Blogger Nightmares And How To Deal With Them

March 30, 2015

Every job has its own ups and downs - it comes with the territory - and blogging is no different. Whether or not one blogs as a hobby or does it full-time it is certain that they have encountered one of these blogging nightmares. 

It’s especially trying if blogging isn’t a main source of income but rather something you juggle with a full-time job and social life, because a labour of love that is plagued with its own unique set of problems can be very disheartening and make you question altogether ‘Why am I doing this?’. I’m relatively lucky - although I only started taking Posh, Broke, & Bored seriously as of 2013 my one year plus of blogging has been a somewhat smooth ride. *thinks a little harder* Actually, no, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies it’s compromise that moves us along, yeah. What I mean is that I’ve handled these blogger nightmares with as much grace and patience as I can muster, and also with the invaluable help of Jesse of Hecticophilia. But all the same I’ve had to hit the ground running, take the punches, roll with them, and learn how to deal with rejection, frustration, and just pure vitriol. I wished that someone had told me what I’m about to tell you now because even though nothing is as educational as real-life experience, knowing what adversities to expect does at least prepare you for it somewhat and at least when it does happen you won’t be as hard on yourself.

Without further ado, here are 3 nightmares all bloggers have encountered (with examples included) and how to deal with them.

NIGHTMARE 1: COMPANIES AND BRANDS THAT DON’T KNOW YOUR VALUE (AND WANT YOU TO BLOG FOR NOTHING)

When a blogger starts to build a following it’s not just their readers who take notice of what a good job they’re doing with putting out consistent, well-written posts. Companies and brands will approach you, some with the genuine intent of collaborating on producing content for your blog, but many are just trying to get you to work for free. For the new blogger, the attention is flattering - “Wow, these brands want me to write about their service/product/event? Never mind that they want me to do it for free, I should just say yes and it’ll lead to more work in the future, and maybe then they’ll offer compensation for my time and effort! And if I turn them down, they won’t consider me for future projects. Right?” WRONG. First of all, do not be flattered. Said companies are sending the same email to tens, even hundreds of bloggers, hoping that some of them will take the bait and essentially give them free advertising. Free for them, but what does it cost you? The time it takes to research, shoot and edit, and write the post. Possibly your integrity, if it’s one of those ‘offers’ where the company inserts a link or article into your post (beware of those that mention ‘SEO benefits') with no mention of it being as such.

The problem is, a lot of companies don’t realise how much work goes into blogging - they think you just fire off 250 words on your spanking new MacBook while using your toes to open bags of free stuff sent to you by PRs. Or maybe they don’t have the same respect for bloggers as they do for traditional media outlets like newspapers or magazines. If companies and brands are willing to pay to advertise on print media, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t pay to advertise on your blog - after all, you too are a publication and a form of media.

Further reading:  
London Beauty Queen: FYI, THIS IS HOW MUCH WORK GOES INTO WRITING ONE SINGLE PRODUCT REVIEW  
Hello The Mushrrom: WHAT IT TAKES TO BLOG

SOLUTION : KNOW YOUR VALUE, AND MAKE SURE THEY DO TOO

Say no to blog posts that are uncompensated. That includes “Write an amazing blog post and enter it in our competition for a chance to win xxx” and “We have xxx amount of followers on Twitter and when we Tweet your post they may or may not read it etc.” Do it courteously, but don’t burn any bridges, because manners are free (even if some didn’t get that memo). The Well have a great post on How To: Respond to Press Emails and Pitches You Aren’t Interested In.

My 'media kit' which I send to brands I want to work with and who want to work with me, so they know what they're getting.
Know what your blog’s statistics and analytics are. Install Google Analytics to get a detailed understanding of who your audience is, keep an eye on your social media outreach (that’s followers and interactions like comments, likes, etc), where your readers are from (for me, 40% is South East Asia, 40% is United Kingdom, and the rest are from USA and internationally). Make a media kit with all this information - how many followers you have on social media, examples of collaborations you are proud of, etc. But don’t include your detailed blog stats and analytics yet - clients who are genuinely interested in the possibility of working with you will enquire.  

NIGHTMARE 2 : ARTICLES AND WRITING WORK THAT FALLS THROUGH

Ok, so this one might be less of a Blogger Nightmare and more of a Writer Nightmare, but I feel like there’s a lesson to be learnt from this. 

