How to Talk to a Blogger

Blogger (n): A new(ish) and strange breed of human being who writes things on the internet for all the world to read. Var: coupon blogger, giveaway blogger, craft blogger, recipe blogger, mommy blogger, business blogger, social media blogger.
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Many people ask many questions when I tell them I’m a blogger. Some questions are welcome:
“What do you write about?”
“How long have you been blogging?”
“Where do you get your ideas?”
What other blogs do you like to read?”
“How did you get started?”

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Some, not so much:

“Is that a real job?”
“Social media is a waste of time.”
“Are you a real writer?”
“Isn’t blogging just a fad?”
“I have no time for the internet.” 
 

and my favorite:

“How much money do you make?”

Come on, do I ask YOU how much money YOU make?
Just because my writing is on the internet, it doesn’t make it any less valuable, readable, or interesting (or not – that’s a matter of opinion). I’m a die-hard book reader – no Kindle for me – however there are plenty of fascinating things to read on the internet. But you already know that. You’re reading my blog right now, aren’t you?
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So here’s the truth. Making money as a blogger is difficult, and requires a lot of networking and connecting – which is where the social media thing comes in. If you want to succeed as a blogger – whether for money, fame, or sheer entertainment- then you have to be involved in social media. Bloggers not only need to be writers, they need to be able to sell themselves, manage the technical aspect of their blogs, and create connections through the aforementioned social media (Twitter, Google+, Linked In, Facebook, Pinterest, etc, etc). Blogging is like sitting in the middle of a crowded restaurant talking to yourself – no one can hear you, and they might think you’re nuts. The world wide web is a crowded place, and bloggers have to do whatever they can to make themselves stand out. So the next time you wonder why your blogger friends spends so much time on the internet, it’s because that is, indeed where they work.

50 Responses to How to Talk to a Blogger
  1. Kim Phillips
    November 12, 2012 | 3:01 pm

    I’d like to dispel the idea that blogging is only about “personal” stuff. There are many, many business blogs. In fact, we really should think of blogging as publishing…same as it used to be with a typewriter and printing press. At the very least, “blog” should be a noun, not a verb. Bloggers are writers… they just publish their writing online. As long and the public perceives blogs to be just personal meanderings, writers of blogs won’t be taken seriously.

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 6:35 pm

      Good point, Kim. There are as many permutations of bloggers as there are sections in a bookstore – and then some. Many of the most successful bloggers out there are blogging about business and/or social media.

  2. Grown and Flown
    November 12, 2012 | 3:09 pm

    I am pretty sure this is going to be my personal manifesto. I get the money question all the time…and I never really thought why it is so uncomfortable. Thank you for seeing right through to the salient point, as always. Not sure why people view blogging as different than, say, writing in a magazine or newspaper. I hope it is just because we are ahead of the curve.
    Grown and Flown recently posted..10 Expert Tips on Going Back to WorkMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 6:34 pm

      I’m sure that’s why, and I’ll keep believing it until I’m proved wrong.

  3. Pauline Gaines
    November 12, 2012 | 3:12 pm

    I love blogs. Maybe it’s because I have a short attention span. But I don’t see the difference between reading blogs and reading essays/magazine articles. And you’re reminded me I need to figure out Google +!!
    Pauline Gaines recently posted..Goin’ to Asheville, North Carolina, and Where to Shop if You GoMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 6:33 pm

      I agree, blogs are very much like periodicals. Quick, fun to read, and sometimes very thought-provoking.

  4. sue
    November 12, 2012 | 3:19 pm

    I get: “I have no time for the internet.” -a lot
    I get: “How is the blogging going?” -from friends a lot
    I get: “When are you going to start making money.” -sometimes
    And, I get a lot of sheer joy out of blogging. It is what makes me want to get up in the morning. Email is like the doorbell ringing. Comments are like house guests, and replies from social media are like compliments.
    sue recently posted..“The Money Pit” Movie House Tom Hanks and Shelly LongMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 6:33 pm

      I love that, Sue! It should be the tagline for your blog!

  5. Molly Campbell
    November 12, 2012 | 3:20 pm

    haha! So true! And one of the questions that I can’t quite get over, as an Indie author, is “So how many books have you sold?”
    Molly Campbell recently posted..INKMy Profile

  6. Haralee
    November 12, 2012 | 3:52 pm

    People say things that you just have to shake your head!
    I like when people assume you are a hobbiest!
    Haralee recently posted..WelcomeMy Profile

  7. Chloe
    November 12, 2012 | 4:44 pm

    People always ask me what I write about and I’m never sure exactly how to answer that. “Yes, I write about my life and, yes, people do read it because I’m just that fascinating?”

    Blogging well is actually very hard work which is why most blogs fail. Sure anyone with an email account can start a blog, but few can maintain the consistency that successful blogging requires.
    Chloe recently posted..Do Our 20-Year Old Selves Have Anything to Teach Us?My Profile

  8. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator
    November 12, 2012 | 5:13 pm

    Hey, WE prefer “food blogger” to “recipe blogger”, thank you very much. :)

    Yes, I get the money question all the time. Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen referred to herself as a publisher and that brought everything into focus for me. While I mainly do food, I’m a healthy lifestyle blogger and I get as much joy out of writing my Wednesday essays as I do developing recipes. Thanks for this. People don’t realize that we’re essentially publishing our own little magazines online, week after week.

