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How much effort goes into a blog post?

Last week, I was offered a £2.50 hand cream in exchange for an Instagram post and story. This morning, I was offered $5 for a…

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Last week, I was offered a £2.50 hand cream in exchange for an Instagram post and story. This morning, I was offered $5 for a blog post based on the quality of my site. A couple of weeks ago, I was offered the amazing opportunity to BUY an item at cost price because the brand didn’t have products to giveaway. So I could buy it myself at a discount and promote it on my blog and social media channels.

Other blog opportunities I’m regularly offered: a blog post in exchange for a link back to a site with a high spam score, a share to their Facebook page with 200 fans, the opportunity to add value to my readers to include their resources into an existing post, a gifted item in exchange for too many demands.

All these things are not new to me at all. I’ve been blogging for 9 years now and I’ve heard it all. But still gets frustrating.

Red Flags

The emails that start with ‘Hi dear and ‘I am an avid reader of your blog’ always end badly. These are red flags to have in emails. It’s the emails that are titled ‘collaboration with your blog’ or something similar that still catch me out. The term collaboration makes me seem like there’s something in it for me. But there’s not. Especially only weeks where I feel I’ve not made much money and need more work. I get so hopeful and then you get the reply ‘oh, there’s no budget’ and the collaboration part is them kindly giving me a link to put in my post.

I do sometimes accept gifted items. But it has to be worth it to me. It has to be something want to use or would have bought anyway or to support something I care about. Like needing a new raincoat, or a box of wonky bread to promote reducing food waste.

I also am relaxed about my gifted blog posts. I will never lie and say I’ll post about something, then not. But it will probably take me longer to post as I will always do paid work first. I also won’t accept ‘deliverables’ for gifted items – if you’re about to dictate what I need to write about, then you need to pay me to write to a brief. Gifted items are more for consideration to post. A lot of the time, I will have a blog post for a reviewed item written up and scheduled, but then I’ll get some paid work in so I’ll publish that first and push the unpaid work back a couple of days. But, as I said, I would never promise to post about a gifted item and then not. It’s not professional to do so.

A couple of days ago someone was asking me about the inclusion of a product in a Christmas gift guide. They wanted it included in a luxury gift guide and wanted to know what else would be in it. Well, I hadn’t planned to do that so I was honest and said I couldn’t guarantee that. They thanked me for my honesty and we went out separate ways. Actually no, that’s a lie. They didn’t thank me at all. They just didn’t reply.

But that’s fine. I was honest and stayed professional and that’s all that matters.

I know some people do think that bloggers and influencers are professional work avoiders (lol this was actually in a nasty comment I got on this post, if you’re reading this – thanks for the feedback but I’ve not taken it onboard). I didn’t even publish the comment because that person was clearly angry that some people have a job they don’t understand.

Anyway, it’s just that perception that we just take a couple of photos and type a few words and then go back to sipping cocktails in our hot tubs, right? I wish that was the case!

I’m writing this post at 10:30 pm. Leo is asleep next to me. This is normal for me. I parent all day and I work on my blog when he’s asleep. I’m exhausted because he was awake a lot last night, but I need to work. I just want to push through and get the first draft of this post out.

I just wanted to share what actually goes into a blog post.

Before I start, let’s get the background information together and talk about what goes into a blog. Because whenever a blogger reviews or posts about something with no payment, there’s already been work put into a website.

What goes into a blog

Building a website

The initial stage of building a website, designing and customising a layout. Learning about plugins and which ones you need. Sorting out a logo and paying for your hosting and domain.

Photography

Learning how to take photos, style photos, edit photos.

Marketing

You learn about marketing. You research social media strategies and how to implement SEO into your blog and blog post. You learn about email marketing, how to grow a list and generate leads.

Writing

You learn and develop skills in writing, how to write blog posts and how to write titles that grab your readers attention. How to write blog posts with SEO in mind at all times.

Accountancy

You have to learn about being self-employed, paying tax and how to do your accounts accurately. This includes paying tax on gifted items.

Legalities

You have to learn all about the legal aspects of blogging. What photos can you use, when you need to decline paid posts or affiliate links and how to run a legal blog and giveaways.

Social media management

You manage several social media managers and (try to) say up to date with the best practices.

