Monday, 22 February 2016

What does a blogger actually do?

Ah the question that is on everyone’s lips at the moment; what does a blogger actually do? Blogger gets batted around a lot, both in positive and negative light. So I thought I’d address the question and explain what I do as a blogger to clear things up and just generally answer the question that you might be pondering over.

So first of all, do I actually call myself a blogger? Well yes and no. Yes, because well I have a blog and I write on it- hence this post, but also no because it’s not actually my main, full time job. However I do treat it very much like a second job, which would explain why I am writing this at 12:30am.

Blogging is a very individual thing, it’s not a traditional ‘job’, there’s no job description, job titles or contracted hours, so to help demystify, I’ve answered with some Q&As- enjoy:

What is a blog?

noun1.    1.

a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

The dictionary definition does a pretty good job of summing up what an actual blog is. It’s an individual space of the web, written by someone not a company, who writes about things they are passionate about. As it’s a small corner of the web that that persons own, they can write about anything, and in any style they want. Love horses? Go for it, write about horses.  Love pre 80s music, great, review and write about that. It’s basically somewhere where you can say pretty much what you want (within legal reason).

But Blogs are brands now and work with brands?

So this is where things have changed in the last couple of years. There’s been a number of changes. 
  1. First, there’s a trend in people becoming more disillusioned with (traditional) advertising. From airbrushed beauty adds to photo-shopped lingerie models, it’s a bit irksome. This led to people turning to blogs to discover what beauty products actually worked, but not just beauty of course, gadget reviews, restaurant reviews and more. It was a place where products were talked about honestly.
  2. Second, the changes in the way we read. With the internet and smartphones, traditional print media is dying. Which also meant the boundary’s of who had control of what was written were breaking. Before our media came from newspapers such as The Times, The Guardian or even The Daily Mail, and magazines like Vogue, Elle and Look. But we had no control over what was being told to us. However with the internet we had access to publications that weren’t big power houses and so our freedom of choice increased.
Blogs therefore become increasingly popular. Some hugely popular, rivaling big names in numbers of readers. This meant of course that they had influence. Influence is in someways a finite concept, so as blogs gained more, adverts and print lost more. So of course, blogs changed in direction. They become brands, like the print publications before them and so too followed marketing, brands shifted attention towards blogs to gain new audiences.

So as a blogger then in this world, what do you do to write a post?

My blog started out before blogging was a business. I was one of those people who just wanted a space to write some stuff down. Cringe worthy, but I wanted to be like Carrie Bradshaw and have a ‘column’ maybe not about sex, but about things I thought of and my opinions. This organically turned into me writing about places I’d been and what I was liking recently.

After 3 and a half years I’m now working with brands as I’ve grown a following of my blog and social media accounts. I also of course still write posts that are completely of my own doing (like this post for example). When I come to write a blog post I have to wear many hats, which if it was for a magazine would be broken down into different peoples jobs. I’ll take the example of writing about a new restaurant:

I’ll go to the down to restaurant and dine there. Yes, I’ll try the hopefully scrummy food, and usually have a lovely time. But I’ll also be studying the menu, the food quality, the atmosphere and staff, which I’ll make notes on and assess to form into a blog story. What’s the angle of the restaurant, is it worth the price, would I recommend it to a close friend?

I’m also photographer, and whilst some blogs are not as photo heavy as mine, I use a lot of photos, averaging 30 per post. 99% of my photos are my own (unless stated otherwise). At a restaurant I can take up to a 100 photos, with each dish and interior being photographed multiple times form multiple angles. I take great pride in my photos, so it takes a lot of time, plus can be a bit awkward when I’m crouching down to get that straight on angle. Once I get home I have to go through them all and edit the ones I want, which takes a lot longer than you might think.

Social Media Manager
Blogging is much more then just the blog now. It requires you to be on multiple different platforms, providing multiple streams of content. I don’t really need to explain what how social media works, but for a restaurant post, I’ll tweet about my experience and anything particular highlights (or low lights if the case may be) and I’ll Instagram a photo or two. I then of course will be using social media throughout the day to highlight my articles of my followers, tell them useful information, funny titbits and just random quirks. Social media is pretty much a round the clock job, as when your not posting, someone is posting at you and I always do my best to reply to all my tweets/ comments.

Content Writer
I then write the actual post, like this one. I always write a fair and balanced post, saying what I liked and what I didn’t about a (example) restaurant. If I do not like the restaurant full stop, I won’t write about it. Writing the post will usually take a 2.5 hours from start to finish with a number edits and revisions.

Blogs rarely become popular out of thin air. It may seem effortless but in the background there is a lot of work going on. Think swan- easy gliding on the surface, mad peddling underneath. Build it and they shall come really is bullshit, especially now that here is a huge amount of other blogs. So you I market my own blog, through twitter, Facebook, Instagram, networking, other blogs and word of mouth. I’m constantly thinking of how I can reach new audiences and hold onto the ones I already have.

