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How the digital landscape will change for brands and bloggers in 2015

Having helped to set up social media at (way back in the Victorian times in 2009) through to a two year stint as Digital Fashion Editor at Cosmopolitan UK, and currently Social Media Editor for Etsy in the UK, as well as being a (bit of a) blogger meself, I like to think I’m au fait with what’s hot in the world of social media and engagement online.

So I thought I’d stick my neck out and identify seven ways the digital landscape may well change with regards to brand and blogger collaborations in 2015. Behold!

Going back to bogging basics
I moaned wrote about this here, a while back. While certainly remaining professional and polished in terms of appearance, blogs will start to read less like glossy magazine shoots and a bit more like real life. The content will be more stripped-back and honest. Bloggers may well be more choosy about the projects they accept, and not feel the need to say YES to every offer that comes their way. Many fashion bloggers are already starting to shift into more lifestyle-led posts, reflecting the evolution of their own lives as they grow up, or realise there’s more to life than blagging a free handbag.

I think this ‘realism’ will also spread to other platforms like Instagram, which was designed for capturing everyday moments, and we will start to see less manipulated, perfect shots. Capturing real life moments, the beautiful in the mundane. Not staging the shit out of something so it loses all sense of reality – and feeds into the dark side of social, constantly portraying a so-called perfect life. Dangerous territory to be part of, whether jumping into the fire or fanning the flames. The blogging community needs to put on a united front against this.

Advertorial will morph into editorial
Of course, bloggers have been running sponsored posts for, like, EVER now, but it’s still too easy to sniff one out at fifty paces, whether it’s disclaimed it or not. This content just seems to stick out like a sore thumb, because no matter how much a blogger doth protest, it is usually a product they haven’t got a TRUE affinity with. I think the onus will start to shift onto the brands to become much more selective about the bloggers they work with, choosing to collaborate with those who are existing consumers or engaged with the brand, to make the partnership much more authentic, and thus beginning to blur the lines between editorial and advertorial.

Plenty more bloggers in the sea
The bloggersphere is vast, but in 2014, brand collaborations became over saturated with the same ol’ blogger faces. I am sorry to say but I became a bit bored of this, tbh. I think with the previous point coming into play, we will start to see brands think more carefully about the bloggers they choose work with, and, instead of blindly going for the usual biggies ‘just because’ or to ‘tick a box’, will consider collaborating with up-and-coming or more niche bloggers, where appropriate. Of course, bigger, more established bloggers still have their place, especially where influence is concerned, but it’s time for a change – there’s plenty of room for everyone, after all.

Specialist areas on social
I feel like people will start to specialise on specific social media channels this year. Instead of being a ‘blanket blogger’ with all of the main channels ticked off and a fairly healthy following on all of them, we will start to see experts in each field. We’ve already seen it with YouTubers, but brands will start to realise there are superstars on each platform – someone may have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, but only a handful on Twitter, or whatever. Brands will (hopefully) finally start to realise that it’s not just about the number of page impressions (which people can embellish)  but about the influence a person has, as well as the quality of the engagement. Visual channels will start to have as much importance as blogs now, if not more.

Less lists, more prose
I totally think we have reached ‘peak list’ – hellz; we were doing lists right here on Le Blow waaaay back in 2011 and they’re starting to feel tired in 2015. Yeah, Buzzfeed, I’m looking at YOU. And yup; well aware that even this post is a sort of list (IT’S TOO DARN EASY!).

Readers are growing tired of ‘link bait’ simply not delivering and are looking to click through to thoughtful, informative or enlightening posts. Off the back of this, I think there will be shift towards more ‘wordy’ posts, if the blogger is so-inclined; ones that share real life anecdotes and/or advice. Or just well-written pieces of prose; maybe even poetry! Brands can tap into this by sharing their own story; of their heritage or the people behind the brand – or by inviting influencers in and allowing them to share their story for them.

Public Vs private sharing
Newsflash: Not everyone wants to share EVERYTHING online. Scandalous, I know. So we may well see brands turn to more ‘private’ platforms, like Snapchat, Google Hangouts or closed Twitter accounts, to tap into this – and also create the feeling of exclusivity, like a members-only club. This approach won’t be for everyone, but I think certain brands will experiment with it.

This is also true of interactions with blog posts; many bloggers have observed a decline in the number of comments their posts get. People often do a ‘read and leave.’ I certainly find that people often want to comment back to me personally, on the place I’ve shared the blog post, as opposed to underneath it, so this may also mark a step change in how we consume and share content, too.