Building a community

9 years of building relationships with bloggers and my readers. Commenting on other blogs and being active on social media.

Getting traffic and improving DA

Using different strategies to get traffic, build organic traffic and rankings in Google and improve metrics like DA, DR, SEMrush traffic stats and Alexa rank.

Analysing data

Using tools such a Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Moz and more so you can analyse your data.

Planning

Being able to stick to a posting schedule and plan ahead, plan for holidays and breaks so you don’t miss a post.

It’s rare that you will be an expert in all of these and certainly not to the point where you would be fully tried to do a job in one of these things, but you learn new things constantly and end up being a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none!

What goes into a blog post

Now, let’s look at what goes into an actual blog post.

Communication

Read and reply to emails, read and sign contracts. Understand the brief and be able to stick to it. Negotiate fees. Stick to deadlines.

Keyword research

Finding keywords that you can rank for in Google, learning how to implement them, learning about user intent and how to check out the top websites for that keyword so you can compete. See this post about keyword research for more info.

Photography

Taking photos of the product, buying and using props/equipment and editing them

Writing the blog post

Research any facts or key points and write the post with SEO in mind and be able to track SEO performance over time.

Proofread

Being able to proofread, spot mistakes and decide which sentences structures work.

Promote on social

The job isn’t done when you hit publish. Promote across social media for maximum coverage. Also being present on social and engaging in others content to drive more reach to your own content is important for getting results.

Review analytics

Now it’s time to check on how it’s performed as some brands want this feedback.

Is there anything I’ve missed?

12 comments

  1. This is brilliant, I don’t think people understand how much work, time and money goes into creating a website and being consitent.

  2. I absolutely LOVE this post Corinne! First of all, TOO much effort goes into a blog post for me right now, I’m exhausted but seriously, we do need to spin a lot of plates from the start to the end of the process.

    And in regards to everything you said at the start, I have never relayed to anything more. Those “hi dear” emails, go straight in the bin. I’ve also been offered $5 due to the “quality” of my site – I well and truly told them where to go. You’ve given me a lot to think about in regards to gifting too. I rarely accept gifted products only these days but I feel like I could probably have a better system in place for those!

  3. Exactly! So much time and effort goes into writing the posts I share on my site and it can be disheartening when some “brands” approach and it’s clearly a scam or inconsiderate of exactly what goes into creating the content I do. I don’t really monetize my blog even though I’ve been at it for over 12 years (and have done previously). I recently got an offer from a window company that liked my post on racial injustice in America and felt that was a great fit for their windows (make it make sense). Great post!

  4. Yup you have to do a lot more work when you’re full time especially. But everyone who creates content online has to work at it and be consistent. It’s definitely changed over the last 9 years but the basics of blogging hasn’t. It takes dedication, patience, time and money! But when you get a good response from a piece of work you’ve created, somehow it makes it worth it!

  5. I am no where near the level of blogging as you nor many others bloggers I follow and admire, but I have gotten a few insane offers as well!

    The word ‘ambassador’ sends me running now; it basically means I am expected to buy the brand’s products and promote them for nothing in exchange for a ‘commission’ on all sales I drive. It is not worth the trouble!

    Love that you share what goes into a blog post, as blogging is a skill that includes many other skills. Honesty in communicating with brands is definitely key to maintaining good relationships and your own standards.

  6. What a great post! I cant believe you’re being ‘offered’ those kinds of things. What a joke! I spend every spare minute of most days working on my blog – I can’t imagine how difficult it would be if I were parenting too. I’m so glad you know your value and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. You’re a true inspiration!

  7. So many people don’t realise how much effort is placed into running a website and socials. It’s a lot of work and an industry that needs to get more recognition.
    Insophiesmind.com

  8. It is hard to make money from blogging. As I’m keeping my blog as a hobby, I have much more flexibility on what I do with it. Even so, it’s a lot of hard work, so I can only imagine how much work needs blogging as a full-time/part-time job.

  9. Urgh, “Hi dear,” gets my back up when it is left in comments by a random on my blog, let alone from someone wanting me to do something for free! (which hasn’t happened on my blog).
    You work hard and should therefore receive recompense- it’s just rude otherwise, given the amount of work you put in!

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