I can’t count the number of times I’ve had this conversation:
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a professional blogger. I work to promote companies and brands, and I review products.”
“But does it pay anything?”
If you’re a problogger, you probably have had the same conversation with your friends and relatives. It’s a very frustrating conversation, because it kind of hits below the belt for those of us who do this kind of work.
I’ve heard stories of people being told they’re really slackers, or they just mess around online all day, or there’s no way to make money online. Yet they think nothing of Mark Zuckerberg, Perez Hilton or DJ Steve Porter, who have all become successful just by going online and providing a service.
So I’ll try to make it plain, because it really is kind of hard to explain especially in a media that is still considered “new.”
1. I’m more than just a blogger. I’m what is called a “social media influencer.” That means when I say or share something, people listen. Currently, my blog averages about 5,000 unique views a month (that’s 5,000 different people), which is moderate but still nothing to shake a stick at. In addition, my content is frequently shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social networks.
Companies know how popular I am by where I show up in Google searches for certain topics; as well as by looking at my pageviews and my influence measurement on Klout.
2. My influence results in opportunities. I’m a part of a number of blogging communities in which I am compensated for promoting brands, businesses and products. In addition, I receive pitch letters from brands offering to partner with me, and I send pitch letters from brands I’m interested in partnering with.
3. Even when I’m given product as compensation, it pays. In addition to monetary compensation, products I’ve received have included food, Amazon gift cards, greeting cards, gadgets, and the coolest thing I’ve ever received, a Sodastream.
Do any of these things pay the bills? No, but they do offset the cost of things I would have had to buy anyway. I know that there are at least 50 meals I won’t have to worry about paying for this year. I know I’m not going to have to lug fridge-packs of soda in the car for a while.
And I can’t tell you HOW excited my friends were to get some gorgeous ornament cards this year, when all I had to pay for was the stamps.
4. I make advertising revenue. You may notice that there are ads scattered throughout this blog. Guess what? they are part of my income. Just like Guy Fieri and Giorgio Tsoukalos and the cast of 30 Rock rely on advertising to pay the bills, so do I. In addition to the ads you see here on my blog, I also endorse products on my social networks. Those endorsements help pay the bills, too.
5. I work – hard. Do you see me on the Internet all the time? Probably. But every time I am engaging with someone, my social influence increases. I could be tweeting a friend to wish her a happy birthday, or sharing a funny photo from the Cheezburger network, but every like, share and comment I get is another way I climb up the social-media ladder. My blog and my online presence are constantly growing. To keep that momentum, you have to keep working.
I’ve gotta say, this is the best job I’ve ever had. I get to write about stuff, give advice, and wear a tank top and flannel pants as my “work clothes.” Instead of sitting at a desk or a cubicle, I get to lean back and write while watching Netflix and hearing my dog snore at my feet.
Four years ago I was bouncing checks, digging around for spare change to pay the light bill, racking up debt on credit cards and relying on neighbors to have an open wi-fi connection. Today I live cash-only, I pay my bills on time, and I don’t have to wait until the next check comes in before I can buy something.
Granted, I don’t have a lot of the same expenses. I now live with my mom, as do a lot of people my age who became casualties of the recession. But I contribute to the household income in so many more ways than I’ve been able to before. The UPS man comes by every other day. Our housekeeper is always eager to see what new, cool thing I’ve received. And, well, life’s pretty dang good.
Not bad for a blogger.