Blogs have a special space between the informal and formal. They act as a source of credible information and are known to foster a feeling of relatability due to their content. Bloggers are considered to be professionals in their field of interest and are breaking ground in terms of creativity and reach. So, what does it take to be a successful blogger?

Well, the third panel of SheThePeople.TV’s Women Writers’ Fest discussed just that. Titled “The Business of Blogging: How they created Breakthrough Blogs,” the panel had panelists across the spectrum of fashion, beauty, parenting and writing. We had Prerna Sinha of Maa of All Blogs, Aanam Chashmawala of What When Wear, Kavya D’souza of StreakHueFall and Ila Johari of The Fleamarket Queen talk about the difficulties of blogging, and what it takes to be a successful blogger. The panel was moderated by Anjali Kirpalani.

How the blogging sphere has changed

With the extensive network of bloggers that exist in India today, new bloggers have to be in it for the long run if they wish to see their blog take off. There’s better content produced these days but there are also a lot of players in the game – you have to know how to stand out. Better yet, pick your niche and carve your place into it. Blogging in the past was based on trial and error. There was a larger focus on getting recognised whereas today, the focus is on content and brand identity. It is also because of the success of bloggers like Aanam, Prerna, Kavya and Ila, that bloggers know they can invest in a blogging career.

When one starts a blog, they can’t think of it as a means of living.

Blogging is a labour of love and passion. It takes a while to get to a place where your blog may generate income and brands recognise you. What you invest comes back to you. You do become an entrepreneur and learn to manage your finances, you learn how to hire employees and how to figure out the industry standards of payment. Most importantly, you learn to state how much you deserve to earn. It’s important to negotiate and you will have to follow-up with people for pending payments. It takes a while to stand up for yourself and ask people to pay you but it does help to let people know that it’s a part of your salary. Blogging today also extends to YouTube and that is an entirely separate platform from which one could earn money.

Start with what you have – whether that’s a camera phone or a DSLR. You can slowly build your blog with time. It helps to freelance or work part-time while starting out as a blogger since this gives you the security of having a fixed pay cheque coming in at the end of every month.

Consistency is key

Consistency is key to being a blogger and getting recognised. Interact with your audience and you’ll not only have their engagement but also their loyalty. There is no typical day in a blogger’s life and it isn’t as glamorous as it seems. There is a lot of hard work involved – companies and people need to understand this. Women bloggers have a harder time being taken seriously and Aanam, Prerna, Kavya and Ila are helping change this. They’re here, they’re brilliant, they’re thriving and they let companies who undermine them know that.

About this, Aanam said, “I found it to be a very challenging for people to take me seriously but I think when you speak to a person, they learn to take you seriously. As a woman, it’s a tad bit more difficult to be taken seriously especially if they see you wearing red lipstick. But there’s more to that and I made it a point for them to take me seriously. I have a team of four now and I am 26 years old. Anyone who sets a meeting up with me won’t dare to not take me seriously.”

How you put across a proposal and how you present yourself counts, and delivering results counts above all. That’s what keeps the brands coming back.

Challenges

About the challenges of blogging, Kavya said, “The biggest challenge is that things are changing every day. There are no office rules and there is no hierarchy. The internet is a portal that is fast changing. You’ve to keep up with what is coming out on social media. Being in the public eye just might be the biggest challenge of all.”

Blogging is a real job and one where the individual multitasks and wears several hats. It’s time to stop undermining it and give bloggers their due credit. A blogger’s choice of platforms of social media depends on their target audience and niche. According to Ila, if you’re content is visual, you need to be on Instagram and Snapchat. If you’re into writing, use Twitter. A blog is essential for all. Ideally, you should have a blog as the repository of your work and portfolio and it helps to be present on all social media platforms. According to Prerna, there is a way for all blogs to make money. For example, if you have a blog based on soft skills, conduct workshops for people and let people know about them through previews, snippets and short tutorials.

Blog with passion and the right intention. Be consistent. And you just might watch your blog sprout wing and fly.

What’s your blogging story?

This panel had been live-streamed. You can catch this entire conversation on SheThePeople.TV’s Facebook page.

Also Read: Day 2: Women and Crime Writing. Do they go hand in hand?

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