I get people saying to me all the time that my 'job' - meaning blogging and instagramming, looks so much fun and they wish they could do it. Well firstly, it's not exactly a job, I mean, I would say you need to be earning at least minimum wage (don't even get me started on living wage) before you can claim it as your 'employment'. It's taken a couple of hard grafting years of networking to build up a worthwhile, engaging audience on my blog and social networks before PR companies and brands want to do business with you and don't under estimate the time and effort that takes.
I often get people asking me to produce them a 'quick' blog promoting their products for free, come on it will only take a few minutes they say - errr major LOL. Okay so thats just say that email communication for the sake of this experiment takes 15 minutes. Then I need to spend time planning the outfit that I want to wear, hmmmm I'm pretty quick at this, so again lets say 15 minutes, although if you are online shopping for other pieces then up it to 45 minutes. The photoshoot day comes and you have to plan the outfits, meet the photographer, find a decent place to shoot then finally actually shoot the outfit. So lets say you meet in London, a photoshoot usually takes 2 hours and add another 30 minutes for travel. Once you get the photos, there may be some editing time, lets say 30 minutes. So you are 4 hours committed before even writing the post. Uploading the images, and writing the blog post can take anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours, totally depending on how many glasses of wine I've had but on average I would say it takes me about an hour and a half. Actually I forgot to add the 'Shop The Look' section, this may look easy - but most bloggers gain commission through Wearisma or RewardStyle so for every shop the look item, you need to create an affiliate link...yep time consuming and defo time for another wine. To finish up you need to proof read, make amendments then social out the post. All-in you are looking at a ball-park figure of 5-6 hours per post.
Most of the time and in particular brands expect bloggers to write posts for them in return for product. The amount of times I've had brands say, pick an outfit up to the value of £150 then style it, write a blog post and social it out all in under a week. Well firstly being a clothing retailer myself with Hawkins & Shepherd, £150 retail equals £50 for the brands themselves. So when we are creating these types of blog posts its for fifty pounds worth of clothing yet giving back 5-6 hours of effort and a large social following which has taken years to grow. Not only that but there are also other costs that come with writing a blog post. Firstly buying clothing is expensive (if you have to buy anything else for the post). Travel costs. Photographer costs which can be £50 up to £200. So whenever you are doing blog posts in return for product you are funding it yourselves and making a loss, I mean thats just not good business. For me I think more needs to be done to establish digital influencing rate cards and have some organisation that helps influencers know what to charge, much like press advertisement has. With print press, brands know what they should pay for a 1/2 page, full page etc, for Pay-Per-Click advertising again there are guidelines but for digital influencers this area is grey for brands as well as influencers and I sympathise with both.
If anyone asks me they want to get into blogging, I'm fully supportive. However I do tell them to commit to it, we are not talking one post a month or a post every now and then....I mean serious commitment because that is what it takes to be a success. You wont be gifted many items until you have a good following, so it can also be very expensive shopping every week. You cant under-estimate how much time and money blogging takes. Unless you are lucky enough to a) have a photographer girlfriend (b) a blogger girlfriend or (c) a cool as fuck girlfriend who you can train to take your photos, you'll need to pay for a photographer. Don't underestimate the importance of having ascetically pleasing images and you may think that any one can take a good photo...nope they cant!
When you get to the point of getting paid or gifted items of clothing, grooming bits 'n' bobs, festival tickets and an unlimited number of party invites it can seem quite glamourous. I have to admit, things are much easier for me right now as I have grown a great working relationship with brands, PRs and other bloggers - although it is almost more important to work harder and produce better content because now brands are paying for it...it's that never ending cycle of trying to improve, trying to be the best.
Yes this blogger shit can be seen as narcissistic and for sure it is, however it is also a way of venting our thoughts and feelings about everyday life - its about showing our own style and giving our readers an independent view on what to wear or what we like to wear.
Being a #fblogger (Fashion Blogger) #tblogger (Travel Blogger) #lblogger (Lifestyle Blogger) or whatever other hashtag crap we all seem to use - you have to be quite thick skinned and try to not give a damn about what other people are thinking about you. Take this photoshoot for example, Rebecca and I headed over to St Pauls in London bang on the lunchtime rush. Although we managed to find a couple of quiet 'ish' spots to shoot in, there were 100's of office workers walking past mocking me and trying to photobomb you at every opportunity. I mean fair enough I guess these city workers have probably been in the pub since 11:00 sinking pint after pint reminiscing about the good old days before BREXIT...and I'd do the same with a few pints in me. However this is work for us bloggers and it's like me rocking up to some city banking firm, jumping the security gates, bowling up to the nearest forex trader, putting a BUY trade on GBP against pretty much any other currency in the world, give the trader a wet willie & noogie and walk out as if nothing has just happened.
So during this shoot I had 3 outfits to photograph, which means 2 changes...time is money so rather than heading to the nearest coffee shop to get changed most bloggers just strip off and change in the street - the nearest bush, telephone box or stinky piss alley are well known blogger changing rooms. On this shoot for my first change I headed into some bushes, the type of bushes that you don't want to spend much time in. Hopping on one leg trying to pull off your skinny jeans is hard, it is important to be wearing tight pants or boxer shorts...not loose cotton ones as you don't want passers by getting an eyeful of your bits. Lucky for me, I have a photographer that sees the funny side of all of this and films the whole thing and posts on snapchat...cheers Becca!
So people who throw oranges out of windows (yes this did happen to an ex girlfriend!) or shout abuse; remember us poor bloggers are just trying to make a bit of pocket money, please think twice as we put a lot of effort in doing what we do and we love what we do. For those of you wanting to get into blogging, do it and do it well but don't expect success overnight. For brands...I love you, send me more work *insert wink face emoji!
SHOP THE LOOK
Photography by Rebecca Spencer