The feed question Deb posed the other day made me wonder – as a paid blogger, who am I most responsible to? Deb asked if bloggers should shorten their feeds to please readers. It seems like many people do think that whatever readers want readers should get. But what readers want is not always what benefits my client and myself.
In the world of blogging you have some choices about who to blog for – you may be blogging for one, two, or all three choices.
You may have a clear idea about why you blog. Back in the day before I ever knew about blogging for clients; I blogged for myself. I blogged because I loved to read other blogs and because I liked writing. I never put ads on blogs or pushed for traffic. I surfed blogs, left comments, and gathered readers organically, but it was honestly all about me and my words. I wanted to say stuff and I did. That’s why I first had a blog. At some point, I naturally transitioned into writing posts that not only I would like, but that I knew my group of readers would like as well.
Then along comes paid blogging. I landed one paid blogging gig, found it more suitable to my personality than magazine and copy writing, and I quit most other, taking on mainly blog gigs. Now that I’m a paid blogger – who do I blog for exactly? Where does my responsibility start and stop?
As a paid blogger:
I’m blogging for myself, because I make money that pays my bills. Blogging directly benefits my life, my son’s care and keep, and our well being (i.e we get to eat). Also, I love my job, so I’m likely blogging for my own happiness as well.
I’m blogging for readers because I’m providing information, entertainment, news, what have you. For readers interested in my topics, I give them something they need, want, or enjoy.
I’m blogging for clients who have hired me to promote something, be it an idea or product. My clients want me to entertain and inform readers and appeal to advertisers. They also want me to get lots of page views.
Sometimes I’ve had clients directly order me to do something that I know darn well is not in my reader’s best interest. Like write seven posts a day, blog about some lame topic that no one will like, or they want me to write keyword heavy – to the point that a blog post looks all spammy.
Blogging is not the only profession that faces issues like this. It was the same when I wrote business copy, it was the same when I worked as a social worker, it’s the same for my friend who teaches high school. There’s always a circle – the boss vs. employee vs. person receiving the service.
As a social worker, I’d fight my boss aggressively if I thought a choice they wanted was not in the best interest of a youth. However, sometimes I’d lose. When you get right down to it, your boss tends to have the final say. In some cases I’ve left jobs when a boss decided to do something I’m dead set against, in other cases I’ve stuck it out. It depends on the severity of the decision my boss makes.
As a paid blogger, I believe that readers should come pretty high on the totem pole; without readers, you don’t have blogs. But if I continually make a scene and go against my client’s wants and needs, then I’d have to find a new line of work. With blogging, like with any job, you make choices. In my case, my choice is to try to balance what’s in everyone’s best interest – my clients, my readers, and my own. Pleasing everyone when it comes to blogs is not an easy task; as I think the comments on Deb’s post showed.
If you blog for a client, blog for pay, my question to you is: how do you find balance in paid blogging? How do you keep everyone happy, when sometimes what’s best for one person in the blog circle may not be what’s best for another?