Cynical blogging: Please make it stop

April 13, 2013

When I started blogging four years ago I had no idea just quite how many opportunities it would lead to. It sounds ridiculous now but I didn’t even realise blogging networks existed for the first six months, and I wasn’t invited on my first proper bloggers’ trip until a year after I’d written my first post. Basically, it took that year for me to establish myself as a blogger, and to find my blogging voice. During that time I made friends with other bloggers, I read and commented on as many other blogs as I possibly could. And I really, really enjoyed discovering this new world.

Every time a blogger follows me on Twitter I check out their blogs, to see what they’re up to and what they’re about. But recently I’ve noticed a worrying trend. And that’s the increase in what I call cynical blogging.

These are the blogs which have an ‘advertising and PR’ section on their navigation bar… but they’ve only been going for a week. Or ‘vote for me’ badges for blogging awards on their blogs… but they launched this year (and we’re only in April).

I get that everyone has seen the big blogging pie and they want a piece of it. They see other bloggers being given fantastic opportunities and they want a slice of the action. Or they’re hoping to make a living out of blogging. Of course, I get that.

Veruca SaltBut building a successful blog takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. And if I think about the most successful blogs out there at the moment – even the ones I don’t read – they all have something in common: great content.

I have done a lot of blogger outreach now for major companies, and I’ve never recommended working with a blog that’s only been going a short while. For a start you need the stats – but also, there needs to be some decent content to show the client. Brilliant blogs can and do succeed very quickly – but realistically, you’re looking at at least six months of hard graft.

I’m a firm believer that you have to speculate to accumulate – and in terms of blogging, that means making sure your blog is the best it can possibly be, building relationships with other bloggers, and learning to walk before you try to run. And really enjoying blogging – love writing and crafting your blog. Opportunities will come, but it takes time, and as Veruca Salt discovered, you can’t always get what you want just by stamping your foot.


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  • Crystal Jigsaw April 21, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Am so with you on this. The amount of new blogs I see that have obviously just been set off to get hold of the latest gadget, toy, pram, electrical appliance, so they can do a review and keep said item is really, quite ridiculous. I couldn’t care less why people blog or what they blog about but awards shouldn’t be seen as something that’s just given out for being a blogger. This is where a lot of awards go wrong in my opinion. Far too many are about popularity; ie voting for your friend, another member in your clique, and very few are actually about good content and amazing blogs that everyone wants to read and whose posts stay with you for a long time.

    CJ x

  • Sara April 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has felt this way. Its feels that its not about the words anymore but about freebies and awards. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and although I confess for the most part I haven’t a clue what goes on in the blogging world even I have noticed this.

  • Liska (@NewMumOnline) April 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Totally agree. People seem to want to be in it to win it at the moment. The “bar” for blogging has certainly got higher. The standard of photos for example is just getting higher and higher and higher. Funnily enough I got more opportunities as a newer blogger than I am now, because the pie was smaller so I was more visible.
    Great post
    Liska x

  • Laura (@Chez Mummy) April 15, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I suppose it can be easy for newer bloggers to forget that others who seem to get amazing opportunities have been blogging for years and put blood, sweat and tears into their blogs to make them great. And with articles about PR on various networks I think it might be seen now as the norm to have a PR or Work With Me page. From my point of view, I didn’t get into blogging to be sent things (didn’t realise that happened at all!) and I’m actually thinking about being much more selective with things I agree to from now on because it can be easy to get swept along and then you risk losing your ‘voice’. Even if you do get into blogging for reviews or other opportunities I agree it takes time and that it’s rare for a blog to be successful overnight so patience is definitely a virtue

  • farfromhomemama April 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I think I was incredibly naive when I started blogging some 16 months ago as I had absolutely no idea that ‘opportunities’ existed. I placed a reviews page on my blog just a few weeks ago but I see new blogs that already have a reviews and pr section in place when they launch.

    It really does make me question their motive for blogging but best of luck to them if that’s all they’re in it for as I can’t see many readers sticking around.

    I don’t receive a great many review or even opportunities (I live in Switzerland so it takes a really committed brand to want to work with me) but I think I’ve turned down at least half. I’ve worked in finance and comms for many years so know how to place value on my time and efforts and not to jump at anything. After all, when you spend hours testing, photographing and writing a review it’s not really a freebie is it?

    Really enjoyed this post. You summed it up really well.

  • love being a mummy April 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I agree! I have been blogging for 2 years and its taken me this long to feel my feet. Like anything blogging is a learning curve and takes time.
    I haven’t promoted myself for any awards as I feel my blog is new. Maybe one day!

  • love being a mummy April 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I agree! I have been blogging for 2 years this July and I feel I have only just found my feet. It takes a while to get you’re head around. Like anything we are always learning.
    I haven’t promoted my blog for any awards as my blog still is new in my opinion. Maybe one day 🙂

  • Zoe at Splodz Blogz April 13, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Absolutely. I’ve been blogging nearly three and a half years now and I get some great opportunities, but I am all too aware that I have been swept along by all the bits and bobs I’ve been sent to review and the reason I started blogging in the first place has got lost in there somewhere. My job over the next few weeks is bring those things back to the front and make more of what I enjoy.

  • Laura Murray April 13, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Great Post, I have been blogging for about 16 months and didn’t receive a PR email until about 5 Months into writing.
    Love what you do and it’ll be a lot easier!

    Really enjoyed reading this one 🙂

  • janmary April 13, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Well said! I have been blogging for 6 years -I agree need to demonstrate you are committed to your blog, your readers and to find your voice.

    All of these take time!