Blogging: An Education

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While I’m not one for philosophical posts, I’ve been having a few thoughts on the blogging world lately, and I thought I’d put them out there in one neat little post. So pour yourself a glass of Pinot; it might help my ramblings make sense!

I began beauty blogging only this year, a mere five months ago. In that time, my blog has grown and developed more than I could possibly have expected; the idea that anyone, never mind nearly 700 people, might be interested in reading my blog – subscribing to it, in fact – was inconceivable to me last January, when I shared some details of a Cloud 10 haul. I’d been dipping in and out of beauty blogs for the last year or so; a student budget doesn’t allow for uninformed spendy purchases, so I began googling reviews of, for example, Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation and soon found the world of beauty blogging. After a little while, having gathered some confidence by writing in the Fashion section of a college newspaper, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring. And so far, it’s paying off.

I don’t write the best beauty blog out there, not by a long stretch. My photography is far from stunning, I don’t have the slightest clue about graphic design, I don’t have access to every brand’s latest collection, I can’t afford to review high-end products every week as I just cannot buy them. And 99% of the time, none of those things bother me all that much. Well I am buying a new camera, but I see that as a long-term investment rather than solely as a blogging tool. Generally speaking, I know that most other beauty bloggers are in the same boat as me; students with part-time jobs, or ordinary people just dabbling in an enjoyable hobby. We’re just people who love make-up, and love to write about it too. But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel insecure about my own blog. I worry that’s it’s not impressive or polished or flash enough; that I’m not talking about the most exciting new releases or taking the most Instagram-worthy photographs. Beauty blogging has become a truly glamorous and professionalised career for some, and I am very aware that what I do is nowhere near that level. Despite the voice of reason reminding me of the short duration of my blogging ‘career’, I can’t help feeling inferior. It’s very easy to feel discouraged when reading blogs from the ‘superbloggers’, but I think it’s really important not to get bogged down in that kind of negativity. I’ve seen other bloggers become bitter about the chances that ‘famous’ bloggers have had, and I don’t feel that’s fair. They had to start somewhere too, and jealousy is only going to result in self-sabotage. Viewing blogging as a huge competition goes against the entire spirit of blogging, and it’s a trap that I’m determined not to fall into.

Another issue that often crops up on Twitter is that of PR samples and ‘freebies’. I don’t see the problem with PR samples, provided that the fact is clearly disclosed, and all reviews are written in an unbiased, fair way. I’ve seen bloggers come under fire for consistently praising all PR samples wholeheartedly and without balance, but I understand, to a certain extent, why it happens. The blogger doesn’t want to risk falling foul of PR companies, but the readers are not interested in being duped either (in that sense, anyway!). I’ve only written one post as of yet containing PR samples, and I will admit that seeing the parcel land on my doorstep gave me a little thrill. It was flattering to think that my blog had been considered for that purpose. But I wrote my blog with plenty of enthusiasm before that post, and I have continued to do so since. I don’t blog to get free things; that’s not what it’s all about. Being honest, when I read blogs in which 90% of the products discussed have been sent to the blogger, I tend to lose interest. If they wouldn’t have bought the product ordinarily, are they really giving an honest review? It’s very hard to know sometimes. In addition, the prevalence of PR samples in blog posts can make things a bit samey; if everyone’s receiving the same sample, where is the variety? It’s difficult to maintain your individuality in beauty blogging as it is, at times.

However, I can say with all honesty that I really, really love beauty blogging, and it’s something that I can see myself sticking with for a long time. For a girl who changes hobbies more often than her hair colour, this is quite the achievement for me! I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always adored make-up, so it only made sense to pair the two together. I’ve been discovering so many fantastic new blogs; be they large and well-known, or small and niche. It’s a hobby that I constantly learn from, and one that I hope will play a part in my future career in some form or another. Since I’ve started putting the blog on Facebook and Twitter, people I know have been incredibly nice about it, and wishing me well with it, which is so lovely. Guess I can’t let everyone down now!

And if all else fails, blogging will always give me an excuse to buy more make-up.

Em X

 

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