30.10.15

FEELING LIKE A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN: THE DISPARITY BETWEEN BLOGGERS & JOURNOS IS DISHEARTENING

As a 'veteran' of blogging, I feel somewhat of an obligation to champion bloggers in the ever-changing digital world and let them know they're not alone in the way they're sometimes feeling. If everyone just trickles along feeling like they're doing it wrong, being treated unfairly or missing out on opportunities because they're not overwhelmingly happy about everything, then nothing ever changes. I can pretty much guarantee that any kind of episode experienced by a fellow blogger has also been experienced by many, many more of us - it's just that nobody speaks up. Right now, there's definitely something in the air that's causing much frustration and discontentment; the root cause is essentially being made to feel like a second class citizen. It's well documented that blogging has taken the beauty and fashion world by storm, bringing information to consumers in an easily accessible way that's also incredibly relatable. Blogging is the way forward and print magazines are dying out at a surprisingly fast rate; that's fact. (Don't get me wrong, I still love a glossy mag and hope they'll be around forever - but the fact is that their circulations are dropping year on year. We've lost some of my favourite titles already, and undoubtedly many more will close their doors in the next year or two as they struggle to be commercially viable.) However, it seems that the brands we often work with still find it incredibly hard to grasp this change and amend their strategies accordingly.


The objective of this site is to bring my readers news, product reviews, genuine opinion, helpful advice and recommendations. I don't claim to know everything, but I do want to help people make purchasing decisions or feel more connected to the beauty industry. I've got a fabulously loyal and vocal community that allow me to work on my blog full time (alongside other projects,) who I know make purchases off the back of my recommendations or features. I take that responsibility seriously; I edit down the hundreds of products that land on my desk to the ones I genuinely want you to know about. I try to be as in depth with my commentary as possible, picking products because I like them - rather than just because they fit in with a theme or look good on the page. I want and need to know the stories and facts behind products; I want and need to forge long-lasting relationships with brands to make that possible. But many still aren't understanding the need for a little bit of effort for a long-term benefit, and it will undoubtedly come back to bite them on the behind.

In the last week alone I've been left feeling like a total second class citizen on about five different occasions; if I was traveling on the Titanic, it would have been the equivalent of trying to get to the first class dinner table and being pushed back down into steerage to eat porridge. And I know I'm not alone. It's not about being treated like a princess, but it's about being respected as an influencer who has a significant impact online - sometimes so much more so than any comparative print or digital magazine. Times have changed and it's no longer ok to just fling a blogger a cupcake and lipstick, while print media get put up in hotels, taken on holiday or treated to five star dinners in comparison. Although some brands are amazing and support us in a way that's more than mutually beneficial, taking the time to build relationships that are forged on understanding and respect, many are still completely missing the mark.

Recently I was invited to an 'afternoon tea' to celebrate the launch of a brand's Christmas collection; I cleared the time in my diary to ensure I could really immerse myself in the new products that I knew would be fabulous. However, when I arrived to see a selection of journalists leaving their rather exquisite sit-down three-course lunch and was presented with a canape by way of compensation, it became clear that I wasn't deemed 'important enough' to warrant anything more than a bite-sized crab cake in the corner of a dark room. It's not about the lunch; I'm happy with a cup of coffee and an hour of someone's time to talk through a range of new things that they think I may be interested in. It's about the obvious disparity (and complete lack of subtlety) between how bloggers and journalists are treated - like we can just be thrown a canape and glass of champagne and be expected to rave about a product (that by the way, we weren't even given to review.)

In the last week alone I've popped into multiple launches and been completely side-stepped in favour of a journalist. The PRs have been happy to spend as long as it takes to talk them through the product, show them around personally and ensure they have all they need; I'm lucky if I even get acknowledged before I leave feeling disheartened and downtrodden, none the wiser about any of the new products that were on display. Even when I popped by a new boutique launch I spent half the time trying to find a brand rep to talk to; surprise, surprise, they were all giving the journalists guided tours while us bloggers lingered at the back feeling awkward while trying to take Instagram shots. My social channels may not be the biggest, but I have more Instagram and Twitter followers than all but one beauty journalist in the UK; some fellow beauty bloggers have upwards of 250,000 followers, but unfortunately they're still deemed not to be as important as their print media counterparts. In that instance it was crazy to me that the people with a huge audience were ignored in favour of those that have a fraction of the following, just because they weren't journalists. 

