Date Posted: Wednesday 24th January 2018
DIARY directory recently caught up with beauty blogger Anne-Marie Lodge (Ree) from ReallyRee. Passionate about cosmetics, Ree's foray into blogging came in 2010 - initially posting for her own personal satisfaction, the feeling of fulfilment led to a full-blown blogging obsession and now 8 years later, ReallyRee has over half a million readers a month and is one the biggest beauty blogs in the UK.
|Country of residence:||UK|
|Biggest Readership Locations:||UK, US. Germany but read all over the world|
|3 main areas of focus:||Make-up, Skin, Hair|
|Skin tone/type:||Fair, combination|
|Hair type:||Thick, coarse|
|Who are your audience?||93% Female 87% aged 16 - 44|
Your blog is purely beauty, have you thought about delving into your lifestyle as a whole or exploring other areas?
I have thought about this a lot. I think that as the blogging landscape gets more and more saturated, your strength lies in your niche, especially where your website is concerned. With so much competition, you have to make sure you’re the best at what you do and spreading yourself too thinly makes it much harder to stay on top of the game. I like to use my other social platforms to shed a bit more light on my life as a whole.
Macro-influencers Amelia Liana & Alfie Deyes recently took their management in-house. You've also made this decision - what are your reasons?
When I was working with too many other people, I completely lost control of where my precious blog was going and how it was being presented to the world. It was no longer going in the direction that I wanted it to. I have had a fair bit of personal trauma over the last few years and didn’t have the strength to address the issues, so things kind of spiralled out of control. To cut a long story short, I came to the realisation that I had to take things back to basics and get back in control. I stripped everything back and reinstated myself as the sole writer, to return to my blog’s old school roots. I know my strengths. I’ve worked out why I was successful, and I know there’s still a market for it.
In terms of the industry in general, I think it pays to not let your affairs get too far away from you, which is why I think we have seen a few influencers bringing their representation in-house. How you and your brand relate to the rest of the world is key to success and it is vital to have ultimate control over that.
Your success came from your blog, what are your thoughts on it now being seen as a numbers game?
It will always be a numbers game. My blog is my strongest channel by a million miles and it’s sometimes frustrating when we are all judged on our social following stats. I’d love to build my social media platforms so that they are a fairer reflection of the blog’s reach. However, my true focus is expanding the platform I own rather than driving traffic to someone else’s. Instagram is amazing, but it doesn’t belong to me. In terms of the website, if you google a product, it will more often than not come up in the search results. Brands should never underestimate the power of search as an influence. I feature products I like, and they sell, which I can see through my affiliate reporting and revenue. I don’t want to be a salesperson, but you can’t argue with the numbers and I am often Space NK’s number one sales driver in terms of affiliates.
What are your thoughts on where the influencer industry is going?
It is growing at a crazy rate and as it’s an untrodden path I think it’s pretty tricky to predict exactly what will happen. I think the key to success will be the ability to adapt. Also, it’s vital to stay true to your values and hold on to your integrity. Readers and followers are hyper-educated, and their trust is your currency. If you don’t take that seriously, you won’t survive the next five years that’s for sure.
How important is a social media strategy for bloggers?
Social media strategy is important. It’s a job in itself for many brands. I’d like to focus more on my social strategically going forward, but at the moment I simply make sure that I share my content across all my platforms and that I inject some more personal insights into Instagram and Twitter to keep things real and relatable. So much engagement from readers happens via direct message so it’s great to be able to keep things personal as well driving traffic to the site.
You were DIARY directory's (Dd) most searched blog contact of 2017 – how does having a Dd membership benefit you as an influencer?
Wow! That’s good to know! I love DIARY directory because this is such a fluid industry and my contacts move around a lot. It helps me stay in touch with the people I need to know and also keep on top of any new launches I might have missed. Also, when I have updates I need to share, Diary is the easiest and most effective way of doing it.
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of blogging?
The people and the products. This business is all about relationships and I have met some incredible people and made some wonderful friends. As a beauty obsessive, it’s mind-blowing to be able to say that I have met the people behind some of the most brilliant product innovations and had access to real genius and visionaries. I love how beauty makes me feel. It is such an inspiring industry filled with amazing talent and technology. Newness is my obsession and I am so happy when I’m playing with new products and learning about new technologies. I never get bored of seeing something new. I have loved beauty products forever, so it’s exciting to be right at the forefront of it for my work now. Whilst I love playing with products and testing them out, my least favourite part is taking photos of them. I’m a writer at heart!
How do you think brands/PRs can work better with influencers? Any pet peeves?
Everything has come on so much in the eight years I have been doing this. Some days I can barely believe how far we have come and then some days you wonder if some people didn’t get the memo! There are still a few people that want you to help them do their job for free or want to tell you exactly how to do your job without any consideration of the idea of collaboration. The majority of my content is unsponsored because I make a solid income from affiliates and I have a certain way of doing things. Anyone I work with commercially needs to fit in with that. I love it when brands handpick you because you’re already a fan and ask for your personal ideas about how to bring a product to life. It’s worrying when brands work with influencers based on numbers rather than natural fit. I fear that this really jeopardises the integrity of our industry.
There seems to be a lot of grey areas with regard to bloggers reaching out to brands. Do brands always come to you or do you sometimes reach out to work with them?
Brands always come to me. Throughout 2018 the plan is to become more proactive and I’m in the process of looking at ways to make that happen.
Give us some examples of your favourite sponsored collaborations to date?
The most notable collaboration of recent times is the L’Oréal Elvive World of Care campaign that I am incredibly proud to be involved with. Especially because it’s everywhere and it’s a brand I have been using for years! Seeing myself on the London's Piccadilly Circus Digital Billboards was quite an emotional moment. I have also worked with brands and retailers that I have been a longtime fan of like Boots, Max Factor, Bourjois, Marks & Spencer, and Sassoon to name a few. I’m currently working with one of my all-time favourites, NARS, so that’s super exciting. I want to do a lot more work with brands in 2018 and it’s shaping up well so far.
Listed in DIARY directory in the blogs & vlogs section, Anne-Marie is one of over 1500 categorised influencers that PRs could work with. Subscribers can sort blogs according to social media following across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and filter by country and UK region. See our previous Featured Influencers here!
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