A Blogger Explains What Blogging Is


A few weeks ago, my Creative Director was literally mind blown when I told him about affiliate marketing. It got me thinking that there is still some sort of disconnect between bloggers and everyone else. So today, I decided to clear the air a bit.

A Blogger Explains What Blogging Is by New York fashion blogger Pink Champagne Problems

I think over the last few years, bloggers really started getting bad reps once the industry took off out of nowhere. A lot of people still don’t quite understand what is blogging and what bloggers do as their jobs. Many people just assume that bloggers just stand and take pretty photos. Sure, that’s part of it. But there is a lot more that really goes into this business. I also truly understand why those who aren’t part of this industry have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. That’s why I’m writing this post today.

OKAY SO, you all know that I do not blog full time, but I still run Pink Champagne Problems as a business. I have to wear many, many hats as the owner of a small business. To be honest, the term blogger really doesn’t share what we actually do on an every day basis. I know people hate the term “content creators”, but that’s also another term for us and usually what I use for the lack of a better word.

I know every blogger/content creator/influencer/business owner runs their shows differently, but I wanted to give a little glimpse into how I run MY business.

WRITING

Yes, duh. I write. I love writing. I always have. There’s just something about getting your thoughts down on paper (or a screen). I think everyone has noticed by now that I’m really trying to put more effort into my writing on Pink Champagne Problems. Writing is so therapeutic for me. Besides writing on Pink Champagne Problems, I love taking notes and making to-do lists. I love being organized and scheduling things out on paper so I can keep my life together in terms of my professional, personal and social life.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

When I think of the term Creative Director, I always think of these prestigious people who run companies. But the more I think of it, bloggers also play this role. We have to create a brand and a name for ourselves. And stick to it. This is something I’m still considering a work in progress. I’m currently in the process of coming up with a mission statement so I can hold myself accountable when it comes to staying consistent with my brand. When it comes down to it, Pink Champagne Problems is meant to be a fun place for me to share my life with my readers. I share my interests (love of fashion/champagne/travel and my knowledge of certain topics). I also want to ensure I’m keeping things 100% real with my readers, all while feeling like life is one big champagne problem.

PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING

While I’m so thankful that I have Allie in my life to take absolutely stunning photos for me, I still need to make sure I’m doing my job to stay on top of my game. This means I need to scout locations, create themes (like on Instagram), and being strategic when it comes to shooting multiple outfits a day. And of course, have a back up plan when things go wrong — lighting, weather, outfits not looking right, etc. And if we’re being honest, I don’t think I have a creative eye when it comes to photography. This is something I’m working on every day. I’ve also been teaching myself how to edit photos (whether in Lightroom or through iPhone apps) so I can remain consistent in my brand image. There’s also another side to editing. I spend a lot of time choosing what type of content (photos + text) I’m posting on the blog and social. This is probably one of the most time consuming part of the job.

MEETINGS/EVENTS/CALLS

Just like my day job, emails are a huge part of my business. That’s where most my communication for partnerships happens. I’m constantly on-the-go, so I’m thankful my email can always be accessible. My inbox can definitely get overwhelming, and good time management comes into play. One of my biggest tips is to utilize labels to help me sort through emails and make sure I’m responding in a timely manner.

Events and press previews are a big part of the day-to-day in this business. I get close to 15-20 invites a week, which is usually why my inbox is overwhelming. I typically turn down most events because I simply don’t have the time to go. Or the events are in the middle of the day and I can’t leave work. This is a downside to have two full time jobs, but I always make sure I make time every week to attend events that I really want to go to. When I can, I try to jump on conference calls with brands or meet up for dinner/drinks. It’s much more personal than constant communication through email, and it’s a chance for you to really show a brand who you are.

PRESS TRIPS & TRAVEL

I’ve been on one actual press trip (with Royal Caribbean), and on a few trips that I’ve partnered with hotels and/or restaurants on my own. In 2017, I made a commitment to share more travel adventures with you. I’ve traveled to London, South Carolina, Nashville, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and most recently, Los Angeles. While I’m still trying to figure out my groove when it comes to the TYPE of travel content I want to create, I really just enjoy traveling. Traveling for work can be stressful because it’s WORK after all. I need to make sure that I’m creating great content to the brand/company I’m partnering with. It’s very hard to just sit back and relax on a trip that is technically for work.