We don't ask for much - we just want to feel valued, respected and treated in a way we see print media being handled on a daily basis. We're not necessarily after the trips, the eye-wateringly expensive dinners or designer gifts; we just want to be treated like we're not a mild irritant that's taking up valuable time and drinking champagne that could have been consumed by a journalist. You would have thought that in 2015 things would have progressed more positively, but unfortunately my experiences are not unusual. I asked a few other bloggers for their anonymous stories and experiences, to corroborate my own. The results were shocking, but equally rather unsurprising; here are just a few to give you a taster...

"I was invited to go up to London for an event for a big department store. When I got there, I was granted with silence and as if I'd just intruded. Within the first few seconds I had been ignored, pushed out the way and when my boyfriend asked a question about a very expensive jacket to the PR, he was told he had to wait as they needed to go speak to a journalist. It was just awkward."

"At a recent event the only time I was approached was when someone took my coat. I asked someone about the Christmas products, and I was told they were displayed around the store - but to be careful not to knock anything over! I approached someone else to find out more and said I was a blogger; the response was literally "oh yeah one minute, I have to introduce magazine person to Erica”. I gave up as I was really annoyed that I had been passed over multiple times."

"My favourite experience of late is when I left an event and patiently waited for my goodie bag, only to be told "these are for our journalist friends, thank you for coming.” The whole point of a blog is to review products from first hand experience - what a waste of my time."

"I’ve noticed that at a lot of events recently, there’s been an obvious difference between the goodie bags for journalists and bloggers. Whereas we’re lucky to get one or two products from a range, they seem to get every single new launch - in every single shade. It seems ridiculous to me that they just use a stock image and write two lines on a product, but are deemed to be the better place to invest sample products."

"Unbelievably, I was recently invited to an event on the basis that I would guarantee a blog post at the end of it. When I declined, they 'downgraded' the requirements to an Instagram post. Since when was attending a launch a guarantee of anything? To me, that just proves that bloggers are there as an easy way of achieving coverage with very little effort required." 

"I attended an event in the summer and when it was time to leave, we were told by the PR that they were 'running low' (not 'run out of') goodie bags, so we wouldn't be getting one. No apology, no 'we'll send one over', no appreciation for our attendance on what was a very busy day. They were obviously keeping them for the journalists. I've never experienced anything like it, but it does indicate how little regard some PRs have for bloggers."

Like I said before, this isn't in any way about demanding fancy trips or gifts; this is about not being made to feel like you're an inconvenience or after thought. I just don't want to work with brands that don't understand bloggers or the digital world, because it's far too much effort for absolutely no return. I'm in a fortunate position where I can pick and choose which brands I work with, but many other bloggers are left feeling like they've done something wrong - or worse still, simply stop going to launches because it makes them feel horrendous. I'm always wary of writing posts like this and sounding like a self-important twat, but sometimes it gets to the point where I just have to verbalise what so many of us are thinking. This is by no means any fault of the journalists, but the fault of the out-of-date approaches so many PRs are still using in order to generate coverage. Enough is enough.

If you're a blogger feeling like you recognise some or all of what I'm saying, then don't put up with it. Explain to the brand where they went wrong and offer suggestions as to how they can fix it, or do a better job next time - if we don't speak up, they'll be none the wiser. If you're a PR reading this, here are some tips I can give you to make the most of your blogger relationships and ensure they don't leave a launch feeling like it was a complete waste of their time:

1. Develop your blogger strategy at the same time as your print media strategy; don't leave it as an after thought or tap it onto the end of an existing event. We notice. It upsets us. It makes us feel dirty.

