Good morning. Hope you all had a good weekend. Honestly, I’m glad to be back at work! I have been thinking about writing this post in a different way and getting some input from some other bloggers. It took me a while for me to get my own thoughts in order and I decided to write about this from my perspective and then if others want to comment or debate they can do. I really hope this post doesn’t come off as whiney…my aim is to provide a counter argument and some tangible evidence of the success of blogging.
I mentioned a week or so ago that I was just feeling low about blogging and generally had lost my ‘blogging mojo’ and, to be completely honest, it’s not coming back super fast. Scenes and photos that would normally take an hour or so to do are taking me days. I can’t keep focus or concentration. I start, leave, come back to it, hate it, move everything, try again, give up, leave, come back to it…and so on.
This isn’t an inspiration issue. I have ideas. I know what I want to achieve. It’s a motivation problem.
Creators want bloggers to create stunning images with their items. Bloggers want to create stunning images with the items. Events want bloggers and creators to create stunning items and images and promote the event. Yet, often (not always) all three work against each other in achieving that.
I know that a major part of my de-motivation and lack of enthusiasm for blogging recently stems from the decision by Uber to no longer have a blogging team and some of the comments from designers, often anonymously, about the validity of bloggers.
I think I need to start with an explanation of the difference between event blogging and blogging for a store. When you blog directly for a creator the sole ‘job’ of the photo is to showcase the item from that store. You might include a few different designers in that shot but each of them will be given the same focus. Most designers require you to blog 2-3 times a month. Sensible bloggers limit the number of designers they blog for in this way so that they can meet the requirements.
Event blogging is different. Your job is to showcase the range of items available at the event from different designers. For major events it gives bloggers the opportunity to showcase creators they don’t already blog for and for creators it’s an opportunity to be blogged by a blogger outside of their normal blogging team. You’re promoting the event as a whole, not individual brands within it. You’re also cross promoting, giving people ideas of what might go with what else etc.
Let’s be completely honest about this…there is a hierarchy in all things. We all start off somewhere, gain experience, gain exposure, hone our skills, become more recognised and build demand for our brands, events and blogs. Top tier events attract great designers and bloggers. Top tier designers can attract their own really good blogging teams. Top tier bloggers are also in demand…especially in the home and garden arena where the number of very high quality bloggers is small in comparison to fashion blogging. But let’s all be honest about something else…we all worked damn hard to get where we are (unless you got handed something on a plate).
I know from talking to designers, they have ‘designer goals’ just the same as bloggers have blogger goals that they aim for. We each have a bucket list of events and creators that we want to blog for and we work towards that. Uber was on that list for a long time for me. I applier 3 times and was rejected before finally being accepted to blog last year. The requirements were reasonably low and even when they were increased it was still manageable because I was already blogging more than the requirements. We were required to blog 10 brands per round. I always blogged more.
The message sent when an event closes it’s blogger group is that the work you have done previously, and anything you may do in the future makes no difference
I had a look at who I blogged this last round to sense check my gut feeling. Below is a list of all the brands I blogged for the Anniversary round. The ones with an asterisk are brands I already have a requirement to blog for outside of being an event blogger:
*Loft & Aria
Big Beautiful Doll (I bought the item to blog)
Paragon Dance Animations
I started to look at the stats, both on flickr and my blog to try and reassure myself that blogging wasn’t just some vanity project and that I there is a return for designers. Take this image and post as an example:
The above image contains 5 of the brands I mentioned, none of which I have a monthly requirement to blog for. In other words, the ONLY reason I took this photo was because I was an Uber event blogger and I loved the items that they sent out. This photo has 9000+ views and 400+ faves. It’s now one of my most interacted with photos on my feed. Appearing at No 4 in my all time most faved photos.
I then went to look at my blog site stats and how many views my Uber posts get and I had a very pleasant surprise. Of 213 slurls opened by readers of my blog in the last 30 days 13% of them were to Uber. Blogging isn’t generally direct response marketing…it’s main goal is awareness and recall of a brand/product. 13% is a very good direct response rate in any business especially when that’s not the main purpose. 27 people opening a slurl and teleporting to Uber may not seem like a lot but start to multiply that by 40 bloggers and you start to have some real evidence of results from blogging. Again, this is just from my blog, doesn’t include anyone that might have opened up search in SL after seeing Flickr, or Facebook, or Instagram or Twitter, or Tumblr…or any of the other places I post to. It’s just one evidence marker.
I also work for creators, and as an event manager, I understand the frustrations of sending your items out and not getting blogged or blogged only once when you’re own blogging team will blog it 20/30 times. To be fair, that’s your blogging teams job…of course they are going to blog it at a higher rate than an event blogging team. Event bloggers can’t blog every item that is sent out so they select the items that most fit their style, or the image they want to create. For the record, this is why, as a blogger I don’t like Blogotex for Events, though I understand the usefulness of it as a manager.
The vast majority of bloggers for events are not in it to get the items and never blog the items. They actually enjoy seeing the range of items, mixing and matching, creating a unique scene. What they dislike is an inventory full of items they aren’t going to use so this notion that we’re all out to get your items to fill our houses (you know, the ones bloggers don’t have because we live on platforms) or to wear to all the swanky parties we don’t go to because we’re busy blogging, is nonsensical to me. I just don’t recognise the blogging community in that way. That is not to say it never happens. I’m sure it does but rarely in long established, successful bloggers.
Feeling like it’s because a growing swathe of designers and managers just don’t value what you do at all is more than disappointing.
If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I hope the post is informative or sparks debate. As for me, while the stats and all the information I have to hand from personal feedback to slurls, tells me that what I do is worthwhile, that so many, including a major event owner think it isn’t, is disheartening and demotivating. I’m a blogger so I am used to rejection in that sense, but when it’s applying to blog for a store or brand and you get turned down you can put it down to they are looking for a different style or aesthetic, or they just had too many apps etc. Feeling like it’s because a growing swathe of designers and managers just don’t value what you do at all is more than disappointing.
*Apple Fall Hampton Outdoor Fireplace LI: 7
*Dahlia – Malarkey – Margarita Spoons LI: 1 **NEW** at Uber
*Dahlia – Malarkey – Ice Bucket LI: 1 **NEW** at Uber
*Dahlia – Malarkey – Margarita Pitcher LI: 2 **NEW** at Uber
*Dahlia – Malarkey – Key Lime Birthday Cake LI: 2 **NEW** at Uber
*Dahlia – Malarkey – Margarita Prep Tray LI: 3 **NEW** at Uber
*Dahlia – Malarkey – Margarita Glasses & Tequila LI: 2 **NEW** at Uber
*Nutmeg. Midsummer Brunch Pillow Adult LI: 4 **NEW** at Belle
*Nutmeg. Midsummer Brunch Cherry Box LI: 3 **NEW** at Belle
*Nutmeg. Midsummer Brunch Bread Basket LI: 7 **NEW** at Belle
*Nutmeg. Midsummer Brunch Eggs & Milk v1 LI: 4 **NEW** at Belle