As the influencer space becomes bigger, people are starting to really form opinions on the way we work, the things we receive, and our sense of entitlement as influencers.
Let’s start with the truth: It’s pretty damn cool to be a blogger/influencer. There are a LOT of benefits of blogging.
But I feel like I’ve been recently seeing A LOT of negativity in regards to bloggers, the free shit we get, and how all bloggers feel entitled to everything. I wanted to share my thoughts on a few things because to me, a lot of what’s being said couldn’t be further from the truth. I should probably preface this by saying everyone is VERY much entitled to their own opinions.
This post is written off my own experiences and what I’ve been told from my other blogger/influencer friends. Okay, let’s proceed.
“Oh you blog? You must get a ton of free shit.”
Yeah I do. I’m lucky enough that brands want to send me products to test out and share with my readers. When I first started blogging, I took advantage of every single free item that was sent my way. I thought it made me look important that these companies would send me their products. I was honored that companies noticed me.
Five years later, my outlook has changed. I turn down a lot of free products because it’s just too much stuff. And it doesn’t pay for my photography fees, my SEO strategist, and all of the other expenses that go into running this blog. Oh and 8 times out of 10, the product doesn’t fit into my lifestyle or brand. I am passionate about a lot of other aspects of blogging now (lifestyle, career, blogging posts). On the other hand, sometimes there’s a product I REALLY want to share with my readers and followers (like Patchology). If that’s the case, I have reached out to companies to see if they’d want to work with me in exchange for a product and then talk about a further, paid collaboration. I’m lucky enough to have had a lot of really positive experiences with brands, and in return, I’ve created a lot of really amazing business relationships!
But then there’s always the follow up comment…
“It must be so easy for you to just blog about the stuff you get.”
UH NO. It’s not.
When I agree for a brand to send me products, that means one of two things: I’ve signed a contract to try out the product and then write about it, or it was completely gifted to me. If it was gifted to me, I make sure I let brands know that I’ll only share the product if I REALLY love it. If I don’t, I always ask them if they’d like me to send it back (if that’s possible).
When it comes to a collaboration, I take those VERY seriously. I don’t just accept product for the sake of accepting product anymore. That’s not my brand. So when I accept products for a collaboration, that means I’m about to have a lot of work to do: Hire a photographer, keep track of expenses for project, find time to shoot content, actually write the content, schedule promotion for the project, and any necessary follow up in regards to the project. It is a lot of work, and you can read more about what actually goes into being a blogger here.
Last week, I went to Drybar and explained that I was there for a collaboration to tell my readers about a promotion. The stylist (who was freakin’ amazing), said to me, “you must get so much free stuff! I wanted to start a blog too!” In my head, I rolled my eyes, BUT then she said this: BUT I REALIZED IT WAS A LOT OF WORK. It made me happy that she did notice just how much went into blogging, how it wasn’t for her, and it’s not just all about the free things!
I get why people see it as entitlement.
I really do. I mean some guy put an influencer on blast because she reached out for a stay at a hotel. That’s kind of where I got the idea for this post. I made the mistake of reading some of the comments putting bloggers on blast — entitled, worthless, no talent. Those were some of the words I read. They made me so mad. SO SO SO MAD. I see where people are coming from because, yes, to the average person, it looks like all we do is ask for free things. But do you know how much work we are signing up for when we pitch ourselves to brands?! ESPECIALLY HOTELS.
I’ve only had amazing experiences with my travel partners. But man, it is a ton of work. I want to make sure I’m putting the hotel on a damn pedestal (if I had a great stay). So while I may have pitched myself to a hotel or tourism board, it’s for a good reason. Not only do I want to travel the world, but I also want to make sure I influence others to do the same. When I’m looking to go on a trip, want to know the first thing I do? Look for travel guides from bloggers. I trust bloggers. I reach out to them and ask additional questions. It just makes sense to look at someone who is close in age (with a similar budget to mine) for trip recommendations. Don’t you think?
So yeah, bloggers get a lot of amazing perks. I could write an entire post about the benefits of blogging. I’ve been to amazing places, gotten amazing collaborations, and attended some really fun events because of this blog. But would I say I’m entitled to things? HELL NO. I know my place. But I also know what I have to offer to a brand. I know that I can help influence people to purchase an item. It makes me feel good when a reader/follower tells me they bought something because I was wearing it, or that they tried out a service because I posted about it. That’s the whole point of this “influencer” thing. It’s not so that I can get all of these perks (they are nice, and I am beyond grateful, duh). It’s so I can use my voice to promote things I love, have conversations with people, give them advice, and really anything else they need.
And maybe not every blogger is like me. Maybe there are some people that feel entitled. But for the most part, I think we’re all good people, just hustling. It’s such a different industry, one that doesn’t have set “rules and regulations”. We’re all just kind of making it up as we go along. So please, cut bloggers a break. I have made so many friends from blogging and they’re all BADASS BABES. They work hard. They love what they do. And they’re just trying to live out their passions. If you don’t like someone’s content or some of the business practices they use, just hit the unfollow button. Go follow someone you believe, someone you relate to, and someone who you feel like you know in real life. I’ve done this and it not only made me feel better, but it’s also help me put the right bloggers in the spotlight…because they deserve it.
To end this rant, I want to emphasize that I am truly grateful for what this blog has given me. I’ve learned how to remain true to myself and focus on projects that I really believe in. It’s always a “pinch me” moment when a brand reaches out to work with ME. Yes, little ol’ me. The girl with a small blog and a small Instagram following (in retrospect). I’ll never stop being myself on this corner of the Internet. Sometimes I can’t believe people read my blog posts, comment on my Instagram, or interact with me on Twitter, but that’s something I’ll forever be grateful for!
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