Professional Blogger – Rules to Follow

I started blogging 10 years ago. Believe it or not, they weren’t called blogs “back then.” I remember telling people that I had an online journal. It was a space for me to come and share anything and everything that I wanted. I held the golden key, along with my mom and sister. We loved what we did and we quickly turned our little business into a professional blogger business.

Professional Blogger – Rules to Follow

Professional Blogger - Rules to Follow

Not much has changed on that front over the last 10 years. We all still hold the key as to what we decide to share. It’s our carved out space in the world and we love it. The best part of blogging is that if people come to your blog and love it, they can come back tomorrow. If people don’t like what they see on your blog, they don’t ever have to come back. It’s not an open store front. I don’t sell goods. I don’t have to be somewhere from 9-5 every single day. If you like what you see and read, you’re always welcome, in my book, to keep on coming back.

A few weeks ago, a blogger posted about how Mom Blogging Ruined her life. It’s definitely gotten a TON of play and truth be told, I didn’t touch it on my blog or on social media. Her experience was 180 degrees different than mine (thank goodness), but the one beauty and truth about blogging is that we all have the right to our opinions and feelings and can post anything we want to post. My best friend Vera Sweeney wrote an exceptional blog post that reflected my feelings exactly. We’re both a professional blogger – so this really struck a cord with us.

But the thing in this space of ours is, well, sometimes we just can’t let things go. We just can’t put them to bed. We just can’t walk away. Blogging is something that changed the course of my life. Blogging became the dream job that I never knew I wanted. My little blog that started off as in 2006 has morphed into a business that has provided my family and me with experiences and opportunities I never dreamed of happening. This world of blogging hand delivered me a best friend. This world of blogging supports my family of 7! I am the SOLE PROVIDER of my family, which is something I’m incredibly proud of for my family. This world of blogging has introduced me to people that have changed my life. This world of blogging has pulled back the magic curtain of untouchable people and connected me with causes and organizations that I love to the core. This world of blogging was my anchor when my husband had a cancerous tumor removed in 2012 and my friends across the globe reached out to help. This world of blogging is my passion. Being a professional blogger is something I’m proud of, so so very proud of.

Blogging and the world of digital media is something I take very seriously because it’s not only my passion, it’s my business. If I don’t work, I don’t pay my bills. It’s that simple. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a fleeting interest. It’s something I work hard at every single day of my life.

And the best part? I’m not alone.

There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other women (Moms), just like me, too who call themselves a professional blogger.

If you are a professional blogger – this post is for you. We’ve actually gone beyond the word “blogger” now, known as digital influencers, all working hard to share and create content and connect with people. With all the chaos that has ensued over the last couple of weeks, it’s important to remember this simple truth – you need to be professional. I’ve had jobs I LOATHED. Do you know how many times I daydreamed about going in and pulling a scene like this…


OR this…


But I didn’t.

I didn’t because it’s UNPROFESSIONAL.

(I really wanted to show a Giphy with swears and stuff, but well – that’s unprofessional, too.)

Being professional goes a long way.

I drafted some rules that I make sure to abide by in the wide world of digital influencing. These are important rules to remember and follow. NOBODY wants to work with someone who is unpleasant – regardless of your traffic. It all comes down to relationships and just being a good business partner and person.

professional blogger - rules to follow

Rules for a Professional Blogger:

