Have you guys ever watched the show MythBusters?
Last week, I shared with you about how you could start your blogging journey. This week, I want to add to it by letting you know more about the 5 Myths and Facts about Becoming an Online Creator. I was hoping you could think of this as a behind-the-scenes look at my journey. I’ve been at this for a while, and I wanted to share things I learned throughout my whole 10 years of experience being a “creator” or being in the “blogging” world.
Please remember that I do not speak for other bloggers, influencers, and other creators. What I am about to share with you is based on MY own personal experience only.
Myth 1- “Being a blogger/influencer is not a REAL job.”
Truth This couldn’t be more further from the truth. Terms like ‘blogger,’ ‘content creator’ and YouTuber have all been intermixed and used either separately or all together to describe what someone does online. Sometimes this carries a negative connotation like how most people only see the output, pretty pictures, fun videos, and free stuff in exchange. They don’t see the hard work and the hours of conceptualizing ideas behind the content. Being a fairly new occupation genre, I get that these titles don’t mean anything much to people, not like more established jobs like Engineers or Architects.
It’s like a version of an online job.
A ‘blogger’ is more than just someone who sits down in front of a computer and types down their thoughts. Although this may be true for some, some have taken this kind of profession seriously. Being an online persona comes with its own challenges. From being my own online platform’s manager, individually creating a connection with my audience, finding reputable brands to collaborate with, and I also have to take photos, conceptualize campaigns, and be my own marketing strategist. The online world has opened up a newer, more creative way to work for yourself. I understand that gaining respect in this field may take some time because it’s so new. But I am not one to also stand down to a challenge. 😉
Myth 2 – “If you truly support a brand, you would do it for FREE”.
Truth – Throughout my experience, I understand the saying that ‘There is no such thing as free lunch’. Although I sometimes offer my services at a paid cost, you have to know that this comes from the simple reason that in any given platform, digital or analog, my platform has now become a profitable space for brands to tap.
Last week, I told you guys about treating your blog like a business. I have more than just this blog. I also have a Youtube Channel and a Facebook page, as well as my Instagram page. By crossing into multiple platforms, I can utilize my audience to get the most exposure. I usually do this when I’m working with brands for collaborations.
It’s a simple B2B (Business- To- Business) strategy when working with another brand or company; you both do your best to fulfill each agreement’s end. In my case, it’s just gotten personal since I am my own brand.
I won’t lie. Building up my social media platforms took years and my resources too. Like with any other businesses, I not only had to invest my time but also spend on equipment, hire a developer to help me build my website, pay for my travels (yes! I do pay for them too). Lastly, I do pay for some products I post on my social media.
It did take a while before all my efforts became — manageable. It hasn’t been that long ago until I finally saw anything coming back. I’m where I am today, audience-wise, because I have put my time, money, and effort to bring the kind of content my peers and audience can enjoy and appreciate.
Although I have built a brand for myself, that doesn’t mean I am not genuine with the collaborations that I feature. I still believe in supporting local to small brands, but there’s also value with my work. Just because social media has recently become another gateway for marketers and businesses, but as a content creator, although my work is not tangible, my services as a content creator is as valuable as any other business.
I understand that there will be those who may be willing to still do their services at no cost, and I respect that. Signing up on social media may be free but maintaining one does not. After my own investment in the work I have put in my platform and services, I do not deserve to be deemed as someone I am not, especially when I do decide to put value with the work I am offering.
If I keep on depending on brands sending me items for free, there’s not really much of an incentive for me, is there? Should you run into these kinds of businesses, just keep your chin up. Trust me, I have had my fair share of those. They don’t understand that once their product gets a feature, especially if you are carrying over 14k+ followers, they’ll benefit from your audience and get the sales, and yet, you end up with — hoop earrings? After you spent the day working out on concepts, taking photos and editing them after, buying your own equipment, and then writing the perfect caption, well, now that doesn’t seem fair, is it?
