It's 2019, why are we still laughing at influencers?
When I started blogging six years ago, I never imagined I’d be able to reach thousands of women around the world. That I’d be able to influence their shopping choices, give them advice and share my life and travels through social media with them all.
Throughout the years, I’ve had people snigger at the term “influencer” on my resume, yell out obscenities whilst shooting fashion on the streets and scoff when I’ve said my services cost money. The irony? I’ve got a degree in Journalism, and whenever I swap out the term “influencer” for “writer” or “social media specialist”, I’m taken seriously.
Let me tell you something – influencers work HARD. Hard to be taken seriously, hard to create beautiful content and hard to be bloody seen. With a saturated market and algorithms that confuse even the pros, the truth is that the influencers you’re following work extremely hard to bring you the content they do.
It’s easy to see why people think influencers have it easy. The constant #gifted tags, free brunches and glamorous events allude to a life of luxury, but the truth is so far from that. The gifted clothes won’t pay your rent, the brunches often go cold while shooting them and the events take away precious hours of your day when you could be earning actual money from a traditional job.
Here’s a few things that bloggers do that you may not know about:
- Work full time. The majority actually have full-time jobs, or if not, side hustles. They are working 9-5 just like you, and trying to fit in everything else around it. Imagine having a full-tie job, and then also working a second job every other minute.
- Spend weekends working. This means that rather than enjoying every weekend, influencers spend a lot of their free time shooting new content. It means scouting locations, buying new clothes and working with photographers or friends to create content.
- Buying clothes. Not all influencers are just magically supplied with clothing – they have to work for them. Even then, some brands refuse to work with influencers unless they have over a certain amount of followers. These smaller influencers spend their own money on buying new clothing constantly to just keep up with the trends.
- Networking. To get anywhere in the influencer world, you need to have crazy networking skills. Influencers are constantly attending meetings and emailing people in the hopes of being seen, and this all takes time. They need to have great people skills!
- Rejection. Imagine being rejected 90% of the time – it ain’t easy. Influencers work hard for their paid content, and often pitch to lots of brands at once. Most won’t respond, and if they do, the replies can be short & generic. Influencers have to grin and bear it, knowing their skills will be valued somewhere else.
- Play different roles. People don't realise, but influencers aren't just in front of the camera. They're stylists, directors, models, photographers, editors and creatives. There's no one directing how a shoot should look or scouting locations for them. Influencers wear many hats, and rather than having to hire 6 traditional roles, influencers play them all.
- Invest in equipment. To take beautiful photos, you need expensive camera gear. To house creative content, you need a great website. To edit videos & photos, you need expensive editing equipment. Influencers pay for subscriptions like Photoshop, Wordpress, Lightroom and more to produce their content, which can add up to be really expensive. Gone are the days where a quick iPhone snap would dominate - influencers are stepping it up, and it's not cheap.
- Paid in product. When a brand works with a photographer, they pay the photographer. When they work with a model, they pay the model. When they work with a stylist, they pay the stylist. Fun fact; when brands work with influencers, they tend to pay in “product”. Whilst a nice gesture, this form of payment doesn’t cover an influencer’s rent, travel or food, and is often agreed to in the hopes of building up to a paid relationship.
This piece isn’t meant to ostracise those of you that laugh at influencers, but more educate you on what the lifestyle is like. It’s a 24/7 job of constant rejection that renders you time-poor, but it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do.
I adore writing for my audience and sharing my life, and I hope you enjoy following me too. Next time you’re scrolling through Instagram, just remember – all of this content is FREE to you. You’re not paying a subscription or paywall, you’re accessing all of this beautiful content for free. So go on, support your favourite influencers. Like their photos, comment on their ads and let them know that you appreciate all their hard work!