I think to some degree, we somehow have this misconception that beauty bloggers live a somewhat glamourous life. Alright, I have to admit. We get to go to launches as V.I.Ps and eat canapes while the PR agencies try to spoon feed us information, get free products and spa treatments and sometimes we get to come home to a wonderfully wrapped package from The Body Shop or Crabtree and Evelyn that leaves our friends scrambling to wordpress to make their own blogs. Heck, we even get recognised by some of you on the street, even when we’re out buying a vacuum cleaner at Big W, on the tram, at the checkout counter at Priceline, at Uni, on a girl’s night out in Singapore, at the airport in Penang, walking around in Sydney, having a mcflurry with your best friend or even changing at the gym (you know who you are ;)). It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? It sounds a little like the life of a mini celebrity without the hoards of fans and the pressure to look good 100% all the time but although it sounds like a bed of roses, coming from me who has done this gig for two years or so now, I’m not afraid to say that what happens behind the scenes isn’t always like eating out of the Ritz Carlton buffet. Here’s 5 things to being a beauty blogger that’s not talked about much. We have to remember that with all great things come pain staking efforts before it.
1. It’s a One Woman Show
It’s a one woman show, babe. Everything that you see before you. These words that you are reading are typed by one person (right now it’s 2 AM in the morning), me. All the text you see in those widgets, all the replies you get when you email me, all the videos you watch on YouTube, all the pictures you look at and all the giveaway pictures you take instructions from. All that which may be the work of a PR agency, Model, Photographer, Make-up Artist, Writer, Editor, Graphics Designer, Brand Manager, Marketing Expert, Social Media consultant, customer service hotline – all that work is bundled into one and that person is the blogger behind it all. When I was back in Singapore the last holiday, there were only three days on which I could really call my own – the rest were spent meeting up with companies, going to events, friends, bloggers, family. Yeah, it gets tiring sometimes, but we do it for you for free because we love what we do. My mom says to me when she comes down the stairs at 7:30 am in the morning and I’m taking blog pictures because the light is better at this time that this blog is the only thing that would wake me up this early. True that. It’s a one woman show but when it’s what you love doing, it’s a show worth giving your best for.
2. Working with Companies and PR Agencies – You want me to do what?
It is an undeniable fact that blogging and bloggers today are becoming prime cuts of meat to PR agencies and the marketing departments of relevant companies. Bloggers provide what I call a one-stop solution – they provide companies with the celebrity, the photographer, the writer and editor and the media channel in one convenient SEO optimised location. Plus, we are either free or a tiny fraction of the cost of putting their stuff on TV or in a magazine. It’s like a marketing dream come true. Don’t get me wrong, some companies and PR agencies are the best and I’ve built great relationships with their representatives. The ones that are the best recognise bloggers as people and passionate writers who aren’t just in it for money and games. Whether it is taking the time to acknowledge us by name or writing that they are a supporter of what we do, or giving us an appreciation gift, it’s good to be personal and genuine. But, there are the ones who get it all wrong. Bad ones do the exact opposite – they have expected deadlines when there is no compensation involved, pushed tons of products to the blogger expecting her to review all of it and post up reviews of all of them, or tried to lure the blogger to write positive reviews with candy coated rewards if we don’t mention anything bad. It is our own values of honesty and integrity to shy away from these and to pick and choose who we want to work with. Honestly for me, because of the number of requests I receive, I have no problems saying no because after a point, free product doesn’t mean anything to me anymore – it just gets added to my pile of free stuff – what matters is the relationship I build with you and if my readers will benefit from this collaboration which is why I do so many giveaways. It means more to me to give it away to you than to have it for myself. Even when I’m at an event or getting a treatment, I decide to be professional about it. I’m not enjoying the facial, I’m thinking of what I’m going to say in the blog post, making sure I take a mental note of each step and how it makes me feel. My hand reaches out to take awkward photos of a person doing a painful extraction on my face – rarely is it one that I can just enjoy unless the company gives it to me as a token of their appreciation (like my first full body massage!).
3. Working with the Press – Wait a Minute, I didn’t say that…
I’ve been featured in The Straits Times, Straits Times Urban, LianHe Wanbao, SPH Razor TV, I-S Magazine and Yahoo! amongst others and so I can probably say that I’ve had some experience with the press. I’ve learnt that they don’t always say what you’ve said in an interview. They’ll likely re-phrase what you’ve said in a way that may sound more interesting for them to work with and integrate into their own articles, however positively or even negatively biased they may be. I’m not taking for granted the press I’ve been in, all the journalists are great, it’s just that I’m honestly not sure that I’m being 100% truly represented in their articles. For SPH Razor TV, I was interviewed as one of the top haulers in Singapore and my video was called “I eat less to shop more” which isn’t true at all. Press and publicity is great, it means you’re doing something right but don’t be disappointed when it comes up at your door and its slightly skewed.
Taking pictures by yourself of yourself for a tutorial could possibly be one of the most awkward things ever, not to mention bring the word “camwhore” to another level. To be a blogger, you are basically becoming a professional camwhore. But, instead of having a professional photographer come in, you’re on your own girl. My very first time filming a video was taking my digi camera and propping it up on a tissue box and then a few text books on top to create my self-rendition of a tripod. I have a pro one right now. When I take my photos for my blog, I make sure that there’s a mirror behind it so that I can see what exactly I’m taking to save time. Knowing your angles and how you look in photos is an important asset for every blogger just because beauty isn’t just about taking pictures of product, you’re part of it too. People want to see the make-up on real skin. You’re trying out the product on yourself, it’s no surprise that my mom calls me a Guinea Pig.
5. I’m Just Like You
It’s past 2 AM in the morning, I’m breaking out because I haven’t slept much the past few days mainly concerning the fact that I have a Retail Management exam on Monday and I’m trying to post everyday on the blog just to make sure that the transition from old to new goes smoothly. I wake up in the morning, check my email on my blackberry, flip open the macbook and do this gig till 9AM and then I start studying until about 5 or 6 and then I get back to this gig. If I have free time, it will be spent on what I love doing and what I love doing is this. I’m a 20 year old girl who’s in Australia for University and my parents are back home in Singapore. I get tired sometimes. I like having dinners with friends, McDonalds cheeseburger meals after a night out = best thing ever, and who doesn’t like fro-yo and any food that starts with the letter C is awesome, just think about it. I’ve loved, I’ve been heartbroken, I’ve travelled quite a bit, I’m a mix of things I reckon but most of all, I’m pretty much just like you. What you’re reading are my words. Why, hello there. I’m typing on my macbook on a Saturday morning at 2:03 AM right this minute, all the lights are off, I’m on my bed and under my blanket in my pajamas and the only light that’s shining on ma make-up less face is from the screen. Call me anything you want but I’m real. I’m a person. I’m not this thing that’s typing all these words or making all these videos. I’m Roseanne. Nice to meet you too.
So I hope you learned something from this text-filled post. I guess the lesson learnt is that all great effort is the mother of great things and I work my butt off on this blog to get where it is today and I have only hopes for it to be even better in the future! ;)
Are you a beauty blogger? Write back to me in the comments section or ask me any questions!
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