Coffee Talk: The Stigma Around Blogging

I've been blogging since 2011 (thank you to everyone who has been following me for six years!) and over the last six years, the blogging landscape has drastically changed. I remember getting an invite to rewardStyle back in 2011 and thinking how cool it was there was this small group of women banding together to share what inspires them. Thousands (if not millions) of bloggers later, it feels like everyone is a blogger.

Things haven't just changed in terms of quantity of bloggers—there's also been a shift in how people perceive bloggers. I'm met with more eye rolls and scoffs when I tell people I'm a blogger in 2017 than I did back in 2011, and I've been wanting to write a post about this for a while. Here are a few things I wish people knew about bloggers and the industry:

1. There are SO many different kinds of bloggers.

I consider myself a "lifestyle blogger". Some bloggers focus solely on fashion and sharing their daily looks. Some bloggers go to fashion week and parade around the tents in trendy outfits. Some bloggers focus on food, or interior design, or travel. Lifestyle bloggers tend to cover all of those categories (and more!).

But what I think ties us all together is that we're all just in search of inspiration, and we're hoping to share what inspires us with others. I started Dear Serendipity as a 20-something looking for inspiration anywhere I could find it, and I didn't see a lot of relatable blogs out there. Gucci bags are gorgeous, but I needed to see the girls wearing jeans and a t-shirt to college classes or cute blazers to their first interviews (in price points I could actually afford). Before you eye roll, recognize there are a ton of different bloggers out there and we're all okay doing our own thing—we just want to share beautiful things with others.

2. We should get paid for our work—just like everyone else.

There's a long-standing debate in the blogging industry about "working for product". A ton of brands think that they should be able to solely offer product in exchange for blog and social media coverage from influencers. In the past six years, I have definitely worked with brands I loved just for product, because I genuinely advocate for the brand and wear it in my free time. However, as a rule, bloggers should definitely get paid for their work. Here's why:

The number of hours that goes into each and every blog post is insane. I have a full-time job (as do many other influencers), so first I have to find a chunk of time where it's nice out and I can shoot outside (hi, San Francisco wind, I hate you). I have to find a location to shoot photos at, and make sure I have someone to shoot those photos. Then, I spend about half an hour getting the perfect shot. I come home, spend hours editing photos, writing copy, assembling the blog post, assembling all of the images and copy to promote on social media, and getting everything back to the brand so they can promote. All in all, you're looking at half a day of work (which I oftentimes do on my weekends or late at night). How can you justify not paying people for half a day of work?

3. Don't assume we're all vain or love being in the spotlight.

This is a misconception about bloggers that bothers me the most, and frankly why I've been embarrassed to tell people "I'm a blogger" in recent years. The second those words cross your lips, people assume you're Kim Kardashian in Selfish and sit around taking selfies and obsessing over your lipstick all day.

I'm an introvert, so attending blogger events is basically the scariest thing ever for me. I also hate having my picture taken, so when I have to walk the streets of San Francisco with people staring at me while I shoot photos for a brand campaign, I still get self-conscious and assume everyone is making fun of me, six years later. I don't sit around taking selfies all day—I have a full-time job—and even if I did, what's wrong with that? Blogging is more than photos of pretty dresses and makeup tutorials. It combines business, marketing, art direction, photography, writing, and finance into one weird job, and it's a lot harder than it looks.

4. There are a lot of bloggers—and that's okay.

I think it's funny when people say there are too many bloggers and it's too hard to get noticed in 2017. Do you think there are too many clothing brands in the world? No—there's something for everyone, and I even wish there were MORE clothing options sometimes. Same goes for bloggers—every single one is different, and consumers are on the hunt for the one (or 10, or 20) to follow that they can relate to. I believe if you're doing what you love and have an authentic voice, you should always do what you love to do—and if that's blogging, welcome to the party! Join us.

All in all, I've learned to love that I'm an influencer, even if people don't understand it or don't always take it seriously. There's this shift happening where women are learning to support one another instead of competing, and I think it's a beautiful thing. I'm so proud to be a part of a group of female influencers who are all so passionate about what they're doing and get excited about supporting and inspiring others. Here's to 2017, the year of the influencer!