YouTubers – A License to Print Money?

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I am in no way suggesting that these YouTubers don’t work for the money they earn and that their life is in anyway easy. I’m also not saying that I don’t like this culture, I watch a lot of YouTubers myself. But agencies such as Gleam have hit the jackpot with the likes of Tanya Burr, Zoella and PointlessBlog.

If you watch these YT’ers videos from events such as Playlist Live and Vidcon, you’ll see the impact they have on peoples lives. Hundreds of (mostly) teenagers queue up to say a quick hello and grab a photo with their idols. They can relate to these YT’ers who may have suffered from anxiety, have body image problems or simply like make-up. They may watch their videos as an escape from their own lives, or just because they’re a bit nosy like me. It’s great that these people are role models for millions of people around the world, that they can use their videos as escapism, or just for tips on how to create the perfect cat eye.

These YT’ers are HUGELY influential, they have huge audiences of potential consumers who take in everything the say. Queue the brands who pay them to say nice things about their products. I have no issue with this really, I don’t blame them but this is where I feel it crosses a line of some description. I’d like to think I’m pretty savvy about PR, I run this blog and have just finished my degree in Marketing. I can usually easily identify when Zoella is being sponsored by a brand, this means that I’m not bothered what she is saying. It might be true that she loves a Simple moisturiser, but I know she is being paid and disregard the message. I’m not saying that YT’ers lie and say they like a product simply because a brand is paying them, but they may act as though they love it more than they do. I think this is misleading for those viewers who aren’t aware this even takes place, I’m unsure as to whether my 14 year old sister would know her favourite YT’ers are paid to rave about products. It worries me than 13 year old are hanging off every word of their favourite YT’ers and if they say they love something, they’ll annoy their parents until they own it.

This brings me on to YT’ers as brands. Tanya Burr released her lipgloss and nail polish line earlier in  the year, and is launching more in the future. Great, she was an MUA so its credible, right? I saw a 14 year old girl spend ALL of her birthday money so she could buy every shade. It’s her own choice, I know that, but they build a relationship and trust these YT’ers and companies are banking on this. I bought a couple of items from the line, and honestly? They weren’t great. I saw SO many bloggers raving about them and I wanted to shake them. I think a lot of people are blinkered, they see the branding and ignore the product.

Both Zoella and PointlessBlog are releasing books over the next couple of months. There are people out there who spend their whole life trying to get published and fail to do so, even if they are AMAZING. I’m not saying they should turn down the opportunity by any means, go for it. When celebrities write a book, it’s usually seen as ‘oh trying to make more money’, but with Zoella and PointlessBlog people aren’t thinking like that. It has their name on it, they will buy it. I can’t imagine how many children’s Christmas lists they’ll be on this year.

I’m not saying that YouTubers are bad, but companies see their ‘brand’ as a license to print money. Whilst it amazes me, it worries me that it’s practically brainwashing one of the most vulnerable demographics in society. I know this happens in other aspects of life, not just YouTube, but it’s new and another way to target consumers. If you strip it all back, are they  just being used to advertise and make people rich?

BETHXFOOTER

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Outfit – Smart Casual

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20140805_163121I wore this outfit for the assessment centre I attended, I got the job! I love patterned trousers in general and the fact they can be styled for the office makes me so happy. These trousers were from Tesco and are one of my favourite pairs! I love baggy blouses and fell in love with this one from the Wallis sale. The shoes are Clarks* from Shoetique (who currently have a huge summer sale on!) and I think they’re great for work. They do hurt my feet so I am in the process of wearing them in! I’ve been wearing my hair like this loads recently, it’s so easy to throw part up with a scrunchie! This cream one was a preset from my little brother in celebration of my University result, so cute! It’s from Dorothy Perkins, and is a smaller scrunchie which makes it perfect for when you are only putting part of your hair up.

What do you usually wear for work?

BETHXFOOTER

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The Death of Print?

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Last week Company magazine announced that October will be the last of their magazines available in print. Of course, they’ll still be online and take advantage of popular social media channels, but for me it hits home that actual, hard copy, print magazines are on the way out. I mean, they won’t just disappear from our shelves all at once. But the cost of producing magazines paired with the decrease in sales of these publications means its inevitable for any business wanting to maximise profits, to follow the most cost effective ‘trend’ and move their magazine online.

