Do Bloggers Have More Influence Than Glossy Fashion Magazines? + Sunday Reflections Link Up

Do Bloggers Have More Influence Than Glossy Fashion Magazines? + Sunday Reflections Link Up

As part of “operation declutter”, which I started on this past week, I tackled the hoard of magazines that I’d amassed. I used to buy two or three glossy fashion magazines every month, and rarely threw them away. Every now and then I’d go through them and bin a few. But in truth, I bought more than I threw away. Going through them all I wondered how much I’ve spent on them over the years, and what I could have bought with that money instead. You don’t get much change out of fiver with some of them. That’s a lot of money for what’s basically a book of adverts.

Real people, wearable clothes and photos that haven’t been airbrushed is what I’m looking for. This got me wondering: Do bloggers have more influence than glossy fashion magazines?

Apart from the odd current affairs article in Marie Claire and a few high street fashion features, I was decidedly underwhelmed. Looking at clothes that I can’t afford on young, very slim models seems pointless. When I want style inspiration I’ll find it in other bloggers. Real people, wearable clothes and photos that haven’t been airbrushed is what I’m looking for. This got me wondering: Do bloggers have more influence than glossy fashion magazines?

Remember last year when Lucinda Chambers was abruptly dismissed from her post as Vogue’s fashion director, she admitted that she hadn’t read Vogue in years? She went on to say that “The clothes are just irrelevant for most people – so ridiculously expensive.” Who could disagree with that?

The last copy of Elle I bought (the October issue) had 42 pages of adverts before even getting to the editor’s letter. A total of 154 pages devoted to advertising – the luxury brands far outweighing the likes of M&S, Debenhams and Matalan. Is it any wonder print sales are in decline?

But in an increasingly crowded online space, maintaining a loyal readership isn’t easy.

In October, Glamour UK magazine announced it was going “digital first”, stopping its monthly editions and instead producing a “collectible, glossy” issue twice a year. InStyle had done the same the previous year. Of course, declining print sales doesn’t necessarily indicate diminishing influence. But in an increasingly crowded online space, maintaining a loyal readership isn’t easy. And then there’s the question of advertising revenue. When Glamour announced the end of monthly print publications it said its editorial and commercial teams were becoming “fully integrated”. Another way of saying that the commercial team will actually be controlling the editorial content perhaps?

The blogosphere provides diversity that has always been bewilderdingly absent from fashion mags.

All this raises the issue of authenticity, and this is where bloggers fill that vacuum. Well for me anyway. I realise that as a blogger myself I’m biased, and that not all bloggers/influencers give completely honest reviews. But what bloggers do so brilliantly that magazines can’t is show clothes on a variety of body shapes and sizes. The blogosphere provides diversity that has always been bewilderdingly absent from fashion mags.

Back in Glamour’s heyday when sales peaked in 2004 I was one of its avid readers. I was also one of many glued to Sex and the City, lusting after the hideously expensive clothes, shoes and bags. Then the global financial crash happened and shit got real. Suddenly it seemed ridiculous to spend a month’s salary on a handbag. Times have changed. A lot. Anyway, who actually believed that a freelance writer earned enough to buy all that designer stuff and live the high life in New York?

Do Bloggers Have More Influence Than Glossy Fashion Magazines? + Sunday Reflections Link Up

…this is where “micro-influencers” prove so useful – to both brands and their readers.

It seems that we’ve all got more savvy, realising that photos are routinely airbrushed and that beauty products are not always what they’re cracked up to be. Now I’m not saying that bloggers/influencers are not part of that; some high profile influencers recently found themselves in hot water over non-disclosure of sponsored content. But this is where “micro-influencers” prove so useful – to both brands and their readers.

A blogger will tell you if something runs true to size, if the fabric is good quality, if it washes well. You don’t get that kind of information anywhere else.

Micro-influencers who generally have between 1,000 and 50,000 followers are proving to be an essential part of brands’ marketing strategies. The reason? They have relatively small, but very loyal followings and high engagement rates. Choosing to work with bloggers or micro-influencers is akin to not putting all your eggs in one basket for a brand. They have a direct, personal connection with their audience. A blogger will tell you if something runs true to size, if the fabric is good quality, if it washes well. You don’t get that kind of information anywhere else. And that level of engagement is something brands want to tap into.

However, identifying which influencers to work with and tracking ROI are big challenges.

Even luxury brands are recognising the selling power of influencers. Once reluctant to appear less exclusive, high end brands are increasingly forging relationships with social influencers. However, identifying which influencers to work with and tracking ROI are big challenges. With some Instagrammers buying fake followers and likes (you can read my post about that here), it can be difficult to predict who will genuinely get the message out there and drive sales.

Do Bloggers Have More Influence Than Glossy Fashion Magazines?