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 6:32 pm

      Duly noted, Stephanie! Food blogger it is from now on. See, we’re always learning!

  9. Janie Emaus
    November 12, 2012 | 5:16 pm

    I loved this blog!! In fact, to me blogging is like writing for a magazine. And yes, everyone can put up a blog, but not everyone can make it interesting. As for the money, how many authors make a living at writing? Most certainly don’t write for the money. I know I don’t.

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 6:32 pm

      If I wrote for the money I’d be very hungry, cold, and shoeless.

  10. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs
    November 12, 2012 | 5:19 pm

    Excellent points, especially about the income. And then there are those folks who don’t talk to you about your blogging because they think that it’s just a dirty little secret or some silly hobby, not your job, and that eventually you’ll get over it and get a real job. Not that my extended family does that or anything.
    Thankfully most of my friends, online or off, are writers and/or bloggers and realize that writing and blogging are one and the same. And a job—a hard one that many give up on.

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 12, 2012 | 5:53 pm

      It is a job, isn’t it! Such hard work, but it can be so rewarding…

  11. Caryn/The Mid Life Guru
    November 12, 2012 | 9:13 pm

    I so love it when I tell people that I am a blogger. First, I get the blank stare and then I hear, “I don’t get it.” By the time I make the valiant effort in explaining what blogging requires and how social media is making a difference, they still don’t get it and I am exhausted. I am going to make copies of this post and just hand it out from now on.
    Caryn/The Mid Life Guru recently posted..And the Winner is….My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 13, 2012 | 7:47 am

      After a year I think most of my friends and family finally understand what it is I do. They just don’t all get why I do it.

    • brandy oliver
      December 3, 2012 | 8:38 pm

      I like to just say I work in social advertisng and creative writing:) oh and book reviews! They start to say, “ooooohhhh” lol

  12. Kim Phillips
    November 13, 2012 | 3:23 am

    On my personal blog, I write just to get things out, and the occasional rant. I started a food blog because people kept asking for recipes for stuff I cook. I write my two business blogs mostly for SEO purposes and to provide content to clients ~ and potential clients ~ that will be useful to them. I recommend to clients that they write a blog to get their stories out, e.g. to support fundraising efforts for a non-profit. A friend with end-stage cancer has been writing a blog that, so far, has become two books: http://flyingelephantbook.wordpress.com/ and a large portion of the proceeds goes to charity (read her blog, y’all, it’s amazing). There are lots of reasons to write a blog.
    Kim Phillips recently posted..Facebook Pay-to-Play, Part 3My Profile

  13. Sarah Arrow
    November 13, 2012 | 7:07 am

    Oh yeah, I love the “how much money do you make” it’s usually followed by, but it’s not a real job is it… As for my parents, don’t get me started on how they describe me to their friends :)
    Sarah Arrow recently posted..Is there still a place for advertising on your blog?My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 13, 2012 | 7:48 am

      Yep, parents can be a tough one. My mother totally gets it, which is nice!

  14. Karen
    November 13, 2012 | 8:22 am

    I just recently started blogging and am fascinated with and inspired by the community of bloggers. Making money? Well, that would be nice, but right now I am just hoping that what I have to say brings some comfort to or connection with others who may relate to my experiences.
    Karen recently posted..Wishing WellMy Profile

  15. Roshni
    November 13, 2012 | 8:55 am

    Thanks for this post. I started just a few months ago and have kept my friends and relatives in the dark for that very reason; I don’t want to answer all these ridiculous questions right now!!
    Roshni recently posted..Hero worshipMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 13, 2012 | 9:55 am

      Thanks for reading, Roshni – I think your family would enjoy reading about your two boys!

  16. Desiree Eaglin
    November 13, 2012 | 12:09 pm

    The only person I know that thinks Social Media is nuts is my husband. But he doesn’t complain when my freelance checks come in. We’re now in the technology age where anything can happen. I can’t wait to see where we all are in 5 years!
    Desiree Eaglin recently posted..The 17th Annual Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train is Almost Here and Giveaway!My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 13, 2012 | 1:14 pm

      I agree, in five years many people will be smacking their foreheads…”why didn’t I think of that?”

  17. Alexandra
    November 13, 2012 | 3:00 pm

    What a great breakdown for the unenlightened! Thanks!

    I should also add that developing my blog has given me lots of great opportunities to experience wonderful things with my family that I otherwise would not have, and I LOVE being able to help charitable organizations promote their causes.

  18. Seth K
    November 13, 2012 | 5:16 pm

    ” New(ish)? You don’t look New(ish)!
    Seriously, how much do you make? You make people educated, entertained, and happy to know you…isn’t that enough?

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 13, 2012 | 5:46 pm

      That’s enough for me, yes! Love the “Spaceballs” reference. Thanks for commenting, my friend.

