Blog, Working mum

Why I’ll never be a Professional Blogger

A not very Professional Blogger

I cheat on my blog with a full-time job. And other commitments.
I have professional standards, I treat my blog like anything else I do, I want it to be as good as I can make it.
My blog is an extension of me.
I’m also having an affair with a Professional Doctorate.
Oddly, nay controversially to me, I am considered to have a profession in the workplace.
But just because I have a profession doesn’t mean I can turn my hand to anything. A solicitor wouldn’t necessarily make a great surgeon. ‘Profession’ isn’t a transferable term.

Factually, (think the professions listed on passport forms for counter-signatories) blogging isn’t a profession.

So yes, it absolutely hurts my head to see anyone promoting themselves as a Professional Blogger.

And yes, I’m currently struggling writing an essay on professionalism and ethics.ProfessionalismI can’t believe what is being dumbed down by sticking ‘professional’ in front of a job with no mandate.

(And before anyone mentions sport, there’s a whole long history behind the use of the word ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’, I’ve had the absolute joy of reading it).

Professions aren’t easy. They don’t come easily and they can’t be maintained without sanction.

A blog might come easy, it might be maintained easily. Probably not the maintain. It takes time and commitment.

But time and commitment doesn’t equate to quality, it doesn’t mean it’s transparent.

Bloggers might not declare sponsored posts, they might have a strong opinion on ‘follow’ and ‘no-follow’ links, they might misrepresent earnings, they might include the cost of review products in their earnings, they might not get involved with any financial transactions.

Bloggers have no code, no-one is going to stop you blogging. There are no repercussions to what a blogger does compared to what might happen to any other member of the public (tax, libel, etc.).

So, what is being achieved by the bloggers using the term ‘professional blogger’.

Well, you know how much everyone appreciates a label, a category.

It seems professional blogger might mean that you do it full-time. It might mean that you earn enough money to support your family financially. 

I wish becoming a member of a profession was so easy.

It would mean blogging would be the first profession which required no formal training/ education; no accountability to an organisation which ensured you upheld common values.

What an absolute joy.

But maybe no-one’s actually saying that blogging is a profession after all?

Or maybe someone’s working on creating a professional institution as I speak.

The good news for me is that no professional institution mandates you have to earn money from your profession. In fact one of the key attributes is a responsibility to public good.

A not very Professional Blogger

Credit: Keep Up With The Jones Family

So, the good news is, in this scenario, I could count blogger as my profession with another profession running in tandem, and I don’t have to earn anything to become a member of a blogger professional body, as long as I can demonstrate I put my hours in.

Or maybe a professional blogger is someone who does have a commitment to fairness and transparency, and always conducts themselves in a manner which is considered small ‘p’ professional.

But that doesn’t really need saying does it? You can open any blog, meet any blogger to make this assessment. 

Doesn’t emblazoning everything you do with ‘professional blogger’ actually suggest something might be amiss?

Because I struggle with thinking of occupations which feel the need to make this declaration. An individual’s role and conduct says everything you’ll need to know. Anyone who behaves professionally just does, without sticking the term in front of their role title.

So, is this actually a confidence thing?

Many bloggers and vloggers who evidently don’t have another occupation have no reference to ‘professional’ in any of their bio’s. You just know by the quality of their output they can’t possible be doing anything else.

It is about garnering appreciation?

Yes, anyone who has a blog knows how much work goes into it, knows how little it’s appreciated. And that probably goes someway to understanding why so many blogs disappear after a few months (probably in a similar pattern to small businesses folding in the first year), and anyone who’s blogged for a while has watched favourite bloggers posting less and less where work and family gets in the way.

But trying to get blogging more appreciated, more valued isn’t going to be achieved by sticking ‘professional’ in front of what we do. That’s just two words for people to disregard rather than one. People will return to your blog because they think you offer quality content. Brands, Companies, PR’s will want to work with you time and time again, not because you’ve stuck ‘professional’ on your bio, but because you produce quality content which engages their target audience.

I absolute love blogging. It keeps me sane. I have had the best opportunities because of my little place on the internet.

But what I find completely disconcerting is bloggers are trying to create their own segregation, with no basis of assurance or conversation. Which kind of proves the point for why it’s not a profession. Because it’s not a case of ‘what I say goes’. If there isn’t a collective, if ‘what I say goes’ is true, then we’re all just representing our own little space on the internet. With no accountability and no responsibility to anyone other than ourselves.

Be proud of your blog, the opportunities and reward will be there because of the effort invested. 

