When I saw the title of this article, I got excited. The Power of the Mid-Tier Blogger. Finally people were talking about mid-sized blogs like mine and not just the A-listers.
Then I read the article.
That’s when I realized how far I was from being considered even a mid-tier blogger.
I’ve been blogging for a long time. I don’t celebrate my blogiversary because I started blogs long before I actually started posting consistently. When pressed, I say I started blogging in 2009 because that is when I started posting several times a week as well as participating in blog networks.
The blogosphere has changed a lot since then. I’ve changed a lot since then. But, we have not grown together.
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me when someone who started blogging two or three years ago now has 100,000 pageviews a month. It hurts. I feel like a failure. I wonder what I’m doing wrong.
But, when a sit down and examine how I blog and what motivates me, I know what I’m doing “wrong”. And, it is the idea that it is wrong that I rail against.
So, here is my confession, my thoughts on why I’m a small-time blogger and why that isn’t going to change…
Confessions of a Small-Time Blogger
1. I don’t live and breathe blogging.
After I graduated from college, I was a Mary Kay representative for a very short time. The way those pink ladies lived and breathed Mary Kay was disturbing. If you wanted to be successful, you couldn’t afford to talk about anything other than Mary Kay.
I wanted to be successful, so I bought way too much product when I joined and convinced unsuspecting relatives to become reps underneath me. I earned my pearls and my red jacket, but I felt like a fraud. It wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I hated making cold calls. I felt awkward doing parties. I didn’t want to be twice divorced and driving a pink Cadillac, so I quit.
Much like Mary Kay, blogging requires total focus to make it profitable. But, this type of manic focus leads to burnout. Blogger burnout is all too real, my friends.
2. I’m not on all the social media channels.
No one is going to read your blog unless you promote it, and social media can be an awesome way to let people know what you are blogging about. The thing is, I started blogging before you were expected to tweet/pin/post/snap/whatever everything you wrote.
I feel like an old lady for saying this, but I started blogging because I liked to blog not because I wanted to build a social media empire. Remember when Facebook was for connecting with friends and you took Instagram pictures with your phone instead of uploading them from your DSLR? I liked that. Now, I spend way too much time trying to get a good picture of my latest read while tweeting/pinning/stumbling my latest blog posts like a mad woman.
3. I don’t run my blog like a business.
They say it takes $30,000 to start your own business. You may have noticed that this is not a $30,000 blog. There’s a decidedly homemade vibe to my blog, which would be cool if this was 2007, when dark, fuzzy pictures and slightly out of focus videos were in. But, in 2016, you have to be slick. Professional outfit photos of you wearing your designer duds. Professional videos of your morning routine and latest makeup tutorial. Professional blog designs maintained by professional techies who keep your blogging world running smoothly.
Gone are the days of the one woman blog maintained from her tiny cubbyhole apartment. It takes a staff to get things done today.
4. I am not a niche.
Shoes. Lipstick. Books. How can you choose just one thing? I get the idea behind finding your niche. It’s much easier to market yourself as a handbag snob than it is to sell yourself as a fashion and lifestyle blogger. Focusing on a specific topic lets readers know what to expect and helps brands find bloggers that are a good fit for a collaboration. The thing is… I like many things, and I want to blog about them all.
Don’t get me wrong. I want my blog to grow, and I admire those who have been able to turn their blogging hobby into a profitable business. But, I think the definitions of the “right” way and the “wrong” way need to be questioned.
On Stumbleupon, I have a list of fantastic blog posts that tell me my Big Beautiful Blog Dream is possible, and yet, I rarely put those suggestions into practice. Why?
If everyone blogged the “right way”, would every blog be formatted similarly with cookie-cutter Pinterest images and Twitter safe topics? If so, where’s the diversity? What about creativity?
I blog because I need a creative outlet. I blog to belong to part of a bigger community. I do not blog, so I can be just like everybody else.
So, let’s celebrate small blogs, DIY-ers, and hobbyists. Let’s redefine success and stop fretting about dollars and pageviews.
What’s your blogging story?
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