There’s a perception that blogging is a dying industry. Many people who made their name in blogging have ditched their little sites for the bright lights of YouTube and do not really update their blogs anymore. However, I think blogging is far from over. In fact, I think it has got even more heights to reach. I may be biased, being a blogger myself, but the opportunities I have bagged from blogging have shown me that this industry is far from dead. In fact, it is one of the most active communities on the internet.
Writing has always been something that I’ve enjoyed, ever since I was little. I was sending books off to publishers at age 11 – it was a story about my cat, hamster and rabbit going on an adventure, really riveting stuff – and I started my first blog aged 13. I used to post daily about everything I had done that day – in inane detail – and obviously had a readership of zero.
In 2014, after watching how Zoella had risen to success via blogging, I decided to give it another go. I set up the blog I currently use now (although back then it was called Chloe Of Course, not Chloe Alice Lily) and now it’s earning me a nice, steady income, which is always useful when your tuition is £9,000 a year and rent in London is higher than ever.
I mainly blog about beauty, which is quite a passion of mine. However, my blog also touches on lifestyle and interiors. I decided a beauty blog was the way to go because it was something I could write about enthusiastically and at length. There is no point picking a topic to write about that isn’t something you’re incredibly passionate about; you’ll get bored and so will your readership. As the saying goes: “write what you know”.
Blogging isn’t a doss, which I think many people think it might be. It’s also not as glamorous as you might think. My life is more scheduling tweets and sending off invoices rather than Gucci bags and ‘avo on toast’. People often catch me standing on a chair, over my bed, taking pictures of strategically positioned lipsticks. I spend a lot of my time in Homesense picking out things that would ‘look good in photos’, and replying to a huge amount of emails.
I’ve had the chance to work with many amazing brands in my short blogging career, including Debenhams, Feel Unique, Charlotte Tilbury and T-Zone. Working with brands is extremely fun and has provided me with some of the best content I’ve produced. However, sometimes brand collaborations can be a nightmare.
A lot of brands are just realising what bloggers can do for them, but their PR departments aren’t adjusted to dealing with freelance bloggers.
For example, I had a particularly nightmarish experience with a PR lady who hadn’t replied to an email I had sent three weeks’ previous. So, as I often do, I sent a polite email chasing her up and asking if this collaboration was something she was still interested in perusing. I got a response almost immediately, letting me know that I was rude and entitled for expecting a reply and that she had worked with “bloggers much bigger and more successful” than me that never chased her up before.
The majority of PRs aren’t like that though; a lot are actually bloggers themselves so know how to deal with us. Usually, these are the ones that will offer payment without a fight and will not give you a list of unreasonable and illegal demands – like not disclosing that you’ve been paid to write said post, for example.
At the beginning, I was accepting any opportunities that brands threw at me. I was just so pleased to be recognised that I was actually losing money from accepting some deals, like the ones who offer you 20%, 30% and 40% off their products in exchange for a review. I soon realised that I needed to be avoiding opportunities like this and work for more than just “exposure”. There is a bit of a stigma around bloggers being paid for what they do and therefore most companies do not budget for paying bloggers. But many do, and this is how I make the majority of my money.
I started to get my name out there a bit, emailing various PR companies and asking to be added to their blogger directories, attending events, handing out business cards, and engaging with brands and bloggers on Twitter. I bagged my first sponsorship deal in May of this year with a snacking brand called ‘Light Bites’. They paid me a modest sum of £30 to review their snacks on my blog and getting that first bit of money was the first time I felt like, ‘okay, maybe I’m onto something here’.
Flash forward, and I now charge quadruple that for sponsored content on my blog and Instagram. I have gotten to work with some fantastic brands, as well as make some of the best friends I have ever had, through blogging. For me, it’s not just a hobby anymore. It’s a small business, a part-time job and full-time passion.
I am not lying when I say anyone can blog. As long as you find a topic you enjoy writing about, are prepared to put in the time that blogging takes and are not ashamed to do a little self-promo, blogging could be a hobby for you. It takes a lot of time, but is incredibly rewarding; you get amazing opportunities, read genuine and lovely comments and spend time with like-minded people you met through your little blog.
If you’re interested in seeing what blogging is all about, you can find my little corner of the internet over at www.chloealicelily.co.uk.