You should know I spent a long time deciding whether or not to publish this post. The topic of an authentic blogger has been on my mind a lot since last year so don’t hate me for what I’m about to say, but hear me out.
Blogging and social media management has become so complicated, hurried and intense that some bloggers have gotten really aggressive by outsourcing work just to keep up with the ever growing landscape. More and more I’m seeing a trend of bloggers using a front person to do the work while they’re doing the creative work and in some cases, they’re not even doing the creative anymore.
What makes blogging idiosyncratic is its raw, authenticity. You open up a window of your life to the world and people look at you through that window. With blogging, there’s the ability to influence and I believe with that comes a certain level of responsibility. Let’s see how you may no longer be an authentic blogger and what makes an authentic blogger.
How you may no longer be an authentic blogger
Someone else manages your social media
More and more I’m seeing Tweets, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram posts being done by a virtual assistant and not by a blogger themselves. The intent of social media is to be social. If someone else is doing your social media, you lose your unique factor and while you may gain followers, they’re not genuine followers. I think if you are overwhelmed by social media you need to streamline what you put your time into. Focus your time on 2 or 3 specific social media outlets that give you the biggest bang for your buck and rely on apps to do less valuable things to retain your credibility.
Someone else responds to your blog commenters
Have you ever wondered why on big blogs there are no comments? One of the biggest unknown secrets is that someone else is managing that site. From administering posts to scheduling content to responding to commenters, the person you see on the blog is usually not running the blog.
Case in point. I read Gina’s blog every day and she has a huge following. As a reader, I would feel betrayed if I found out someone else was writing and responding to my comments. There’s no doubt that responding to comments is a lot of work, but I think if you can’t handle it you should shut off blog comments. I ask you would you want your readers to feel that way?
Someone else shoots your photographs
Many bloggers are now enlisting professional photographers to shoot for them. This one makes me most upset. In my mind, it teeters on the question of content authenticity. Say the content were a recipe and someone else shot and styled the food for the blogger. Sure the blogger may have authored the recipe, perhaps even made it for the shoot. Even then it no longer represents that person when someone else puts their touch on it. If you can’t take a picture to save your life or don’t have the time, then you should either be transparent about it giving full credit to the photographer or shoot your own content. But don’t pretend to be something you are not.
What makes an authentic blogger
While I agree outsourcing administrative tasks (blog and widget design, e-book formatting and marketing, email subscription management and food site submissions) is a smart to do, I think it’s disingineous to outsource so many things. As a blogger, you have a responsibility to be authentic and genuine. It’s a fine balance, I get it. Especially when you’re trying to build a business from it.
When I think about my favorite blogs and what makes me come back to read them time after time – Suz, Gina, Michelle, Lindsay (and many more of you who I love and adore), it’s that they’re relatable and have a genuine unique voice. They’re consistent in everything they do too – blog posts, social media commentary and photography. If you outsource those things, then you’ve lost some authenticity and in which case, you’re just another website.
So tell me. Are you an authentic blogger?
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