  1. Don’t wait for projects to come to you. I have pitched and pitched and pitched my little heart out throughout my blogging career. I would easily say that 50% (or more) of the blogging opps I’ve had, I’ve pitched. I never sit stagnant. I’m always thinking of content that’s going to fit my readers. I always reach out to contacts and share ideas (as scary as it may be at times). I always think of the brands and products I love and use in my life and see if there can be some form of a partnership. Waiting for jobs is like watching water when you want it to boil.
  2. Don’t miss a deadline. This is Professionalism 101 – NEVER miss a deadline. If something comes up that you know is going to affect your schedule, reach out to your contacts immediately and let them know. When you sign on with someone to do a job, a timeline is KEY. You don’t want to ever be the one to mess that up. And believe me, I have run blogger outreach programs and it SUCKS chasing bloggers for their content. It’s so easy when everyone is completes a project on time.
  3. Ask for help. I’m not ashamed to say I have a virtual assistant. When you are a professional blogger, you sometimes need extra help. You can’t do everything. Truthfully – this was the TOUGHEST part for me to accept and finally just do something about. So many of my friends have VA’s and I always looked at them green with envy. Finally, when I found someone to help me out and then brought on my sister and another friend, it was HEAVEN ON EARTH. Further – I brought on a manager and a business development manager. A team. It wasn’t just me, myself and I anymore. I had grown my business to be able to accommodate help and I was getting what I needed from each of them. All of a sudden, I wasn’t alone – I had reliable people to depend upon.
  4. Steer clear of drama. Like a freaking hot potato – STAY AWAY. Live under a rock. Just swim with your head down and work hard on what you love. There’s nothing worse than getting tangled into something.
  5. Zig when they zag. This is one motto that I’ve built my business on, especially with Vera Sweeney. Don’t ever be a copycat. Do your own thing. When people are doing one thing, try and think of something else that will make you stand out. If everyone goes right, go left!
  6. Take the time to get to know the people you’re working with. This is one piece of advice I can’t stress enough. Some of my close friends online are people with whom I’ve worked from the brands and PR agencies. It’s important to try to make sure you keep solid relationships. Take the time to drop an email to check in. Take the time to draft a note. Take the time to send flowers or cookies or “thank you” notes. Take the time.
  7. Never think you can’t be replaced. This is something that is always important to remember. There are tons of other bloggers out there. Don’t be a diva. Remember that you can always be replaced.
  8. It’s all about the content. Creating content is the beauty of our world, the very foundation. Create content that you love. Create content that you want to share, are honored to share.
  9. Not every opp/pitch is worth the money. Don’t take everything that comes your way, especially if it doesn’t work for you. This is really tough to do at times, but it’s always important to remember. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to say NO. I remember being afraid that people wouldn’t want to work with me again, but honestly – it’s just the opposite. I think they respected the fact that I was honest.
  10. Know your worth. Money. It’s the million dollar word in our industry. There’s no rate sheet. There’s nothing to really help you base numbers on, but my biggest advice – have an idea as to what you want to get for things. Ask friends. Ask colleagues. Ask around and find out ranges that people are working with. If you don’t want to ask for a particular number, ask for a ballpark.
  11. Be kind. I need to say this again, BE KIND. Being nice goes a long way. Kindness is still the best business practice to follow.
  12. Don’t boast. Don’t overkill yourself on social. OMG. Please don’t do this. Please. Please. Please. If you’re excited about a job you get, go ahead, announce it – I get it! But doing this repeatedly, over and over, is too much. It makes people tune you out or put you on mute.
  13. Don’t use social media as a way to bash. Don’t be a stream of disgruntlement. People don’t want to see that over and over every single day.
  14. The community is the most important, don’t forget this (ever).  The community is why many of us fell in love with blogging 10 years ago and are still friends! The community is rich and full of incredible women. I can’t tell you how many times the community has been my anchor.
  15. Go above and beyond.  When you’re doing a contracted job, always give a little more. If it’s extra social, extra photos, etc., always give a little more and go above and beyond.

This is all I have for now.

If I think of anything else, I’ll add it in.

Social media is near and dear to my heart. It’s where I have decided to focus all of my time and energy as a profession. There is room for everyone. There is a space for all thoughts and opinions. The beauty of this world is that we’re all different – there’s not ONE other person like YOU out there. Allow blogging to be that creative space for you to have fun and share what interests you the most.

But at the end of the day, let’s just all stay professional about it because – really, is that too much to ask and hope for?

Check out this post: Blogging Tips for Beginners!

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 5.31.16

    I <3 you. #thatisall

  2. 5.31.16
    admin said:

    Love you back Debbie!! XO

  3. 5.31.16

    LOVE. Absolutely love this. I was in that world, then sadly had to leave it, and I am working my way back in, because I have never been happier than when I was blogging and meeting other bloggers, digital influencers, and contacts and brands.

    Thanks for sharing this!!! And for being one of the people who have given me opportunities to join the world of digital influencers, bloggers, and overall wonderful people.

  4. 5.31.16
    admin said:

    Thanks for commenting Michele! We’re all in this together and I love how tight our community is! XO

  5. 5.31.16
    Jennie said:

    Great post, Audrey, and yes to it all.

  6. 5.31.16
    Kathy said:

    I love this! You hit the nail on the head Audrey!

  7. 5.31.16

    Great post Audrey. I’ve been stewing for awhile on her whole post too and thought of crafting a response myself. I love that you turned this around and added in some great value & content for bloggers w/your rules.

    I love what I do – I love that I support my family and I love that I’ve met so many empowering, fabulous, beautiful women in this space. I can’t say enough about it.

    And all your tips – spot on but I love #4. I have Dory’ed it and just kept swimming through so many blogger dramas and it’s the way to be.

  8. 5.31.16

    Thank you for writing this. You hit the nail on the head – it is our profession and we want to be in this space. You do a wonderful job and you are always so kind.

  9. 5.31.16
    Nicole said:

    This. All of this.

  10. 5.31.16

    Audrey, I love you.

    And I 110% stand behind every last word in this post. Like you, I refused to click over to that gal’s post, and I am just so very sorry she’s had such a toxic experience in a profession that has been the best thing that has happened to my life.

    My fave, above all because it should be true in everything we say and do as humans: Be kind. I need to say this again, BE KIND. Being nice goes a long way. Kindness is still the best business practice to follow.

    Hugs, friend. Keep on being awesome YOU and a role model for every other influencer out there.

  11. 5.31.16

    Love you to pieces. I can’t believe we started our business pretty much the exact same time & you were among the first ones to feature my store (and among of the first blog posts I wrote was an interview of Pinks and Blus girls :)). I will never forget it. Friendships & loyalty & professionalism go far in this biz.

