Nowadays, with a combination of high-quality blogging, professional photography, and social media, one can forge a comfortable, full-time career that leads to fantastic opportunities for learning and growth. Of course, when I started KaterinaPerez.com 10 years ago, I felt like a fish out of water! At that time being a professional blogger with a profitable business model in the jewellery industry was unheard of. Now, a decade later, I have lots of experience to share that was all learnt the hard way, through trial and error. Make sure to read Part One of this series and then continue below for greater insight into my world… I can't think of a better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of KaterinaPerez.com.
What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about being a professional blogger?
Firstly, there is the presumption that we would advertise anything for money. As I mentioned in Part One, I stay true to my values and only work with advertisers who align with my brand principles. I must be true to myself and focus on design-led brands with coloured gemstones and a unique creative DNA. You may be surprised to hear how many paid collaborations I have turned down with fashion brands in recent years. Not being tempted by the promise of increased revenue is the sign of a steadfast and professional blogger.
The second most common misconception is that what I do is simple, just post on Instagram once per day and wait for the pennies to roll in! It is important to stress how much planning goes into everything I do. I would also like to note that many outsiders believe bloggers are extraordinarily rich! Especially in the luxury jewellery and fashion sectors, it is often forgotten that people like me are curating and showcasing a certain aesthetic and product type, but we don't live and breathe this lifestyle every single day. Blogging ensures a comfortable life, but it is only a fortunate few who can wake up millionaires. Finally, another misconception is that we are all rivals, ready to tear each other down for the big scoop or brand opportunity. This is far from true! In the fine jewellery blogging space, I have wonderful relationships with other bloggers pursuing their interests and creating content that epitomises their own approach to jewels. It is inspiring to be in their company, not a competition!
Blogging and social media are so intertwined that it is hard to imagine one operating without the other. How does social media support your job as a professional blogger, and what role does it play?
You're right in saying blogging and social media are connected. In my experience, though, the audience that reads my online magazine is slightly different to the community that follows me on Instagram. KaterinaPerez.com has a dedicated following of jewellery professionals and educated enthusiasts who want to follow the latest high jewellery launches and read about jewellery as an intellectual and artistic pursuit. On social media, the focus is more on visual communication, inspiration, ideas, and uplifting photography that sparks an idea and brings a smile. Plus, the two function very differently – online, articles are there forever and, thanks to SEO, can be found by casual users who may stumble upon KaterinaPerez.com. With an Instagram post, it may be that the image or Reel only surfaces for a handful of days! Finally, social media is a useful tool for speaking with the people who read my website. I can interact directly with readers through direct messages and value this kind of immediate communication.
How do your consultancy and branding services build upon the career you have built as a blogger? How does this ecosystem of services support your business growth?
I never planned to consult and advise brands, but it developed naturally over time as emerging and established businesses wanted to get my thoughts and tap into my experience. I focus on my areas of specialism, such as social media content creation, communications and branding and have found consulting to be a fulfilling and useful revenue stream to support my blogging career. I genuinely love helping people, so I really enjoy being able to share my ideas and support brands in whatever way I can. Elsewhere, I have also added further revenue strings to my bow, such as creating online courses and offering educational seminars. I think it is important for all professional bloggers to discover how they can monetise their experience, talents, and professional connections.
If you had to give one salient piece of advice to people wanting to follow in your footsteps, especially in relation to monetising their content, what would you say?
Never overpromise, so you'll never underdeliver! So much of a blogger's work looks effortless, exciting and stylish, but achieving this is incredibly time-consuming. It is vital not to over-promise a paying client by getting carried away. Similarly, I never promise that their advertising package with KaterinaPerez.com will lead to sales – this isn't something I can control or guarantee through my work. I never commit to posting about a paying brand every week – we share content in an organic way to benefit the KaterinaPerez.com audience, which means constant variety. I also make sure that brands understand this is a two-way street. For my team to produce quality content, we need to be provided with information in the form of press releases, videos, photographs and interview questions that add colour and context. Generating income as a blogger is all about mutually beneficial partnerships, and I don't see that changing any time soon!
Writing and photography are very creative pursuits, but running a business requires different skills. How do you balance the creativity of being a professional blogger with the essential business acumen?
That is a great question because, you're right, it is a constant juggle. As a creative person, I had no idea how to manage my accounts or discern whether my business had a profitable future when I first started. It all comes down to self-discipline and a willingness to learn new things. In the beginning, I never cared about money, but I quickly realised that beyond being able to pay my team, having some financial flexibility allows me to be more creative. The two work together – the creative and the business mind – to achieve something great.
How do you arrive at the prices you charge for social media, content and professional appearances?
It would be easy to say that the bigger the audience, the higher the price. But this is a fallacy. Let's say a blogger has 100,000 followers on social media – this is a great number. Dig a little deeper, however, and sometimes only a tiny fraction of these followers actively engage with content. In contrast, someone with 5,000 engaged, enthusiastic and conversational followers who share their passion for a niche topic is likely a stronger bet for results-driven brand partnerships. The most important factor to consider is the 'authority' of a blogger in their chosen domain and the bond with their audience. The second important factor is the expenses to create content and run business in general.
Can you explain this in more detail?
For example, I have a certain level of price because of my experience, the quality I provide and brand authority. My personal brand is strong because of numerous factors – I have been working in the jewellery industry for over 13 years, have a diploma in Gemmology, have been granted two awards, run an online magazine and not just an Instagram account. I also go beyond social media platforms to create education courses, offer public speaking engagements, and write for magazines like Vogue Arabia. My audience is well engaged as I give back in terms of providing original content and answering all comments and DMs. All of this informs the prices I charge as do my expenses, such as funding a team of 10 people, freelance photographers and videographers, travel, software and much more. Crucially, my prices are always fair – brands are charged the same rates regardless of their size or popularity – and this has built trust over time.
If I could distil my advice into a single word, I would probably choose 'quality'. No one gets it right or perfect 100% of the time, but if you always strive for high quality and do not succumb to pressure by cutting corners, your pathway to success will be longer but more lucrative. At least, that is my experience!