MANAGING & BUILDING SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

It seems that social media is bigger than ever and is the star of the show for bloggers and influencers. While my blog will always be my number one priority, social media is a huge part of Pink Champagne Problems. Maintaining multiple social media accounts can be exhausting because I have to keep a constant presence on all of them. I use each platform for so many things: Twitter for promoting blog posts and being real AF, Instagram for sharing a glimpse into my life and promoting posts, and Facebook for promoting posts and sharing random news/sales. I’ve officially left Snapchat in the past, and am all about Instagram Stories (I wrote about my feelings on it here). Growing a platform is harder than ever right now, and I’m trying so hard to not let it affect me.

Sure, I’m not happy that I’ve been stagnant on Instagram for months. But that’s why I always say your blog should be where you put your eggs. I’ve realized that Instagram and Twitter are platforms where I engage with my readers and followers on a different level and in different ways.

In a nutshell, social media is very, very time consuming.

EDITORIAL CALENDARS & SCHEDULING TOOLS

Using an editorial calendar has been so beneficial for me and my brand. I wrote a post about how I use editorial calendars, and you can check that out here. Scheduling is an absolute key to running a successful business. For social media scheduling, I rely heavily on CoSchedule (read about the program here). I use Google Sheets for my editorial calendar, so I can access it anywhere at any time. And when it comes to scheduling my life, I love my Kate Spade planner and Google Calendar.

BACK-END & TECHY THINGS

I’m actually pretty tech-savvy. Shocking, I know. But I am. I’m pretty good at teaching myself new programs and troubleshooting. Now that I’ve hired an SEO strategist to help with this part of my blog, I’ve stepped away from learning a bit more about meta descriptions, tags, and optimization. I’ve also recently installed my own theme for Pink Champagne Problems after feeling bored with the site. I’m really happy with how my blog looks right now, and I love learning how to implement new things (have to thank Google for the help). I’ve learned that it takes a lot of errors and patience to bring my vision to life, but it’s SO worth it.

BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & CONTRACTS

I do this entirely on my own. I know a lot of people have managers or agencies to handle this part of the business for them. Landing partnerships with brands is one of the most rewarding experiences for me as a business owner. It’s also one of the most challenging parts of running a business. I’ve had to learn how to step out of my comfort zone and protect myself and my brand. When I first realized I could work with brands, I jumped on every opportunity. I thought it was really cool. Now, after 5 years of doing this (OMG 5?!), I say no more than I say yes and really only take on partnerships that will be beneficial for my readers. I’ve gotten pretty good at negotiating and sending pitches, and that’s something I’m really proud of. When I’m in contract with a brand (occasionally more than one brand at a time), I need to make sure I’m 100% on top of my game. I need to make sure I’m very aware of all the deliverables, timing, and if clauses are conflicting.

When it comes to the legal side of my business, it’s really scary and very important that I stay on top of this.

INCOME REPORTS & INVOICES

Fun fact: I’m HORRIBLE at math and with numbers. I do know the basics and how to use formulas in Excel/Google Sheets. This is where I keep track of all of my income, expenses and invoice status. I’m horrible at analyzing numbers, so I’m trying to teach myself how to budget and determine what I can spend. When it comes to invoicing, I created my own template for invoices and keep track of them in a folder on Google Drive. Really helpful! In my spreadsheet, I keep track of when I sent the invoice, when payment is expected, and when I’m actually paid. This allows me to stay on top of any late payments (because those do happen, ugh).

INVESTING

Owning your own business is definitely not cheap. Some of the things I invest in are: web hosting, design, back-end investments, equipment, services, travel, and transportation. I always try to put whatever I make on Pink Champagne Problems back into my business, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen (thanks student loans). Trust me, although it sucks to have to spend money on things for your business, it’s SO worth it in the end.


