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You guys: as of last week, I have officially celebrated my 8-year blogiversary (you can see my first, HORRIBLE blog post here, btw!) On June 7th, 2011, I was in between transferring schools, really bored over the summer, and decided to launch a style blog on Blogger.com. Little did I know that that simple decision would change the rest of my life.
If you’re a regular here, you know what eventually happened. This little blog ended up becoming my full-time gig. However, in the last eight years, a lot has changed. Mainly, a thing called Instagram happened.
I’ve called myself a “blogger” for years, but in 2019, I’ve been lumped into the “influencer” camp. And honestly? I don’t think either term accurately describes what the heck I do daily. And I know a lot of other bloggers/influencers/content creators might feel the same way as I do.
Here are a few reasons why the term “influencer” isn’t a fit for me.
Why I Don’t Consider Myself as Being an “Influencer”
I Come From an Editorial Background
Let’s rewind a bit. First and foremost, I do come from an editorial background. I majored in Public Relations in college, so I 100% understand the role of an editor and a PR person. I know the purpose of a press release and understand the importance of earned media.
It’s honestly disheartening whenever I go to an “influencer event,” and people commend me for being one of the few people in the industry who still updates their website regularly. I think because I started blogging eight years ago, that’s what I’m just used to: making an edit calendar for your blog and updating it accordingly.
There’s also something so refreshing about writing an actual blog rather than having to come up with a cute/witty/punny caption for Instagram. I’ve never been super great at that. I’m a storyteller by trade.
“Production, Production, Production”
Not only do I write, but also I produce visual content for my accounts and brands as well. Before I started dating Tom, I realized I was doing a lot to create visuals, but I never realized that for one photo shoot, I was taking on multiple different roles. Tom is a professional photographer who’s worked with major brands and is used to working on shoots with an art director, model, stylist, hair/makeup, assistants, craft services, and etc. Do we have any of that when we’re shooting campaigns for brands? NOPE.
Sometimes, visual content is produced pretty organically and effortlessly. Other times, I’m working with a brand that has strict guidelines and deliverables and is also compensating me to produce marketing materials for them. In that instance, I have to think like an art director.
What location am I shooting at? What prop(s) will I use in the shoot? What outfit/hair/makeup will complement the scene best? What ‘script’ will I follow for IG Stories and/or video content? What’s my Plan B for inclement weather? What photographer can I hire to get the job done?
I produce high-quality, professional visual content regularly, which is something that an ad agency would typically hire an entire team of people to do. I think the term “Content Creator” is a little more appropriate than an “Influencer” in this instance because I’m definitely more production-oriented.
Speaking of Photography…
On the photography note: can I tell you that I’ve had opportunities hit my inbox asking if I could produce photos for a brand (and not even post it on any of my channels?)
It’s an exciting, yet odd request: there are plenty of talented, professional photographers out there and ad agencies who can produce great marketing content for a brand, yet some brands solely rely on content generated by creators like us. I don’t necessarily mind it, as long as these creators are being compensated fairly for their work and time.
Sure — there’s a bit of “Influencing,” but…
Have I built a following over the last few years? Definitely. Have I convinced someone to buy something in my eight years of creating? Absolutely. Have I ever open their eyes to a fun new travel destination? For sure. I’ve definitely done some “influencing” in my day, and I’ve even been influenced by other creators out there as well.
Influencers/bloggers/content creators in a unique position, because they’ve built trust with their followers. And it’s a thing. But let’s be real: there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, and we wear a lot of hats. It’s kind of mind-boggling to think of all the random skills I’ve acquired over the past eight years, and how this industry has pushed me creatively!
Photo by Tom McGovern