What is it REALLY like to be a full-time blogger?
When we heard Simon and Martina, the Canadian couple of Eat Your Kimchi fame were heading to Australia we knew we had to meet them. They have been a huge inspiration to us and one of the reasons why I first started blogging and why my husband and I are now blogging and making videos together.
Since starting the My Korean Husband blog I’ve realised how little people really know about blogging. It can be really isolating simply because friends and family don’t usually understand exactly what it is all about. This is one of the reasons why I was so keen to talk to Simon and Martina, not only because they blog about Korean stuff like me, but because I really wanted to talk to people that understand.
It’s fascinating what blogging has become in recent years and the huge differences between old media and new media. We have celebrities such as movie stars in Sydney all the time but I don’t think that many can command the number of people and passion that there was at the Korean Cultural Office last Friday. This is something that is so positive about blogging/vlogging. It’s authentic. When you see a movie star you really don’t know that much about their personal life or what they are really like. Bloggers however, have usually shared their real and authentic lives and their audience feels like they know them, that they are a friend, so there is a much bigger connection there. Not only that, but bloggers are accessible. They interact with fans and appreciate them so much.This is why there were so many people to see Simon and Martina and why the line for the meet and greet stretched so far down the street and why there were more people than the event organisers could have ever imagined.
Even with such a huge look into their lives I was still a bit apprehensive about meeting them. I figured I’d have to explain who I was as we are a much smaller blog than them. I worried about taking up their time. All those fears disappeared when they walked in the room though. Martina spotted me and said, “I know who you are!” and she then proceeded to talk about which of my comics she liked best. From the first second it was obvious that Simon and Martina (and Soozee) were just some of the friendliest, warmest and most genuine people you’ll ever meet.
We gave them a tote bag with a comic printed on it. I knew they’d be getting so many presents that day and wanted to give them something lightweight and that they could put other presents into. Eat Your Kimchi fans know that their pets are just a famous as they are, so I made a comic about one of the stories they told about their dog and cat.
So, on to the interview!
We have friends and we know people who look at our blog and they are like “I want a blog but is anyone going to watch? Is anyone going to read it, I need the right equipment. I can’t do it without this.”
And a lot of people find other excuses not to blog because they think if they are not going to do it perfectly, then there is no point in doing it. Or if they are not going to be famous then there is no point in doing it. But we started doing it because we were passionate about the topic and we just did it for 2 years without being YouTube partners. So we didn’t earn a dime off of anything, we just did it because it was something we were passionate about. So that is my advice, do something that you are passionate about, don’t do it because you want to become rich and famous.
Yeah I was going to say the same thing. Enjoy the topic at hand and don’t think that just because your topic has been talked about, that you shouldn’t do it, because we meet so many people that say things to us in Korea like, “Oh I live in the countryside and I really want to start blogging but you are blogging and you guys are so big so…” But do we live in the countryside? Do we blog about the countryside?
Every person’s perspective is different so if you are a student, if you are a housewife, if you are a couple that are Canadian that moved to Korea… you are still not us. So don’t feel intimated. We felt intimidated by Zenkimchi who were before us, but now we’ve friends with them and we find out they are just normal people too…
Blogging is an end in itself not a means to an end. Whenever I hear potential YouTubers say like, “I need this type of camera….” Well Jenna Marbles has like 10 million subscribers and she shoots it on the shittiest quality but people out there like it! So just do it.
I mean… before we were full time obviously no, we just took our camera everywhere and it was for fun and we just did that. When it became our job, we still loved doing it as a fun hobby, but when you socialise you have to remember that you have an audience that is like, “Oh I’m really looking forward to your WANK!” or “I’m really looking forward to you doing a cooking video”, so now we think about our audience more than our social life. So now we can’t be like it’s our friend’s Christmas party and we are going to stay overnight, we can’t think about that because we have the EYK awards or…
We skipped our Music Monday 2 weeks ago because our video editor Leigh was moving to Busan (for school) and a lot of people were like “Why wouldn’t you do it???” Well, like I’m sorry but saying goodbye to her was more important.
So that’s why we enjoy having Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, all these different options to reach out to people because that’s how we got to know the Nasties (EYK fans) and the Nasty community is awesome! They all understand, they’ll be like “Why are you videotaping when you are sick Martina?!” and I’ll be like “Sorry!” They are taking care of you, you know?
Our dedicated core fan base has more understanding of our personal life. Whereas all the people who view us for…. say K-pop Music Monday only, some of them are more fans of the K-pop bands than they are of us and they just use us as a “Well I want you to promote my band” and as a result they don’t care how we feel at the time, they just want the product.
But also, the worst thing about the blogging profession is that is no such thing as holidays. Like if you take a holiday and you don’t put up content, then people don’t view your site and you don’t get ad revenue . Because that’s pretty much how we survive now, off of ad revenue. So for this whole time we haven’t taken any holidays, we are going to take our first one in January finally. We’ve decided Soo Zee is going to take one. Soo Zee works just as hard.
They have a cardboard cut out of intern Leigh’s head with them.
So we became really close as a family and crew and everything and then we see each other all the time and then all we do is work and think about ideas. So we need to take a day off where all of us just go and do nothing, so that was Sunday.
Oh that is the good things! For us it’s an enjoyable job so you don’t have that line between… 9 to 5 let’s go home. You just keep going along, we go out for supper, we don’t think about it, but then we stay at work until 2am.
There was this one hilarious one where I burst out laughing. This person said something along the lines of “I don’t understand why Simon and Martina take so long editing their videos to make Music Monday because I make a 10 minute unpackaging video and it only takes me 2 hours…”
Our music Mondays have been getting shorter lately because we are trying to not spend 48 hours at the studio, because Music Monday is the day where we come in and we work until sunrise the next day. So the longer the video, the longer we are there.
And we have so many ideas, like for every music Monday we do, we have at least 3 to 4 skits that we have to chop, so even after we make the skit we have to be like “Which one of these is funnier?” And we are trying to gauge the reaction. So it’s not just like “We wrote this, lets film it”. Then we have to decide what to keep and then the video has to be exported and then you have to upload it YouTube, then you need to caption it…
Some people think you just walk into the studio, play some K-pop music and press record on the camera and then dance around and then “voila” it’s all magic, just done… Well we do pay a lot of attention to detail. Like Soo Zee as well, the things she does as well, even like looking at the shirts and the shirt design. Working the logos and our media kits as well.
My actual goal is to have Eat Your Kimchi branding, so we are trying to match up aesthetics with other stuff, like tshirts have to be all in the one style that matches Eat Your Kimchi, so we have a colour scheme…
Some people might notice that our thumbnails have a unified theme and with the font. So all those have a similar colour to our website. So we are trying to keep the same kind of visual cues. These look like small details but they take a lot of discussion and work to do.
And also the discussion off camera, like one person will have a perspective of what they expect it to look like and you have an idea in your mind and then when you see it on camera and you are like “This didn’t work out the way I thought.” So then you have to think about how to change that for next time and then you argue about it, “Well next time we should put it up higher or lower” so all that stuff comes in.
Here is the short video we did together. A shout out to people who are both Eat Your Kimchi Fans and My Korean Husband fans:
Big thank you to SQ Entertainment.