Sarah of The Prosecco Diaries wrote about her ‘shin-kickingly frustrating’ experience with a fashion magazine that dropped her article - 

"I pitched a London Fashion Week street style article to an artsy fashion magazine, the kind you see in London newsagents that costs £20 and is mostly pictures. The fashion editor said yes and we agreed the commission would be to help me with my portfolio of published work, i.e - be completely unpaid. I spent a whole day at Somerset House, roaming the courtyard and approaching fashion mavens, asking to take their picture and interview them some short punchy questions that would go with each photo. The editor had asked for 40 shots, so I had to do this over two days to get good quality ones...I spent a good two, maybe three hours uploading all the shots and writing a Word document with all forty interviews.  
A week or so later I got an email saying "Hope you are well, Street Style will be up by the time you read this." Exciting! I checked their website. I wasn't there. I checked the next day. I checked every day for a week before politely emailing to ask what had happened. No response. I wait another week and send another email. Nothing back. Finally I sent a tweet to the fashion editor, waiting two days for a reply that said "didn't you get my email?”...and that the piece had been dropped due to time constraints. No follow up email, no apology. Oh, I did get a second tweet saying I should pitch another article to them as I "have an eye" apparently. Great." 
The Prosecco Diaries: LONDON FASHION WEEK FRUSTRATION

I swear, by the time I’d read that far I was ready to fly down to London and give Sarah a hug (and maybe also offer to egg the office of said fashion magazine). I had a comic series that was published monthly in a national newspaper but I absolutely understood when my series was cancelled (what can you do, eh?) because I was kept in the loop and because I was paid for all of submissions. However, having an article you’ve worked on dropped without notice or explanation, and worse no compensation is essentially a slap in your face for the time and costs (travelling, taking the time off work etc) of producing that article. Unfortunately it seems like this sort of occurrence is a rite of passage for many writers and bloggers, but there is a way to protect yourself...

SOLUTION : IMPLEMENT A ‘KILL FEE’

Brian A. Klems, online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine explains:

"A kill fee what you get if your editor decides not to buy your story after all. For example, say you were contracted to write “Don’t Squash ‘em,” a story about spiders for the National Bug Lovers Magazine. The editor agreed to pay you $1,000 for the piece. You send in the completed work, and the editor reads it over but feels your depiction of the little critters is too far off base for the message of the magazine. He also determines that a revise or edit won’t fix the problems with the piece. You, on the other hand, have done a lot of the work and feel you deserve to get your check. This is where the kill fee comes into play. 
Most contracts will state a percentage the editor will pay you if the story doesn’t run (Writer’s Digest pays 25% of the original agreed-upon amount). Once your story is officially killed, all rights to your piece revert back to you and you can try to sell it somewhere else. Maybe Insect Today will love your story."

Insist upon a kill fee - have the client agree to it in writing - before you take on any paid blogging work that could potentially put you out of pocket or majorly inconvenience you in any way. If it puts off the client, then you know they don’t respect your time and work. Perhaps Insect Today will - time to take your pitch elsewhere! 

NIGHTMARE 3 :  NASTY COMMENTS

I’m not talking about constructive criticism which you can learn from ie. “You have a good point, but perhaps you could get it across in more succinctly and elaborate on these examples instead” or “These are decent outfit photos, but I think a shoe with a thinner heel and a clutch instead of tote would suit this ensemble better”. I’m talking about comments that are nasty for the sake of being nasty like “OMG WTF U SO UGLEH DIE PLZ” (go back to under your bridge, trolls) and remarks engineered for the sole purpose of making you feel bad. 

For the latter, maybe the commenter isn’t even trying to make you feel bad. It could just be their reaction to what you’ve written. For example, someone took offence to my Christmas post where my table setting was a "£5 Christmas bouquet juxtaposed against exclusive prints gifted by Louis Vuitton to their most loyal customers” parallels the contradictory nature of my blog title.

Anonymous: "That doesn't mean you're 'broke', it just means you have the luxury of ironically pretending to be oh so poor and bohemian as a lazy USP. Its a mockery of true poverty and it would be adorably stupid if you weren't like, 30. Maybe some of the people you volunteer with will get a kick out of how you reappropriated a champagne bottle with fairy lights as 'cheap decor', when they can't afford second hand toys for their kids. Grow up."

SOLUTION : DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. RESPOND WITH KINDNESS.

To which I replied, "Hello Anonymous, as a matter of fact, I am broke, but of course you don't know that because you don't know anything about me beyond what I post on my blog, so I can understand your annoyance (as misdirected as it is). However, I never have alluded to poverty beyond the volunteer work I do to try and alleviate the effects of it in some way, and I certainly would never mock it. I am curious to hear how you think I can 'grow up'? Perhaps you'd do me the honour of emerging from behind your anonymity and show me the ways you've contributed to society and made the world a better place?’

