Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?
At this point, I am honest enough to say, no. With all the starts and stops I have had since I first set this up, I would be kidding myself to even consider calling myself a blogger period.
Even with the term “professional”, with my definition, a resounding No.
A) I do not blog full time, and up until this challenge, I was not even writing regularly.
Would I like to one day? Yes. There is a part of me and my background (see previous post about that always wanted to write. However, in my last post, it has been been difficult to find my own voice and I know I have to polish up those rusty writing skills.
B) I do not make any money from this, nor am I sponsored in any way.
I am aware of the passive income that one can generate from having a popular blog from the placement of advertisements, commission based links, or the supply of products to review and “create content” or, in my view, the “ultimate” – the sponsored experience and be paid for writing.
I have been lucky to have attended a few bloggers conferences. I found out about my first bloggers conference in 2011, TBEX, via a Travel Talk on Twitter chat – #TTOT and it happened to be held in my home town of Vancouver so it was easy to attend. It was a good opportunity to learn about what this whole blogging thing was about, and based around the wonderful topic of travel from its sessions and speakers. While I encountered some people I knew from around the city, I also had the opportunity to meet some tweeps (including a well known Squirrel) as well as new people from around the world who had come to Vancouver to attend the conference. For me, that was the best part – meeting new friends who I still keep in touch with to this day. It was a good sized conference for a beginner, with sessions that covered writing, photography, videos, pitching, and networking to name a few topics for the blogger, and on the flip side, sessions for tourism operators and PR people about how to work with bloggers and how to find the best voice for their brand.
However, I think the most important message for both audiences was and is,
You are not entitled to anything.
Just because you are a “Blogger”, doesn’t mean you are owed anything: a free trip, a free meal, or event a free drink. You have to earn it by writing well, telling a story, connecting with readers. Same goes for the tourism operator: a blogger doesn’t owe your brand a good review, you will be earn it by the providing a great experience, service and also treating bloggers with respect.