We’ve seen the same happen in the Book industry, whilst some of us still love the new book smell and the feel of having an actual book in our hands, others have their kindles. Personally, I love having a book, but I’ve used my iPad to purchase books too. This industry has been taken over by Amazon’s Kindle, Apples iPad and various other e-readers available on the market. Even Tesco released the Hudl to compete in the market. The unique selling points of these? You can download what you want instantly, instead of going to your local book shop, or waiting for it in the post. You don’t need a shelf in your living room full of books you probably won’t read again, you simply store them on your device. You don’t have to feel pressured into borrowing a book to someone, knowing you won’t get it back.

The trend towards online publications has seen the majority of companies offer their customers an online version alongside the hard copy. I buy Look magazine once in a while, and know that if I can’t find it in my local newsagents, I can go home and get it on my iPad. I know it’s more environmentally friendly for us all to switch to online magazines, but I can’t help but feel weird about it. There is just something about being able to flick through a magazine and then give it to my sister when I’m done. I have a monthly subscription to Vogue and I love getting it through the post and having it on my shelf.

I think we’ll see more magazines following Company and ceasing their print version, but I’m sure there will still be print magazines for a long time yet. Look at the book industry? You can still get the majority of books in hard copy if you want.

I’d love your opinions on this – do you prefer magazines in print?

BETHXFOOTER

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Week in Photos #6

This is probably the last interesting week in photos for a while, as I’ve started my new job today. I’ve also been looking at my blog and it’s content and feeling as if reviews and a bit boring, maybe even pointless. If you still want the odd review, please let me know, but I enjoy writing and really want to write about things I’m passionate about. They’ll still be beauty/fashion related, maybe a little bit of Marketing but I’m looking forward to the sort of new direction I’m headed in.

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Selfie before the LFC friendly // New shoes from Primark // Boyfriend @ Crocky Trail // Brother @ Crocky Trail

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The BEST ice-cream from Cheshire Ice-cream Farm // RIP Sulley Mug // Bowling // Decorating my brothers room

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Catch up with my best friend // PASTA! // Sorting out my work clothes // NEW COAT!! <3

What have you been up to lately?

BETHXFOOTER

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Bloggers – Too Big for their Boots?

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OK, this is probably a controversial topic to write about, but I am bored of seeing bloggers thinking they’re entitled to EVERYTHING because they’ve created a blogger/wordpress account with a Twitter to support it. Yes, I am a blogger and have a Twitter account for my beauty/fashion related rambles, but I don’t expect anything from anybody.

#BLOGGERMAIL

I am sick to death of seeing people using their blog as an excuse to bag themselves some freebies. If you are approached by a brand/pr company then brilliant, review it. Do not take to every channel of Social Media, post a photograph of all your freebies laid out, with a terrible cheesy caption, including #bloggermail. I’m not interested that you’ve bagged yourself some freebies and you feel you now have bragging rights. Please stay off Twitter if you are going to tweet things like ‘Wow, so much #bloggermail today!’ it is so annoying. No, I’m not jealous of you, I’ve been sent things too. But even if I hadn’t, NOBODY LIKES A BRAGGER.

#PRREQUEST

If you have a blog and are begging for things to be sent to you via this hashtag, remove yourself from the internet. OK, you need things for content? Use your bloody brain, be creative and come up with things to write about. You need products? Go out and buy them, if you can’t afford to blog about certain things, don’t blog about them. It’s simple, yet there are so many bloggers out there who think brands should be falling over themselves to get their products featured on their blog. Do not create a blog if you can’t run it on your own. If I’m stuck on what to write about, I use my brain and come up with ideas. Even look through your make-up stash and review something you haven’t pervious. JUST KEEP AWAY FROM THIS DAMN HASH TAG.

SLAGGING OFF BRANDS ON TWITTER

This is either because A) you want people to know that a brand or pr agency have contacted you, or B) you have got every other bloggers back and don’t want them have to deal with them too. Oh of course… You aren’t the Queen, brands may offer something you aren’t happy with, stop acting as if you are entitled to half of their products when they want you to sample 2. Taking to Twitter to vent your ‘totally justified’ anger is a lovely way to get yourself some attention in the blogging world. You look unprofessional, brands will run a mile, as will a lot of fellow bloggers. The blogging world has enough drama and you having a cry because a brand won’t tweet you IS NOT NEEDED.

‘I wouldn’t get out of bed for that’

You have 2,000 followers, you get a little too big for your boots and think your blog is the most desirable thing on the planet. You put a lot of work in, so it’s fine that you kindly decline to write a post about a brand for £5. Everyone is different and whilst some bloggers would write the post for £5, another wouldn’t get out of bed for at least £100. Of course, this all depends on how much you feel your blog and time is worth. If you have 500 followers, you’ll probably accept less than someone with 1,000, that is fine. BUT I am sick of seeing people who feel insulted when PR agencies offer them something they disagree with, then of course tell everyone on twitter. Just say no and get on with your life. So you have 2,000 followers and believe you should be paid top dollar, NO, WAKE UP. Just because your bloglovin says you have 2,000 followers, doesn’t mean brands are going to all race to work with you. If you are lucky, 10% of those ‘followers’ are going to actually read your post – so why would a brand want to pay for £100’s to write something nice on your blog about them.