Image via Econsultancy**

A survey of 2 million social media influencers by influencer marketing platform Markerly showed that for unpaid posts, Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8 percent, while those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a like rate of 4 percent. The like rate drops to 2.4 per cent for accounts with 10,000 to 100,000 followers and to 1.7 percent for those with 1 million to 10 million followers and more*.

If I want outfit ideas or the scoop on a newly-launched mascara I’ll check out blogs and vlogs rather than magazines.

Of course like rates and comments don’t necessarily translate into sales, at least not in the short term. But in the long term, exposure can yield results. Blogger outreach has proven to be very effective for a lot of smaller brands who don’t have a big advertising budget. I can think of many brands that were first brought to my attention by bloggers. So in a way, the marketplace is becoming more democratised as magazines lose influence.

There is undoubtedly something very satisfying about leafing through a glossy mag on a long train journey, but do they actually make us go out and buy the products they feature? For me, no, they don’t. If I want outfit ideas or the scoop on a newly-launched mascara I’ll check out blogs and vlogs rather than magazines. Bloggers are accessible and approachable; their reputation (and sometimes career) depends upon their honesty and transparency. I’m not saying I’m totally done with fashion mags, but with the money I’m saving by not buying them I should be able to afford some nice new clothes! 😉

Do you still read monthly glossy fashion mags? And do they influence what you buy? Or do prefer blogs for reviews and style inspiration? I’d love to hear what you think!


This is where I link up!

*The rise of ‘micro-influencers’ on Instagram

** Four reasons luxury brands are embracing influencers

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24 Comments

  1. February 4, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    This is such a relevant post, Emma!! I’m standing her applauding every part of it and it’s all so true!!
    Of course, half the time when I do read a magazine, I look more at the advertisements for more normal clothing styles, but I think bloggers are the wave of the future!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • February 4, 2018 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you Jodie! I’m only interested in finding out what’s new in the shops but I can find that online. Fashion is so fast-moving that print editions can’t keep up!

  2. February 4, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    I rarely read magazines anymore. I use to collect them also and loved the fragrance samples, but never for fashion influence. I’d rather get influenced by bloggers 🙂

    http://www.tipsyheelz.com

    • February 4, 2018 / 10:09 pm

      Oh yes, my daughter loves the “smellies” (as she calls them) in magazines!

  3. February 4, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    Such an interesting topic Emma. One that I could talk about all day! I too used to buy all the glossies and now only buy one or two mags a month. Hello Fashion being my favourite because it’s only £1
    I think magazines are in for a very rocky ride as bloggers grow to be the most influencing via fashion, interior, and many other topics. The list is endless isn’t it.
    I think eventually bloggers will catch all the money for advertising and magazines will mostly be online only too. The sad part about this is that I will most probably be in my 70’s or 80’s!!
    Laurie xx

    • February 4, 2018 / 10:14 pm

      I sometimes buy Hello Fashion Monthly because it features more high street brands than designer, and like you say, it’s only £1, but I found the last couple of issues disappointing. Also not many supermarkets stock it. I’m sure you’ll still be a very stylish blogger in your 70s and 80s!

  4. February 4, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    That s quite a story. I actually hadn’t bought a magazine since I started blogging. I used to buy the Vogue every month, but I was also annoyed by the ads. I think women are a bit fed up with ask those magazine women. They all want,, normal,, women.
    Like we! Ha ha ha

  5. February 4, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    I agree with all of this, Emma. I NEVER read fashion magazines anymore. I’m not inspired by them, and I’m bored to tears with all the ads and the editorial that is paid for by the brands. They only promote the huge multi national companies anyway and they all do animal testing (cosmetics) or are totally unaffordable anyway (Dior, YSL, etc). I’d much rather see what my favourite bloggers are wearing and thinking and styling! xx

    • February 4, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      They are very boring aren’t they? Bloggers are much more experimental and innovative. No wonder the publishing houses are slashing the cover price of the glossy mags – even the half decent free gifts seem to be a thing of the past!

  6. February 4, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    I NEVER look at fashion magazines and I only read fashion blogs. I want to see how ordinary women just like myself dress and not some 5 foot 10 115 pound girl.

    • February 4, 2018 / 10:28 pm

      Absolutely Amy, I need to see how clothes look on someone with curves!

  7. February 4, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    Back in the day I was a magazine ADDICT. I got SO MANY, I couldn’t help myself. The pictures! The clothes! The styling! Seriously. Addicted. And then along came THE INTERNET. And slowly slowly I was able to wean myself off (expensive!) magazines and I turned to websites and online magazines (now addicted to ISSUU!) and then blogs. And yes, literally just last week I needed a new mascara and who did I turn to for recommendations? Blogs. Because they’re Real People…and if I like your blog, then I like YOU, and if I LIKE you, then I trust you and your taste, and if you say Monty’s Mascara is the one to try for a, b, and c, then it’s Monty’s Mascara I’m going to buy.

