I’m not the first person to write about this and I definitely won’t be the last but I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys, my own readers and audience, because I feel like it’s a topic that can be very mis-understood.
A few weeks ago I was out for the day to experience something that had come about through my blog and during my time there I was having a conversation with someone about why I was there and what it is I do. As it got to the end of the sentence the person added in something about ‘getting things like this for free’, now I honestly don’t think he meant to be rude and I do understand why people see it that way, especially those who don’t really know what a blog is. I’m in no doubt that lots of people who know me think we are always going away on ‘free’ trips or taking ‘free’ pushchairs out to put to the test but I do find it frustrating because as bloggers we really aren’t getting anything for ‘free’.
Now don’t get my wrong, I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities that have come about as a result of starting my blog four years ago but I don’t get them for nothing and nor do I get them because I’m ‘lucky’, the reason I get these things is because I work really, really hard at what I do. And it’s only because I love it so much that I am able to work so hard at it, it’s not because of the things or the opportunities, it’s because it’s my place for me to be me and to express my creative side. Of course all the things that happen as a result are nice but if they were taken away tomorrow I would still be here doing my thing.
So ranty bit over I just want to share with you a little bit about why nothing is free in the blogging world.
The reason we are sent products or asked to visit places is because the companies want us to help spread the word about what it is they sell. The reason they choose us is because they think we would be a good fit but also because they have looked at our social media followings / blog rankings and seen that the potential is there for lots of business. My following isn’t huge by any means but it’s taken me four years to build up and needs constant attention to maintain it and keep on growing. That takes A LOT of time, social media in itself is like a full time job. I easily work full-time hours on my blogs and it’s not like I ever switch off from it because I work from home and there is always more that could be done.
So when we are sent a product it becomes our job to deliver a service. We need to test the product which usually involves taking it out somewhere, take photos of it in use, spend time editing those photos, write the blog post and share the link to the blog post on all our social media channels. I class that as work.
When we go away on review breaks or trips even more goes into it. If someone asked me if I wanted a ‘free’ holiday then I would imagine lying around all day relaxing on a beach but that isn’t the case when you are going away to review somewhere. You need to make sure you are always taking photos, always filming and experiencing everything there is to do at that place so you can deliver your part of the deal when you get home. And when you do get home you then have to spend HOURS editing photos and videos before writing it all up. I absolutely love this part of my job but I see it as exactly that, a job. Plus a lot of the time there won’t be a budget for expenses so although the accommodation is free you still end up paying for everything else.
Then there is the money I put into running my blogs. I pay monthly hosting and buy premium blog themes. I’ve bought video-editing software and photo-editing software, Photoshop actions and that’s not to mention all the cameras and equipment I have bought over the years.
And let’s not forget that to create a blog that isn’t over-run with product reviews or breaks we also need to spend our time creating blog posts that are interesting to read. If you take a look into most bloggers homes in either the early morning or late evening and you will find them sitting at their computers tapping away on the keys sharing content with their readers that they hope they will enjoy. In the case of my craft blog you will usually find me sitting in front of a pile of old boxes trying to work out what to make with it.
So next time you are reading a review on a blog or see photos of someone on a review holiday hopefully you will know that there is so much more to it than just enjoying a freebie. Usually by the time you see someone in that situation they will have spent months, if not years working on their blogs, FOR FREE!