If you blog full time you’ll have a set price for posts, won’t beg for free stuff and probably won’t make yourself look like an idiot on Twitter. But it seems a lot of bloggers think they’re entitled to everything and that people should pay top dollar for the privilege to work with them.

What happened to bloggers being excited to work with brands? What happened to ‘I blog because I love it.’ I blog because I’m interested in fashion and like writing, if a brand wants to feature on my blog, then that is a bonus. Don’t expect to be sent things or for brands to want to work with you, be humble. Write because you WANT to, not because you want to bag yourself as much free stuff as you can. Oh, and don’t brag, loads of people will unfollow you.

BETHXFOOTER

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Outfit: Powder Blue Coat

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I spent last autumn/winter lusting after a powder blue coat, by the time I’d found one winter was coming to an end and it was pretty expensive. I decided that I’d hunt one out this year regardless of the price! Whilst in Primark looking for something else, I spotted this coat for a small £23! I tried it on and decided I was having this in my life, even if I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.  I kept this outfit casual, pairing it with jeans from New Look, a top from Topshop and new shoes from Primark. I wasn’t sure about this style of shoe, but I fell in love with this peach/pink pair and have worn them every day since buying them. My necklace is also from Primark, I love the pastel colours in it.

What is your favourite coat style?
BETHXFOOTER

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A/W 14 Fashion – Boots

As much as I love Summer, I think autumn/winter fashion is 100 times better. I’m all for a pretty floral dress and a pair of jelly shoes but give me skinny jeans, a huge jumper and a pair of boots any day of the week! I thought I’d put together my top picks of different A/W fashion, starting with Boots. I find it difficult to find knee length boots and tend to stick with different styles, but this year I WILL find a pair!

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1. Copper Stud Mid Heeled Boot – £60 // 2.  Black Double Zip Chunky Heel Boots – £29.99 // 3.  Tan Chelsea Ankle Boots – £25 // 4. Dark Red Block Heels Chelsea Boots – £24.99 // 5. Brown High Biker Boots - £35 // 6. Tan Ruched Knee High Boots - £45

What is your favourite style of boots?
BETHXFOOTER

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The Influence of Beauty Blogs

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I was lucky in the fact that I was able to use beauty blogs as the main focus of my Dissertation. In order to relate it back to Marketing, I looked at their influence in relation to the Consumer Buying Process. For anyone unsure on what this is, it’s shown below.

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Source

Background

I broke down my research findings into each stage, looking at the level for influence. I used an online questionnaire, which if you have been reading my blog for a  while, will have probably completed for me. I shared the questionnaire through my blog, as well as via Twitter. I ended up with around 200 respondents, which I was happy with at the time, so thanks if you were one of them!

In all honesty, I’m not sure how interesting you’ll find this, but I thought with you choosing to read or write your own blogs, this may be useful to know. Personally, I love looking at the influence of social media, blogs and YouTube have on todays consumer – yes, I am a loser.

My justification for carrying out this research was of course, my interest in the subject, but when carrying out research before hand, there was nothing about beauty blogs. Blogs in general had been researched, and the BBC had shown great interest in the influence of YouTubers like Zoella, but nothing about how beauty blogs specifically are influential.

Each person will pass through the Consumer Buying Process differently, depending on who they are, their budget, how much time they have to make the purchase, and the type of product/service they’re looking to purchase. My argument was that although beauty products are relatively inexpensive in comparison to a new car, consumers still carry out information searches with there being a level of perceived risk with the purchase.

Findings

Before starting my research I created research aims, and discussed the findings in relation to each.

To identify the importance of conducting an information search when looking to purchase beauty products.

The findings supported the views of many theorists, who emphasise the importance of conducting an information search before purchase. Whilst it was rated hugely important by all respondents, those aged 30-39 saw it to be most important. I used secondary research which suggested that at this age, consumers are at the peak of their financial responsibilities, and whilst they may earn more than those aged 18-20 (who viewed an information search as less important), they have less disposable income for beauty products.

Although only 2.24% of respondents were male and therefore results can’t be generalised to a wider population accurately, all male respondents gave the importance of an information search the lowest score. This would suggest that when looking at beauty products for themselves (including skincare), they don’t conduct any research, and move straight to purchase.

