A few months ago I was ambling back to work after my lunch break and stopped outside the Brighton Dome to see great swarms of 16 year old girls milling around outside. This is a regular occurrence in Brighton, and usually means that an X-Factor runner up or the latest boyband are playing. I stopped to see what all the fuss was about, (and also just to make sure it wasn’t actually One Direction). I was completely taken back it wasn’t Harry Styles that the hordes of girls were queuing up to see, but it was in fact a bunch of twenty-something bloggers that were hosting a ‘blogging convention’…yes this is actually a thing.
These thousands of identical tousled haired, perfectly made up girls in their floppy hats, floaty mini dresses and oversized bags were standing outside the Dome to go and see a talk by various Brighton-based fashion and lifestyle bloggers.
Amongst the bloggers talking was Zoe Sugg of ‘Zoella’ fame. For those of you who haven’t heard of ‘Zoella’ must have been living under a bridge for the last 18 months. That girl gets everywhere, not only is she one of the most successful bloggers in the world (7,172,684 blog subscribers, 350,388,109 YouTube Views), but she is now starting her own perfectly formed empire which includes a makeup brand, a book and countless interviews and TV appearances. A blog post on her blog is rumoured to be worth £50K, not bad for a 24 year old.
‘Zoella’s’ equally famous boyfriend is Alfie Deyes of ‘Pointless Blog’ fame and was also on the line up. Zoe and Alfie are the ‘Posh and Becks’ of the blog world. They live together and they constantly feature each other on their Vlogs. I found these Vlogs quite painful to watch, reaching a cringe level that I had never experienced before. Most are candidly filmed lolling around in their bedroom and it all feels horribly invasive to me. But you only have to look at the millions of views and comments on these videos to realise that people are watching and engaging with these YouTube videos.
There is no doubt that if you are a brand trying to promote a product to a young female target audience then these beauty, lifestyle and fashion blogs are where to gain exposure. These bloggers aren’t stupid, they know that they can prove their reach/audience type and subscribers through the simplicity of Google Analytics, and they know how valuable this information is to relevant brands and products. This is apparent through the fact that all of the popular blogs now have an ‘Advertise With Me’ section that not only lists their display banner rates, but also show a breakdown of their blogs stats.
At this point I have to confess, I am a lifestyle blog addict. If the blogs I follow feature a product, I am a complete sucker. I have to have it. Whether it be the latest cookbook (think green juice made from kale and chia seeds), or a new face cream.
The reason I and so many others are taken in by the bloggers is because they are just like me. They are 20 something girls who love fashion, cooking, make up and taking their dogs for walks. Their blogs hide all of the ‘messy’ bits of life and focus on the beautiful ‘frolicking in the park on a Sunday afternoon’ aspect. No-one’s life can be as perfect as some of these blogs make them out to be and I know this, but yet I still completely buy into them.
Paying bloggers to promote and review products is a relatively new concept where lifestyle bloggers are concerned. ‘Zoella’, ‘Fleur De Force’ and ‘What Olivia Did’ are all in their early twenties and set up their blogs less than five years ago and are all making a substantial living from blogging about their make-up routines, new duvet covers and baking macaroons.
Brands are paying for these bloggers to sell. They are aware of the reach they have and the audience that follows them and this allows the brands to spoonfeed their followers with products without them even realising. This poses the long-term question, who is moderating these bloggers? Surely we will get to a point where the lines get so blurred that no one knows what is paid adverting and what opinion is. This is worrying due to the fact that anyone and everyone is wanting to jump on the lifestyle blogging bandwagon unregulated.
And the only tools you need to do this is a camera, a wordpress blog template and away you go. Now where’s my GoPro?