2. Greet and treat bloggers in the same way as you would a journalist. Just because we're digital doesn't mean we need any less information, or care. Take ten minutes to have a chat and make them feel like you're grateful for them taking time out of their day to see you; don't make them feel like they should've just gone to Starbucks and hung out with the barista instead. 

3. Understand that bloggers fundamentally rely on products to write their content. We can't work from a press release and a stock image, so be prepared to provide us with samples - and make sure those samples are relevant to our interests and needs. (Actually asking us what products we'd like to try is a great start; following-up afterwards is even better.)

4. Forge relationships, don't just rely on bloggers to tick a box or achieve quick wins. Don't make assumptions that they'll lovingly write about your product because they turned up; focus on creating a long-term relationship that will be far more fruitfull.

Times are changing and we all need to keep up. I'm well aware that PR has evolved beyond all recognition in recent years, and that those working in the role are being forced to learn new skills and juggle multiple jobs at any one time. However, it's not rocket science. The ones that aren't keeping up are going to fall by the wayside and will struggle to build relationships in the future - because blogs are the future. The stars of tomorrow could be the bloggers you ignore today; if you don't make an effort now, then it'll be practically impossible to penetrate their force-field in the years to come.

If you've got a story you'd like to share, please do feel free to leave an anonymous comment below. If you're a PR, I'd love to know why you think this is happening so often and how we can work together to fix it. Because, quite frankly, it's making me feel disheartened and undervalued.


Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  

SIGN UP TO THE LBQ FORTNIGHTLY NEWSLETTER HERE! 
BLOG POSTS, NEWS, EXCLUSIVE OFFERS & COMPETITIONS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX.
Share:

53 comments

  1. Awesome post as ever, Hayley... I think we really have to hope that PRs don't embed a two-tier system or substandard attitude as commonplace rituals when it comes to outreaching to bloggers. It's so not about the food or the goodie bags (although if there is no product, what coverage are they expecting?) - who cares about those - it's about being made to feel small and insignificant in a social space and that's always awful whether it's a beauty event or anything else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely Jane. It's about being made to feel a certain way - and I've been made to feel blooming horrendous over the last week or two. I've got a thick skin, so can only imagine the way a lot of others are being made to feel. We need to instigate change, and the quicker the better.

      Delete
  2. And here's a difference between a journalist and a professional blogger. A journalist, if he/she were treated like that by a brand, would embarrass the heck out of them in print. Because controversy sells. Because the rivals would love it so much they would smother the journo and her mag with love.

    And a mid-tier pro blogger? Too afraid to rock the boat, lose precious connections and burn bridges.

    That's how it looks to an outsider, unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure if you're talking about me or other bloggers - but if you are... Calling someone a mid-tier pro blogger is pretty harsh and unnecessary. And in terms of being too afraid to rock the boat, that's what I spent half my time doing - as do other bloggers! But yes, the power of a journo means they would kick off and they wouldn't be treated that way again.

      Delete
    2. Actually 2catsinjapan, if a magazine journalist was treated badly by a brand the likelihood is that they wouldn't be able to trash the brand in question, for fear of upsetting advertisers. While a blogger, not having to rely on selling advertising space to continue their job can do this, so if anything the brands should listen to bloggers.

      Delete
  3. Great post Hayley, so true and very well written. Some of the above types of treatments are in part due to my lack of enthusiasm for blogging of late. Blogging takes a lot of time and effort at least equal (if not more) than a magazine and I wish people would see this. Magazines have whole teams of creatives and journos to work with when a blog is generally one person, you've got to respect that. SO many blogs have more social following and traffic than some of the mags now and I don't know why some brands/PRs are ignoring this fact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've hit the nail on the head - social media presence is so important, and so many bloggers now smash even the biggest mag titles out of the water. But we're treated like an after thought. Blogging is such hard work and we don't have teams to support us.

      Delete
  4. I find this a very interesting issue, because I am both a blogger and a model. So with the former I am impinging on an established sphere. But on the other hand, bloggers are taking away many of my jobs as a model.

