Twitter is always the indicator on which way the wind is blowing on the subject of blogger competitions hosted by magazines. This time the Company competition is coming up and if my timeline is anything to go by, it’s being met with very mixed views.
There are some magazines that embrace bloggers – fashion, lifestyle and beauty – really well; More Magazine stands out as one that genuinely gets the blogging genre and realises its relevance for More readers. Fashion bloggers seem to have crossed the divide more easily than beauty bloggers though and it does seem that appearing in magazines can have a mutually beneficial effect for them. You still see far more coverage of fashion bloggers than beauty bloggers.
There are still plenty of publications that view blogger competitions as some sort of favour to bloggers, which is an attitude that I find quite upsetting in many ways. As everyone knows, beauty blogger stats can be huge – if you include the beauty vloggers then they are beyond stellar. Any magazine would pray for a readership like they have (I pray for a readership like the Vloggers have!!). There’s always seems to be an undercurrent (from sitting both sides of the fence, here) that beauty bloggers don’t really know what they’re talking about, or in other words, they’re not experts. Well, precisely. That’s why everyone loves them. It’s still a very new way of talking about beauty at so-called experts haven’t quite got to grips with yet.
You do not have to be an expert to enjoy and write about beauty products. That is the point. So, because this different way of writing about beauty has proved so popular, despite all reservations that we might be throwing out some incorrect advice on cleansing, magazines are very quick to start their own ‘blogs’… it’s not the same. It’s not the same at all. I’ve even seen a ‘Blog’ page in a magazine, which, to be pedantic is a contradiction in terms.. if it’s in print, it’s not a blog (Weblog). Conversely, blogs are a trend and what kind of editor would not go with a trend? It’s absolutely incumbent upon a magazine editor to go where the trends are for the sake of their readership figures and of course, to inform their readers. Readership figures are so important.. if you take it all the way down the line, people’s jobs and livelihoods depend upon it. All print media is in a dangerous place right now and to be honest, I want to support that end of line scenario – I’d hate to see fellow journalists being made redundant. But, some don’t make it easy.
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Last year, I did a Magazine Awards on BBB in conjuction with Irish blog, Beaut.ie. Now, Beaut.ie stats are massive – gigantic in fact, far, far bigger than mine but jointly the reach was enormous. Not one single magazine contacted any of us to acknowledge it. It was done on reader vote – we didn’t choose the winners, we didn’t have a panel of ‘experts’ and we didn’t vote influence in any way at all. It was entirely done by readers. When the boot is on the other foot, and mags are doling out blogger awards we’re all supposed to be beyond thrilled, excited, tweeting, displaying badges that link to their site on our blogs, blogging and basically doing anything we can to send our readers to their sites so they can include this influx in their monthly figures (most magazines now include their on-line arm in their readership stats). It’s this kind of inequality that I’m not comfortable with.
I see a lot of beauty experts trying their hand at blogging – some are brilliant reads – but there are two classic mistakes I see time and time again. One is writing your blog posts like you would write a magazine feature – people don’t come to blogs for that..they buy the magazines for that. The other is an assumed superior knowledge. Nobody likes a big-head. If you come into the blogosphere, it’s generally a good plan to come in with a humble attitude and be prepared to learn before you teach.
So, back to the Company awards. This year, they’ve taken beauty blogging out of the mix totally, with categories such as Best Thrifty Blog and Best Blogging Duo and keeping it pretty much otherwise to style and fashion. The cynical part of me thinks that maybe it’s because they’ll hold a separate beauty blog awards later on – therefore guaranteeing another huge stats surge – but maybe they’ve just totally had it with us beauty bloggers. After all, what do we know?
As a footnote, and written sometime later than the content above, it transpires that Company are targeting bloggers to advertise in their forthcoming Style Guide at the special low price of £100 along with a nifty reminder that the Blogger Style Awards are coming up and a note that ‘the Company Team are … starting to use (The Style Guide) as inspiration for features.’ It also comes with the promise that parting with £100 is a ‘fantastic opportunity to associate yourself with a leading magazine title.’ On Mars, maybe.
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