Whenever anyone asks me what I do, I always hesitate. Without fail, every time, I hesitate, before I answer “I’m a blogger”.
Why the hesitation you ask?
Namely, because I don’t think the term ‘blogger’ really encapsulates all that I do. The term ‘blogger’ is problematic, and here’s why:
The term blogger originally described somebody who writes a weblog. It really is old school 90s term that simply describes a personal online journal.
‘Just a blogger’ – it’s almost a derogatory term. In fact, I’ve heard people at events say oh, she’s ‘just a blogger’. I’ve had PRs turn their nose up, to my face, when I say I’m a blogger (and, I guess, not a journalist). I was once subjected to an unsolicited rant from a journalist about how print was king and that bloggers were not a threat, blah-blah-blah, before getting up a leaving. All I had done was tell him that I wrote for myself when he asked which publication I was from.
Anyone can be a blogger, anyone can start a blog. It’s free, you just need a computer and an internet connection. But that’s just the beginning, that’s just where it starts.
What I do, is not ‘just write a blog’. I don’t sit at home all day twiddling my thumbs and then spend 20 minutes bashing out a blog post before calling it a day. (I wish).
Here are some of the tasks/job roles that encapsulates my work:
Social Media Manager
Social Media Strategist
PR Specialist\SEO Specialist
Business Development Manager
Sales Manager / Negotiator
Analytics / Data Manager
To be somewhat successful at my job I need to be an expert in content creation of copy, photography, video… across WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and beyond.
I need to simultaneously be creative, strategic, financially controlled, risk assessed, and innovative.
I need to be able to build a loyal and engaged community whilst pitching, proposing, leveraging and capitalising with third parties.
I need to understand the media industry, PR industry, marketing industry, and the verticals within which I am writing.
I need to be up to the minute on all new innovations as the digital world grows at a sprinting pace.
I need to be likeable, creative, popular, and be able to capture zeitgeist in my work. I need to be authentic, and I need to be shrewd.
I’m not ‘just a blogger’. I am a businesswoman. I run my own business, and factor all the risk that comes along with that role. Look at the list above, that is nearly 20 professional roles that ‘just a blogger’ needs to have some level of proficiency in. And let’s not forget that most of this is self-taught. Let’s not forget the thousands of hours that were spent to acquire that proficiency.
So when I meet somebody new and they ask what I do? What do I tell them? I’m not ‘just a blogger’. But I’m loathe to say I’m an ‘influencer’. Another term that reduces, simplifies and almost denigrates the work that we do. That fails to communicate the sheer breadth of expertise and skill we hold.
Recently I was asked to do some work by an incredibly well-known company. They are successful, financially buoyant, growing, and innovating. They wanted me to do the work for free. It was interesting work, it was relevant to me, and a company that I’d love to work with. But why am I being asked to help their business for free? (and no, ‘gifts’ are not payment, they are tools to do the work). Everybody else involved in that campaign got paid, from the graphic designer to the marketing manager, the producer of the products to the photographer of the promo work. Everybody else was getting paid. I was the only person not being offered payment for my work.
And why? Because I’m ‘just a blogger’.
I know what they’re thinking, they think it’s not work. They think it’s easy. They think it’s something you can just throw together in your spare time. It’s a hobby right? It can’t take that much time to produce the original content needed for the campaign.
But this isn’t a post about getting paid (I’ll write that one next week!). This is about the problematic term ‘blogger’. This is about challenging misconceptions of an entire industry. This is about digging deeper into what ‘just a blogger’ really does.
Now I’ve shed a little light about the many skills, tasks, and job roles that ‘just a blogger’ does on a day-to-day basis … the real conundrum is how to sufficiently answer the questions ‘what do you do?’.
Answers on a postcard to… (or rather the comment box is the virtual postcard of today).