I was thinking the other day that it’s been too long since I did any kind of a reader giveaway, so it’s time to change that! Also, now and again, I need to rant. So I figured, why not kill two birds with one stone?
Miles and points blogging industry can be a noisy place. Not literally, of course, but in a figurative sense. It can also be harsh and cruel at times. When I started almost three years ago, nobody knew who I was. I wasn’t active on Flyertalk or blog comments sections, and pretty much did this hobby on my own for over a decade.
Making yourself vulnerable online and writing words that people will actually read is scarier than you might imagine. I don’t think one can truly prepare for it, it’s sort of a trial by fire. So, it was quite unpleasant when total strangers started calling me an idiot, stupid housewife, twit etc. Naturally, being a lady blogger (industry term du jour for gals like myself), I ended up OVARYacting.
Your first inclination when something like that happens is to prove everyone wrong. I’m not really dumb! I’m an interesting person and not just a housewife! Really, I am! I have dreams and might even fly in Singapore suites one day! Like me, please, like me!
I hate to admit it, but I got sucked into this dysfunctional merry-go-round for the first few months of blogging. Some of the criticism was totally deserved, but there was a lot of noise too. It finally dawned on me: am I really trying to prove myself to total strangers on the internet, people who I will most likely never meet in real life? Pass. To quote Alfred from previous “Batman” franchise: “Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn.” Speaking of, new “Batman vs. Superman” was kind of “weak sauce,” except shirtless scenes of Henry Cavill.
I also try not to cater to other bloggers, including cool kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a fight or anything. I absolutely don’t write my posts with the idea of how much I can irritate blogger so and so. If that’s how it comes across, it’s not my intention. I try to be respectful to others and listen to their opinions. It’s important to keep an open mind whether it’s real life or virtual one.
But one thing I don’t do is try to create content so I can impress other bloggers. They know as much as me about miles and points, and many times way more. It would be a pointless and futile use of my time. I’m here to write for normal, middle-class family, period. If that means creating content that comes across as “vanilla” to my colleagues, so be it.
I’ve actually written posts and ended up deleting them because they were too complicated. It’s not that I think my readers aren’t smart enough, it’s more like who has the time and patience for 10-step strategies? I know I don’t. Speaking of blogging Dont’s, there are 4 things I try to avoid, in the order of significance:
Don’t be petty.
Don’t be resentful.
Don’t be stupid.
Don’t be a sellout.
But the most important “Do” for any blogger is listening to his/her readers. Of course, you have to be careful. There are three types of feedback in the miles and points industry:
1) Nasty trolls
These folks simply use bloggers as their punching bag, something to vent their frustration. Nothing is off-limits. They insult height, weight, gender, religious beliefs, basically stuff that has absolutely no bearing on one’s ability to write about miles and points. In real life, I have no doubt, most of these guys and gals are polite individuals. But internet definitely exposes one’s true self. These trolls are relatively harmless because they only make themselves look foolish.
2) Clever trolls
These individuals never stoop as low as the previous group. Instead, they add just enough truth into their vitriol to make it sound quite plausible. Their favorite argument is that it’s wrong to make money from blogging, that it’s a pure art form and should not be polluted by financial incentive. They point out legitimate problems in the industry and let’s face it, it doesn’t take long to find sleaze when it comes to miles and points blogs.
They go absolutely nuts when bloggers include affiliate links (not just credit cards) of any sort. Common pattern with these guys/gals is that they never offer any type of viable alternative. They sure won’t be spending 3-4 hours per day creating original content. They are too busy looking for things they can hate on. Don’t be fooled, they are not out to encourage bloggers to be more honest. Their main goal is to keep The Hobby as an exclusive club where the “herd” is not welcome.
3) Legitimate, useful feedback
These are readers who actually want to improve things. Examples include pointing out mistakes (always welcome on my blog), politely letting you know about a better non-affiliate link without automatically assuming that you are hiding it. Making suggestions on how to improve content is perfectly fine. I also think it’s reasonable for readers to politely voice their opinion if they feel 99% of blog’s content revolves around paying offers. Obviously, I don’t think it’s wrong to promote affiliate links when they are also good for readers, but balance is important.
So, this is where my giveaway comes in. I’m looking for feedback (good or bad) that falls into a third category. What sort of posts do you find most beneficial? What bugs you about my site? What would you like me to change? Please, feel free to also give me suggestions for future posts. Last chance to comment and be eligible for gift card drawing is April 12th, 6 PM Eastern time (next Tuesday). Thanks in advance!
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.