Are You Blogging or Blegging

I’m sure that by now all everyone, bloggers included are familiar with the derogatory term called blegging. It’s a word that refers to a blogger that continuously ask for free products from brands and PR companies. Someone that’s not blogging but blegging, somebody that’s behaving like a beggar. In recent times I’ve seen this expression all over Twitter timelines, therefore I had to ask myself if I’m also what they’d call a blegger in the blog business. Why would I even begin to ask myself such a question? Well, I’m a firm believer in acknowledging a problem before you can try and solve it. 

I’m a South African Blogger from Namaqualand in the Northern Cape of South Africa, a region known for its rustic and dry landscapes, also known for its beautiful flowers during springtime. I don’t know any other bloggers close by in fact, I don’t know any social media influencers from my part of the world at all.

So it is exactly for these reasons that I decided to take a different approach, I started to introduce myself to brands. Did I ask for free products? No. Did I introduce myself and ask for blog collaborations? Yes. I felt invisible and after several years in the blog industry, I felt the need to go to the next level, which is making money from my blog. So how should you go about it then without causing damage to the Blog Empire you’re trying to build. Here’s what I think.

1. Do an audit.

First of all, not everyone wants to make money from their blog and that is their personal choice. However, if you do want to monetize and have been blogging for some time with no opportunities knocking at your door you should closely look into your efforts. 

Besides follower count, brands want to see high-quality images, good copy and consistency. It is also important to have a niche, this is just so that you don’t fall all over the place. Choose 3 overall themes and keep at it. Constantly look for gaps that need improvement, some of us are better at marketing then photography but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on it.

2. Stay transparent.

There’ll always be new upcoming bloggers that’ll get it right from the start and find great brands to work within less than a year. Nowadays startup bloggers have a thought-out strategy in place before they even publish their first blogpost. There’s also those bloggers who've been at it for years that’s only now finding their flow. 

However the case, it is crucial to stay transparent about your blog statistics. I’ve heard so many ugly stories about bloggers that buy followers or that Photoshop their Google Analytic profiles. Such practices give the blog industry such a bad reputation. No wonder terms such as bleggers evolved.

3. Engage with your blog tribe and followers.

If you see a fellow blogger featured in a magazine, congratulate them. If someone takes the time
to comment on your blog or social media timelines, take the time to thank them. Return the favor.
Don’t just sit on the receiving end expecting blog comments, new followers and likes without visiting other blogs or social media platforms. 

Build on what you have and thereafter work on the rest. Brands have realized the importance of micro-influencers. In this case, bloggers that have the number of followers that they can manage and actually engage with and thereby truly influence. 

4. Take it easy.

Building a brand takes time, so you’ll have to be really passionate about the industry. Sometimes brands will continuously work with the same influencers on great campaigns that you’d wish to be part of. Sometimes you’ll feel invisible and ready to give up, but if you hang in there know that your time will come. 

Resist the urge to ask for free products on your social media timelines. The blog community will see this and they will judge you and even speak about you over DM’s, donuts and coffee. I’d say after an introduction or pitch via email you should wait about two weeks. Thereafter you can send a follow-up mail. Stay diplomatic and professional and if there’s no feedback or positive results you should leave it at that. 

A lot of people are slowly starting to understand that blogging is hard work, you can make a great career out of it but you have to stay resilient and consistent. Yes, follower count is a huge factor, but in the age of micro-influencers that ultimately comes down to curating creative, fresh copy and original images all the time. That should always be your aim, to deliver great content. If you’re up for that, then keep going.

Image - My Own

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