Wednesday, January 18th 2017 Uncategorised
2016 – what a year! A lot went on, both for me in a personal sense as well as in my blogging capacity. It’s been a wee while since I’ve updated on what’s going on in my life to you all, and I thought with the new year that was a good opportunity to do so.
Friday, February 12th 2016 Blogging
laniBeauty blogging can be an expensive business, with the pressure to buy every new product that comes out. I have definitely fallen for that pressure before, and spent far too much money on makeup just to blog about it. In the last year I have tried to stay away from that trap, and have been mostly successful. I am lucky to receive a lot of makeup to review from brands, but even without that there are a lot of beauty blog post ideas that you can use without spending a cent. I’ve rounded up 10 ideas for beauty blog posts that won’t cost you a cent!
Friday, August 21st 2015 Blogging
Since my last post in my Lena Talks Blogging series (well, the first post) was so popular, I’ve decided to do another one. Today, inspired by a discussion with other bloggers, I’m going to be rounding up 5 different backgrounds for blog photos. I use them for beauty products, but I think many of them would be relevant for blog photos for any genre. When I first started out blogging I mainly just used things which were around the house, and over the last year I’ve bought a few different backgrounds – all of them have been very cheap. A lot of people stick to white backgrounds, and while it’s a classic option for a reason, I prefer a bit more colour for my photos.
To me, blogging has always been a more honest form of writing than most journalism. I had thought this when it comes to politics, or pop news, and it’s always something I’ve thought was true about beauty blogging too. Everyone knows that magazines are full of ads, and ‘advertorials, and even things that aren’t officially ads have never seemed very genuine to me. Everyone knows beauty editors get sent boxes full of new products, and of course if they’re writing an article about foundation they’ll say that you should buy this $70 one. That’s why I never trusted their recommendations, and was delighted to find online beauty blogs and youtubers who were just people like me, sharing their opinions.
Or so I thought. As I’ve followed beauty blogs and youtube channels more closely, it has started to become more obvious that a lot of them are just raving about things that they got for free. I find it especially obvious among the smaller community of kiwi beauty bloggers – there aren’t as many of them, so if I see a bunch of articles within a couple of weeks about how GREAT the latest lotion and potion by X brand is, I feel pretty confident that it’s the case. This is more glaringly obvious if one or two of them say – oh, by the way, this was sent for me to review by them. I mean, of course it’s possible that they all just really like the product, but it seems unlikely that not one person is going to say something about how expensive it is, or that it was irritating to their skin, or that they didn’t like it’s staying power. I even begin to wonder if they’re not just getting the product for free, but even actually being paid to write about it.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has guidelines about how bloggers and youtubers should disclose that they are being paid to promote a product, or that they were given it for free with the expectation that it would be written about. I find that most bloggers based there are quite honest about this, and also with identifying where they will profit from you purchasing things through affiliate links. As far as I’m aware, no such guidelines exist in New Zealand, and I feel as if it is quite apparent when you read some blogs and channels that are based here.
I really like that some of my favourite bloggers, like Meagan from IAmMeaganKerr and Morgan from Hyacincth Girl disclose this, but there are plenty of others that don’t, and I want to know why? What do bloggers have to lose by disclosing that they got a free item? My personal theory is that bloggers know that PR companies and brands want posts to seem genuine, so if they disclose it, they may not receive freebies in the future – and everyone likes getting freebies.
Bloggers, I’d love to hear your take on this topic, and ask some questions. If you get sent a free item, do you disclose so? Why, or why not? What happens if you don’t like something – do you review it honestly, or just not review it at all?
I asked these questions to some bloggers that I know, and they all said that they disclose when they are sent free items. They had a variety of answers to the question about not liking a product. One of them said that they try to keep the review relatively neutral, and give reasons for liking and dislike. Another person said that she reviews the product in the same way whether she paid for it or not.
I’m genuinely really interested to see the responses to this post, no doubt it might be unpopular with some but hopefully I’ll get some insights!