Blogging is Big Business. But For Whom?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 37 comments

in Blogging, pp

I’m working my way through my thoughts and feelings about BlogHer 2011. I learned a lot. Some things were very affirming, and some of what I heard scared the holy shit out me. In the midst of it, I kept having this single niggling thought:

Blogging is obviously BIG BUSINESS, but for whom?

For those of you who don’t know what BlogHer is, here’s the link to their vision statement.  In their first year, 300 women attended. This year’s attendance at the San Diego Convention Center was  3600+.

Just from the standpoint of a helluva good time, as a woman who really likes the company of other women all I can say is that I had the time of my life. It was a frantic and frenetic frivilous free-for-all.

What’s not to like?

1) You walk into a great horde of women

2) You attempt to explain why you are there (the so-called elevator speech)

then,

3) You listen to them explain why they are there.

4) While doing 1, 2, and 3, you get a bunch of free Swag and drink a lot.

I gave up on my elevator speech after the first day and boiled it all down to one word: “Stuff.” As in, “What is your blog about?” My answer: “Stuff.”

It was more interesting to listen to other people tell me what they were blogging about than to yammer on yet again about blah, blah, blah, my blawg.

Who cares?

I’ve decided that my blog is the Seinfeld of blogs. Maybe that should be my new elevator speech.

The Sessions

I only learned after-the-fact that people don’t go to Blogher for the sessions; they go for the Swag. You would think that everybody would love free stuff, but apparently even free stuff can generate controversy in blogdom. Maybe because I’m not a techie, I only noticed after I was told to notice that the tech companies weren’t represented at BlogHer. I know my one experience at the Geek Bar wasn’t too helpful, but since I’m in the midst of this monumentally agonizing move to WordPress, I probably was expecting too much.

I already wrote about Pathfinder Day with Ree Drummond and Katheryn Finney, so I won’t revisit that except to say, “Content, Content, Content.”  My takeaway from Pathfinder Day? To be successful you have to write interesting stuff that people want to read and you have to do it regularly and often.

My all-out favorite session was Brené Brown’s session on blogging and shame. Without a doubt that session was the most revitalizing and encouraging of them all.

Because I was so Content-focused, I didn’t hit the Chamber of Swag until after lunch on Day 2. And this is all that I left with:

Thanks Eden Fantasys!

I almost entitled this post, “Of Sex Toys and Crayons” because to me these two pieces of Swag represent the conundrum I face as a blogger.

Authenticity or Marketability?

Some would say that you can be both, but I’m not even sure I can be either.

The truth of the matter is that every woman I saw the rest of that day, from mommy blogger to stylish Yale-y MBA marketing guru, seemed to be carrying an edenfantasys bag on her shoulder.  Aside from the sex toys they were giving away FOR FREE!–who knew you could get that stuff at a blogging convention?–they also had the biggest and most comfortable bag to carry. Kinda brilliant, actually.

But, after a morning of listening to how my blog could set me free, and a lunchtime collecting sex toys and crayons, I attended a marketing session where the first thing out of one of the speaker’s mouths was,

“If you want to attract brands don’t write about sex toys on your blog.”

Huh?

Of course, being predictably rebellious, that means that all I want to do now is talk about sex toys on my blog.

Part II: If you can’t stand the heat, stay away from the KY

Part III: Blogher: Selling the Dream

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany (NatureMom) July 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Loved this post! This will be my first year , though I have been blogging for 8 years, and mostly I just want to have that helluva good time you mentioned and not take it all too seriously. Hope to see you there!
Tiffany (NatureMom) recently posted..Weekending – In PhotosMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys July 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

8 years!! That’s a long, long time, Tiffany.

I did have a great time last year and I plan on having an even better one this time. I know a lot more of what to expect and what my own personal blawging goals are. Knowing thyself is a huge freedom. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope I get to meet you in NYC.

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Megan Broutian July 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm

The Seinfeld of blogs… yup, pretty close.
Megan Broutian recently posted..love bite = a new twist on a vampire storyMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys July 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Do you think I can just say this as my new elevator speech?

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Anika December 29, 2011 at 12:13 am

So glad that I found your blog via http://sandalsinthesnow.com. I am having so much fun reading through your post. Would love to talk to you about sponsoring your blog.

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Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator August 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Have I told you how much I love you and your blog lately? No? So glad I met you at lunch. Keep on, sister. I came home with a water pic sinus cleaner (for my geek friend with asthma who loves gadgets), colored pens, and arnica gel. Couldn’t bring myself to visit the sex toys booth.

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Chloe August 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hey, Stephanie, good to see you. I also got the water pic sinus cleaner (I never thought I’d ever write the words “sinus” and “cleaner” in one sentence), and the colored pens.

Thanks for commenting. I hope my readers will visit your lovely site. Your food pics are beautiful. http://reciperenovator.com/

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Kelly Hargreaves August 19, 2011 at 2:54 am

Will you think less of me if I tell you I did not know what was pictured with the crayons until you told me?

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Chloe August 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Oh heck No! It’s a terrible picture. And I wouldn’t have known myself from the picture. The table had “other things” that clued me in that it wasn’t the crayon vendor.