Anyone who works in an office will know that email can become the bane of your life. Emails come in all day, and so yes another job is answering them. 

All of this I do in the late evenings and weekends after my full time job.

How do you work with brands?
When I work with a brand it is very much a business deal. Sometimes contracts will even be drawn up if it involves money. There are many different ways I work with brands with different sets of requirements and goals but I do want to make it clear that the words and opinions are strictly my own. I would never accept payment of any kind for a blatant advert.  the general way of partnerships are:

Comp based exposure
This is where I will write about something which was given to me complimentary. I might be invited to a try a new restaurant, stay in a hotel or try a product. IF I like it and think it’s something I want to recommend to my readers I’ll write a post and do all of the above mentioned jobs. I take these very seriously as a job and a client. For example when I went to Paris to stay in a hotel I made a video of the hotel and it took a whole day to film! Not at all relaxing!

This is where I am paid to work with a brand. It takes many forms, such as writing an article not featured on my blog for theirs, running a twitter chat or for blog posts and social media exposure. Like above I take this very seriously and do alot of work for it, putting in days and days worth of time for a client. 

Press Trips
As I move more into the travel space these are cropping up. These are when a brand, maybe a tourism board will organised a trip to show me and a other bloggers/journalists around on usually an organised trip of an area for us to research and write about. 

When working with a brand its my job to promote, give them exposure and/or sales. It can be very stressful as with any job if you don't deliver, you want be asked to work with them again- it's a client lost. 

Don't get me wrong blogging does have its perks, of course it does. Because I'm a one woman business, I take on all the reward too as well as the roles. Those press trips have taken me to some amazing countries and met some amazing people. I've dined in some of the best restaurants in the country and got to do some crazy things like going to the BAFTAs. However it's certainly not handed to me on a plate and I'm certainly not swanning around with a cocktail in hand and just doing the odd instagram shot.. Everyday I work on my blogging brand. I do social media and emails during the day, and when I get home I'm editing photos, writing content, doing more emails, researching editorial, pitching ideas and negotiating deals. 

However, I love it, I really, truly do, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. I love this post, it's great to see how it all works, and as a smaller blogger it's useful to see sage advice on how to move forward. Thanks

  2. You are an absolute pleasure to work with and clients of mine have always massively appreciate the extra effort, particularly in terms of photography, that you go to when posting about your experiences at an event or a venue. It really helps capture the atmosphere of a place and hopefully, that in turn, gives your readers a clearer idea of what to expect if they choose to go there.

    Good for you for writing this post. So many bloggers are not transparent enough about the work they do with brands or clear about when they have been sponsored for a post which can be misleading.

    I've loved watching your site and following grow in the time we have known each other and it is totally deserved. You create beautiful, personal content that the world should read. To your next chapter!

    H x

  3. Such a fantastic post about what it's really like to be a blogger. So many people say to me that its so great that I get 'freebies', and that they want to set up theirs to get the same - but don't realise how much work goes into it!

    Erin xx

  4. What an interesting read. Thanks for being so open and honest!

  5. very interesting and informative post which i really enjoyed reading! I myself are at the "space to write some stuff down" stage but i love it xx

  6. Love this honest post. Blogging can be hard work, but very rewarding x

  7. I agree with certain parts of it, I disagree that it's hard work. It's as hard as you want it to be. By the same token if you work with 'Brands' they want something in return so again it's about what you want from your blog. Good post though.

  8. This post is amazing, I loved it! I wish more people would read this so that they can understand the world of blogging and how it works.
    Great post!
    Steph x.

  9. This was so interesting to read! I've read a few other posts about what bloggers get up to but none of the ones I've read have actually been quite so insightful and useful! Hats off to you for this post and also for your commitment on top of having a full time job!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Travel, Food, Italy

  10. Such a fantastic post about what it's really like to be a blogger.Over 45 years of experience colour consultants Painters and decorators for commercial and domestic. Qualified contractors for painting and decorating.

  11. Really liked this post lovely x

  12. Love this. Great and inspiring post dear.
    There is always so much to learn. Keep up the good work.


  13. Although we blog about very different things, the process of blogging is actually very similar. I can certainly relate to the staying up late at night part and the time it takes to edit the photos and actually write the copy. I suspect that most people think I go swanning around cafes, drinking coffee all day. Rarely do they appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.


  14. Nice blog. Quite interesting. Give a clear picture of world of blogging. Really interesting and helpful. Thanks for this sharing. Good Job.

  15. Such an interesting and helpful post!! X

  16. Nice blog post and I agree that blogging can be hard sometimes.
    We travel around the world and what a lot of people don't realise is that you need time and space to actually create good content for your blog, especially making the content useful to the reader.

    But like you, no matter how hard it gets sometimes, I love blogging about my travels :)


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