“Should I start a blog?” Is a question I get asked a lot. “If you want to, go for it.” Is my general reply. Followed by “Why do you want to start a blog?” A question that I think is very important. There are lots of reasons why you should start a blog but if you are asking “Should I start a blog?” Simply because you think bloggers get loads of gifted items, don’t work and get to go to cool events and on holidays all for free then blogging probably isn’t for you. If you have a story to tell, or you love to write, then starting a blog may be the perfect hobby for you and it may be that one day it does become a source of income.
When you read my blog you will see a mixture of reviews from products and events that I have paid for myself or that have been bought for me or the children as gifts along side reviews for items that have been sent to me from various PR agents. Free stuff is definitely a huge perk of being a lifestyle blogger blogger but trust me writing a blog is not all free stuff and nights out. Over the last 18 months I have had numerous messages from friends and followers asking me “Should I start a blog?” or “how can start a blog?” followed by the fact they want to get free stuff and invited to press parties. I always try and help where I can, gve some pointers and explain how I got in to blogging BUT I also explain the following….
- Blogging can be hard work. Like any job you have dead lines to meet. If a company ask me to do a review it usually comes with a deadline and word limit that I have to juggle around the children and the day job, not always an easy task.
- You have to have a thick skin. When you press publish on that blog your hard work is out there for the world to see, read, enjoy and judge. And boy do some people judge. But in order to blog you need to take the good with the bad and except the constructive criticism and work on your craft as a writer.
- It helps if you can write! That sounds obvious but there are 1000’s of bloggers out there now, some just in it for the freebies but they soon get caught out. Companies don’t just want a review, they want a well written review that will engage the audience, stand out from the crowd and ultimately help them sell the product. On top of that they want a post that ranks high on google, is hosted on a blog with a high DA and has been written with SEO in mind. All skills that take time to learn and even longer to implement successfully.
- Photography skills are also important. Lots of bloggers also have to double up as photographers with no real training. This can be to illustrate their blog posts or to go along side their blog on their social media channels. Something that again can take up a lot of your time.
- You need to have principles, a back bone and an ability to say no. If you want to be a credible reviewer it is no good saying every product is amazing just because you were sent it for free in the fear they may not send you anything again. Your readers will respect your thoughts and look to you for valid reviews if they know you will dish the dirt and save them wasting their time and money on something that is useless. That means being honest with a company too and giving them some constructive feedback, you would be surprised how many companies actual appreciate that. Mind you not all do so sometimes it is a case of hit send on the email and take cover!
- Lastly you need time management and organisation skills. I already mentioned deadlines but you also need to time to test products. You can’t review two skin care regimes effectively at the same time and both will have deadlines if sent from an agent so you need to be able to organise, prioritise and say NO.
So, yes blogging can bring you free products, tickets to events and even nights away but these freebies do not pay the bills so unless you are charging for your reviews you need to make sure you have the time and the inclination to commit to a blog. If you do then go for it, blogging can be so much fun and can bring so many unexpected opportunities with it but remember it’s not all free stuff and nights out.
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