Personalisation is everything
Personalisation has been a buzz word for a while now, but with good reason. People bloody love it. They want a bespoke experience online. They want someone else to shift through the shit and serve up a digital smörgåsbord tailored to their unique tastes and needs. With this in mind, I think we will see brands using influential individuals as a way of realising this experience, especially where their own websites may not be able to deliver on the personalised content front. I also think we’ll see less of the ‘let’s send the same dress/bag/shoes to all the top bloggers so you see it everywhere and it all gets a bit bloody boring’ to brands being a bit more creative and letting the influencers themselves lead the way by driving the content and feature ideas themselves.

What do you think? How will bloggers and brands continue to work together in 2015? AMIRITE – or waaay off the mark? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @NatWallers


  • Comments

  • avatar

    A great post from an insider who obviously knows what she is talking about. I agree that there will be more of a shift with more opportunities for the niche and medium bloggers, but I think some PR have their hands tied as some brands still don’t understand that it is about more than just the numbers. I am sure they don’t want a report that says the pictures were amazing and it was excellently written, they want the reach so we are still going to be seeing the same ol’ faces, with a few new ones.

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Completely agree (especially having worked for brands), but I think where as 2014 was dominated by these bigger bloggers, we will start to see – where appropriate – the introduction of some newer faces, with brand activity tiered accordingly. It’s about inspiration, as well as influence – both (can) lead to sales which is ultimately what brands are interested in.

  • avatar

    Really insightful post Natalie, thank you!! I’ve seen a couple of people talking about the decline of list posts so that’s definitely one I’ll be keeping in mind.

    I’ve also noticed a massive amount of niche bloggers (mainly beauty and fashion) who’ve started doing lifestyle posts so it’s nice to know I’m heading in the right direction 🙂

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Thanks for commenting, Katy! I think, as with everything in life, it’s all about balance – too much of something is never a good thing, whether we’re talking about bloggers or burgers, ha! 😉 And I think in 2015 we’ll start to see people being more true to themselves and blogging about stuff they WANT to write about, as opposed to what will guarentee clicks (hopefully).

  • avatar

    Thank’s a lot for this post! I started my Blog in 2013, so I’m a ” babyblogger” yet…
    I started to Blog because I was a Follower of one of the ” Big blogger Ladies” but I realised very early that this was not my style of blogging. I don’t want to make a business of my blog, I just want to interact with people and share my thoughts on specific themes, not my whole life. So, I bet a lot of people would say I’m not very important in the blogger sphere but after a break I got some comments that I was missed around and that was pretty awesome! So I started to blog only if I want to share something of my life. Sometimes once a month, sometimes more often and my ” followers” increases step by step… Instead of blogging every day or week I pin a lot and reached more than 14,000 people in the last year. Wow, never thought that this could happen because I only have a few followers there. Members, followers and page impressions could be a very tricky thing…
    Make this comment any sense? I don’t think so, but it is the first for this post and I’m glad to find it in the big online universe. Wish you all the best and I hope to find the time to stop sometimes here on your blog.
    Have a successful and happy new year, Ria

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Hey Ria, thanks for stopping by! Yup; totally understand what you mean. I think many new bloggers are inspired by their ‘blogging idols’ and set out to emulate them when they start out, but what’s happened is that we now have a sea of copycat blogs, that all look and sound the same. I think more people will find their own authentic style in 2015, or at least have the confidence to do so. I think this will be especially true of people who blog for ‘pleasure’ i.e. it’s not their main source of income. I understand it must be hard if you’re a full time blogger but I guess it’s all about how much you value your integrity. Congrats on building up your own following – Pinterest is an amazing tool for that! x

  • avatar
    Lucy Cowlin

    What an interesting and compelling read Natalie! Thank you for sharing 🙂 As a relatively new blogger, I have also realised the blogging industry seems to be incredibly inundated with polished and seemingly ‘perfect’ blogs. Whilst these are all great at what they do, (and I could never achieve anything close to these standards) personally I’m always more inclined to read blogs that focus on the nitty gritty side of life, rather than those viewed through rose-tinted glasses! (Although I will admit I am partial to a list post or two!) Lucy x

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Thanks for the comment, Lucy! And I will always have a soft spot for listicles… however, they shouldn’t form the sole part of any content plan (YEAH BUZZFEED). Good luck with your blog – am loving the posts (right up my street)! x

  • avatar

    Loved this! Hoping all your predictions come true.
    I’m an Instagram gal, and that’s where all my following is; my blog stats etc are totally average, probably partly because that just isn’t where my heart lies.
    I have a bit of an internal struggle on the ‘false perfect’ front – it’s tricky when your main channel is so visual. I don’t want to portray a fake level of perfection, but equally, I have no desire to take pictures of my dirty plates or burnt dinners! Some of the most inspiring and beautiful content I see on instagram is very carefully crafted – eg, a photo I saw today of a red rose suspended in a block of ice. I know these aren’t the shots you were referring to, but it can be difficult to know what side a shot falls on to sometimes. x

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