On Monday I went behind the scenes on what I do as a PR on a daily basis; today I’m flipping that on its head to tell you a bit about what goes on behind the scenes as a blogger. While this isn’t quite as hidden as the work of a PR, or isn’t really hidden at all, it might help to bring a bit of awareness to others outside the blogging world what goes on in the life of a blogger.
Like the PR post, I’ll have to give you a sort of “disclaimer” that this is mostly just based on the way I personally work as a blogger at this point in time and in my sector, so may not be representative of other bloggers. My blog is a personal style and lifestyle blog which means that it’s mostly focused on my daily outfits, but I also heavily feature much of my day to day life, including personal stories, book reviews, and other “lifestyle” type posts. I also write a lingerie focused blog (which I won’t link to here as it may be slightly unprofessional!), but just so you’re aware of the sectors I work across.
And again, like the PR post, this isn’t going to work as a “day in the life” style post since every day can be different, and generally all my blogging takes place on evenings and weekends, with the occasional lunch break thrown in there to catch up on things. Instead I’ll just go through a few of the things that I do as a “part time” blogger, running my blogs alongside a full time job. Hopefully it’ll help non bloggers to understand that blogging is made up of more parts than you would imagine at first glance and can actually take a lot of time and hard work.
For the majority of blogs, particularly in the fashion/personal style world of blogging I operate in, imagery is a large part of the content. A fashion post is rarely useful without at least one image, and a personal style post will never be that without pictures of my own outfit. For a personal style post, I need photos of an outfit. Some bloggers will create outfits simply for the purpose of their blog and shoot multiple in one go; I’ve never been a fan of this since my blog focuses on “real” outfits that I personally wear on a daily basis, so I need to take photos either before or after work. This means either wrangling in a willing friend or family member, or setting up my tripod and using the self-timer feature to run back and forth to get pictures of myself (which can often end in disaster!). Obviously there are a few difficulties: having the right lighting before or after work (especially in the winter), particularly as the best photos are taken outside in natural lighting; having the right weather; having enough time; and having the correct equipment. I’ve personally put some time into learning how to use my DSLR camera and have purchased lenses more suitable for fashion photography to get the best out of my photos. But not every blogger does this; you’ll find though that more do put time and money into getting better photos nowadays, some even hire professional photographers to do their photos for them.
Pretty obvious, but once photos are taken, they need to be edited. I’m not a pro on this – I’ll use whatever free software I have on the computer I’m using at the time whether that’s Picasa on a PC or iPhoto on a Mac, and sometimes just PicMonkey online. There isn’t a huge amount of editing goes into my photos, usually just cropping, exposure and saturation get sorted then they’re resized. But there’s also the photo selection process (some shoots may yield over 100 unusable photos…I’m not photogenic!), so they need to be cut down before being chosen and edited, all of which can be pretty time consuming.
This is the part of blogging that’s most visible to everyone else – the content creation. Readers of the blog will see the finished product of this, but behind the scenes, bloggers are putting in hours of work not only creating but also editing the content. For certain posts, the content itself may be created days or weeks in advance, with more time put in to read back over the content, edit it, proof it etc. There will most likely be links to add, formatting to do, images to add. All of these things go into even just a simple blog post.
This is something that not every blogger does, but some have a content calendar. They do regular posts that are repeated weekly or monthly, or they choose to post daily so need to have a calendar set up in advance knowing what will happen when. I only do this for certain things, if I’ve got a deadline for a post or I’m doing a series (like this one!) due to time constraints with working full time and having a life outside blogging and work too, but even the creation and managing of this is another time burden.
Every blogger that puts any value in their blog will have various social media accounts that they run and maintain on a daily basis. In the personal style/lifestyle blogging world, that means having: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest. There are also other “communities” such as Bloglovin’ that require a bit of time too. In addition to posting blog content to these outlets, you also need to post additional content, be that something interesting you’ve found on the web and are sharing or something happening in your day to day life. This is important to build a following since most people don’t just want to see your Twitter feed filled with blog post after blog post.
Once a blog starts becoming even slightly successful, the emails start pouring in. From readers with a quick question, to PRs getting in touch to work with you, and even just generic press releases that you get sent in the hopes you’ll feature something, the inbox fills quickly. The majority of these come in during the day time for me, so I’ll often have things starred to deal with later on as I can’t spend the time on them while I’m working, meaning evenings can be filled with dealing with the inbox.
Then there are the smaller behind the scenes things of making sure that the blog is functioning as it should be. Whether that’s small tweaks in the design (or a big overhaul every so often) to doing even more technical things such as keeping track of backlinks etc. My blog is a constant work in progress; there will always be new things I want to add or change in it. For example, I recently moved from Blogger to WordPress, so my posts don’t have the “Featured Image” required of my layout…so whenever I have a free moment, I’ll be trawling back through the hundreds of posts, manually choosing an image to use for that and setting it up. It’s the small jobs that take a long time!