My friend Katy over at ModlyChic has a Friend Friday , where she sends out questions to bloggers each week for us to answer. This is my first time to join in and she has some great, thought-provoking questions. Hopefully this is something that interests you and I can continue to do. And as you may know there is nothing that I love more than answering questions about myself. Visit her blog to see other who participate as well. Thanks Katy!
1. What's your main purpose in blogging?
You know when I started this blog, my purpose was to find a community in which I could share my wardrobe with others. Being from a very small town with a lot of old people who don't care about fashion, it was important for me to find others who had similar interests like myself and blogging seemed the best way to find that community.
I think that your purpose as a blogger will change and will grow with you as a person. I feel that my purpose more and more is to get the message out there that you don't have to be a size 0, you don't have to be rich, and you don't have to live in NYC to be fashionable.
2. Do you think bloggers should receive monetary compensation for their efforts?
This question is so touchy, I'm almost afraid to answer it. First off, I don't have a problem with anyone recieving compensation for something that they do and this includes blogging. In fact, if you can make a living off of a blog then you are obviously doing it very well and if you enjoy it, then why not get paid for doing what you love? I think that this is so controversial because so many people have blogs and perhaps it seems unfair at times that one person can blog about the same thing and get paid while another does it for free. Since blogging is relatively new, it seems like the standards haven't been set up for it like it is for other trades. You would never go to your job for free, would you? Then why would you expect someone who can make a living off of blogging to do the same?
It's hard not to look at this economically. Since blogging is essentially intangible I think that most people expect it to be free. The internet in some sense is free (as long as we ignore the costs of the hardware/wi-fi costs it takes to get it, lets assume you are at a public library using their free wi-fi right now), so perhaps this is where people find conflict in being paid as a blogger. I can log onto any website, at any time and gain information for free. News sites, social networking, retailers give out information for free 24/7. But to get this information to you it takes a large team of people working on the website, the products, the stories, etc. And it takes money to keep that team coming back to their jobs. So to offer these free services to you they have advertisements or sponsors. Sometimes very annoying advertisements that pop up or scream at you or dance on the side of your screen telling you that "Obama wants you to go back to school". However, those advertisements fund the information that you receive and keeps people employed, which, as we've learned over the past 2 years with this recession, employment is a very good thing.
So if you look at blogging as a service that someone provides, it makes it a little bit easier to accept when a blogger takes on sponsors or advertisements. Take Etsy for instance, people create handmade items everyday (some good, some bad) and list them for sale. Would you ever say to them, "I want this but don't want to pay for it. Give this to me for free?" No, never because it cost them time, labor and money to make the item. They created it and you want it, so you buy it. Thats the transaction. But when a blogger creates an outfit, thought or an idea they put it out there for free, mostly with no strings attached. Arguably the same time, labor and creativity went into this process. Then why is it okay to ask a blogger, specifically style bloggers, to continue to give you free inspiration practically daily without being compensated? It takes time, money and labor and all though you can't tangibly hold what that blogger provides, he or she is still providing you with something in the end. Another thing to keep in mind is that the money doesn't come from you as a reader, it comes from a sponsor who gets something as well. Quite honestly, when a blogger takes on sponsors, it has nothing to do with you -- its just that the relationship now has three parties involved, the blogger, the sponsor and the reader. You are still the person receiving the blog for free. With sponsors, i's a quid pro quo relationship (or should be), where the bloggers gets compensated for letting a company use a designated amount of ad space in hopes of gaining more customers. The blogger gets to continue blogging as he or she chooses and you get to partake in that blog if you choose.
So is it fair that some bloggers get compensated while other do not? I think you have to look at the big picture on this one. Going back to the Etsy example, not every seller on Etsy, in fact probably a very slim number of sellers can make a living off what they produce and sell. How can they do this? Because they create items that buyers continually want which allows them to make more items to sell more, creating a flow of revenue. (Many more elements go into this, like marketing your etsy shop, but this is the easiest way to put it.) Does that mean that as an Etsy seller if you aren't making a living off of your item that your items are crap? No, certainly not. And it also doesn't mean that if you don't make money off of your blog, that your blog is crap. On the other hand, perhaps, it doesn't always mean that compensation means that you have the best blog out there either. Simply put its a big, hairy market out there for bloggers and you should never think that compensation = success. If you do, then you will never make enough money to be happy. You should blog because you have an opinion, a thought, or an idea that you want the world to see or hear. You should blog because you enjoy it. If you do that, then your blog will be successful.
I put probably 30+ hours into my blog a week, not for compensation but for my own personal enjoyment. Does this mean that I will always do this for my own personal enjoyment only? I don't know. But what I do know is that I did not start my blog hoping that it would become another source of income. Would I take sponsors one day? I don't know, but if I did it would be to further the development of my blog. In the end, I don't think it's wrong to be paid for doing something well, bloggers included.
(If you'd like to read more about this topic, head on over the http://heartifb.com/ and look for the blogging + compensation discussion threads.)
3. What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
The time constraints that I have. Everything I do for my blog is in the after hours of my full-time day job. From taking pictures to editing to writing to layout design, it's all crammed into the 4-5 hours I have at night when I get home, on top of being a wife and a human being who has real emotional breakdowns once a week.
4. What's the most rewarding part?
The community that I've built. I love each and every reader more than they will ever know. I love the honest feedback people give me, I love hearing similar stories people tell me. I feel like I have a million different best friends and I'm so grateful for that.
Also, being able to be funny and to have people not only enjoy it but understand it. Writing is one of the best parts of my day and I'm so glad that I have people to share it with.
5. What is one goal you have for improving your blog?
One is having more time for it. Another is creating more of a schedule for blogging, perhaps coming up with new ideas to share with my readers. The sky is the limit with blogging! Isn't that a fantastic thing?
So you guys -- What are your thoughts on blogging and compensation? What is the most frustrating/rewarding thing for you? You've heard my thoughts, I'd love to hear yours.