Just like any other role; whether it be a profession, a vocation, or ‘just’ something you love to do.

Promote, advocate, support.

Collective power achieves so much more than individual promotion.

If bloggers are a collective term,

Agree values and behaviours,

Create consistency,

Collectively, without label or segregation, be the change for good. 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too
    November 15, 2016 at 20:20

    I love my corner of the internet.
    Yes, it is now my job.
    Yes, it is my source of income.
    Does this make me a Professional Blogger – NO.
    I don’t have any qualifications for this, it is just my own ramblings that I opt to post publically for anyone who cares to take a read from time to time. Blogging has sadly changed from the time I first started. The community is no longer there, it is all about telling everyone what they should or should not do.
    Am I, however, proud to be a blogger… just that, a blogger, no fancy titles (although I’d love a tiara)
    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too recently posted…Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The MusicalMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mandi
    November 15, 2016 at 20:43

    Brilliant post, so eloquent as always! I totally agree, after blogging for six years I love my little corner of the internet and if no-one reads it, that’s fine, as it is my way of recording my children’s lives, I don’t need awards or to be the top of charts, if I attend a conference it is so I can meet up and chat with people I class as ‘blogging friends’ people who have shared interests and don’t give a jot what your ranking is, people who you will share your Christmas jumpers with! Yes I make money from my blog, and that has in turn lead to other work offers, but am I professional er not in the least, I have seen many try to justify the term like sports people but I don’t feel the need to train endlessly and I have no particular footy skills, although I used to be pretty nifty on the netball court, I don’t agree with paying huge amounts of money to a few people who are good at sport, when two famous rugby players played on our Beach Rugby team, half our ‘amateur’ players were just as good, they just haven’t been given the break or the cash, i’m sure four or five years ago we never had such a term, it was just bloggers! I also struggle with the concept of bloggers paying another blogger to tell them how to blog, when the whole point is that it is your own thoughts and feelings, so how someone else can tell you how to do that is a bit odd, or maybe it’s just me!
    Mandi recently posted…Everactiv – The Perfect Gift for the Sporty GirlsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Sabina green
    November 15, 2016 at 21:56

    Fantastic piece of writing Debbie and something that so many people are thinking and feeling at the moment. This whole ‘professional blogger’ term is really grating at the moment but you have written it in a way that really can’t be argued with – love it!

  • Reply
    Lauren Belle du Brighton
    November 16, 2016 at 00:03

    I agree with you so SO much, the term professional blogger (or even worse problogger) makes me want to hand people a dictionary and ask them to look the word up, then show me their qualification! Well written!
    Lauren Belle du Brighton recently posted…Athena & Arlo in NovemberMy Profile

  • Reply
    Sara-Jayne
    November 16, 2016 at 17:00

    My view is that the term is completely unnecessary. Being paid for a blogging does not transform it into a profession. Simply because we are paid for an article, this does not raise our profile as a blogger above those who are unpaid – in fact, some times it lowers it considerably in terms of content quality.

    Sadly, I can’t see that the term is used in any other way than to make people feel self important or in some way superior to others – and in no way fosters a sense of community.

    • Reply
      Debbie
      November 26, 2016 at 00:04

      No matter how many times I mull it over I can’t see how it achieves anything… I’d be so much happier if we all agreed to look after each other without degrees of separation… at least I’ll ever be the optimist 😉

  • Reply
    Mummy of two + 1
    November 16, 2016 at 18:02

    I completely agree. I am fed up with people who say they are ‘professional’ bloggers and often think it’s because they see this as a way of putting themselves above others. I am also soooooo fed up with being told what I can and can’t do, it’s my blog and I shall do what I want and carry on the way I have been doing for the last 4 years!

    • Reply
      Debbie
      November 26, 2016 at 00:02

      I sooo get this. I sometimes wonder how awesome I’d be if I took all the ‘should do’s’ on board. But I really am just happy with my space. I do feel so much happier because of the people I have met through blogging, and no hope it can remain so welcoming.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    November 18, 2016 at 11:04

    This was a really interesting read, thank you for sharing! I agree with you, my blog is my only (small!) source of income but I couldn’t call myself a professional blogger, it just wouldn’t feel right, and you’ve expressed why far more eloquently than I could!
    Jennifer recently posted…Printable Christmas decorations with Twinkl ResourcesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Debbie
      November 26, 2016 at 00:00

      Thank you for commenting Jennifer, I really appreciate it. I think it’s such a weird one- especially writing about blogging, but it’s just one of those themes which seems to have emerged which I find too difficult to ignore.

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