Is 'Blogger' A Dirty Word? Sara Donaldson Weighs In

The past ten years have seen drastic changes in the fashion media industry. Changes like blogging have not only got the industry talking, but also made mainstream media sit up and take note. And fashion bloggers are, indeed, a controversial breed. 

Our fashion contributor, Sara Donaldson of Harper & Harley, joins in on the blogger debate in her second post for Who What Wear Australia...

The title ‘blogger’ has become so unappealing. Is that news to you? Just check the Instagram bios of top fashion bloggers, both in Australia and overseas, and see if you can prove me wrong. 

Ditching the original blogger title for the likes of ‘digital influencer’, ‘digital style publisher’, ‘digital creative’, ‘fashion influencers’, ‘social media influencers’, is seemingly the way to go. Or many are now highlighting the skills they use as part of running their business, such as ‘photographer’, ‘stylist’, ‘writer’ and ‘creative director’.

Not wanting to be pigeonholed into the stereotype of the blogger and believing their site has grown bigger than a simple style blog is a driving force behind this shift. Wanting to be taken seriously is also a big concern. With a lot of negative connotations surrounding bloggers' ethics and the purpose of a blog, it’s no wonder some are getting savvy with what group they align themselves with.

But if you have a blog, you are a blogger. No matter what spin you put on it, if you’re running a site that creates content based around an individual’s opinion, personal style and advice, then you’re a blogger. When the site becomes more than just you—perhaps with the support of a team—only then, I believe, can you formally separate yourself, because your brand could exist even if you didn’t.

I believe there is a clear difference between those that have created successful businesses out of their blogs and those that have not—and subsequently get caught up in the less than appealing blogger stereotype. What’s the difference? Successful bloggers offer a service, education and something of value, not just photos of themselves in different outfits. Successful bloggers take their blogs one step further.

Describing your blog as a ‘creative outlet’ or ‘fashion diary’ is a little too airy and could lead to a lack of direction. Like any brand or business, you should begin by creating a mission statement. What are you going to blog about? What’s going to set you apart from others? What are people going to get from visiting your site? If a blogger can’t answer these simple questions, then they need to re-evaluate.

Sure, you could blame it on the media for degrading the blogger title, such as when they speculate how much money they’re earning. Or alternatively, you could blame it on those bloggers who are simply in it for the perks.

The good news is that those in this group will realise soon enough that this is a job like any other, one that requires a lot of work, thick skin and a long-term strategy.

As someone who has been in the blogging industry for almost seven years, I admit it’s hard for me not to be a little defensive over the blogger title. I’m proud but also humble of the fact that I’ve been able to create a successful career from a passion project, and am comfortable enough with what I produce and offer that my ‘blogger’ title is still intact.

While blogging is still a relatively young industry, it’s a remarkable one which offers low barriers to entry. There are exceptional opportunities out there for anyone with access to a computer and the internet, and for those that are dedicated enough, you can earn an income along the way.

So what can we do to make the title of a blogger something to be proud of?

When it comes down to it, this is in your hands, as the consumers of online content. If you don’t follow them, then those bloggers who aren’t providing anything of worth will have to change their tact or exit the market—leaving only those who are actually creating something of value, the real bloggers.

What am I currently blogging about? I'm on a mission to reduce my wardrobe down to the basics—black, white and grey. Keep scrolling to shop my picks.

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