I had an inkling that this was about to happen a while ago, but last week was manic with lots of PR meets and launches, and the message that is coming over loud and clear right now is that magazines are irked by the beauty blogs. In fact, it seems several PRs looking after high profile brands have been asked not to show products to beauty bloggers ahead of time, feeling that beauty exclusives should be for magazines, particularly weeklies and supplements, as tradition has dictated.
Although it’s being done more discretely than the obvious fashion journalists’ distress at their LFW being ruined by ‘liggers with laptops’ (their words, not mine), nonetheless, the message is still there.
As ever, I put this to the blogosphere for their words of wisdom, but my views are as follows:
Beauty blogging isn’t going away – if anything, it is going to get stronger, with more and more amazing beauty blogs jumping on this highspeed, driverless train;
The World Wide Web does exactly what it says on tin: information is so much more accessible to everyone and no amount of complaining is going to change that: if it’s out there, it’s ours;
Beauty consumers who read beauty blogs do so exactly for up to the minute information and unbiased reviews – beauty blogs feed a need and desire for instant knowledge and there isn’t a way to compete with that on paper;
Long after the copy of your magazine has made its way to recycling, blog news and reviews are there forever. For anyone to see, at any time – present or future.
Beauty blogs listen – and provide a place for beauty fans and consumers to talk.
The reach of beauty blogs is infinite.
This list could run on for pages really, but it is my view that insisting on exclusives in this ‘now’ world doesn’t do the brands and products justice – it’s a one shot, disposable hit that may bring short-term dividends, but long term, I don’t think so. I’ve said before that the last thing in the world I want to see is a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation, but then bloggers aren’t insisting on exclusives and pettily refusing to feature at all if conditions aren’t met.
Ultimately, everything’s different now. Get used to it.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
It’s obviously all about feeling threatened..
We recently starting working with Guthy Renker, the brand behind beauty products Meaningful Beauty and Sheer Cover. As part of our campaign, we made sure we included a whole outreach to the online community, including beauty bloggers, as we understood the importance and influence you have in the beauty industry. Though this is not to negate the offline editorial. Ultimately, we believe that PRs should communicate to both the online and offline world for the best campaign results.
Guthy Renker Team”
I’m hoping (probably naively) that this all resolves itself in the wash eventually.
I think at the moment, the biggest problem is that companies/PRs don’t know how to gauge which bloggers they should be connecting with, so tend to go with those with the biggest number of followers (because that’s easy to spot) rather than looking at the more in depth stats or reader demographic. I can honestly understand print media and beauty professionals being annoyed if press launches are accordingly flooded with people who aren’t particularly interested in the brand.
I also think the problem may be caused by a lack of distinction between the industry professional blogger, and the hobbyist (and I’ll happily put myself in the latter category.) I do think there is benefit in a brand engaging with both categories, but I think that as a hobbyist, I’n not as bothered by the print media wanting exclusivity as I’d be (quite rightly) if I was an industry professional blogger. I write consumer reviews, because I like make-up. If I have to wait until something comes out to buy it/see it, well, that’s fine by me. It’s lovely to get a preview, but I don’t feel bothered if I don’t get one. However, if I was a professional beauty journalist who was being excluded simply because I write online, you’d better believe there would be a reckoning 😉
It’s like, I teach a martial art, I’ve been training in it for about 12 years in total, and I’d be a bit ticked off if someone considered themselves an expert in martial arts or had pride of place at a course because they’d watched all the Bruce Lee films.
Like it of not we are indeed here to stay!! If memory serves me right Lancôme’s Genifique launch was all over the bloggersphere within minutes, and guess what their sales went CRAZY!!
We create THE buzz, not the weekly/monthly mags! Internet is so up-to-date that you quite rightly said print news gets thrown away fast!
Things are changing at such a fast rate and technology is forever evolving, print will one day become a thing of the past like LPs, video cassettes and portable CD players… there is nothing wrong with change and I think that is what scares a lot of people!
Go with the flow people and stop trying to stop the inevitable!!!
Couldn’t agree more. I think Grace worded it perfectly with her martial arts analogy, I can totally understand how more established players might feel if they run into bloggers that act as if they run the show after a few months, but the key here is that we all have something to learn from one another. At the Illamasqua Dystopia launch, I was excited not only to play with the products but to speak with Alex Box and pick her brains, to see what she had to say, how she felt about makeup and the beauty industry. I learned a lot from speaking to her and what delighted me was that she was also incredibly interested in what made us tick as bloggers, she was asking just as many questions about us, why we blogged, the positives and negatives, and I felt like it was an exchange of information rather than Illamasqua just self-promoting.
Of course being a relatively new company Illamasqua has embraced bloggers in a way that not many companies (or publications) have, but I honestly think that print media and bloggers can learn so much from each other IF this issue can be put aside. I suppose only time will tell, but as long as both camps struggle to be top dog, it won’t work. Blogs and magazines are different beasts entirely!
Hopefully it’ll all balance out eventually, I think a certain level of chaos is unavoidable when things change.
I’m glad beauty (and fashion) bloggers are here to stay, magazine reviews and features never feel independant.
GraceLondon is very right to make the distinction between pro blogger and hobbyists.
Hobbyists are probably more the target of this backlash, and since we don’t need advertising or exclusives to do our thibg, we don’t need to take part in this fight (other than to be amused by the ruffled feathers – and respond to personal attacks, ahem). but if pro blogs are also villified that is more serious, and for the sake of their businesses I hope this dog in the manger attitude from print publications is quickly quashed.
Forgot to add (mostly because I say it every time): if it’s already launched in the US or elsewhere, your print exclusive is pointless, and more than a bit silly! It does make the brand look ridiculous when there is talk of embargoes around a launch, and then loads of people who’ve already seen it online pipe in with, ‘Oh, you’re talking about collection X then.’
