“I want to be a professional blogger.”
We've all said it, but what does it mean? I imagine that for each of us the definition of professional blogger varies. For some of us, being a professional blogger may mean working as a blogger full-time and being paid for it.
I consider myself a hobby blogger; I also consider myself a professional blogger.
I blog because I enjoy it. It isn't my primary source of income (hi, full-time job!), nor is it the only place I spend all of my spare time (what's up, television?). It's a hobby that has come with many perks, friendships, and some income over the years. Before I grew a following or earned any money, I still considered myself a professional blogger.
Professional blogging is a state of mind more than anything else.
I consider myself a professional blogger because I treat it with hard work, dedication, and a vision. Because I earn a little money from it and because I have been able to build marketable skills as a result of it, I consider it a professional endeavor. Professional blogging is a state of mind more than anything else.
Over the years, a lot of bloggers on IFB have said they aren't professional bloggers… but are you sure about that? Here are 6 signs that argue you might be a professional blogger.
You Might Be a Professional Blogger If…
- You treat your work with respect and care. To some degree, I think this also means don't sell yourself out as a blogger. Far too many of us don't treat our blogs and our work with the respect that it deserves. We put a lot of time and effort (and often money!) into building our blogs. For your audience to respect your blog, they need to see that you respect your blog, too.
- You see every comment you leave, every tweet you send, as your digital footprint. I've seen a lot of nasty comments over the years. Each time I see one I think, “Wow. I have no interest whatsoever in supporting THAT person's site!” Create and speak with good consciousness. Respond with tact and thought. Remember that every message you send out is a representative of your work, and ask yourself, “Is this the message I want to be sharing?”
- You've received press releases, product samples, or have been invited to brand hosted events. How does a free bracelet or free cupcakes after work make you a professional blogger? It means that someone believes you have reach and influence, and that business is trying to tap into it. It means you're accountable for the information you share with your audience. It means you should respond thoughtfully and with more at stake than “this cupcake is stale.”
- You've received some form of compensation for blogging. Whether it's $10 to host a text link, a pair of shoes in exchange for a banner ad, or a payout from rewardStyle or ShopSense, if you're making money off of your blog, you're a professional blogger. You're also responsible for the gifts and income you earn on your blog when tax time comes.
- You've said “no” to review items, money, or opportunities because you recognize it's not the right fit. Much easier said than done! Saying “no” means a responsibility to the audience and staying true to the vision of your site. As your site grows, you'll receive more and more pitches, and more often than not– they'll be offers that just won't match with your site. Just say no.
- You spend as much time interacting with your community as you do writing content. Content is king, but community makes or breaks a blogger. What make Get Off My Internets so popular? It provides bloggers and readers a venue to share their frustrations about the blogging community. What makes IFB such a large resource for fashion bloggers? Not only are we sharing our posts with you, but we put you in touch with other bloggers, whether via conferences, the old forums, or through your account. Your community is what keeps your site thriving, and as a professional blogger, you recognize the value their voices add to your site.
- You hold yourself accountable. To others. It's easy to fall into a mindset of, “Well, it's MY blog.” We're paying the hosting fees and creating the content and, for most of us, doing it with little return. But we're accountable for the messages we put out. We're accountable to our readers– they helped build our site! If you're working with advertisers, you're being held accountable: deliver what you say you will and when you say you will. This one is HUGE and often separates a good business owner from a bad one, and it works the same for bloggers.
What do you think? What makes someone a professional blogger? Do you consider yourself a professional blogger– and why?