Disclaimer: this post is different from the content I usually post, but the more I’m in this industry the more opinions I form. This post is just that; my personal opinions. You don’t have to agree but I would love to hear any constructive thoughts in the comments!
The term blogger doesn’t come without a stigma. Ready for it? Lazy and cheap are two of the most popular terms when used to describe the blogger or influencer culture as a whole. And as with many avant-garde careers, it’s often generalized, stereotyped, and woefully misunderstood. Also, one bad apple in the bunch can ruin it for the rest of us.
I’m not pointing fingers. There are wonderful humans in this industry who work harder than anyone I know and give 110 percent, 24/7. But on the flip side, a lot of the criticism is justified. Is it the current lazy state of our culture that makes people flock to what they think will be easy money? I don’t know. But I have heard firsthand from multiple people that the reason they want to start blogging is solely for the easy money or the “free stuff”.
I’ve worked for over two years now growing my blog. I’m still a small-time blogger compared to most, but slowly I’m starting gain traction, get recognized for my work, and work with some amazing companies to showcase their products through my creative viewpoint. Over these last two years, I’ve written almost 500 blog posts, taken hundreds of thousands of photos, agonized over Lightroom edits, made some investments that have hurt, and have just now started to see some monetary rewards from this platform. Rocketships to stardom and 6-figure salaries don’t just happen overnight or over a few weeks, it takes hard work and dedication and consistency.
But this essay isn’t about the hard work blogging takes. It’s my thoughts on the difference between bloggers and influencers.
At its core, a blogger is someone who owns and consistently runs a blog. A blog here being defined as a collection of online articles that is continually cultivated to attract a like-minded audience (my definition, not Websters). An influencer is a person who has cultivated a following on social media for a specific purpose, whether that be to build a brand, push a social agenda, or simply because they like other humans. I do not believe that influencers are bloggers, but I do think bloggers can have influence.
Unfortunately, in this industry, the terms have become synonymous and the more I speak with brands and social media influencers the more often I see the lack of distinction. I am a blogger. My Instagram account exists for the sole purpose of growing my brand and directing interested users to my website. My YouTube houses my video files that get embedded into my blog posts. I spend hours concepting long-form shoots, reaching out to brands, creating content (photos, videos, and WORDS) and just as many hours sharing it with my audience. I work so hard to create a world where from the moment someone clicks onto my page they are transported away from the cares of their reality for a moment and immersed in a beautiful world of images, words, and sometimes videos. That is my passion and that is my end goal. I will always be a blogger.
In my opinion, this disturbing lack of distinction has caused grief for bloggers. Because we are all seen as the same, the value of cultivating a multi-media platform where we share (in long-form content) our lives, our struggles, our victories, outfits, routines, and travels has diminished greatly.
To be honest, I could care less if I consistently post on Instagram. Literally, could care less. But if I miss a post on this platform, my blog, I get that guilty feeling. I never started out by saying “I want to create a beautiful social media feed”. Two years ago I was so inspired to start a blog because it was blogs that shaped my perception of fashion, writing, beauty, and the industry. If I never could post again on social media I wouldn’t think twice, if I could never post again on my blog I’d be devastated.
You may have seen the recent news article that is circulating widely on platforms from The Independent to Marie Claire about luxury hotels being overrun by influencer requests. I won’t recap the article (you can read it here if you want) but I think it shines a spotlight on the general problem with this industry (both from within and without).
Brands, you have to stop putting us all in the same category. Stop discounting true bloggers based solely on the number of Instagram followers we have. Ask for our blog stats and I promise you, we will show you how we’re so much more than a profile.
Instagrammers, stop calling yourselves bloggers. Start a blog, keep up with it consistently for at least one year and then, welcome to the ranks!
Bloggers, don’t fall into the trap of only creating social media content – think bigger! Remember your Instagram content is not your only outlet. Pitch creatively, showcase the breadth and depth of your blog content, and don’t discount long-form content. Let’s show them all why were different.