    I definitely feel embarrassed saying the word ‘blog’ at social events, as sometimes I see PRs eyes glaze over and a little frown appear between the eyebrows – I feel instantly dismissed and apologetic like you. However having worked on shoots with bloggers I can tell you they were given far more ‘VIP’ treatment than the models, so they were the opposite to your experience at events!

    OK so from what I’ve heard journos saying on shoots – there is a grudging respect for how passionate and hard working bloggers are. Perhaps a certain hunger that office life and an uncertain future has sapped from them. But – sorry but it’s true – certain bloggers give other bloggers a bad name. I have been truly shocked by the entitled way that some have behaved on shoots with me - on numerous occasions. There were diva strops, demands and behaviours that no model would dream of carrying out unless perhaps their initials were N.C. The feelings of us models when watching this behaviour were, ‘we’ve learnt the way of this industry – i.e. to be easygoing, humble and never demand anything – who are these people?’

    So as I say I can see both sides – the hard work that it takes to establish a blog and following, and the brilliant way we can connect to others – but also why a few bad apples are giving us all a certain reputation that’s satisfying for people concerned about their disappearing jobs to propagate.

    Rebecca Pearson, www.modeltypeface.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecca - you're SO right. Unfortunately the minority of bloggers give a lot of us a bad name and make it increasingly difficult to command respect (how can you when you're acting like a spoiled child?) I've been in scenarios where I've experienced similar and have been embarrassed on their behalf. However, I do think that's very much the minority and a slightly different issue (may be a whole other blog post!) that needs addressing. My concern is that, like you say, eyes roll when you say you're a blogger.

      Delete
  5. Great post, Hayley. I have mixed feelings about this, as it works both ways. I have been at events and seen/heard about the other end of the scale; bloggers waltzing in getting their freebies then running away, bloggers throwing hissy fits as they can’t have a goody bag at an event where one was not promised and demanding tube expenses (isn’t it like £7/8 on the tube for most zones?!). Also, I mostly seem to notice/hear about it from London based events, and not so much in the North - which is strange.

    I agree with what you’re saying, but it’s such a shame that certain/some brands/PR’s/journos/bloggers spoil it for the others, like you, who really are interested and an influencer. Like you say, it’s not about the £1000 swanky press trips or three course meals, but about being recognised as having influence (more so than traditional print media).

    I actually saw a tweet from a journo the other day which said something like ‘some jumped up blogger will say something nice about them no matter what’ - which to me stank of bitterness at an evolving industry that’s stealing traditional media readers. I think a lot has to change on all sides - respect for PEOPLE, regardless of their standing, is just basic manners at the end of the day.

    Love both yours and Jane's posts on these kind of subjects :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOVE THIS: "respect for PEOPLE, regardless of their standing, is just basic manners at the end of the day." Hit the nail on the head. I hear horror stories too, but I like to think after 5+ years of blogging and building a reputation that I shouldn't have to put up with the attitude and assumption that I'm a blogger blagger! Much needs to change on both sides.

      Delete
  6. I think this is a great post Hayley and something that needs to be said. There are far too many instances of disparity between journalists and bloggers that I sometimes think PRs feel we don't notice. I have been to numerous events where certain products have been shown to the print press but weren't ok to show to digital (they were hastily stashed away in a cupboard at the sight of a blogger), products given out to press and not bloggers and the list goes on. As Jane said, it's not all about the food or goodie bags, but it's about being made to feel like second class citizens. And it's very hard to give any coverage on a product they want you to talk about but don't deem you as 'important' enough to receive, despite an invitation to an event. There are a few PR companies I am very wary of due to previous experience.

    Yes, there are diva bloggers and they certainly don't help matters but this separation of print media and digital/bloggers needs to stop.
    www.talesofapaleface.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you - some agencies and brands I just don't really want to work with, because I know the attitude they have towards bloggers. I just don't want to play their games.

      Delete
  7. Such a well written post, Hayley! Hopefully one day people will understand and appreciate the true potential of bloggers and the influence they have over large audiences.