Having a foot in both camps, as it were, this is a toughie. One the one hand, magazines depend on unique content, and need to be seen to be “fashion forward” in order to keep their readers, hence the demands for exclusivity.
But on the other, it’s precisely their very own readers-turned-bloggers who are increasingly showing the magazines where they’re lacking. That’s got to hurt.
Advertising revenues are down, and magazines are increasingly less in a place where they can make these demands, owing to declining readerships, so they’re trying desperately (and understandably) to play their cards as well as they can.
Ultimately though, cosmetic companies will see through all this sound and fury – from BOTH sides – and simply go where the influence *actually* is, whether it belongs to bloggers or magazines, or whatever comes after. Times changes, fashions fade, and things move on, as they have to.
As a hobby-blogger, this fury is bemusing, and more than a little amusing. As someone working in the media it’s beyond fascinating.
But magazines have to remember that they’re not going to disappear simply because bloggers exist. Radio is still around, cinema is still around, TV is still around, and the internet hasn’t replaced any of them, nor will it. Magazines aren’t going anywhere, but, like TV, cinema and radio, they’re going to have to adapt to not being the only game in town. The market is changing, and the rules will be different, but the players will still exist.
There is room for us ALL. We just have to find our place, and rub along together nicely.
I can’t think of reading a print review that convinced me I should own a beauty product. I’m usually convinced by someone who’s working really hard to earn a living, who says “this is worth the price.” I think that many women wait to hear recommendations from (unpaid) hobbyists before buying (especially when ordering online). If someone’s getting an early exclusive look at hundreds of dollars worth of product, I’m not sure how well consumers trust that reviewer’s credibility.
Unfortunately I think it’s because the whole world has gone cyber. No matter what magazines print, they don’t do live reviews or swatches.
There is room for magazines surely. Even though they only usually write a few hundred words about a product they probably haven’t tried, a lot of people still buy them. No one can steal the fragrance business from them because they give samples and I can’t see how a blogger can review a fragrance.
The new generation is not in tune with prints unfortunately. With all the environmental messages flying about, easy access to high speed internet and online shopping + rapid delivery, I just don’t see myself leaving home to go a store to purchase something that I can buy in one click. I certainly won’t be looking for a magazine review. First place I will go is google and if the first thing that comes up is a blog, so be it.
It’s all well and good they can have the exclusive pre-release info, but the bloggers are the ones who will try the products and show people what it is truly like. The world is now global, we see a product launch from America and we spread the word in UK. A blog can be read from anywhere in the world. The funny thing is that bloggers from all over the world are friends, follow each other on twitter etc. We have access to a vast network of information that magazines (which are country based) do not have. Gone are the days when the fist time we hear about a product is in a magazine. Most of these magazines have online versions anyway they might as well just add a blog.
As someone once reminded me, just because a woman is not a paediatrician does not mean she cannot have a blog about childhood diseases, if she has a child. Readers just have to realise what point of view it is (professional versus personal) and decide for themselves.
I truly think we have a lot to offer each other and can co-exist.
Ok, take two on the commenting…
My view on this is that it is a real shame that we can’t all just play nicely alongside each other! Why does there have to be a them and us type of situation? After all, whilst we share a common theme of writing about beauty, we are all different and all offer something different for readers.
I think there is something a little old-fashioned about the approach some print publications are taking to dealing with the ‘threat’ of blogs. They clearly feel very threatened by the prospect of becoming out of date or out of the loop and seem to feel the way to deal with it is basically blackmail. Not the ideal approach, blackmail is never an indearing/good relationship building tool.
I think the basic premise is that, as you so rightly said, we are here to stay. So everyone in media will have to get used to it.
Who knows how it is all going to go in future? I have no false expectations that blogs will take over the world or anything, but everything will (and should) grow and evolve – and by this I mean both blogs and print media – and I am certainly looking forward to seeing how it will all pan out.
In all honesty, I feel like I’ve felt every emotion in response the various backlashes against bloggers – from professional makeup artists saying beauty bloggers don’t know anything worthwhile, to fashion editors getting the hump with bloggers at LFW, and everything in between. I’ve been angered, frustrated and upset, but now? I’m bored with it all.
I think the blogosphere in general is starting to feel pretty tired of defending itself. In the end, bloggers aren’t here to try and boot out print media or any other professionals in the beauty or fashion industries. Most good bloggers just want somewhere to sound off about things they love and even things they hate. Is that really so terrible? So threatening?
Yes, I do trust a lot of beauty bloggers more than magazines – just as I would trust a friend’s experience with a product. That doesn’t mean I don’t still buy Elle every month.
There’s a place for both – bloggers will never be able to offer glossy beauty shots and magazines will print will struggle to create the personal approach found with blogs.
Word!! You´re so right! You just about pin pointed everything I think about this. I read blogs because magazines are slow and not by a million years as good in covering all I´m interrested in as blogs are and I can get my fix every day AND easily do a back-search if I´m looking for something I read about a month ago. Besides, I´d trust a blog any day over a magazine to get their information correct. I have read to many irritating misinformations in mags. Viktoria, Sweden
I reckon a lot of it comes down to advertising and magazines wanting to keep a lucrative mutual relationship with clients.
Advertising pays for the high budget photoshoots, staff wages and expenses and yet bloggers write about the same client’s products for FREE!
Print journos are probably a bit narked because many had to work for free and train in journalism to claw that job. Sadly, media is all about the pecking order and some may believe that bloggers should know their place.
Many companies have wised up to the fact that they can advertise on blogs at a mere fraction of the cost of a magazine and maximise their visibility. Whether this exploits or helps bloggers remains to be seen.
So, I’d say it boils down to a case of pride and money.