Another reader replied to Anonymous, more eloquently: "Your objection seems to be that it's somehow untruthful for J to describe herself as broke, but it's all just semantics. Your version of broke might be my version of the plush life, and vice versa. If J presented a public persona of an individual that works two jobs and is still scrambling to make ends meet, then, yes, your beef might be legitimate. (Legitimate beef? Sounds like a good user name, and also a decent entree at Benihana.) But since I've been reading her blog over the last year or so, she has been historically open and honest about her circumstances and good fortune, whether due to family privilege, work connections, or her own hard work. It sounds more like your complaint is sour grapes rather than factually accurate, in which case, surely your time would be better invested elsewhere? As a point of interest, though, and open to all takers, is it really so impossible for one to be both posh and broke?" 

Surprise surprise, no response from Anonymous. I notice that when I reply politely, to angry comments with a sincere explanation and then invite a civilised discussion, I never hear from the rabble rouser again.

Take responsibility for what you’ve said that might have caused someone to feel so strongly and leave furious comments. Sometimes it’s them, sometimes it’s you, but accept that you can’t always make everyone happy and the least you can do is be polite, kind, understanding, and gracious. Unless they’re just trolling or trying to get a rise out of you, in which case, delete, block, and forget about it. Water off a duck’s back.

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On a happier note, my interview with Global Blue is up on their website! In 10 Questions With Blogger Jasiminne Yip I talk about style and shopping in Kuala Lumpur, and more!

I hoped you've enjoyed this post and found it somewhat helpful, whether you're a new aspiring blogger daunted by the dark side of the web or a veteran just feeling worn out by the less pleasant aspects of blogging. If you can think of someone who'll find this blog post helpful, why not share it with the social media icons below? Also, I've just joined Facebook and I'd really appreciate it if you'd show me some 'Like' on there! 

Happy Monday, everyone. x


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43 comments:

  1. This is a super helpful post, thanks Jasiminne! Your media kit looks absolutely incredible, wow! Thanks for sharing! Oh, and ignore the trolls, your blog is wonderful, as I'm sure you are :)


    Lauren xx
    The Lifestyle Diaries

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  2. Thank you Lauren, you're too kind! (I'm a bit of a twat in real life, but not as much as I'd like my blog readers to believe haha *lights cigar*) For my media kit, credit goes to Jesse - she gave me some serious good feedback on how to make it go from meh to YEAH! If you want any help on a media kit just ask me and I'll pass along what I've learned! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  3. Hahahah I love this! Sanity is overrated.. Right?! Really appreciate that - I don't even HAVE a media kit so all help would be appreciated! Let's definitely get a lunch and London Eye date on the cards soon! x

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  4. Loved this post! When I first got emails from brands I got so excited and thought I'd made it! Then after I got a couple more obviously mass emails, I soon wised up! So sad for that lady's writing, it's so cut throat and after she worked so hard as well!


    sheepishlyshameful.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. Yes! I'm back in London on Thursday and I daresay I'll be functioning by Monday. DM me your number and we'll whatsapp plans! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  6. I know, I'm so upset for Sarah - she's one of the hardest working people I know and she doesn't deserve that to happen to her, nobody does! Hopefully more bloggers & writers will implement these measures and stand up for themselves so that they won't get jerked around with. United we stand! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  7. Great tips! These are all things I have to deal with all the time, and you've offered some good advice.

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  8. Sarah Prosecco DiariesMarch 30, 2015

    Thanks for including my tale of woe! Commissioning editors all over the land are going to be asked for so many kill fees by bloggers they won't know what hit them! Xx

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  9. Kate BeardMarch 30, 2015

    I could not believe they did that! Such balls. You are an amazing person to not blast them by name all over the internet.

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  10. Kate BeardMarch 30, 2015

    Amazing post as always! Will definitely be sure to keep all this in mind when I take my freelancing/blogging full-time in a few months.

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  11. Love <3 xx

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  12. Two words - KILL FEE. Either you get a kill fee implemented, or you might have to kill them yourselves if an article falls through. x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  13. Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men. This is the music of the people who will not be slaves again!

    When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

    TO THE BARRICADES! *storms publication offices*

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  14. Sarah has far more restraint than the both of us combined, I think! Or maybe we both drink far too much coffee. Imagine what I'll be like when I get that Nespresso machine...

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  15. Thank you! I hope these tips will make your blogging easier - God knows it would've helped me if I'd known about it sooner! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  16. Ughhh!
    *troll mode*
    You should see what it's like to blog from an overly corrupt country whilst juggling FREELANCE work. I have literally put everything on pause because I can no longer handle all the douche bags! There's a saying here; "if it ain't nailed to something, it's free for the taking". No joke. Nobody I have worked with (brands AND individuals) understands what freelance is (or do, but still take it for granted). If i had the cash I'd be suing them all.

