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Blogging royalty? There’s no such thing

CrownDuring the four years I’ve been blogging I’ve often heard the term ‘blogging royalty’ bandied about. It really is the most nonsensical, meaningless phrase.

In Hollywood the term ‘royalty’ is used to describe those stars who are at the top of their game: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, for example, and the criteria is fairly obvious: box office receipts.  But in the blogosphere, defining who is at the top of their game is much more difficult, because the point about blogging is that it’s so subjective.

Depending on your interests, you might think a food blogger is the crème de la crème, for example, or a travel blogger or political blogger. Others might choose parent bloggers or tech bloggers or beauty bloggers or fashion bloggers. Or bloggers who make crazy amounts of money from their blogs (like Dooce).

Then there are celebrity bloggers (I don’t read any of them but I know they’re out there), and columnist bloggers, and gardening bloggers, and photography bloggers, and craft bloggers.

Does a blogger become ‘royalty’ because they’ve got a book deal (the Bloggess, for example)? Or because they’re invited on TV and radio, or appear in glossy magazines? Or because they can make the loudest noise within their circle or their corner of the blogosphere?

Blogging charts cannot be taken as the gospel indicator of blogging success either, unless they contain every single blogger within a specific category and have access to all their metrics (doubtful.)

As I wrote in this post on how to be a successful blogger, blogging success is relative.  What I define as success may be the antithesis of what you define as success and that’s really just how it should be. But ultimately, the idea of a blogging hierarchy, of ‘blogging royalty’, is just nuts. All bloggers are created equal, and aren’t we all just bloggers?

In the words of the Gary Byrd Experience (this may be a new one for some of you), you wear the crown, baby. I wear the crown. We all wear the crown.

30 Comments

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  1. The Vintage Kitten January 24, 2013

    An excellent post. Too many of the so called ‘popular’ bloggers have got far too big for their boots. I could write a thesis on this subject, (luckily for you all I won’t) your post summed it up perfectly.

  2. Candace January 21, 2013

    I have been blogging for nearly 3 years now mainly about crafting and have only recently started reading mom blogs. There is certainly a trend for blogger royalty on the mom blogs which I think is partly down to the sponsored posts. Everyone seems to want sponsored posts, everyone wants something for nothing. I have found it very strange and the blogs I go back to are tending not to have sponsored posts. Don’t know whether I find it strange as I would never consider doing such a thing. I was brought up to earn things not just get them for free. Perhaps its just me but I do find it a strange concept and never came across this practice until I read mom blogs.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Candace,

      I’m not sure I agree with the point you’re making. I think bloggers that run sponsored posts, myself included, earn them just as they do anything else. I have no issues with mums managing to make a bit of extra money from blogs, and that’s not the point of this post. I do know other bloggers in other sectors making money from their blogs also (e.g beauty, travel) so it’s definitely not just a mum blog thing.

  3. Emma T January 21, 2013

    I guess to a certain extent it’s like anything where newbies see the same names mentioned and so can get caught up thinking they’re the unachievable/put them on pedestals. Almost self perpetuating. It was just the same in the dance world (although some of those thought of as ‘gods’ etc were up themselves and wouldn’t talk to new people/dancers who weren’t as good).

    I’ve not found it applies as much in blogging purely because a) it’s subjective and b) I’ve found those who’ve been around a while tend to be welcoming and helpful to newbies.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      I think – I hope – people are helpful to newbies, definitely. I can think of a few bloggers who maybe have tickets on themselves as they say down under, but thankfully they’re few and far between.

  4. JoBo January 21, 2013

    I LOVE that Gary Byrd Experience quote Liz.

    That says it all. If you blog, you’re a blogger. One of millions. You can make your blog whatever you want it to be. And success is all relative. The main thing is that you’re having fun and not hurting anyone. IMHO :D

    Oh anyone who thinks they’re better than anyone else, well that’s just proof that they’re not really.

    (Nods wisely to self and chomps on a wotsit.)

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Love it. And wotsits.

  5. Vicky January 21, 2013

    For me, blogging is a way to document my life (and all it’s banalities), so for even a few people to be interested enough to read and (gasp!) leave a comment is enough to make me feel like my own brand of royalty. I also find it a good way to keep writing when the freelance work is a little harder to come by – and it acts as an extra portfolio of work. I use it as a sounding board, and enjoy the interaction with like minded people – but why on earth bloggers would think they’re ‘entitled’ to free stuff baffles me. My favourite blogs are written by people who I have things in common with, and usually don’t have ‘sponsored’ posts or thousands of followers. At the end of the day, blogging is just a hobby – it always shocks me that some people have such a disrespect for PRs, and such a huge sense of entitlement.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Hmm… I’m not sure where this particular argument came from Vicky, as I wasn’t really talking about bloggers who think they’re entitled to free stuff.

