The first annual Financial Blogger’s Conference held last weekend in Chicago brought together nearly 280 personal finance bloggers from around the country to network and share ideas and expertise. Speakers addressed such topics as SEO, “Getting to 1 Million Page views on a Small Budget,” and “68 Ways to Monetize Your Blog.”
But mostly, the bloggers were there to reaffirm their commitment to their readers. “Without them, you have no blog,” observed J.D. Roth, creator of the award-winning Get Rich Slowly.
Financial blogs, he said, are a testament to “the power of story.” Many bloggers share their personal money management struggles and triumphs. Others, he said, have the educational background to give their readers to the tools to improve their financial lives. Other personal finance blogs have blossomed into a community resource comprised of reader feedback and submissions of their own experiences.
Money is considered by many to be a taboo subject, or at least something one doesn’t talk about with friends. The most committed bloggers are dedicated to “starting the conversation,” as J. Money, creator of Budgets are Sexy, told Millionaire Corner.
And so we asked several attendees, ‘What is the role of the financial blogger and why do you do what you do?”
Will Chen, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Wise Bread: It sounds a little self-important, but I think every financial blogger is playing an important role in our national discourse about financial independence and frugal living, which is a message that needs to get out there. I don’t think it’s being covered enough in the media. We develop a very close relationship with our readers, who come to think of us as their friends, guides and authority figures. (The financial blogger) should provide actionable, insanely helpful tips for our readers.
Shannyn Allan, FrugalBeautiful.com: People in my age group—between 20-30 years-old—may have racked up (massive) student load debt, and the jobs aren’t there for them to make ends meet. I want to teach people in my age group about finances in a way that’s accessible and that they can incorporate into their daily lives. I find that too often we get talked to (about finance) in way that’s either pitched over our heads so we don’t fully understand, or we’re just having a chit- chat with friends that isn't providing substance that will help them grow financially. There is so much information out there, but people don’t know where to go to get the right information.
Shane Ede, Beating Broke: For me, it was to share what I learned as I dug myself out of debt. We don’t get a lot of education about how to handle our finances, how to properly handle credit cards, mortgages, investing, and so on. It’s important to have this group of people to disseminate that information to help people in similar situations, but who feel they are alone.
Melissa Batai, Mom’s Plans: It is important to have people share their stories to inspire other people who might be struggling (financially). In the case of moms, they are often the family member handling the finances on a day-to-day basis. Certainly some are interested in investing, but often it’s the husband who takes that role while the woman pays the bills. Those are the women I’m trying to reach.
Barbara Friedberg: I see my primary role as someone with an economic background and some experience under their belt who educates people to help them avoid financial pitfalls and to live a wealthier life. I’m a portfolio manager and teach a finance class at a major university. I’ve grown our family’s wealth over the years. I have a lot to say. I love (blogging) or I wouldn't do it.