I dedicate my love list this week to all my readers, followers and likers on all my social media networks. You see without you, I don’t think I’ll still be writing. Thank you for those personal messages and emails, you keep me going, you keep me from shutting down this blog – something I nearly did this week and you can find out why when you read my “Loathe” list. I love it when I get emails asking me “What’s happened to this and that brand? Where can I get that now?” or “Where do I shop for this or that?” or even emailing to give ME tips on where to shop! That’s how I know I’m doing the right thing. That’s how I know I’ve reached out to you. I know not everyone likes to leave comments on the blog itself, or maybe some of you might be reading on your smartphones so it does make it harder for you to leave a comment and instead you do that on my Facebook page or through email or messages – THANK YOU. You all make it worth it. xx
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me
I have a feeling Mr. C has taught Miss 12 well when it comes to this particular quote. What I liked about the story I’m about to share is Miss 12’s response, in case you were wondering.
I was checking out Miss 12’s qooh.me – a site where people can anonymously ask them questions. I didn’t realise she had one and now I know and I think I’m going to have to get her to delete two of her answers and monitor the type of questions she gets asked. I came across one question, which was more like an attack than a question really. The person were calling her and her classmates nerds and that they shouldn’t be making instagram accounts and hanging out together thinking they’re on top of the world. Mean right? Outright bullying? Yes. And this was Miss 12 reply:
You’re just jealous
Am I proud with her response? Yes. But am I worried if she was affected by that comment? Yes. I am actually upset with myself for NOT knowing that she had this account. So much for being on the ball and knowing what she does all the time. I can’t imagine what other comments that could potentially come through and while I cannot always protect her I guess I’m just going to have to arm her with a heart made of stone. Ok maybe that’s being a bit drastic. I do like that she was able to handle that snarky and mean comment. But I hate the fact that kids can easily access this site and be subjected to any sort of questions. I think it’s time for me to get the big guns out and start monitoring her a bit more closely. I’ve been a bad mum. And yes I’m beating myself over it.
I might be shooting myself in the foot for airing this particular thing I loathe about but yes, like every other job, career, or thing in life (even motherhood!) there’s politics involved and I am clearly really sick of the politics of blogging. I’m not going to air the “dirty laundry” associated with blogging, that’s just, well that’ll just make me sound like sour grapes. Instead I’ll share which bits of it that I totally loathe.
Let’s face it, when you open yourself up to accepting sponsored posts, or being “PR and brand friendly”, you’re opening your blog up to being treated like a commodity, which to me is a fair enough treatment. The thing I do loathe about it is – you build your blog up, doing the right things eg. adding disclosures, making sure your blog’s design is easy to navigate, making sure you keep your readers entertained AND informed without bias and you manage to get your stats up, so you decide it’s high time you raised your rates only to be treated like dirt and passed over for other bloggers who offer much cheaper rates. Regardless of how their writing or how their site looks like. It’s a never ending circle of death when it comes to getting sponsorship. And then there are those who would gladly do it for free – therefore undoing the hard work of those who have tried to make sure bloggers know their worth, that their time is precious. I’m not saying you have to be paid every single time, but make sure you VALUE your work. Don’t do it just so you’ll get MORE free work or free products because once you say you’re charging because your stats have gone up, you’ll see how fast they run away from you.
This leads me to the next point – faking stats. You see, for my readers who are unaware of what goes on behind the scenes, blogs are being treated like magazines. We are constantly being asked what our stats for “unique visitors” are – this translates to “circulation” for magazines.
What most brands and PRs don’t understand is, some blogs might have high uniques for their stats, but what some fail to consider are their “pageviews” – as in how much of your blog are readers reading or are they just reading that ONE post? And then there’s the “bounce rate” – which translates to how long the reader stays for (this really depends on the kind of blog you run as well though). These are factors that are usually NOT taken into consideration by PRs and brands. It’s not their fault really because blogs are still a relatively new thing here in Australia and most PRs and brands still refer to the standards set by magazines when measuring “success”. Because of this, there have been bloggers who have indeed given stats that don’t reflect the actual readership – what I mean by this is, stats that aren’t updated.
It’s a competitive industry and some have been known to give stats that are old because it looks better. Can’t say I’m not disappointed when I found out about this especially when I have been doing the RIGHT thing. Bloggers who do this and if you’re reading this, I’m not doing it to jeopardise our relationship, but I’m hoping you’ll change your tactic so that you can be proud to say that you’re not doing it to please the PRs and brands or to get paid gigs. It’s just wrong. It’s like seeing bloggers who DON’T disclose to their readers what they’ve been given or that they’ve been paid when you’ve been doing it. That’s how I feel. Don’t sell your ethics over money and recognition – it’s NOT worth it! Be real. Be true to yourself. Don’t sell your soul. Seriously, you’re worth a lot more than that. Also, I’m not blaming the bloggers for doing this. Like I said, it’s a competitive industry and THIS knowing your stats business have and can drive bloggers to such insanity.
Like any other industry as well, blogging is also about WHO you know FIRST and then once you get yourself out there because of WHO you know, WHAT you know comes into play. It’s just the nature of the game really. I won’t elaborate on this as it’s…too political. So for those struggling to get known even if you’ve been doing the “right” things – don’t be disheartened. There’s a lot more to it than you think. Just do what you do well at and keep at it.
I can write a lot more on what I loathe about the politics of blogging but that would have me write a whole blog post on it. I have to confess that something that happened this week made me reflect on where I really wanted my blog to go. It nearly made me want to shut down this blog altogether because I am so disillusioned by the whole blogging business. But I stopped. Instead, it made me realise it’s stupid to stop because of the politics. That’s not why I blog. I blog because I love to write. I love to share my tips, tricks or whatever it is I’ve recently tried and tested. I write for myself and my readers. And if I happen to make some money out of it then that’s a bonus – that’s why I still have affiliate links and ads because I still need money to run the site. I love knowing that there are readers who enjoy reading what I write and that always makes my day. The messages and emails – that’s worth writing for!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be working with PRs and brands, but on my terms. And there are PRs out there who are worth working with, are so nice and personable that makes you WANT to bend over backwards for them (without compromising your ethics). While there are others who I know I just don’t want to work with anymore – no matter how enticing the product might be. It’s basic common courtesy really – treat people how you’d want to be treated.
The final thing that keeps me going is also the relationships I’ve built with other bloggers over time. While there are dodgy ones out there, thankfully there have been meaningful and beautiful ones that I’ve built. These are bloggers who have become friends, who are supportive of each other no matter what happens. Thank you for being there too. You keep me sane! xx