You guys know I'm a blogger, but what do I actually do?
Every time I introduce myself and talk about Taken By Surprise, there are questions I always get asked as a blogger; do I get paid, do I get a lot of freebies, how do I have the time, etc. etc.
So I figured, why not address these FAQs in a blog post!
I opened the floor to the blogger community on both Facebook and Instagram, and SO MANY of you responded with the questions you usually get asked too! Thank you for the love, and there were definitely some common themes - I've tried to address most of them in this post, but stay tuned because there's easily enough for a part two!
So beauties, grab a snack and a cup of tea, because this one will be a good read and I know that you're curious...
1. What do you actually do?
This is easily the most frequently asked one! While it would make my life easier (but a lot less fun!) if my blog posts just appeared on Taken By Surprise by themselves, there is a lot of work that goes into each one. When it comes to creating blog posts, it's brainstorming ideas, shooting imagery, writing the post itself, and editing my photos and copy. Then comes the social media side, which usually means creating new Instagram-friendly photos, sharing the posts on Facebook, and chatting to all of you guys in the comments! From start to finish, an average blog post takes anywhere from two to six hours to put together.
There's a common misconception that bloggers just babble on about anything that pops into their heads, but everything on my blog has a purpose. Whether it's partnering with a brand to showcase a new makeup collection, or a quick beauty tutorial to give you guys back 10 minutes in the morning, each post has a goal. Bloggers are like magazine editors - yes, we get to do the fun stuff like go to events and play with a lot of makeup - but we do everything with a team of one (including the boring stuff like our finances)!
2. Do you just attend events and get a lot of free stuff?
I definitely get my fair share of invitations and parcels in the mail, but there is definitely a lot happening behind the scenes of what I post on my Instagram Stories! Attending product launches and networking events, and being sent products from brands is a big part of being a blogger, but it takes a lot of hard work before a blogger can reach that stage and these things are never truly free.
There's usually an expectation from the brand that you'll post about the product or event, and sometimes you get paid for it, but most of the time you don't. It's always up to me if anything appears on my blog or social channels though, and if I'm genuinely loving something, I'm pretty happy to share that with you guys at no cost to the brand. But there have definitely been times where I've been approached by brands asking for free promotion and I have to gently let them know that blogging is work. And there aren't many people I know that would work for free!
3. Do you get paid for your posts?
Yes, but only sometimes. I don't get paid for everything, and I get this question a lot from people who don't think blogging is a good use of free time. But what 'hobby' can extend your creative side and surround you with an amazing like-minded community like blogging can? The fact that I get paid every now and then is a bonus! While it would be rainbows if I was earning enough to do this full time, there are brands willing to pay good money for great content, and I've been pretty lucky to earn what I have from doing what I enjoy.
And it's not just paid posts - I have literally been offered 'real life' offline jobs because of my blog, that I definitely would never have had if Taken By Surprise didn't exist. I worked at a company building their website using the HTML skills I learned doing my blog, and have managed the social media accounts of household makeup brands using the photography and writing skills that having a blog helped me refine. It's all relative, and it all pays the bills!
4. How do you find the time to blog while working full time?
Well, it's pretty hard, but I love creating online content so keeping my blog up to date never feels like a chore. I started Taken By Surprise while I was at university and it's a lot easier to keep your posts regular when you're only studying three days a week. But a lot of bloggers manage to keep what I lovingly call a work-life-blog balance, including myself, it just means that we may look a little more tired than the average person (good thing our makeup skills are so good!).
It's definitely a time consuming side hustle, but people make time for the things they enjoy doing, and blogging is no different. I'm usually checking emails throughout the day (whether I reply on time is a different story!) and maintaining my social media after work hours, while most of the blog post magic happens on the weekend.
Generally I'll upload a blog post once a week, and at least once a day to Instagram and Facebook, but some bloggers I know will post once per day and others might not even do once a month. It depends on what works for the blogger's own lifestyle, and what their readers expect.
5. How do you think of what to blog about?
This really varies. I keep a list on my phone of blog post ideas and basically work on each one in order of what's most likely to be successful each week. For example, when the limited edition Hourglass Surreal Light Palette was released, I knew a lot of people would likely be Google searching for reviews on it, so as soon as I bought mine, I fast tracked that post onto my blog instead of waiting for my usual upload day.
So when I brainstorm topics, I'll usually think of what products are popular, what events are current and coming up, as well as what's trending for the season. I try and keep my content as relevant as possible; I'm not going to post about Halloween makeup in December for instance! Plus, using Google Analytics is a great way to see which of my posts you guys love the most, so I can focus on creating more of what you're enjoying!
And that's it! This was such a fun post to write and if you have any questions about what it's like being a blogger, or about blogging in general, I would love to hear them! Post them in the comments below - I already know there's going to be a part two! Or if you're a blogger and could relate, I would love for you to share this post!
Until next time,