emotion we should be showing. So no, I don’t own any place I go. I feel very lucky to do what I do and hope to convey that in all circumstances. This is a profession and above all, I strive for professionalism.
And I could buy this place. All bloggers make six-figure incomes!
Ha. This is probably the funniest myth. I almost can’t even write about it other than to say some people write for money, others write for fun. Others are somewhere in the middle. Blogging is no get rich quick plan. If you want your wife to quit her job and do what we do, hopefully you make enough money to pay that mortgage until she’s making enough…which may never happen.
Because I make so much and don’t have to pay for any site maintenance, hosting, software or design, I can work FOR FREE for you! In fact, let’s do it one better and pay me with high-res images!
I take that back. THIS is the funniest myth. I’ve tried to hand my bank high-res images but they refused them. I took some to Costco last week — same deal, except they audibly laughed. Okay, so that didn’t really happen but let’s get real for a second. What other occupation out there is so often expected to work for free? I like to write and I can make almost anything appealing enough to get eyeballs on it, but why should I do it for free? Just because I have a blog and I can write doesn’t mean that I’m here to provide free advertising, so when I state that I have rates, don’t get all high and mighty about earned media. We don’t need a ‘pay for play’ speech. We all give away a lot of our time to causes we believe in, so save the guilt trips or the “I just wanted a quick mention on Facebook.” Get in line. Bloggers don’t get a paycheck from their boss, so the money has to come in from somewhere. If not from those we’re writing for, WHERE? Your interview opportunity with someone no one has ever heard of isn’t going to buy my son’s new Nikes, so try to work out something instead of being insulting. After all, you asked us…. Seriously, we want to build good relationships but business is business, and everyone needs to respect the others’ situation.
Anyone can do this, no problem…
And anyone can diagnose that rash, build an earthquake-safe house or pilot your plane cross-country in turbulence. Writing is a skill like any other, so if you want to be a blogger, go for it, but there is a learning curve and like anything else that pays, you do need to be good, or get good, at it.
No, I don’t mind putting my phone away at all so you and I can talk about grandpa’s bunions instead of me taking the photos or posting to social media while I’m at this media event. After all, this isn’t work..because I play on Facebook all day. FOR FREE!
I sort of debunked this one in the ‘can’t you take me with you to interview xx’ paragraph, but to be clear, if we’re at a work event, we’re there to work first and foremost. After I’ve Instagrammed a cool photo of the celebrities or my dinner or whatever, then I’ll have time, but until then, hold your water and save the “hmmmph” for later. You’re lucky I brought you….
Non-Sarcastic Myths About Blogging
“What? You can’t come continue that bunion discussion right now because you’re working? What’s so hard that it takes you that long?”
If I had a dollar for every time someone said “still working?” I wouldn’t have to work. I can’t write while I’m taking my son to school or working on that marketing campaign for the daytime gig, so yes, I will have to work outside of normal business hours. People are on social media 24/7/365, so yes, I may have to be available during some of that time. When I make a commitment, I’m there, and I’m doing my best to do it right. I value my work, the opportunities and my relationships with those I work with and for.
“Okay, so I created that blog thing you talk about. It wasn’t so hard. I paid someone on Fiverr to create it on WordPress.com and put up six pictures of my pets. Now where’s the money??”
Seriously. Re-read “Anyone can do this, no problem…” Very few businesses open with enough clients to sustain it, so they have to market it and grow. A blog is no different. You may get lucky right off the bat — I’ve seen it happen — but don’t count on it. Give it time, and while you’re waiting, keep working on quality and relevant content. Read up on social media, writing, public relations and everything else a business needs. It will come around, but it may take a while.
“Oh, I have to learn to write? Can’t you just do me a solid and refer me to your contacts? Better yet, just give me their addresses. I’m sure they won’t mind.”
I should just keep copying the “Anyone can do this…” answer. A lot of people are wonderful story tellers and can entertain beautifully, having people rolling in the aisles at their humor or sitting raptly awaiting their next word, but putting it in written form is a different story altogether. Grammar and punctuation matter, so if you’re not already the grammar police, start paying attention, along with copy editing and spelling. Also, sharing all your contacts like that without permission is a no-no. (Same as badmouthing someone publicly.) And an fyi, it’s also a no-no to ask people for their contacts, especially if you never talk to them otherwise. If you walk by them at an event and don’t say hi, don’t interact on Facebook or aren’t even friends on social media, don’t expect people to give up an earned contact. Networking’s important, but respect people by not putting them into a position where they have to say no; there’s nothing wrong if they can’t/won’t tell you.
“I know we haven’t talked in like, ages, I’m far too busy and the last time I’ve invited you to anything was….never…but ignore that, I really want to go see that movie with you!”
Yep. We really do get asked by people we rarely hear from. I’ve had a few movie screening opps where I’ve had to say “Who are you again?”
“I’ve got this cool new business and need you to bring the gang over. That girl in LA, uhm, Josie or Joey or Juicy, not sure what her name is, you know who I mean, right? I’m sure you all know each other. I need 30 of you to come over tonight at 10:30pm, after we close, so you can all take pictures of the one plate of cupcakes I’ll have left. What, you can’t just bring a group over and promote my business?”
Quite a few people told me this was an issue for them. The blogging world is a big one, and many of us have never met each other. It takes both sides — both businesses — to come together, understanding the others’ limitations, to make a successful partnership. We do love to put together events, and we are more than willing to help you, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Whether we blog for business or blog as a hobby, so many people shared the same concerns. We don’t all want to be millionaires, and some of us are striving for it every day. Whatever our focus is, it’s not all fun and games. There is work involved, but it’s work we do because we love it. We enjoy meeting people, traveling, writing, helping others grow their business and trying new things. Some of the most amazing things in my life have happened because of blogging, and I’ve got such a strong community of friends because of it, too.
Did I hit upon your favorite myths about blogging? I’d love to hear!
And the mail lady? She still doesn’t come to my door any more frequently than before, but she does smile and wave now.