In Support Of The Old-School Blogger

A decade ago blogging was in its infancy. It was all blogspot addresses, photos taken with dodgy smartphones and cupcakes at launch events, but with that came a comforting sense of simplicity and purity. The birth of this new industry came from a place that was overwhelmed with curated glossy magazines and media outlets only ever showing one kind of woman, alienating the majority of the population who just couldn’t relate to what they were seeing on the pages of their favourite magazine. When we started writing about beauty, opinions were front and centre; it was all about sharing our thoughts, providing passionate recommendations and letting people know when to not bother with the latest launch – so much so that ‘cease and desist’ letters from brands not liking what we were saying were more common than they’d care to admit.

With bright shiny eyes and boundaries as yet unset, we were excited to be honest and connect with people who had similar passions – even if those passions were buying crackled nail polish or seventeen shades of green eyeshadow. Being brutally honest is something I became known for, even if it got me into trouble multiple times, and it’s what I so adored about blogging: the freedom and platform to share what I wanted, when I wanted, in the way that I wanted.

The most ‘successful’ among us were those that had experience, that knew what they were talking about or just had genuine passion. Whether that came from a place of being professionally trained, working within the industry or just spending practically every penny of your paycheck in Boots, it didn’t matter – but the sites that seemed to steam ahead and the bloggers who built a community were those with kudos and credibility. They were the sites that remained dedicated to their own platforms, that went to the effort of building a genuine community around them and those who wouldn’t hang up their integrity in return for a free mascara.

Over the years I’ve passionately tried to share my thoughts and opinions, educate and inform, and ensure my readers make the decisions that are right for them. I’ve been working within the beauty industry since 2005 (on everything from formulation development and packaging design, to in-store marketing and TV advertising,) and it’s something I’m hugely passionate about; it’s also something I’m hugely knowledgeable on – as are some of my favourite other old school bloggers (including Jane, Caroline and Ruth.) Although I’ve diversified into new areas, my priority will always be to share beauty recommendations and explanations while working with some brands I truly love.

But what’s been increasingly frustrating me over the last year or two is the fact that that experience, knowledge and opinion is being replaced by the very glossy, curated and homogeneous look we were all originally battling against.

Put simply, the focus on slim / white / blonde / twenty-something women is tiresome. If you don’t fit into a simple box then your content often isn’t visible, isn’t supported by brands and becomes deemed less valuable than a picture with 5000 likes. I’ve written recently about knowing your worth and I continue to preach the same ideology to anyone who will listen: there is life beyond a glossy Instagram account, and value has more than one way of being measured.

We’ve all been told as bloggers of the need to diversify, to not put all our eggs in the Instagram basket and to focus on building something that goes beyond the superficial, but it’s hard to do when readers are less engaged than ever with long-form content and brands only want the instant reach of an Insta Story (vs a blog post that lives indefinitely.) But alas, I keep beavering on with my blog knowing that eventually the tide is sure to turn once again and those with more than superficial knowledge return to focus. I know that my content lives on through SEO and Pinterest, and I know that my readers are a phenomenal bunch who support everything I do – it’s just a matter of continuing to let everyone else know that too.

More and more of you are telling me you’re flipping your priorities and ensuring your own channels are top of your list, and so many of you responded with a similar opinion when I shared my thoughts on this issue across my social platforms, so let us celebrate the old-school blogger together.

The blogger who can’t compete with a team of professionals; the blogger who doesn’t know how to pose like a model or perform like an actress; the blogger who doesn’t fit into the glossy world but has a lot to say; the blogger who’s been doing this a long time and doesn’t have any plans to quit soon; the blogger who’s put their blood, sweat and tears into creating free content for years – before it was cool, before you could make money out of it, and before anyone really understood what a blog was.

We see you. We appreciate you. We support you.

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17 Comments

  1. October 23, 2019 / 9:48 pm

    This is such an amazing blog! I completely understand where your coming from. I feel like my blogs don’t get noticed because they don’t look like something from a magazine. I try my hardest to get good pictures but I’m just not that great but I do have such a strong passion for everything beauty related, hense the name lol and I do have a lot to say that I want to share with everything but I find people don’t really engage on my blogs either 😢 I’d love it if they did, do you have any suggestions that you think may help? Xx

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 3:55 pm

      I think you just have to keep going, find your niche and create pieces that ask people to share their thoughts – and use Pinterest! The best place to ensure blog posts live on.

