The Blogger that Couldn’t Be Bought

In I am... on April 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

That’s a very ambitious title I’ve got going there isn’t it.

Well that’s because it’s complete crap.

When telling people I write a blog, the next question after, “a fashion blog?”, to which my answer is a firm ‘No!’ (ugh-who-do-they-take-me-for kinda thing), is almost always, “so how do you make money from it?”.

Explaining that I don’t make any money from my site (yeah that’s right, not a measly, frick’n dime) usually leaves people with a deflated, perplexed look on their faces. They search for some crummy words of reassurance that they don’t really mean and I don’t really want (you patronizing *@%^#!… erm, just kidding … sort of).

We both smile and pretend like we’re enjoying the conversation.

As is the case with most bloggers, I sound a teeny weeny bit touchy when it comes to talking about the financial side of MessyNessyChic, don’t I? You might be wondering whether you would ask me the same question had we the opportunity to meet, and would I be thinking that you too, are just another patronizing *@%^#!

Well chances are, no.

The fact that you’re sitting/ standing/ crouching, scratching your God knows what and reading my blog right now, says that you’re a fan of what I’m writing and not of what I may or may not be accomplishing financially.

When I started MessyNessyChic, I envisioned a magical place on the web to call my own where tiny unicorns could frolic and eat cupcakes …

… a place where I could informatively, intelligently and indirectly remind my ex-boyfriends of why they’re idiots [see How Metrosexual is Too Metrosexual? or 5 Fashion Don’ts for Dudes or even Clubbing is Like, SO Over] …

… a place where trashing the ugly side of the fashion industry was possible [see Fashion Can Be a Real Bitch or Why We Should Feel Sorry for Male Models] …

… a place where I could admit that I’m a Bit of a Loner, and that’s Okay with Me.

(I hope shamelessly plugging links to my articles every other word didn’t take away from the quality of my work just there).

In fact, when I started MessyNessyChic, it’s safe to say that turning it into a cashcow source of income was the last thing on my mind.

My last real editorial job had been working at a promising young magazine, which I had nurtured from it’s early days only to end up challenging the advertising director to duels on a daily basis over the advertorials (adverts disguised as editorials) that he kept throwing my way like an evil … like an evil adverts man! So evil.

Anyhoo. Off I rode into the sunset with my tiny unicorn, vowing never to to compromise my creativity for a paycheck again. But then something happened.

News broke in the blogosphere that Arianna Huffington had sold her blog, The Huffington Post, to AOL for $315 million.

No, not really. Well she did, but I’m actually not as deluded as those kids trying out for American Idol.

The truth is, I just came to the realization that like everyone else, I don’t think austere poverty is all that cool really.

You see, my Gmail inbox is full of emails pretty much saying things along the lines of: “How do you come up with such fresh content all the time MessyNessyChic? Will you feature our awesome clothing line in return for bucket loads advertising revenue?” or “Your last article was nothing short of a stroke of genius Nessy, we’d like to buy your blog and give you a chunk load of money for it.”

Ok, fine.

Nobody emails me.

At least nobody saying that kind of stuff. I receive a few feature requests from various companies from time to time which get me really excited in the first few lines of the email and then I realize the product is boring as hell, the person sending it has probably never read a full article on my blog, and this is a mass newsletter to a bunch of bloggers’ emails stored on a marketing database.

Make no mistake, we bloggers are targeted for advertising (we are the future just so you know). And we would embrace that advertising if it wasn’t content that made us look like cheap sell outs.

Selling out isn’t cool.

Monetizing is cool. That’s the trick. Calling it monetizing sounds more like a well-executed, well-strategized plan that’s considerate of my readers and in no way compromising to the quality of my work (pigs are actually flying right now, they’re actually airlifting their fat little bodies off the ground at this very moment).

Readers can get cranky when a blogger starts showing signs of shifting lanes and seeing adverts pop up. I get that. The Huffington Post has recently taken to the most incredibly annoying form of advertising pop-ups in which your entire window freezes and some cheap-shot advert blows up in front of the article that you were ever so faithfully just reading about how much weight Angelina Jolie may or may not have gained.

Okay look, here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to make a list of blogger’s rules, a code of honor if you will, to myself, and to you my readers, of how MessyNessyChic will conduct itself as plans for expansion (and calculated world-domination) move forward. You’ll find that they might sound like pretty relevant lessons for life in general…

  • I will continue to write for me.
This is the secret ingredient behind you liking my blog. I’m in fact, kind of creepily, in love with my own writing. I’ll read articles over and over, and over again, even after they’re published, and tweak, obsess, make the spaces between the lines just that tiny bit more comfortable (for example, these bloody bullet points just won’t space correctly).
It’s creepy. But it works.
  • I will always strive to place more value into the lives of my readers than I extract.
Hey I’m no expert, but I like to help.
Help with real-life problems, send a little knowledge your way that might one day come handy in a vigorous game of trivial pursuit, prevent you from having a crappy time in Paris with some legitimate advice and in general, just be real.
Being anything else is tiring.
  • If I work very hard to provide a lot of value, I should be rewarded for it.
The world is based on exchange and when that is violated, only negativity will result. I’m going to need to make some revenue off this thing somehow, and when that day comes, I can only hope readers will be happy for me and proud of themselves for helping me get there.
  • I will never promote just for the money.
As with anything in life, if you question the value of something, don’t promote it (i.e. “Lose 20lb in 20 minutes!!!”).
  • Do not require that everybody like you.
Realize that a small, but dependable percentage of people are routinely negative and will complain no matter what you do. You are better off to get them out of your space than to attend to their complaints. On the flip side, don’t be dismissive of all complaints! Some are valid, but you need to learn to tell the difference between a legit issue and a person just taking out their own unhappiness on you.
  • Respect your reader’s attention and their time.
For example, respect that your male readers likes to look at women with very little clothing and so a photograph of a half-naked woman slapped at the top of the article is bound to grab their attention (works everytime).
Okay, bad example.
Just don’t take your readers for complete idiots.
So that’s it.
As long as I’m a decent human being living on this planet pretty much, I won’t be selling out like those bad guys in the movies do (I’m also pretty sure Arianna Huffington looks like she hasn’t been laid in fifteen years).
Oh and one last thing, I’m about to fire my web developer because my 5 year-old dog could come up with a more imaginative re-design for my website than him.
So any recommendations, send them my way.
Have a good weekend my beautiful, terrific, much appreciated readers!

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