I've been considering writing this post for a couple of weeks now, and when I tweeted about writing it, a lot of people seemed to be interested in hearing what I have to say.
Although I absolutely love blogging/influencing and I'm aiming to make it my full time job - it also doesn't come without its downsides and down days. As influencers, we all have them - we'd be lying if we said we didn't. Everyone thinks that blogging is just for the 'freebies' and is such a walk in the park, but when you get out of the days of the 'mirror selfie' and in to the realms of serious blogging, there's so much more that goes in to it that you don't see.
** WARNING: SLIGHT RANT COMING **
My number one (hmm... how would you say it...) gripe? I guess,
at the moment, is the clear and blatant lack of respect that some brands/pr companies/outreach companies have had for bloggers and influencers recently. Big name brands that pretty much try and bully someone, and it's not okay.
So I'll tell you about my experience first...
I recently worked with a big name brand (not naming any names, but ngl, I'd probs tell you if you messaged me and asked lol) over Christmas, through an influencer/blogger outreach platform.
Understandably, as a really popular brand - I was super excited (who wouldn't be?!). It was an unpaid collab, but tbh I didn't mind because of the brand it was. The first frustration though, was that I felt mucked around for months before the actual collab happened. It first came up in October, and it took them right up until nearly mid December for them to actually tell me the collab was going ahead. I informed them of the date that I was travelling to New York, and asked them if they would be able to get the items to me before that date - otherwise they would have to wait for the content to be done after Christmas. I had absolutely no idea where the items were for a week, no tracking information or anything, and they actually arrived less than 6 hours before I left for the airport. Frustratingly I could only take one of the items with me, as the other was so heavy it actually put my suitcase waaay over the weight limit (totally not prepared to pay £60+ each way for an overweight suitcase).
The photo of the first item was done and uploaded whilst I was away, with no problems at all, nothing was mentioned to me.
When I got back, it was 2 days before Christmas, so I photographed the next outfit in the days between Christmas and New Year. That content was also finished and uploaded to Instagram, no problems at all.
Then came the hassle.
The Weebly platform was down, meaning when I uploaded my images, it distorted them. I was really trying to do my best to sort it, and wasn't prepared to publish a blog post that wasn't perfect.
The blogger outreach then started harassing me for the post.
Although I couldn't manage to get the images fully sorted, I sent off the link to the post (mainly because I felt really insulted that she called me unfair - lol.)
After that, I then received the rudest messages ever from the girl dealing with it at the outreach company. Not only was it the complaining, but it was the way she worded it more than anything. She slated the fact I was wearing trainers in one of my photos (brand new Adidas Tubulars might I add! I'm sure if someone amazing and with a huge following like Sarah Ashcroft wore them, they wouldn't complain at her...)
She then complained about the fact that I had taken the second image outside my flat in London. Wtf? I could understand if they were super grotty or something, but they're brand spanking new buildings!! (there were no guidelines whatsoever on this campaign by the way) Some of the other girls on the campaign had taken their image standing in their bedroom or literally next to a plain white wall...
Then it was the fact I had only provided 2 images on my post. Again, they never said how many images they wanted. Some other girls had posted the same as me but apparently theirs was 'acceptable'.
Yet again, another complaint. Remark after remark. This time I 'hadn't written enough on the blog post'. I was at the end of my tether by this point, I really was. She insulted my editing, my photography, everything about it. Actually INSULTED me. You probably wouldn't even believe how rude she was unless you saw the messages. Like I can't state it enough. She even had the cheek to actually turn round and ask me to re-shoot the images!! On an UNPAID collab!! The brand itself even asked over Instagram if they could use the images themselves, so they couldn't of had any issues with it.
I'm not awkward in the slightest, but I'm not willing to bend over backwards when I'm spoken to so rudely. Brands need us just like we need them...
Another experience I am aware of, is another close blogger that worked with a big watch brand. I won't go into full details on this, but I'll give you the jist of it.
They already did one campaign with him, and mucked him around - practically shouting at him over emails and typing in capital letters to remove the image he had posted from his Instagram.
They then offered him an extra campaign for additional images, which he went out of his way to shoot extra for. He sent all the images off to them and they approved the three they wanted posting. On the new campaign, he was moaned at for missing an 's' off of the hashtag, for tagging the outreach company in his photo (even though some on the campaign hadn't even put the brand in their photo, just used Like To Know It instead...). He then posted his second image, they then had the cheek to ask him to remove it again as they wanted a different image instead. He refused, as it had already gained both him and the brand exposure, plus it is his personal account and he mentioned that he wasn't going to be constantly ordered around all the time. They then removed him from the campaign and didn't bother paying him for the first image he had done!
I actually see blogging as a form of art these days, it's a way that people are able to express themselves. Its so unfortunate that if I want to take an outfit picture on the street though, you get contrantly laughed at by passers by. As well as the snide comments and jokes about it. I'm all for having a laugh, I have a really good sense of humour, but when you're not overly confident, it can actually make it quite uncomfortable. I really admire those who are able to get the shot on a busy side walk/road, but for me it's just finding quiet places until my confidence grows (and when I don't care that people are laughing at me anymore).
And finally, the PAYMENTS.
Funnily enough, brands seem to go MIA the minute you've finished the content and payment is due... funny that.
Having to send constant emails for final reminders for payment is pretty tiring, and not something anyone has time to be doing. I honestly think it just takes the piss - but if you're not a blogger, you'd have no idea about all of this. It's just a basic level of respect...
I'm sure we aren't the only people to have bad experiences like this, I'm sure pretty much all bloggers have had at least one. It's times like this though where it really gets you down, and makes you forget about the fun in blogging for a little while.
I absolutely love working with brands, and I wouldn't change any of this for the world, but overall, what I have been disappointed with recently is the lack of respect. Unless you have a certain amount of followers, people think they can boss you around and bully you into things. I don't mind a brand stating what they want, but there are certain ways of saying things to someone.
Respect is a two way playing field - if a blogger was rude to a brand, the brand wouldn't work with them. So why should a blogger put up with a brand being rude or disrespectful to them?