What I portray on this blog is pretty much what I am in real life – I’m real, candid, witty, and no-nonsense. In fact, some might even call me tough love. I’ve been known to strike fear in the hearts of some cos of my straightforward talking. But hey, when it comes to cosmetics and skincare, how tough can I get right?
On my blog, I don’t usually post such in-depth and somewhat controversial stuff, but today I received this email from this adorable reader of mine, and it got me thinking very hard.
In fact, I was very much inspired by it and decided to turn my long-winded reply into a blog post simply because it’s a principle that I always advocate and abide by, and it’s something that I wanna share with you guys. I may come across as being an irrepressible shopaholic, but hey, I do have some depth hurhurhur.
Now here’s what I received
A myriad of thoughts and reactions came to mind when I received this email – exasperation first, because here was yet another person who thinks blogging is easy. But then again, I rationalised that she wasn’t wrong in thinking so – I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard someone say “I should become a blogger too!” Blogging is such a new platform that there are barely any guidelines you can follow. The established bloggers will not be revealing the secrets of their success, and I don’t blame them. You think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett will tell you their business secrets? No way. When I first started here, I was confounded too.
What’s more, it was really an inquisitive curious query – nothing makes me happier than to see a relatively well-written and polite email. I’m serious – the lack of EQ in people these days is astonishing and frankly, annoying. Did your momma not bring you up well? But anyway, I decided to sit down and pen down my reply. Here’s what I sent back.
Thanks for your email and thanks for the blog love 😀
Regarding your queries, I will try to answer it as best as I can without sounding harsh (you know from my blog that I’m very real and candid in my thoughts and words).
When I first started up the blog, everything that was featured and reviewed – I bought them. I have spent thousands of dollars on products in Korea – and these days I’m still doing the same.
The thing you need to take into very careful consideration is – what is your motive for setting up a blog? If it is because of the allure of all the free products and event invites, I’d strongly suggest you rethink your plan. Many girls in Singapore are doing the same, and a lot of them fade into obscurity after a few months because the products and event invites do not come.
Yes, the products will come when you have hit a certain level of popularity with a large readership and following, but it can take years to reach that level. For me, even with my contacts from the years that I worked in magazines (knowing the brand people and PR firms) – it still took me more than a year. Even now, after blogging for just a little over 2 years, there are still brands that do not invite me nor have me on their blogger list.
You need to consider this from the brand’s standpoint – what can they stand to gain by offering you products to review? As a starter blog, you will have very little readers and hits, and compared with the thousands / hundreds of thousands of blogs, your credibility/experience is questionable.
When I first started blogging, it wasn’t because of the freebies. It was purely out of passion (and also cos I was really peeved at the terrible standards of existing blogs with bad English). If you are driven by passion, you will find blogging a more enjoyable experience – it’s like a hobby to me.
If you are driven by the allure of free products, (and it will not come so early in the blogging career), you will find that you lose motivation very early on. Brands will and can reject bloggers, and because of the fact that they receive hundreds of such requests from unestablished bloggers, they can be quite brusque in their rejection. This can be quite demoralising.
You will also have to contend with blogger jealousy – even I wasn’t exempt from this. Many a times, you will end up comparing yourself with other bloggers, wondering why they’ve been invited / received free products / received sponsorship, but you haven’t, when it seems you’re on par. There will also be many, many bloggers who cheat to get their way up. Buying Instagram followers , buying Likes, editing screenshots of their daily hits are very commonplace. Without passion as a motivator, it will get you down.
I’m not writing all these to demotivate you – it’s actually an insight into the supposed “glamourous” world of blogging.
Now, if you really want to get to the point where you can get brands such as Sulwhasoo, Laneige and SK-II to notice you, this is what I suggest you do.
- Do not have any expectations (of free products. event invites etc) – do your blog just for the sake of doing a blog and sharing your love for beauty products with people.
- Invest money. You don’t have to buy products to review – instead, review the products that you have bought. Every single review is still a review, and is better than no review.
- Invest time. Blog as often as you can. This builds up the amount of content that you will have on your blog site and drive people to your site. This will in turn increase your daily hits. I blog almost every day (except for public holidays, weekends and when I’m sick).
- Take good photos. People like seeing pretty things, so you have to put effort into taking nice photos. Get inspired by magazines or online portals.
- Network in person. Join blogger collectives. They can help get you invites. When at events, network with the brand people. Always be sincere because they will know if you’re not.
- Network online. Set up a Facebook or Instagram page and maintain /update it regularly. Make e-friends with like-minded people and interact with them.
- Persist and be determined. You’ll need at least 6 months before you can even make a blip on any brand’s radar. Once you have proven that you’re a blogger who has a steady flow of content and has a good reputation, they will come to you. You’re still young and you have time. A lot of good bloggers I know are still in school.
- Remain grounded. You will definitely experience blogger jealousy. Remind yourself time and again that this is about the blog and not about the products. Find out what makes the other blogger better than you, and work on improving your blog. Write more engaging reviews, take prettier photos, review a wider variety of products. Do not succumb to cheaterbug actions like buying IG followers and Likes – you will be discovered easily, and your reputation in the industry will be tarnished.
- Make the first move. Once you have your daily page views / visitors at a decent level, you can make the first move and start contacting brands. Send them a polite email, detailing your blog and what it’s about, and how it’s relevant to their brand. Give them the URL and stats, and they will naturally visit your blog to see what kind of blog you have, and whether it’s worthwhile for them to engage you.
Lemme know if you need more clarifications.
Good luck with your blogging and I hope you have a successful blogging career! 🙂
I am not sure what sort of backlash / reaction I’ll get to this blog post of mine, but you know what? At least I got it off my chest. Hopefully, this will inspire the newer generation of bloggers into doing things properly, and by then, you’ll be proud to call yourself a blogger, a social media influencer, and an inspiration.
Don’t simply be proud of being a blogger ; be proud of your blog. 🙂