  19. tania luviano
    November 13, 2012 | 7:45 pm

    As bloggers we have a huge responsability, our fans believe what we say, so we should be careful what we write or vlog about

  20. Shelby Barone
    November 13, 2012 | 10:43 pm

    What a really great and informative post.
    Shelby Barone recently posted..Being Brave with FashionMy Profile

  21. Robert
    November 14, 2012 | 2:50 am

    Unfortunately everyone in some way or another is interested in how much any one makes. They want to know about how well your doing in business,investments,what your going to inherit etc. Another words,people are generally nosy whether it’s their business or not. So people who ask you if your making any money in your blogging are probably just wishing you the best both for your love of it and for hopefully financial well being.
    Peace and love to you Sharon and much continued success in your
    Blogging adventures.

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 14, 2012 | 6:10 am

      In your case, Robert I know you wish me well! Not everyone is as kind as you are. xoxo

  22. Jamie@SouthMainMuse
    November 14, 2012 | 11:55 pm

    I do enjoy blogging but find that the time I can give to the networking part suffers when I have freelancing work. Right now most of my work is for traditional print media. I need to make the transition to more online publications. Another thing about blogging — I can make more percentage wise with a sponsor blog post than the hours of work and writing that comes with an article. But like you said those sponsored posts, etc. don’t come up every day.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse recently posted..Blurb Photo Books Preserve My Instalife.My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 16, 2012 | 4:20 pm

      I agree, sponsored posts are a great and efficient way to make money. I’m always happy when I can find a good fit for my audience!

  23. BigLittleWolf
    November 15, 2012 | 9:37 am

    So many of us can relate to this for so many reasons! (That shaking of the head…)

    Sometimes I simply say “I write on the Internet” and leave them to think whatever they wish. The writing part is generally the most brief. It’s the “everything else” behind the scenes that is incredibly time consuming and takes a level of professionalism or at least persistence that people are unaware of!
    BigLittleWolf recently posted..DreamyMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 16, 2012 | 4:19 pm

      I like that answer. I say I’m a writer, but I like to make a point of saying I have a blog, because I’m proud of what I do and I want to encourage people to take blogging as seriously as I do.

  24. Barbara
    November 16, 2012 | 8:03 am

    I just had a woman ask me the other day, “so what do you blog about? Just yourself?” With a look of disdain and pity on her face. Those questions/remarks are from people who aren’t on the internet. Great post. Good points. And i wink in recognition of being cold, hungry and shoeless if we were depending on the money.
    Barbara recently posted..the unlikely pilgrimage of harold fryMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 16, 2012 | 4:18 pm

      “Just yourself.” That’s nice. Anyway I think you’re quite fascinating!

  25. Raquel
    November 18, 2012 | 6:30 pm

    Great post! So many non-bloggers just don’t understand everything that goes into a blog. I am loving that I am learning so much about blogging, SEO and social media, while making some connections with wonderful people, and personally, I could not put a price on that. I am so grateful to be learning all this at this stage of my life.
    Raquel recently posted..Is Black Friday Worth It?My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      November 18, 2012 | 6:54 pm

      I agree, it’s very exciting to be learning, and having fun while we do it!

  26. Vikki Claflin
    November 19, 2012 | 8:59 am

    Loved this post! Shortly after I started my blog, a facebook friend posted that she read it, and now thought she’d “give up writing and just start a blog and call it a book.” Ouch! :)
    Vikki Claflin recently posted..But Honey, I Did It For YouMy Profile

  27. brandy oliver
    December 3, 2012 | 8:34 pm

    Lol! I love this post:) I find myself ansswering questions like this almost everyday, especially when I’m at my pt job on the weekends! Even my husband still says, after 2 years, “what do you do online? Why is the UPS guy here everyday? Who sent this now?” Lol!
    Thanks for sharing this! I look forward to reading more from you!

    • Sharon Greenthal
      December 3, 2012 | 8:41 pm

      Yes, the “ups” (as in ups and downs) man is a familiar figure around here, too! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  28. Michelle
    December 7, 2013 | 7:31 pm

    I get a lot of the same time of questions. Most of my real life friends don’t get why I do this. A few of them read my blog, but most of them don’t. I think my family expects things to happen yesterday. Meanwhile I keep plugging away, because I love what I do, and I believe ultimately that hard work pays off one way or another.
    Michelle recently posted..Gifts Any Photographer Will LoveMy Profile

  29. Carol Graham
    December 7, 2013 | 10:08 pm

    Sure appreciated the post and all the comments. I am new to this but we all had to start somewhere, right? I love to write and am learning the ropes of blogging. Released my memoir a few months and was told I need to blog — so here I am and learning more everyday.

  30. Kathy Radigan
    January 22, 2014 | 6:51 am

    I’m amazed at how often I’m asked about money and blogging. Also a real favorite of mine is when people tell me they have “no time for that stuff.” Thanks! Lol! I love your analogy of sitting in crowded coffee shop and trying to talk. I have learned so much about media, networking, and marketing, not to mention honing my writing. Thanks for summing up the blogger so perfectly!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted..Facing RealityMy Profile

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