Blogging for love or money
Last weekend I attended The Australian Beauty Blogger Weekend. Apart from generous goodie bags there were also presentations on hot blogging topics. The talk on how to monetise your blog with key note speaker, Bahar Etminan was particularly outstanding. Not only because of its practical value but also because of the impact it had on the audience. They were divided in their opinions and Twitter has exploded with heated comments. Many bloggers in the room, it seems, felt offended.
Bloggers, who are they? What do they want? Why do they blog? There is no single answer and that was primarily why Ms Etminan’s presentation was so controversial. Not all bloggers see their blogs as a business. Yet other bloggers would definitely consider themselves as having a full time job. Blogging is a recent phenomenon. It does not have a clear definitions, standards or regulations and therefore it will continue creating controversy up until all questions have been answered. Sometimes even the bloggers themselves haven’t clearly defined what they are doing online: a hobby or a business?
Talking from a business paradigm to a blogger is not always a right approach. Simply because for many of us blogging is a hobby. It is a very personal by its nature. Blogs are to their owners like children: cherished, loved and the most beautiful in the whole world. Would you say to a parent – go make money out of your child? Unlikely! Similarly, you can’t push bloggers to monetize their blogs. They will, if they want to. Most of the bloggers I know, are highly educated professionals who blog out of their own interest and out of their own pocket. If they can afford Chanel creams, do you really think they will be interested in obtaining a free nail polish? It is a big mistake to think that all bloggers want is a free product or to make money out of their blogs.
The blogging community is very diverse. You simply can’t put all bloggers in one bucket. Different people write about different things and for different reasons too. Every blog has a unique voice and this is great! The essence of blogging is the freedom of expressing yourself. Most of the bloggers enjoy having an open honest dialogue with their readers and other bloggers. You can’t buy that just like you can’t buy true friendship.
Business is very different. There are no friends only competitors. It is an environment where money rules and success is measured in gains. In the blogosphere, we like to think of each other as friends, mentors, experts, etc but not competitors. We socialise, shop and dine together. We learn from each other. We may be a little bit competitive – like parents with their children, but we are not going to back stab each other to get the deal (as often it happens in a business environment). We value the integrity of our community more than a personal gain. I, at least, would like to think so. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
I hope the above helps to clarify who we are and why we blog.
Note to bloggers:
There is no right or wrong. If you want to blog for the love of blogging, that’s wonderful. Yet if you want to make money out of your blog and choose it as your profession – that is also great. But we should not judge each other for our choices. Same as we can’t judge a lawyer for working in a law firm or a person for collecting stamps or butterflies. Decide for yourself who you are – a business woman or a woman with a great hobby. Think about where you stand and what you want for yourself and your blog. Find your own answers to these questions if you haven’t already and don’t worry about the diverse ways in which others approach blogging. The important thing is to go forth happily with the clear voice of an individual and a warm respect for your readers.