    Ashley
    http://www.ashleyelizabethbeauty.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is really interesting to read, both the article and the comments. I'm very, very new to the blogging world so haven't experienced anything yet either way, so it's really nice to be starting out and getting both sides of the coin in terms of opinions and views.

    It's also really nice to hear about the things that other bloggers like from posts, and the traits they dislike in other bloggers - even if they are few and far between. It's all very educational, so thank you to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Don't get me started. All of the above. I've been given smaller goodie bags, no goodie bag, no samples, been told 'that's the VIP section' and stopped from going to certain areas - when the people IN the VIP section don't have a 1/10th of my/our following. It's something we are all aware of and its to the point that I just don't go to events anymore. It's too disheartening. Especially 'blogger' drop-ins, - bane of my blogging life. I don't understand why some PRs/brands, knowing that a lot of us are full-time bloggers and work the same hours (obviously much longer hours in reality) as journalists, insist on inviting us to something between 6-9pm - while the journalists are home on their sofas. A lot of us 'pro' bloggers have been going 5+ years, times have changed since 2009/2010 and the fact that this same old shit is still going on and accepted as the norm would be a joke if it wasn't so insulting.
    Some people need to wake up and smell the influence.
    Have a great weekend everyone. If you're a blogger like me you'll no doubt be working it anyway. ;) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is why I love you: "Some people need to wake up and smell the influence." Brilliant. And you're so right re: evening events. I don't want to give up my precious evenings to feel awkward at a launch - but I'm so often made to feel bad for declining an invite, when all they want is a tick in a box.

      Delete
  10. this is so true! Bloggers should be just as important, we do so much more than print a pic and write two lines about a product!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    ReplyDelete
  11. So interesting to know that this kind of things also happen in the beauty industry, likewise in the arts field. I've been running an art magazine for 10 years. The magazine, that was born as an online portal, got print for a time frame. The difference was HUGE then, international invitations arrived and treatment was at its best; and I was the editor of both of the editions! The printed magazine doesn't exist anymore but the online edition is still alive and pretty strong. Funny. I still remember, 10 years later, the typical comment: "oh, the magazine is "just" online?" -yes, "just" online, in three languages, thousands of daily readers from all over the world!-. This is a sad game. And we pay a high price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a shame that they just don't see the value of online vs print (which gets recycled after a quick flick, vs our content staying around forever!) I've been a beauty editor for some small fry mags in the past, but brands were SO much more interested in those than my site - which has a much, much higher readership.

      Delete
  12. Such an insightful post. As an avid reader of both blogs and magazines, I find magazine reviews to be slightly lacklustre and half-hearted. Brands need to move with the times and understand that bloggers are nowadays more influential than journalists. I hope you and other bloggers know that us readers appreciate all the hard work you put in. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hanan! It's appreciated x

      Delete
  13. Let me start by saying I am nothing in terms of bloggers. However I am going to stick my neck out here with my two pennies worth. I cannot for the life of me understand that anyone can be so slow on thw uptake as to how the world has changed. Even at my age 58. Would I want to spend my sheckles on a glossy full of ads ? Which will just add to my recycling bin ? Sod that. There is no info in a mag. The first reach for anyone on brand info is the internet. People want real. Not glossed over bullshit, also its the same principle as being invited to a wedding eve reception. We want your gift but you are not important enough for the main event. In the case of blogging. They want the gift but are in danger of getting f all from a huge collective of people. It is a huge mistake to piss off the voice of real people. Especially when the internet gives us freedom of speech ! Ooops I wrote a blog. Soz bout that. Keep up the brilliant work girls. But like a shit boyfriend. Dump it if you dont get treated properly ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment made me smile in many ways! You're right in terms of they want the output, but often aren't willing to put the effort in to get it. Many brands and PR agencies are blooming brilliant, but unfortunately there are still a lot that make us feel used and a little bit dirty for playing their games. If anything comes out of this, it's that bloggers don't feel alone and brands realise we know what they're up to!