  12. 5.31.16
    Nancy Smith said:

    As a ‘brand’ person I can say that Audrey (as usual) hits the nail on the head here. We met years and years ago, I didn’t have something at the time that was right for her, but was so impressed with her personally. We stayed in touch and as soon as I had something that I thought would work for her I reached out. Keep those connections alive and good things will come!

  13. 5.31.16

    I love that this post is all about empowerment and positive ideas and action steps. This is a career path like any other and I appreciate you sharing this perspective and philosophy in this post.

  14. 5.31.16
    Esti said:

    I love how you took this opportunity to show all the good in blogging! What an incredible role model you are so so many just starting out, and those just about to make it big. Everything worth having takes time, and I admire your professionalism and integrity. I so appreciate the opportunities my blog has provided me and the talented women that I have met. May you continue to shine a light and glow all that is good!

  15. 5.31.16
    Allie said:

    Such a well-written post! I am still young in the blogging world, but so far I have been completely amazed at how many amazing and talented women there are out there willing to help one another out. Every day I feel like I am able to learn and create, which is something I didn’t really have an outlet for until blogging. You’re absolutely right about it being the dream job I never knew I wanted. Thank you for sharing!

  16. 5.31.16

    Great post!

  17. 5.31.16

    You are a class act, my friend. xo

  18. 5.31.16
    karen said:

    #!2 like really man its freaking annoying… and yes be nice there so many bullies in the blogging world

  19. 5.31.16
    Lauren said:

    This is great!! I totally agree with all of your tips, esp the stay away from drama one! ha!

  20. 5.31.16
    Victoria said:

    Absolutely amazing my friend! Professional woman like you, Vera, and many others I know are inspirational to bloggers like me! Thank you for sharing! Keep rocking girl!

  21. 5.31.16
    Bridgette said:

    As the Owner of a Digital Influencer agency, I cannot agree more with #2. I would also say that COMMUNICATION IS KEY! We understand that things happen, but a simple, quick email goes a long way. Don’t leave us guessing if/when you will follow through on your obligations.

    Thanks for the post, Audrey!

  22. 5.31.16

    I love this. I would say you are incredibly kind and GENEROUS. Never forget generosity–you always give more than asked and are a great supporter of our community.

  23. 5.31.16
    brianne said:

    Yes Yes Yes! All of it. So well written and said. You are an incredible business women that I admire so much so and also someone I call a friend! Bravo Audrey!

  24. 5.31.16
    Maria said:

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing something positive and constructive for us blogger gals!

  25. 5.31.16


    I agree 100% with everything here.

    As you know, Janice and I have also been blogging for a decade and support our families through our site as well.

    We’ve followed every single one of those rules for the last decade and I believe that’s why we’ve succeeded and still love our business.

  26. 5.31.16
    Andrea said:

    Beautiful! All of it.

  27. 5.31.16
    Fadra said:

    This is perfect in every way. Even though my journey has been shorter than yours (although I did start on Blogger), my experience has been very similar to yours. I keep doing it because I love it. But when it comes to the money, I still have a few lessons to learn.

    Thanks for being a leader in this space!

  28. 5.31.16
    admin said:

    You are one of the ladies I was speaking of… the true friends from 10 years ago. I love you girls!

  29. 5.31.16
    Nathan said:

    Finally, a sane post from a solid blogger. Thank you Audrey.

  30. 5.31.16

    Thank you it’s all I say but say it i will again thank you.

  31. 5.31.16

    This is perfection, Audrey! I am so grateful to be in this space and to have amazing friends to learn from. Thank you for being true to who you are and sharing this so perfectly. <3

  32. 5.31.16
    Destiny said:

    Two words – Mic Drop! This is awesome and amazing. You rock.

  33. 6.1.16

    Great tips, agreed with everything you said!

  34. 6.1.16
    Kristin said:

    So many gems! Every single one!

  35. 6.1.16

    Cheers Audrey!

  36. 6.2.16

    Great tips! And I am so impressed that are supporting your big family by professionally blogging. Awesome! I will definitely be reading more to learn by your example

  37. 6.2.16
    Sarah said:

    Love this! ❤ Nail on head!

  38. 6.2.16

    LOVE this article!! I myself have been blogging for 9 years and all of these have grown in my eyes. I have a FT job that isn’t my blog but I treat my blog as if it was… shared this in our group! Thanks for this information.

  39. 6.2.16

    Love every part of this – glad our paths have crossed so many times.
    Such a class act – honesty, down to earth and always with style!

  40. 6.2.16
    Divina said:

    Yes, yes, yes and yes! Thank you for showcasing the best of this business of blogging.

  41. 6.3.16

    Yes!!! I agree with you 110%!!! You know, I never even read that bloggers post that you speak of. I never clicked over and I stayed AWAY. I try to always stay away from drama. I hate it. Great post!! Thank you 🙂

  42. 6.3.16

    WOW!!! This is an awesome post, especially for those of us who are kind of knew in the he world of blogging. It’s first time I visit your blog, I saw it on Mom It Forward’s FB group.. I’m so happy I did. Great quality content.

  43. 6.3.16
    admin said:

    Thank you so much!!! XO

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