This isn’t coming from a place of entitlement. Just like everyone else, bloggers/influencers/creators have their own goals too. It might be construed as such only because their brand is themselves. If businesses know their worth, you should too as I have with mine. But if your value isn’t received well, do not also be afraid to respect it and quietly walk away.
Myth 3- “You obviously just pose for pictures. It’s fake”.
Truth – Ouch. This one probably stings a little bit but hear me out. Although on the surface, it may seem that it’s all about taking ‘pretty pictures ‘in beautiful locations but, I’m not going to lie, yes, that’s part of it. But you can’t just take a ton of photos of yourself in nice places and call it a day. That may be all how it looks like from the outside, but it’s more than that. Some people start channels or Instagram pages thinking we have a glamorous life, but the truth is, for those who are serious about this line of work, whatever niche they’re in, there’s nothing glamorous behind the scenes.
Getting that perfect shot sometimes does take a lot of my time and sometimes gives me a workout. Although I carefully plan my pictures, I still make sure that the final result would not only be captivating the bigger picture but also best describe who I am as a creator.
And who’s to say you can’t pose or smile for photos? Enjoy every moment. Make your everyday count!
Myth 4 – “Nothing about bloggers/influencers are genuine.”
Truth – I can only speak for myself, but I have lived my life with the saying ‘Honesty is the Best Policy’.
Back to our discussion on freebies, during the early era of blogging, when brands were slowly opening up its reach by sending in their products in exchange for a brand review and/or feature. This can be great, especially when you’re first starting out because you can make content out of these. However, you mustn’t forget WHO YOU ARE in your core.
In the beginning, it may be tempting to say “yes” to everything. Of course, it feels great to work with a brand or business. But suppose you think that that business or brand doesn’t reflect who you are as a creator, based on my own experience. In that case, I think that the best way for your audience to really understand you and root for you is you maintain your integrity by also know when to say “no” to offers that you don’t genuinely care about.
Remember, when you get to a point in your journey to build up your audience, it means you’ve created a bond of trust, don’t break it by vouching for a product that you don’t use or barely know for cash.
That’s your name that you’re putting a stamp of approval on. Tread carefully.
When I first started out, I never in my life expected that my platform will evolve into this. So, I remain when I say that it’s not and should not be about getting free things all the time. It’s not just a regular business transaction. As a brand and business, you should hold yourself accountable to your audience when you choose to endorse something. This is why it’s important to take the time to research and be decisive about what you choose to promote.
Myth 5- “Your life is so perfect!”
Truth – It’s hard to tell what someone is going through behind the scenes. Even if that person is someone such as myself. Just because I don’t show that part of myself in public doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments too. I only share what is relevant to me and my audience. Social media is all about celebrating the good moments, the travels, and happy things. Though it’s important to be authentic, it’s would be hard for me to know where to draw the line. Where exactly does the brand stop and the Tia, as a person, begin if they’re intertwined so often?
When you put yourself out on the Internet, you’re also opening yourself up to many unwanted commentaries. It can range from the simplest things to the more hurtful kinds. I eventually just needed to develop a thicker skin.
Although the outside might look glamorous, it’s not always like that. Some days, I’d be holding my phone wondering what to write for content or finding new creative ways to post online. In many ways, creating valuable content is a feat in general, especially if it is both passion and a job.
Simply put, it takes a lot of love, time, and dedication, not knowing if it’ll pay off when it comes to being an online creator. I’m blessed to say mine eventually did, and I hope that this blog will help you too should this be something you’ve been wanting to pursue. When I first started out, a lot of creators didn’t have a manual or how-tos to refer to know how to do this. Creating and continuing to do so isn’t easy, and recognition is neither uncomplicated nor instantaneous.
The success stories we hear today aren’t always what it seems. Sometimes it took blood, sweat, tears, and years in the making. But if anything, I hope this would encourage you to see that one day you can make it on your own too. I hope in some way, you get to realize your dreams!