I started blogging 10 years ago. Believe it or not, they weren’t called blogs “back then.” I remember telling people that I had an online journal. It was a space for me to come and share anything and everything that I wanted. I held the golden key, along with my mom and sister. We loved what we did and we quickly turned our little business into a professional blogger business.
Professional Blogger – Rules to Follow
Not much has changed on that front over the last 10 years. We all still hold the key as to what we decide to share. It’s our carved out space in the world and we love it. The best part of blogging is that if people come to your blog and love it, they can come back tomorrow. If people don’t like what they see on your blog, they don’t ever have to come back. It’s not an open store front. I don’t sell goods. I don’t have to be somewhere from 9-5 every single day. If you like what you see and read, you’re always welcome, in my book, to keep on coming back.
A few weeks ago, a blogger posted about how Mom Blogging Ruined her life. It’s definitely gotten a TON of play and truth be told, I didn’t touch it on my blog or on social media. Her experience was 180 degrees different than mine (thank goodness), but the one beauty and truth about blogging is that we all have the right to our opinions and feelings and can post anything we want to post. My best friend Vera Sweeney wrote an exceptional blog post that reflected my feelings exactly. We’re both a professional blogger – so this really struck a cord with us.
But the thing in this space of ours is, well, sometimes we just can’t let things go. We just can’t put them to bed. We just can’t walk away. Blogging is something that changed the course of my life. Blogging became the dream job that I never knew I wanted. My little blog that started off as PinksandBlues.com in 2006 has morphed into a business that has provided my family and me with experiences and opportunities I never dreamed of happening. This world of blogging hand delivered me a best friend. This world of blogging supports my family of 7! I am the SOLE PROVIDER of my family, which is something I’m incredibly proud of for my family. This world of blogging has introduced me to people that have changed my life. This world of blogging has pulled back the magic curtain of untouchable people and connected me with causes and organizations that I love to the core. This world of blogging was my anchor when my husband had a cancerous tumor removed in 2012 and my friends across the globe reached out to help. This world of blogging is my passion. Being a professional blogger is something I’m proud of, so so very proud of.
Blogging and the world of digital media is something I take very seriously because it’s not only my passion, it’s my business. If I don’t work, I don’t pay my bills. It’s that simple. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a fleeting interest. It’s something I work hard at every single day of my life.
And the best part? I’m not alone.
There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other women (Moms), just like me, too who call themselves a professional blogger.
If you are a professional blogger – this post is for you. We’ve actually gone beyond the word “blogger” now, known as digital influencers, all working hard to share and create content and connect with people. With all the chaos that has ensued over the last couple of weeks, it’s important to remember this simple truth – you need to be professional. I’ve had jobs I LOATHED. Do you know how many times I daydreamed about going in and pulling a scene like this…
But I didn’t.
I didn’t because it’s UNPROFESSIONAL.
(I really wanted to show a Giphy with swears and stuff, but well – that’s unprofessional, too.)
Being professional goes a long way.
I drafted some rules that I make sure to abide by in the wide world of digital influencing. These are important rules to remember and follow. NOBODY wants to work with someone who is unpleasant – regardless of your traffic. It all comes down to relationships and just being a good business partner and person.
Rules for a Professional Blogger:
- Don’t wait for projects to come to you. I have pitched and pitched and pitched my little heart out throughout my blogging career. I would easily say that 50% (or more) of the blogging opps I’ve had, I’ve pitched. I never sit stagnant. I’m always thinking of content that’s going to fit my readers. I always reach out to contacts and share ideas (as scary as it may be at times). I always think of the brands and products I love and use in my life and see if there can be some form of a partnership. Waiting for jobs is like watching water when you want it to boil.
- Don’t miss a deadline. This is Professionalism 101 – NEVER miss a deadline. If something comes up that you know is going to affect your schedule, reach out to your contacts immediately and let them know. When you sign on with someone to do a job, a timeline is KEY. You don’t want to ever be the one to mess that up. And believe me, I have run blogger outreach programs and it SUCKS chasing bloggers for their content. It’s so easy when everyone is completes a project on time.
- Ask for help. I’m not ashamed to say I have a virtual assistant. When you are a professional blogger, you sometimes need extra help. You can’t do everything. Truthfully – this was the TOUGHEST part for me to accept and finally just do something about. So many of my friends have VA’s and I always looked at them green with envy. Finally, when I found someone to help me out and then brought on my sister and another friend, it was HEAVEN ON EARTH. Further – I brought on a manager and a business development manager. A team. It wasn’t just me, myself and I anymore. I had grown my business to be able to accommodate help and I was getting what I needed from each of them. All of a sudden, I wasn’t alone – I had reliable people to depend upon.
- Steer clear of drama. Like a freaking hot potato – STAY AWAY. Live under a rock. Just swim with your head down and work hard on what you love. There’s nothing worse than getting tangled into something.
- Zig when they zag. This is one motto that I’ve built my business on, especially with Vera Sweeney. Don’t ever be a copycat. Do your own thing. When people are doing one thing, try and think of something else that will make you stand out. If everyone goes right, go left!
- Take the time to get to know the people you’re working with. This is one piece of advice I can’t stress enough. Some of my close friends online are people with whom I’ve worked from the brands and PR agencies. It’s important to try to make sure you keep solid relationships. Take the time to drop an email to check in. Take the time to draft a note. Take the time to send flowers or cookies or “thank you” notes. Take the time.
- Never think you can’t be replaced. This is something that is always important to remember. There are tons of other bloggers out there. Don’t be a diva. Remember that you can always be replaced.
- It’s all about the content. Creating content is the beauty of our world, the very foundation. Create content that you love. Create content that you want to share, are honored to share.
- Not every opp/pitch is worth the money. Don’t take everything that comes your way, especially if it doesn’t work for you. This is really tough to do at times, but it’s always important to remember. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to say NO. I remember being afraid that people wouldn’t want to work with me again, but honestly – it’s just the opposite. I think they respected the fact that I was honest.
- Know your worth. Money. It’s the million dollar word in our industry. There’s no rate sheet. There’s nothing to really help you base numbers on, but my biggest advice – have an idea as to what you want to get for things. Ask friends. Ask colleagues. Ask around and find out ranges that people are working with. If you don’t want to ask for a particular number, ask for a ballpark.
- Be kind. I need to say this again, BE KIND. Being nice goes a long way. Kindness is still the best business practice to follow.
- Don’t boast. Don’t overkill yourself on social. OMG. Please don’t do this. Please. Please. Please. If you’re excited about a job you get, go ahead, announce it – I get it! But doing this repeatedly, over and over, is too much. It makes people tune you out or put you on mute.
- Don’t use social media as a way to bash. Don’t be a stream of disgruntlement. People don’t want to see that over and over every single day.
- The community is the most important, don’t forget this (ever). The community is why many of us fell in love with blogging 10 years ago and are still friends! The community is rich and full of incredible women. I can’t tell you how many times the community has been my anchor.
- Go above and beyond. When you’re doing a contracted job, always give a little more. If it’s extra social, extra photos, etc., always give a little more and go above and beyond.
This is all I have for now.
If I think of anything else, I’ll add it in.
Social media is near and dear to my heart. It’s where I have decided to focus all of my time and energy as a profession. There is room for everyone. There is a space for all thoughts and opinions. The beauty of this world is that we’re all different – there’s not ONE other person like YOU out there. Allow blogging to be that creative space for you to have fun and share what interests you the most.
But at the end of the day, let’s just all stay professional about it because – really, is that too much to ask and hope for?
Check out this post: Blogging Tips for Beginners!