    Bettye
    https://fashionschlub.com

    • February 4, 2018 / 10:26 pm

      They are so expensive for what they are – basically just adverts. Shockingly kids’ magazines are just as expensive though…my goodness I’ve spent some money on them over the years. I agree Bettye, I always google beauty products for blog reviews before I buy anything without trying it first.

  8. February 5, 2018 / 3:25 am

    You make many excellent points, and I do feel like blogs and video blogs have been capturing a good percentage of the fashion and beauty markets. And I agree that the information is more specific and reliable. We are certainly living in interesting times. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.
    ❤️❤️❤️
    Elle
    https://theellediaries.com/

    • February 10, 2018 / 2:00 pm

      Thanks Elle! It’ll be interesting to see how marketing trends evolve and how much brands come to rely upon bloggers to get their messgae out there.

  9. February 5, 2018 / 6:10 am

    You know, I have to say, I used to be like this too and hoard tons of magazines. I generally keep the interior design ones thinking I’ll refer back to them. However, I don’t take subscriptions to magazines anymore. My Aunt gave me a Southern Living subscription for Christmas, which I’ve enjoyed, and I buy the occasional seasonal magazine. I look on line, almost exclusively, for my fashion, etc. ideas. I think influencers (bloggers) have a hug impact on regular people. By that, I mean the person that isn’t running out to buy a $10,000 gown. I also think they have influence on high end purchases. Bloggers tell their followers what they have bought that’s expensive and let them know if it’s really worth it. You are right, you don’t get that from a magazine. This is a great post Emma!

    • February 10, 2018 / 2:05 pm

      Thanks Julie! When I first started reading blogs they were all wearing expensive clothes and that put me off starting my own, but most people can’t afford those high end pieces so those blogs were no different from magazines in that respect. There’s a huge demand to see affordable clothes on people of different ages, shapes and sizes. I’ve thrown out so many magazines I filled the wheelie bin!

  10. February 5, 2018 / 9:20 am

    I used to buy so many fashion magazines each month and I still have a huuuge collection of magazines from years ago! I used to love looking at all the photos and designs, although it was purely like looking at works of art, as I could never ever afford to buy the clothing and accessories featured and even if I could, I would never be able to fit into them anyway! I only discovered the world of blogging in July last year and I now realise I hardly ever buy magazines anymore! I love looking at blogs and seeing how real people wear real clothes. It’s much more inspiring and it’s free! Think of all the extra money I’ll have to buy real clothes for the real me instead! 😉 XXX

  11. February 5, 2018 / 11:04 am

    Emma, this is such a great post! I, too, have always loved the glossy magazines and have often wondered how much I have spent to look at pictures of clothing that I could never afford! Bloggers are definitely where it’s at for regular people with regular jobs on regular budgets. So much great information here, too. Thank for sharing! Now I have to go start cleaning out my mountain of fashion mags!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

  12. February 5, 2018 / 11:13 am

    I loved that read, and it’s so true. I hardly ever buy magazines! As you say always full of adverts for over-priced clothing, that I probably wouldn’t want or couldn’t afford. I find whatever I need to know by way of blogs, be it IT, make-up, clothes or even holidays – you can always find something. Jacqui x

  13. February 5, 2018 / 12:06 pm

    Emma, this post is bloody brilliant! You are spot on in everything you’ve said. I used to be a bit of a magazine addict too but grew more and more fed up with all the pages of advertising. It was just too much – and all those ads featured women who were completely photoshopped and that drove me crazy. The women I knew of (Hollywood stars for example) rarely looked the way they actually looked because they’d been faffed about with to a ridiculous extent. It’s so stupid. It’s been years since I wanted to buy a glossy magazine – I’m often given them, and I flick through them but am never influenced to buy anything. Like you, I’m much more inclined to see what my fellow bloggers and vloggers are wearing and get inspiration from them.
    I used to be a magazine editor myself – I worked my way up from trainee journalist when I was 18 to eventually editor and although I loved it, I hated the commercial side of it because we had to have such a nigh percentage of advertising!
    I Thank goodness for bloggers is all I can say 😉
    Hugs
    Suzy xx
    http://www.suzyturner.com

  14. February 5, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    This is one of the best posts I have read in a long time. Very informative and insightful! I haven’t bought magazines in ages just for all the reasons you pointed out. And everything I buy was first seen and read about on another blog.
    Cheryl
    http://www.northwestmountainliving.com

  15. Liz
    February 5, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    Such a great and relevant post! I do think that bloggers are the new way of advertising (and not just because I am one). it completely makes sense. With that being said, I still love reading my monthly magazines 🙂 I’m old school like that lol

    Liz
    http://www.lizzieinlace.com

  16. February 6, 2018 / 1:14 pm

    Such an interesting perspective and post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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