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Chloe August 22, 2011 at 12:06 am

Never. Nothing you could do would make me think less of you.

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Anonymous August 18, 2011 at 5:44 am

My biggest BlogHer regret is that I didn’t make it to the Expo Hall before they ran out of sex toys…but seriously folks, I appreciate this post a lot. I still have so much to learn about the business of blogging, and until I have my “voice” completely figured out, I’m not sure if there’s room in my head or my heart to figure it all out. I’d like to think that part of being a meaningful “brand” is having that good content of which you wrote, and then maybe some of the other stuff eventually comes along. And “the Seinfeld of blogs” is pure genius!

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Chloe August 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Hey Jamie, so nice to see you again. You were definitely one of my highlights at BlogHer.

I think you are spot on.. Like the old joke says, the way to get to Carnegie Hall is practice, practice, practice.

I’ve been taking a longer view of my blog. Anyone who thinks that blogging is some get-rich-scheme or, worse, that it’s easy is an idiot. I work more at this “hobby” than I ever did at my real job. I definitely “heard” that message at BlogHer, but I think it was a message you had to look for to hear.

If you haven’t read Kristin Lamb’s $5 e-book, Are You There Blog, It’s Me, Blogger, I really recommend it. She’s helped me a lot. She also has a good community of writers (not necessarily bloggers) over at #myWana.

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The Reader August 17, 2011 at 9:15 pm

So, if you have a ton of hits from me today, it’s ’cause I’m playing with what works and what doesn’t….seems to all be working this go ’round.

Somehow, blogger magic??, your new feed is showing up in my blog sidebar right where your old feed used to be. I did not update anything by myself, it just did it magically. Presumably b/c you exported your blog via blogger’s export button? Whatever you did, I didn’t lose you.

Will you be keeping the multi-article snippets on the front page format? just curious…..(feels a wee bit cluttered right now, but manageable so don’t fret).

Oooh, hey!, disqus even kept my guest log-in info. that’s pretty good!

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Chloe August 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I’m so glad to hear this. I spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to do it and I think there are still some glitches. I got a lot of help from this lady’s website: http://bloggingwithsuccess.net/blogger-to-wordpress-search-engine-traffic/ She even has some videos on youtube. People are not being paid what they are worth for the work they are doing on the internet.

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Kristy Plata August 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

“Predictably Opposite” would be a good title for a blog. And anyone care to share how it is that people make money blogging? Advertising, but how do you get the ads on your blog? I need to know how this works!!

Chloe, once all the dust settles, I have no doubt that your new blog will be just as beautiful, and even moreso, than the other one. And while the aesthetic is very important, it’s the content that people come back over and over again for. And that part will stay the same!

I’m in the process of combining all my blogs into the one wordpress one that I built for my business. Joys!

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Chloe August 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Ree said she makes her money from ads on her site. Katheryn seemed to intimate that her income was coming from her other work, mainly books and television, but that she also is making a lot of money from her ads. I think the secret is finding the right ads. The marketing session I attended indicated that you really need to be at 35K-50K/month before the bigger ad affiliates will want you.

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Susan in the Boonies August 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

You? Wanting to do something OTHER than what “they” tell you that you “must” or “must not” do?

That’s just so shocking that I don’t know what to say.

Watch out: You are in danger of becoming Predictably Opposite Girl.

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Chloe August 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I’m afraid that that ship may have sailed long, long ago.

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Jamie Harben August 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Love your rebelliousness…. looking forward to seeing you talk about sex toys on your blog.

Great blog post. You made me laugh.

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Chloe August 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I’m glad. If you can talk about botox then I can talk about sex toys. What was it Braveheart said? FREEDOM!

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Chloe August 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Stay tuned. I can’t help myself.

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Amy Jones August 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Hahaha….. See now, one of my favorite bloggers, Christine, wrote about sex toys on her blog and made a mint off the Amazon hits when dozens of us clicked right onto her link and bought one. Have to say, after her glowing recc, I was disappointed. It just wasn’t my thing, a massager for my ear. It was what it was for, right? It was shaped just like it was supposed to massage my ears……

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Amy Jones August 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I was thinking about blogging about how I’m finally a legit blogger, having made enough income off my ads to pay for our toilet paper delivery from Amazon.

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Chloe August 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I’d love to read it.

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Chloe August 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Okay, now I’m upset that I didn’t contact the first and join their affiliate program first. Authenticity is always going to bite me in the butt, I’m afraid. But it is nice to hear that your friend did a booming business. I supposed it boils down to different strokes for different folks.

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Texanna August 17, 2011 at 2:32 am

You said “sex”…..carry on, I’m in the palm of your hand. Penthouse should be calling shortly. :p Love the two freebies….so hilarious!

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Chloe August 17, 2011 at 3:07 am

I’ll probably be saying it again soon. I’m thinking of working with edenfantasys. What can I say? They have a good product that many women want.

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Not A Supermom August 17, 2011 at 2:30 am

Can I have the crayons?

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Chloe August 17, 2011 at 3:06 am

I’d love to, but I’m afraid not. The crayons give me the legitimacy I need to talk about sex toys.

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Not A Supermom August 18, 2011 at 12:01 am

That’s okay. I didn’t really want the…crayons.

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