      • October 24, 2019 / 6:06 pm

        Hey thanks for replying, yeah I do that but still nothing lol and I use pinterest aswell

  2. October 24, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    Yes, yes and YES to everything you’ve said, Hayley! I too am sad that people engage so little with blogs these days, and I’m sad that blogs are being abandoned in favour of IG (I too have written about why it’s such a huge mistake).

    I’ll always have passion for writing my blog, but getting enthusiasm out of me for doing social media is like drawing blood from a stone…!

    I’m hoping with a new decade upon us a new direction in blogging will come about. I’m sick of the Instagram clones you described, so much so that when negotiating with a brand on a group campaign or event I always ask about diversity and insist on it. I’ve been to events when I’M the diverse one just because I’m in my 40s and have red hair – that’s so wrong on so many levels.

    Thank you for such a fabulous post highlighting this!

    Catherine x

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks for your support Catherine! Right now I’m struggling to muster much enthusiasm for anything tbh, because there’s so much politics and reasons why it feels like an uphill struggle. But I do think blogs will eventually make a comeback, and those with genuine passion and opinions will once again be at the forefront.

      It’s baffling to me when brands only want to work on Insta, when we know how limiting that will be; I hope bloggers like us informing and inspiring will make all the difference.

      And re: diversity, I SO feel you! Often I’m the only slightly older, slightly bigger person in the room – but that’s as far as it goes. Utterly ridiculous in 2019!

  3. Rachel
    October 24, 2019 / 12:50 pm

    God yes. The reason blogs took off is because they were more real than the glossy mags. As the blogs got more polished (and for some the money got bigger) quite a few people lost that edge. Whereas before, it felt like bloggers were my mates telling me about the new Bourjois eyeliners, for some bloggers if it’s Chanel etc it’s not going on their site and I can’t relate to that.

    It does make me sad that I used to follow load of bloggers, but now I’m down to less than 10 (including you, Caroline, Ruth and Jane) who keep it real. Hopefully the instagram bubble will burst soon and people will go back to writing decent blog content instead of boring, shiny photos that all have the same filter and tell me nothing about the product!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 4:27 pm

      YES! I want to know what it does, how it feels, if it delivers – not just that it looks cool and smells nice and is oh so lovely! Consumer habits have changed, but that means more than ever we need real opinions over glossy pictures alone.

  4. Danish Pastry
    October 25, 2019 / 6:18 pm

    I’m here for the beauty content, but enjoy other stuff too, but one thing that keeps me coming back is that when we engage with your blog, you engage with us – it’s a two way street, a conversation. And while we’re never going to “know” you, we get a sense of who you are, and what you’re about – we know it’s not about a free mascara!
    I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: IG is like fast food, but a blog post is a proper sit down three course meal, and while each has it’s place and I like both, it’d be IG I’d give up if I had to choose!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      October 27, 2019 / 8:29 pm

      You’re always such an engaged reader and I truly appreciate it! If you take the time to engage with me, then I should only reciprocate. And I love that analogy of a three course meal – so true 🙂

  5. October 26, 2019 / 5:56 pm

    It makes me sad that blogs don’t get as much engagement these days, I’m in the middle of going through my bloglovin’ feed having a big catch up and I enjoy it so much more than whizzing through instagram posts!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      November 4, 2019 / 8:30 am

      Me too – I will always love a good blog post and still use Bloglovin too!

  6. Judy
    October 27, 2019 / 11:20 am

    I have come across this post via Catherine’s weekly roundup. Despite the fact that I am not a regular makeup wearer, I have decided I will follow your very real blog. I love the analogy that Danish Pastry made re fast food re a full course meal, my sentiments exactly. I also am hesitant to comment on blogs, for fear of sounding silly or taking the bloggers time up, but this makes me realize that the true bloggers would welcome comments. So, thank you for this very honest and illuminating post. Who knows, I may come to accept wearing something other than tinted moisturizer and lip balm as me being made-up!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      November 4, 2019 / 8:31 am

      Welcome Judy – and thank you for your kind comment. I’m all about using beauty (and fashion) to make yourself feel great, in whatever form that comes (tinted moisturiser or otherwise!)

  7. October 27, 2019 / 6:39 pm

    Hi Hayley!

    Superb post, as an older blogger I feel I’m paving the way for the 20 somethings to still have a job when they are my age!
    I agree with everything you have pointed out, and I believe blogging will still be here long after instagram etc has ‘gone off the rails’ we might just have a shiny new name for it by then…long live the blog!
    bestest

    Ashley xxx

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      November 4, 2019 / 8:32 am

      Thanks Ashley! Long live the blog indeed!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      November 4, 2019 / 8:30 am

      Thanks Suzy

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