The findings also suggest that high end items, such as a £15.50 MAC lipstick have a greater element of perceived risk, and will require a more extensive information search than one from MUA which costs £1. This has been supported by a similar piece of research carried out in India.

To analyse the influence of beauty blogs when seeking information about a product

Simply, blogs were the most important source when respondents are looking to conduct an information search. This shows that not only are they used by consumers, but they are favoured over information which comes directly from the company. This supports research which has been carried out, suggesting that blogs are more credible as they are independent from corporate controlled media and therefore aren’t influenced by the company. Messages from blogs are the bloggers own thoughts and opinions and respondents can relate to them (unless their blog is full of PR samples and they’re clearly just in it for the freebies).

To identify the importance of evaluating alternative beauty products when looking to make a purchase

Research suggests that consumers use different approaches when passing through this stage of the process, but as I’ve bored you enough, I won’t go into it. The findings from my piece of research suggested that evaluating alternative beauty products is important, but not viewed as important as the initial information search. This suggests that once consumers have conducted an information search, they’ll either purchase the item or finish the process by not purchasing. Again, those respondents aged 30-39 viewed this stage more important than other respondents, suggesting that they feel more comfortable about a purchase having passed through all stages of the process, completing them thoroughly.

To explore what make beauty blogs a credible source for respondents seeking information

As touched on before, respondents viewed blogs to be a more credible source as information coming directly from a company. This is due to the fact that a company NEED consumers to purchase in order to make a profit, where as bloggers simply don’t (unless part of affiliate schemes or sponsored blah blah). There has been research to suggest that bloggers can create an emotional bond with readers as they relate to the messages, which would add to their credibility.

To explore whether respondents purchase products based on blog reviews

I enjoyed this question a little too much, I wanted to know what people had bought based on blog reviews and there were over 50 different products listed. The majority of the 50 products appeared more than once, with the UD Naked 3 palette being most purchased due to blogs. Other products included MAC lipsticks, Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and a number of other products subject to ‘blogger hype.’ This shows that readers actually purchase things based on you reviews/rambles.

Conclusion

So this turned into a ramble, didn’t it? Baring in mine my dissertation was 10,000 words I think I’ve done well to keep it to around 1,000 for this post. Basically, the conclusion I drew up was that consumers are heavily influenced by beauty blogs when passing through each stage of the consumer buying process. Of course, I only looked at around 200 respondents and this wouldn’t exactly be an accurate sample of the population, but I think it proves that we do have a little bit of influence over what people buy, and how they collect their information. The research may be biased as the sample I used do read beauty blogs anyway, if I had stood in Chester with a clipboard and stopped random people, I would have probably got a completely different result. BUT, it is still a piece of research and it valid regardless of it’s limitations.

You could completely disagree with what I’ve found, and think beauty blogs are a load of crap. But I thought I’d share with everyone what I found as I find it really interesting, and although there are 1000000’s of people out there saying ‘blogs have been done, they’re all the same’, they’re influencing people, and for me, it’s pretty amazing.

I’d LOVE  your opinions if you actually read all of this?!

BETHXFOOTER

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Carex Fun Edition

I’m that person who will buy something they don’t need because it’s in an unusual flavour/scent. When Carex offered to send me products from their ‘Fun Edition’ range, I was 100% on it like a car bonnet. Yep, I just typed that, it is happening.

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First product is one that all members of my family have enjoyed using. The Carex Complete Bubble Gum Handwash* is available in all major supermarkets for £1.80. In all honesty, this isn’t something I ever purchase but when I eventually move out I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase this for myself. I love the scent, it’s right up my street! I’ve used Carex hand washes before and I’ve always been happy with them. They really nourish your skin, which is perfect considering I used to wash my hands 10000 times a day in my old job and they’d be horrible and dry due to their crappy hand wash! The scent is more long lasting than I thought it would be, which is nice as it’s looooovely.

The second product is probably my favourite, the Carex Complete Strawberry Laces Refreshing Hand Gel*. I don’t use hand gels usually, I bought a Soap and Glory one with the intention of using it but I’m so lazy! However, I have used this more than I thought I would. I’m not a huge fan of the scent on my hands at application, but once I’ve rubbed it in, the scent is exactly like strawberry laces. It sticks around for ages too, which makes me look a little weird as I’m constantly smelling my hands! This retails at £1.45 and is available from Superdrug. I’d definitely re purchase this and I think the price tag is reasonable, especially as it is going to last me forever!

Would you give these a try?

BETHXFOOTER

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*PR Samples – These products were sent for consideration – all opinions are my own.