My stats are telling me that views are down on this blog. Gloomy news, but its made me sit up and think. This started off as an insider beauty blog – and in fact I began it anonymously – but even I can see that other than the odd ‘first look’, there isn’t much thats ‘insider’ about it now. Let me explain why. First of all, the beauty press in the UK is small in numbers – like really small. Everyone knows everyone, and that’s across the board; magazines, newspapers, PRs and marketing people, buyers and brands. So to operate anonymously is nigh on impossible – if a PR shows me a new product, and I know I am the first to see it, if it then appears a few hours later on BBB, its kind of obvious that it’s my blog! So, it’s now an open blog, with nothing, including figures and my identity, hidden. At the beginning, when blogging was so new to the UK, it took a huge leap of faith for PRs to let me have product information and pictures ahead of anyone else. And it took quite some time for the rest of the beauty media to cotton on that blogging might sprout into the mighty combined force that it now is. If I feature something on my blog, nine times out of ten, the PR gets a call in from a publication on that product because they want to feature it, too. Job done, you’d think: PR’s happy, I’m happy and BBB readers are happy. Oh, no. It is just never that simple. The state of play as it stands now is that magazines are openly asking that products aren’t released to bloggers ahead of them featuring it. In fact, in the case of one designer lipstick which is still under strict embargo despite being seen in US Vogue then UK Vogue (in that order) but not on their websites (because you know us bloggers for snooping about the web) as it has yet to be featured in one more key print publication before anyone else can even sniff at it. I’ve never officially been told of its existence, so to all intents and purposes I don’t know it’s even embargoed if I ‘don’t know’ about the product. In fact, the silence has been deafening from that department! Which is why it was on my blog two weeks ago. I’m just not bowing to the pressure yet I am very much aware it is there. But, I have been posting bland for want of a better word because it isn’t easy bucking the trend all the time. And, if I do it all the time, I’ll become my own worst enemy. As it is, some PRs are holding back on issuing bloggers, or me..who knows…with information because they know they’ll get it in the neck from the mags. I’ve discussed it with a senior person from the lipstick brand. ‘It’s difficult, it’s difficult’, she said. Damn right it is, but you try being the person excluded from any info at all and see how that one feels, honey. And you can also bet your bottom dollar that after all the Topshop make up exclusives have been in print, they’ll be sniffing around on line for coverage too. I don’t say bloggers shouldn’t feature it, but who wants to be second best? I don’t want that for me or for BBB readers. So, things are on the change in beauty land and it’s something of a slog at the moment…just when you think you’re making progress, you slide a few steps back. I was just at an industry awards ceremony that had at last realised that beauty blogging should have its own separate award – without wanting to take anything away from the blogger who deservedly won, we began these awards with the chairman of a huge brand verbally sealing his commitment to print. A bit of a kick in the face to those of us who were there from on-line publications, genuinely excited to have a category of our own. It’s as if he was saying ‘we are tolerating on-line, but really we love magazines best’. I was even slightly nervous about going – being in the same room with a bunch of people where the insider vibe is that they really don’t like what you’re doing – was slightly daunting. Enough people visit this blog that it’s worth pushing on and trying to get all beauty blogs, not just mine, seen by PRs and other media as a truly valid, worthwhile way to discover and read about beauty in a way that traditional outlets have never done and will never do in the future. BBB readers come in every day to read things from a different viewpoint, to get some exciting insider info and find out as soon as I do what’s going on in the world of beauty. And, they’re damn well going to get it.
NB: Feeling philosophical, the least BBB will be is an accurate record for the future on how blogging moved and merged into the beauty world.