So there ya have it. Are you still with me? This was a long one. And there’s definitely a lot more that goes into being a blogger (like research). There are good, bad, and ugly sides to the world of blogging, but I’m honored to be part of it all. Although I have a “typical” 9-to-5 job, I really consider blogging a 24/7 job too. I’m always thinking about my brand and I’m always trying to push the envelope. I know so many people do this full time and it makes me sad that they have to defend what they do. I love what I do as a blogger, and I just wanted to shed some light on how blogging is, in fact, a REAL JOB. Just because it’s “unconventional” in some ways, it’s still a career. It’s a way people are making a living for themselves and often times their families. And honestly, it seems to be the direction many talented people are heading.


  • It’s so crazy to read it all in one fail swoop! Such a great post!

    • Dana Mannarino

      Thank you, Jenn! We deserve so much credit! xx

  • YES! Thank you for explaining this. Some people don’t get it. The other day I was at dinner and someone said, “Your aren’t working anymore right? You just blog.”

    • Dana Mannarino

      That is INSANE. I would be so offended, people just do not understand at all. If you ever want to talk more about this topic, just email me! I got your back! xx

  • I loved this post! As a new blogger, I have not yet tackled all of the elements you listed in this post, but it was really cool to see what direction I would like to go in! So much goes into blogging, and it’s unfortunate that others don’t always recognize that.

    Mia | http://www.verymuchmia.com

    • Dana Mannarino

      I know, that was really the entire purpose of my post. Even if you don’t do everything I’ve listed in this post, you still probably do a lot! Blogging is 100% another job and I wanted to bring this to light! xx

  • Nicole Ntumba

    This was fantastic! Still on the fence about starting my own blog but the more I learn about it the more I keep leaning towards getting the ball rolling. This is all very valuable information to me as an avid blog-viewer/follower and potentially future blogger. Thank you!! P.S. you’re doing an awesome job (as if you didn’t know that already) 🙂

    • Dana Mannarino

      You are the best, Nicole! I always appreciate your comments! You should definitely start a blog — feel free to email me with other initial questions! xx

  • Austen

    Thanks for laying it all out there! We wear so many hats as bloggers sometimes I even forget how much we do! Keep up all the great work!
    -Austen
    http://www.keepcalmandchiffon.com/blog/10/16/autumn-day-nyc

    • Dana Mannarino

      Thank you, Austen! Appreciate you taking the time to comment…we sure do wear a lot of hats! xx

  • What a great post Dana! Incredibly informative for those who aren’t quite sure what we do. Appreciate you laying it out there for them! Keep kicking butt and taking names 🙂

    xo Laura Leigh
    http://www.louellareese.com

    • Dana Mannarino

      Love ya, lady! Thank you for always being so supportive and doing all of the things you’re doing. So proud of all your accomplishments! xx

  • For saying you’re not good with numbers, you’re doing a great job with the accounting side of things! I’ve been keeping a personal excel budget for the last 5 years (#accountingnerdhere haha) .. would be happy to send over the template if you think it would be helpful! Let me know!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

    • Dana Mannarino

      TRYING! Ha, I’m good with organizing numbers….analyzing them and making a budget….not my strong suit 😉 Email me once you’re back from vacay — would love to see that template! You’re the best! xx

  • I always love these posts Dana!! And love what you have built with PCP! xo Bryn http://www.waketonroad.com

    • Dana Mannarino

      You’re the sweetest! Thank you so much for all of your support — absolutely LOVE what you’re doing with Waketon Road, you are a superstar! xx

  • Julia Kondratink

    Hi Dana! I really, really enjoyed this post! It was super informative! As a pretty still new blogger, I can totally relate to wearing multiple hats and doing whatever needs to be done to stay organized and on top of everything! I know you’re super busy between work and managing your fabulous blog but I would love to chat with you more and pick your brain regarding brand partnerships and reaching out and all that good stuff! Please let me know if and when you have some time and the best way to contact you! Thank you! 💗

    • Dana Mannarino

      Hi Julia! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!
      Big or small, bloggers have SO many jobs to do, especially when we run the show on our own! Please feel free to email me, I’d love to chat more with you — dana@thechampagneedit.com
      xx

  • I LOVE THIS! I need to share this with my friends! Thank you!

    http://moosmusing.com

    • Dana Mannarino

      Thanks so much for sharing, Mariah! xx

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