      Delete
  14. I love how completely honest you are. It is horrible that you are treated like this. You spend a lot of time and effect on your blog, just as much or even more than journalists do in their 9-5 jobs. Hopefully it will start to change over time

    Lauren x | www.laurenapowers.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lauren. I genuinely don't know what a lot of them do - when they're only a few pages to fill a month, vs writing 10 posts a week/taking all your own photos and negotiating collabs? Maybe I'm missing something...!?!

      Delete
  15. Reading this post (and Jane's too, earlier this week) has made me so incredibly cross on your behalf. You work immensely hard, and give honest and considered accounts of the products that you feature. Ultimately, the beauty brands and PRs who treat you badly are shooting themselves in the feet.

    My beauty friends and I rarely buy glossy magazines - in all honesty, we probably only buy when there's a beauty gift with the magazine that catches our eye. When we are actually looking at purchasing products, reviews like yours are what clenches the deal. Expensive adverts or magazine features with lash inserts and Photoshop and post-production processing just don't cut it - give me real world impressions any day. You work so hard with your social media channels, and it creates a sense of openness and accountability. We can ask you questions, and you work in a way that means we trust and respect you enormously. In case it is unclear at this point, I think you're brilliant! Keep on being you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Stevey. You've no idea how much your words mean : )

      Delete
  16. I am so glad you wrote about this (and I've read/listened to Jane's thoughts on this plenty as well). I can't count how often I get approached for 'potential story ideas' and then offered stock images to "assist in writing the post" - UM, NO. If you want product considered for review/included in editorial etc, then send the product. Never would I slap up a press image of a product and then spend the time it takes to write a blog post with facts, availability and price without actually getting to try the product! I've had PR's say that the brand is willing to offer me a discount on purchase to then try and review. WHAT!?!

    A month ago I was contacted by a big name brand to collaborate on a Halloween themed product that wanted step by step how to's on how to get a certain Halloween makeup look. When I brought up compensation I was told that I could keep the products used and that they had chose me out of many for this special opportunity and would post the look on their instagram page as compensation!!! I've never rejected something so quickly in my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a story I hear so often - "do all this work for free, and we'll pop you on our social channels which probably have less followers than your own." Never has the word 'opportunity' been so over and inappropriately used than it is right now within blogging.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. More so common it seems to be that brands are 'borrowing' from instagram/blogs/twitter and posting our (bloggers) images to their accounts without properly crediting. I've had it happen a couple times now :-(

      Delete
  17. As a reader of blogs and mags, I can assure any PRs that are reading this that I NEVER take a mag beauty review seriously. In fact I hardly bother to look at the beauty section any more. I have done my research by reading blogs, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Last point for your brand / blogger thing. Don't ask bloggers to break ASA guidelines by not including a note to say it's an ad / sponsored or insisting on a follow link on paid for posts because it's the client's "policy" then get huffy when refused. I put a lot of work into my blog and I'm not risking it for £50.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This was a great post. Magazines seem to be closing down constantly, and blogs/youtube are getting bigger and bigger. I feel the same about the events and releases, journos get sent everything only to show one lipstick and write 2 words about it. I find although bloggers may have smaller audiences they're more engaged with the content as opposed to idly flipping through a magazine and not really paying attention to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100% agree - it doesn't matter how big your audience is online, as google opens us all up to discovery. Everyone has value.

      Delete
  20. Loved this post - I've been waiting for this since seeing your comments on twitter about the canape event.

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  21. As a blogger and a reader, I find this to be incredibly true. Brands have approached me to highlight their product in return for a mention on social media and no compensation. I've only been to one blogger event and they treated me really well thankfully, but I'm aware that's not the norm so have been reluctant to attend other events for the foreseeable future. Good job on highlighting a topic no-one's spoken up about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't get me wrong - many, many brands totally get it and spend time nurturing relationships. I don't want to put people off events or anything like that, just open up a discussion that needs to happen. As an old-school blogger I feel like I can... I hope you're always treated with respect and have a great time at events. x