      Blogging is a hobby to some, but not everyone. To professional bloggers and those who do make a living from blogging, it’s a valuable source of income, and I would never denigrate that, because how people choose to earn a living is absolutely nothing to do with me.

  6. Tara January 21, 2013

    I am royalty in this house. “Queen of effing everything” as I tell anyone who’ll listen. Is that the same thing?

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Yes. Yes of course it is.

  7. Julie January 21, 2013

    Totally agree, and had to laugh at the idea of “royalty”.
    I can’t help thinking though that various rankings, league tables and awards may help perpetuate the myth as they provide a way of quantifying blogging “success” in a visible way.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      I think you’re right – it’s important to take all these things with a pinch of salt.

  8. Expat Mum January 21, 2013

    I don’t think any blogger actually crowns him/herself “royalty”, it’s usually the followers. For example, the one year I went to the Blogher conference, there were bloggers who wouldn’t even go up to other “royal” bloggers and say hello, even though these bloggers were sitting on their own. I read comments later of these people saying “I was too afraid to come and say Hi”, and the “royal” blogger was aghast and embarrassed.
    Yes, some of them might get a bit of an attitude, but that’s about the same as in everyday life. People get big-headed for no real reason.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      I think that’s really interesting – and it’s true, it is the same as in real life, it’s just that it’s magnified I guess because of social media.

  9. Corinne January 21, 2013

    Excellent post, I couldn’t agree more!

  10. English Mum January 21, 2013

    Anyone that has the neck to say they’re ‘blogging royalty’ needs to get over themselves. Let’s face it, it’s only a bloody hobby after all!

    And totally agree with Verity. I’ve seen bloggers treat PRs like crap, making all sorts of ridiculous demands. Seriously, get over yourself!!

    • Kellie Whitehead January 21, 2013

      And the thing is – although again, subjective, many of the ‘top bloggers’ in a certain niche – as in, the ones all the PR’s target – aren’t actually particularly engaging writers so it’ call bait lazy PR & self perpetuating for me.. Vive La Difference but a big YAY to actual, talented, passionate writers & photographers :)

      • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

        Well again, it’s all subjective. The writers you or I may define as talented may not be the ones someone else defines as talented.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Yes totally agree that anyone who thinks they’re blogging royalty needs to get over themselves.

  11. Verity Cash January 21, 2013

    As a PR, I’ve come across lots of genuine bloggers who blog for the love of it and because of this passion for their chosen subject. However, I’ve also come across some who think they are celebrity bloggers and demand to be treated as such! I think PR’s can be part of the problem, encouraging the behaviour and pandering to it because not all of us truly understand blogging as a medium.
    As a crafty blogger I’d love to be contacted by a PR to review product or give an opinion but would only ever be grateful for the opportunity!

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      I think there definitely has to be mutual respect on both sides.

  12. Jeannette @AutismMumma January 21, 2013

    Love that term! Everyone blogs for their own specific purpose, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
    You can have all the fantastic stats, the thousands of followers but if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, don’t just don’t.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Yes – and only you can define what the right reasons are for you :)

  13. Jo January 21, 2013

    Ha, talk about getting an earworm in my head now :-) (and what a great song too!)

    Blogging royalty though, not heard that one… I’ve done this for long enough not to take things too seriously or get worked up, I do it for me, and if anyone else happens to like it, it’s a bonus!

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Such a good tune.

      Total bonus :)

  14. Mrs Teepot January 21, 2013

    The quote is certainly new to me but it’s a good’un.
    I have to say I’m guilty of using the term to describe other bloggers, mostly to non-bloggers about people who’s blogs I look up to and respect. But you’re so right in that it’s totally subjective.

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      Exactly x

  15. Crystal Jigsaw January 21, 2013

    If anyone assumes they are blogging royalty (if such a phrase exists) they need to have a word with themselves. How utterly pompous and arrogant! Though I do feel a lot of bloggers actually think they are just this. I’ve stopped following and interacting with bloggers over the years who have thought themselves too important to comment and read blogs they feel are beneath them. You can usually pick them out because they only interact with the same people who also think they are the hierarchy.

    You’re right, there is no such thing as blogging royalty. We are all bloggers. None are more important than others. End of.

    CJ x

    • Liz Jarvis January 22, 2013

      That’s a really good point – I think with blogging royalty there does come a certain amount of ‘them and us’. I’ve no truck with it x

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