Being a professional blogger sounds fun at face value. The moment people hear about it, they immediately think of simply as getting paid for sitting down in front of your computer for hours on end typing a bunch of words, connecting them together into a topic that hopefully gets shared by readers and becomes viral.
What’s funny is that many of us could still remember the days when blogging was nothing but an online journal, to a certain extent it still is but we’ve come a long way since blogospheres like Xanga. Nowadays, things get more specific, it’s all about finding that unique niche, what it is that makes your voice separate from the rest.
There’s a blog for everything under the sun these days: cooking, fitness, politics, entertainment, real estate, you name it. There’s even a blog about blogging. And once you’ve raised enough viewership or audience or as they’d like to call it on the web, if you have enough ‘eyeballs,’ you can then monetize your blog by attracting potential advertisers and sponsorships which by the way come in various formats.
I wouldn’t recommend blogging professionally like a full-time job unless you can make sure that it’s sustainable. In other words, do not quit your day job just yet! You want to make sure you can pay the bills while at the same time gaining traction with whatever it is you’re posting once you’re home after the end of every shift. If your passion really is indeed blogging, then obviously doing it professionally becomes your American dream. But just like any dream, this too comes at a price, both figuratively and literally speaking. Here we will explore a bit of what those ups and downs may be.
There’s nothing more personally satisfying than to get paid for doing what you love. You don’t have to have a mansion, you don’t have to ride a Lamborghini but if you can wake up every morning knowing that for the rest of the day you’re about to embark on something you love doing and get paid for it, to a lot of people that sounds like heaven on earth.
Being a professional blogger means you’re not stuck in some cubicle office from 9 to 5 because you set your own hours. As I’ve mentioned earlier, if this is indeed your passion, then being a professional blogger makes sense, it should be your end goal. There are many ways to go about it. For example, your blog is so popular, advertisers would want to pay you to have you post their sponsored articles or native advertising links or banners on your page. Another way is to blog or write articles in the same genre for other outlets, so you get paid as a freelancer or a guest blogger.
The following comes from personal experience. Unless you’re a freelancer or a blogger assigned by an outlet to cover a certain event, you’re probably covering that event for your own blog and that means the expenses come out of your own pocket. We’re talking about mileage on your car, the gas, the time you spend getting stuck in a long highway traffic, the cost of valet parking. This means that you have to start some form of bookkeeping to keep track of your transactions and receipts which will be very imperative come tax season because you do not want to find yourself indebted to someone, you want to get on top of it, the last thing you want in running your business are unexpected undesired surprises. So keeping track of those things can be quite the nuisance which is it’s a smart move to hire an accountant to handle it if you can afford one.
You can blog about just anything you want. There’s so much freedom that comes with being a professional blogger. Sure having a niche is important, but the possibilities are limitless. When I first started blogging, I didn’t know what I was doing, I remember I kept asking my graphic designer friend who was encouraging me of what topics should I focus on and he told me to just start writing. This may sound like a commercial plug, but truth of the matter is Nike does have the best advice. Just do it! Often times we get wrapped up in our nervousness on what to write we don’t even start writing. Just do it. Don’t get hung up on worrying that nobody’s going to read your articles and don’t think about monetizing it just yet. Just write. Just blog. Just do it. Those other things will come eventually but you have to make the first step. Blogging allows your free creative mind to just flow.
Believe it or not, bloggers can also face writer’s block. When you’ve blogged day in and day out about your specific genre, entertainment for example, your mind becomes numb. Sure you may have reached the status of a professional blogger but unsatisfactory feeling starts to sink in because you forget to keep yourself refreshed. One way to fix this is by mixing things up. Don’t abandon your niche, don’t abandon your expertise, but perhaps you could venture into other genres, one you’re not used to, and write a few about that world. Maybe even make a connection or a bridge between that and the world you do know. Say, mix social media and politics together with an article like Anti-Trump Instagram accounts. It’s relevant, even if it may not be usually what you write about.
I blog about travels and lifestyle but I also blog about games, from the popular ones released by Naughty Dog for example all the way to my favourite online games at Poki that I often play to relax. Since I’m a marathoner, I’m also thinking about occasionally blog about my running habits, sure it may not be movie-related but perhaps one of those articles could include me listing 5 of my favorite cinematic runners, one of whom will of course be the famous Forrest Gump.
When you’ve become a professional blogger, it also means you’ve become an expert, people come to you for tips, advice, networking opportunity. People look up to you. This makes for a very effective self-esteem or ego booster. Other outlets would want their articles to be posted on your blog so they too can get traffic and viewership. It’s fun to be regarded in such high respect because it also opens doors. I for one get invited to cover premieres and junkets, I get to interview movie stars, I get access to events that I previously had never in a million years thought I’d be able to step foot on. Being a professional blogger means people can take you seriously, that you’re not doing it just for the hobby and that should always show in your body of work.
After a while, it can feel like a job. It can be tedious. Which is why I said earlier that you have to mix things up to keep yourself from going insane. Yes, blogging professionally sounds fun but sometimes it come with the pressures of deadlines, clients and advertisers may have their specific demands that you have to meet. Writing several articles one after the other non-stop can exhaust you. When you’ve become professional, it’s wise to invest some of that money into finding a help. Don’t be afraid to hire another writer so you can delegate some of the coverage or articles, it will ease your burden so you don’t feel overwhelmed. You want to continue to love blogging and not hate it, so find a way to consistently remind you of why you choose this line of work. When you list all the pros and contras and you find that it’s weighing much heavier on the contras, then maybe professional blogging is not for you, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s definitely something to consider. Anybody can be a professional blogger, the two remaining questions are: is this what you want and how bad do you want it?