      Delete
  22. Mega post and comments :) Having been both an journalist and a blogger, I'm very aware of this distinction. In fact, when I left magazines to become a blogger, 'blogging' was a bit of a dirty word. Some brands who had previously behaved like my best friends suddenly dropped me and no longer wanted a relationship. Others, though, have been fantastic, and have stood by my small blog, continuing to support me. I think the key thing is a lack of education about the role of digital in media and a fear of change - often amongst the bigger brands with in-house pr rather than pr agencies. I wrote beauty features - print and online - for one of the UK's biggest glossy mags. The users on the website were far greater than circulation, and we would always include direct tracking links so brands could monitor sales. Yet if I featured a brand online they'd see that as an extra, not the main event - they would say "that's great, but can you get it in print please". Media is changing and bloggers are increasingly imperative to a good PR strategy. It's just a case of out-dated ideas amongst some brands catching up. Rant over ;) www.olivia-cox.com/blog X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fascinating that you've seen it from both sides and that it happens even with print vs digital magazines. A lot of it comes from lack of understanding by the brands, but I see the PR's role as being one of educator - to challenge and inform brands. I just can't fathom the value of a small mention in a glossy vs a whole article that will be around forever online isn't the same! (In other news, totally checking out your blog now..!)

      Delete
    2. Yay ;) I know, it's crazy - online is pretty much timeless, whereas a magazine will be in the bin in a month's time. I'd be so interested to see how many sales a mention in print actually generates compared to a mention online.. Not that there is any way of legitimately checking that!

      Delete
  23. Well written post, however I feel there are some differences depending on which region/country you working.

    At the beginning of my blogging career in 2011 in Hungary I often felt the same way, treated very differently than the "journalists" from the bigger magazines like GLAMOUR or Marie Claire. I also worked as an intern for GLAMOUR so I saw the other side as well. I always thought: "I just started my follower numbers are not that high, maybe that's why."

    When I moved to Dubai I was shocked how different there bloggers were treated, literally like princesses with the best goodie bags you've ever seen, event invitations with lunches/dinners/free massage or mani-pedi. I know there "they can do it" but there was no difference between journalist or blogger. I think they realized that the ladies of the UAE are living their life online (fb, blogs, instagram) and the best way to reach them is to involve bloggers and other online influencers just as much as traditional print media.

    Here in the Netherlands I feel bloggers are also very important and sometimes brands are organizing not press conferences but fancy blogger events, so as far as my experience the situation here are quite good too, but let me admit I'm pretty new here, and I did not attend that much events as before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So interesting to see it from an international pov. I think in the UK we're very behind and have a lot of catching up to do, which is ironic as in some areas we're so advanced!

      Delete
  24. Thank you for bringing up this issue. If wonderful bloggers like you face discrimination, imagine what an ordinary customer like me - especially as my skin is not of a 'certain' colour - have to face most of the time' at the beauty counters. Absolutely shattered to discover there are more 'shades' of discrimination.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hayley I love your blog and I understand where you're coming from and yes, it's unfair. But I've seen so many bloggers try to blag their way to fame that I also roll my eyes at the term 'blogger' now from my years in marketing. And frankly, from an insider viewpoint, most blogs are lying, stat wise, and nowhere near as influential as they'd like to think. Its easy for people in marketing to drill down to the real followers and web hits and it's often lacklustre. Add to this that many bloggers are re-hashing what they read on other blogs, it gets teeeedious. Yes, you're the exception but there's going to have to be some serious weeding in the blogosphere before bloggers get the industry respect they're so keen to establish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with absolutely everything you've said. As a reader (I don't have a blog) I'm so over bloggers. I'm over all the bragging on their IG's of stuff received on their beauty desk *eyeroll*, I'm over bloggers calling themselves "journalists" or "magazine editors" when they've never studied this or worked in that field, as if a godaddy or bloglovin account buys you these titles. There's an air about certain bloggers, which is very off-putting, and the reason why I don't read many blogs and prefer my glossy magazines which I know was created by real journalists and writers, it feels authentic.

      Saying that, there are many veteran bloggers who are truly passionate about the industry, and who does an amazing job! They are few and far between but they still exist and truly deserve respect.

