See that headline, ‘Read this Viral Post!’? That is what we call click bate in the world of social media. While I am all about bloggers and marketing reps earning the audience they have, and finding the largest one they can as well, I am not about misleading people with stories that are exaggerated or meant simply to get attention or to make money. I’d rather have an authentic voice that my readers can rely on when stressed out about parenthood, looking for real recipes they can make at home or spending their hard earned money. But lately, there has been an ex-mom blogger who has made the rounds of social media and the news channels spouting her viral headline about the mommy blogging industry. I say, beware of the click bate… not all bloggers are looking to screw you over for the almighty dollar.
Let me preface this by saying that I will not name, show the photo of or link to any story about her. Because, while I hope that everyone reads my post, I want hers to die. In my six years of blogging, I have never heard of her at all. I have never seen a post, a social media shout out, her participation in any blogging group or event or anything else. In fact, she tells the story of a group she worked for that sends you to the store to buy a product and then you write about it in a, supposed to be authentic way IF YOU LIKE THE PRODUCT and think it will be useful to your readers. I am an insider of that group, hiring bloggers for the last 3 years to do such a job, and have never come across her or her blog at all. As a full time, professional blogger for 6 years, I would think I would have at least passed by her at some point. That should tell you how much she was looking to build connections and relationships versus blogging solely for money.
But it is out there. One person trying to ruin the reputation and hard work of others by sharing her limited viewpoint of a career that many do. Blogging. Contrary to the opinion of one, blogging is not the art of selling your soul to the highest bidder, forcing you to lie about your life and to take time away from family in order to make a buck. In fact, if that were blogging, I would not do it at all. It is just not why I, and so, so many others, do this for a living. So to set the record straight, I am here to say, Dear Mommy Blogger… You Rock!
Blogging is actually a creative art form. It is sharing your experiences and life with the written word. I actually started for selfish reasons. I wanted to talk to someone. As a mom of three under three in an unhappy marriage, blogging was my therapy. In all truth, it still is. Blogging is also a real job and making money doing it has been a massive blessing for me as a single mom of three kids. But blogging did not cause my divorce, it did not ruin my family and I don’t feel like I pimp out my kids for the love of the all mighty dollar. I feel like, as with any job, there is the good and the bad, the truth and the lie and the perks and the sacrifice.
But here is the deal. This woman has a story. It is a negative one born of her own decision to put making money her top priority. She was blogging for the paycheck and taking opportunities that she knew she could not be authentic about. A lot of people do it. But her story is not my story. Her experience is not my experience. Her reality is not my reality. I hate that the media is making it out to be everyone’s story.
Most bloggers I know, and I would consider myself deeply involved in the blogging arena, are honest, reliable people who struggle to balance the need to make an income with the desire to tell their story honestly. They are proud of every single post that is on their blog, their name attached. They stand by every opinion, defending it to the end.
There is nothing wrong with making an income for producing a product that is high quality, time consuming and enriching to yours and other people’s lives. There is something wrong with making the personal choice to let ANY job take over your life and cause you to put out content that is not real to you, who you are and what your story includes. And then complaining about it on another blog where you are still making money from your opinion through ads – yes, she makes money for every click she gets to an ad next to her blog post, and a lot of it with her click bate post – and making it seem like the industry norm.
My life is not perfect. You can see that on any of my Instagram and Facebook posts. I am often overwhelmed, trying to raise three daughters while keeping a presentable house and still making enough doing what I love to keep said messy house. I also struggle to take the money now even if it is not a good fit. Saying no to income is hard for anyone. Especially when you are a single mom with a sole income. But no matter how stressed I get, no matter how tight things get, no matter how tempting the offer, if I can not tell an honest, authentic story, there is no reason for me to be here.
I find that to be true of any authentic blogger I know and that is the message that should be click bate.