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  17. Thank you for such an open, honest and helpful post! I think some of the things you've listed can be a huge stumbling block for many of us (hell, I'm sure some truly excellent bloggers have even quit over things like this). I'll be pointing people in this post's direction from now on when I hear they're struggling (and I'm sure I will revisit it myself at some point too!).

    Polly xx
    Follow Your Sunshine

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing this post. You gave a very insightful take on the joys and pains of a blogger. More power, and lets show the 'bigwigs' how awesome [and damn right pros] bloggers really are! ;)

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  19. Thank you Polly, I'm really glad that I could help! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  20. I had no idea Prague was so corrupt! :O

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  21. Such a useful post. It still astounds me what people expect for nothing. I had a PR get in touch, asking me to develop and photograph 3 recipes to post in 3 seperate blog posts - that's about 6 days work.... For nothing. I don't think a lot of people understand what it takes to create 1 post, let alone 3....!!


    And as for trolls, kill em with kindness. They want a rise, a reaction, and if you do as you've done and respond with kind, well thought out words then there's nowhere for them to go apart from back into the hole that they came from.


    Rosie xx

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  22. Amy JB SmithMarch 30, 2015

    Great post, and pleased everything's going so well for you (the troll's comment was totally ludicrous by the way)!


    Have you ever had a problem with a news outlet copying and pasting large chunks of your writing? Something I'm trying to deal with at the moment, but they're ignoring me and the other blogger they did it to... Bit of a pickle!

    Amy x

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  23. Thank you Amy!

    I don't think I've had new outlet copy and paste any of my writing? I mean, I've had some publications quote me or reproduce perhaps a paragraph but always in context of their own article, and always linked back to the source. If you want, you could send me the link to the new outlet - I could look it over and see if you have grounds to take action against them? x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  24. You have a great looking media kit Jasiminne, and congratulations on your Global Blue interview, looking forward to reading it!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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  25. laurensparkleMarch 30, 2015

    love your kitty headband! so cute!
    xo lauren // laurensparkle.com

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  26. Lauren! Isn't it just? It's from Urban Outfitters! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  27. klutzclumlovMarch 31, 2015

    interesting post! thanks for sharing!

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  28. Loved reading this! It can be really hard to work up the confidence to ask for a fee when brands ask you to write a post for nothing but the only person really getting the exposure and credit there is the brand so it's important to state your worth (I'm sitting here totally in admiration of your media kit btw~). Love that you haven't just moaned about blogger problems but also posed excellent solutions - KILL FEE!

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  29. Thank you Katherine! As bloggers and writers we absolutely must speak up for ourselves - who else will if not us? - and make it clear that we know what our work is worth! After all we're not 'charity workers' - we're business people! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  30. Great post and great tips as well!!

    http://fashionwalkinbrussels.blogspot.com/

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  31. Exactly - we have to speak up for ourselves or it just sets the standard that bloggers are happy to do things for free. I wouldn't do my day job for free so why would I promote someone else's profit making business for free (or for "exposure" that I already have as a professional anyway)? In your succinct words: we're business people!

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  32. I just discovered your blog and I'm quite intrigued by your articles.
    Luckily, I haven't stumbled upon all of the nightmares, but I guess it's a matter of time. Thank you for the kind advice.


    Keep up the lovely posts and I'll be coming back to you, lady :)

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  33. Some great tips here. Will definitely think about them in the future when the situation arises. Shame about the piece of writing you did that never got published, that really sucks! I'm sure another company will make it up to you in other ways ;) ya win some, ya lose some. Thanks for the advice!

    Growing Positive

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  34. Very informative. I never thought about a kill fee.

    www.lookwhatigot.co.uk

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  35. Hmmm as a writer I believe everyone should be paid for their work. But as an editor of a magazine, I have to heavily edit bloggers' columns. Your writing is immaculate, J, but sadly not everyone is that good. So I don't know - there is another side to the story. But there's no need for an online story to be dropped. That's just stupid.

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  36. Oh, do you mean the London Fashion Week article? That wasn't me, that was my friend Sarah. Yeah, it really blows when that happened - here's hoping it won't ever again! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  37. Thank you Lubka - welcome to the party! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  38. Love this post. I really want to do a media kit. Maybe that will be something on the cards for the next few months! Love the kill fee, I've not yet imposed any kind of fee to write about things on my blogs and only taken when it's been offered, but I really want to start! I'd love to make it more than just a hobby!


    Katie <3

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