      I feel like PR companies and journalists alike are just over the blogging community on some of the points I've mentioned, and I don't blame them. Bloggers have lost credibility to me, it's a cookie cutter industry with everyone doing and saying the same thing. It's also an insult to people who truly are journalists and writers. I think this issue is much bigger than just a few points.

      Again, I don't mean to insult any bloggers as I know there are legitimate bloggers who have a passion for writing!

      Delete
    2. Hi Elrese. Thanks for your comments - you raise some interesting points. I do agree that the term blogger has a bit of a stigma attached because everyone and anyone can claim to be one nowadays; however, the truth is that magazines are closing and circulations are rapidly reducing as people turn online. It doesn't really matter if a blogger has a qualification because it's not about that; it's about sharing real experiences and opinions. I don't have any kind of journalism qualification, but I had a great education and enjoy writing. Why should that make me any less 'qualified' to write about lipstick? The truth is, even if you are a 'qualified journalist' it only means you have studied the formulation of words or sentences - it doesn't make you any more qualified to talk about the subject matter itself. I would personally prefer to read the opinion of someone who's worked in or is passionate about the industry than studied the craft of writing... But that's a whole other blog post I think! My issue here is being made to feel worthless; it shouldn't matter if you've got 100 or 100,000 readers - everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous16.11.15

      An experienced writer is an experienced writer. I would treat an experienced blogger in exactly the same way I treat an experienced journo -- I might not ask you to cover a legal case but then I wouldn't ask just any journalist either!
      *11 years a journalist/*3 years a glossy mag editor

      Delete
  26. Completely agree with both the points above. Although not applicable to every blogger, as a reader I don't feel like I can trust most bloggers. Many don't have any training in beauty or writing (not always a bad thing but some act like they've worked the industry), a few seem to ignore or hide 'ads' they do for brands and lots of bloggers really do just bash out a paragraph that may as well be written by PR. You can tell when a brand is promoting a product online because almost everyone comes out with similar pictures posing with it (and it usually looks unused!) Bloggers are having a huge impact online and deserve recognition for that as it is obvious some big bloggers will have far more influence than print magazines. But unfortunately as a reader I don't trust and don't listen to many bloggers - maybe brands sense this?
    Anyway that all aside great post raising the issues with blogging. Wish more were as hard working as you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a real shame that you've started not to trust some bloggers - because the reason why blogging became so popular was the provision of impartial advice. In mags the 'recommendations' and features tend to be products launched by paying advertisers and those that have taken them on a trip, which is why blogs became a great alternative. I do totally get what you mean though about a lot of sites that copy/paste and say everythings fabulous - but they still have a role to fill as pure vacuous entertainment! If brands sensed a change in trust they wouldn't be engaging with us and inviting us to a launch in my opinion; the issue here is getting us there and then treating us like an annoyance. You can't have your cake and eat it! But there's a lot still to evolve and change in the blogging world... Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  27. From the outside, I imagine that brands are more appreciative of traditional magazine journalism because the likelihood of hell freezing over is higher than a negative review in their media.
    The one and only reason why there are such events is to promote the product and increase sales. A honest blogger might not like something and either rant about it or ignore the product while magazines are well aware of their dependency on advertising revenue.
    A more benign explanation might be that their marketing research department isn't up to date when it comes to the importance of bloggers among their target group. Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity :D.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Very much on point. I've felt in a similar way more times than I wish I did.
    Once I was given an attitude of why I was present at a launch, when obviously I wasn't the race of their typical customer. Well, I write and my readers don't look at my skin colour and discard what I say.
    Another time, I visited the launch of a new yet well backed up fashion brand. After I introduced myself as a blogger, all in a sudden all consultants became too busy taking around with someone else. As if I glass of elderly flower water and a free nail polish coat (which I refused) were enough to awe me, so I can start bragging about their clothing stock.

    It still happens, but times will change. There are many brand (usually smaller) which pay so much attention and care after bloggers, that surprise me and encourage me to want to give my best to helping them get noticed.

    ReplyDelete

© London Beauty Queen | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig