March 23, 2016

Blogging Authentically

I stumbled across this article today about fashion blogger Caitlin from Southern Curls & Pearls. It talks about the hard work that can go into posting a single Instagram photo (but also the money she makes because of the effort). I always find articles like this fascinating. I think it's easy to look at the big bloggers as living a life of luxury. Make no mistake, they are. They get free clothes and products and fancy trips. They often make a six-figure income all from having a big social media or blog following.

But there's a reason they get those perks. Caitlin talks about taking over 100 photos for one outfit mirror selfie; 100! She also talks about when she's on those all-expense paid vacations that's when she’s working the hardest,
"Last month, she [Caitlin] went to Palm Springs, CA, with fellow blogger and frequent traveling companion Emily Gemma. On such trips, they get up at 6 a.m. Then it’s shower/hair/makeup/prep, for photos at sunrise to catch that good early light. They eat breakfast, then change completely and do a second photo shoot (each) before lunch – and do it all again at least once more, later in the day."

The Daily Tay wrote a post called The Business of Blogging based on the same article and I agree with pretty much everything she wrote. Is it really worth it to get those vacations when you're working an 80 hour week to get it? Is the free romper worth the 10 hours of the photo shoot/editing process/curating the perfect post?

Of course, fashion bloggers get more than free trips and outfits. They also make a bundle from affiliate links. Caitlin has often made items in stores go out of stock simply by showcasing it on Instagram. She even talks about a particular $38 hat she posted with an affiliate link that ended up making her thousands of dollars. When I post affiliate links, I'm lucky if I get one click-through, let alone a purchase. I think my total Amazon Affiliate earnings from the last two years is about $16. As you can see, that six-figure income is within my grasp.

When a blogger uses affiliate links there's often an argument about whether or not the recommendation from that blogger is legitimate. I honestly believe that Caitlin only posts about products she actually likes. But I'm sure there are many other bloggers out there who post about any product a company pays them to mention, or use affiliate links for items only because they know it will bring back a big return.

So where am I going with this? I'm not actually certain myself. I just know I have a lot of thoughts. It makes me wonder if I would want to make it big with my blog. Obviously, I'm not even remotely close to that realm, but if it so happened that I somehow gained a huge following overnight, would I enjoy it? Would I want to work 80 hours a week making my life look effortless, when in reality I took 3 hours to make my Instagram photo look perfect? Could I still genuinely blog about my life or would it be forced?

I think what I'm getting at is that I enjoy having a little space of the internet to myself without any pressure. I'm definitely open to money-making opportunities that can help support my family, but I hope I can blog in a genuine way without being too influenced by sponsored posts. I don't want my life to look perfect and easy, because that's not life and I want this to always be about connecting with others in an authentic, real way.

So please know: if I do include an affiliate link or partner with a company to make a post I’m doing that because I believe in the product. Yes, I will earn a bit of income with a sponsored post, or when you click through one of my affiliate links, but know that I only recommend and work with brands that I use in my real, legitimate life. Thanks for being interested in my life and supporting this blogging hobby of mine.

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