How to get the Instagram Lifestyle, and is it Worth it?

Instagram LifestyleHow to get the Instagram Lifestyle, and is it Worth it?

Instagram is hardly instant anymore, so it comes as no surprise that people’s feeds are heavily curated. I think it’s fair to say that most of the people dedicating their time to it have distanced themselves from the original ‘meaning’ behind the platform. And why not? It’s almost become a portfolio of sorts for budding photographers, influencers and socialites alike. My own Instagram is littered with photos from my travels, right down to my daily activities. My friends look at my Instagram and the reactions range from positives such as ‘wow your apartment is so stylish’ to the more negative ‘you only care about trendy, pretty things’. Neither could be further from the truth, but who better than a friend to keep you grounded, am I right?

Is the Instagram lifestyle worth it?

Curating an instagram feed isn’t easy. There are so many things to consider, from colour palettes to posting times, using the correct hashtags…the list goes on. For some it’s their job, which in some ways can make things a little bit easier. However when you’re working a full-time job and just do blogging on the side, well that’s when things begin to get a bit more stressful. I’m lucky enough that my career is in marketing, so I get to read articles on the latest algorithms (yay) for a living. That said, after a long day curating someone else’s Instagram feed, I don’t necessarily feel like coming home and working on my own. In fact most evenings I turn my phone off entirely, purely to avoid stress.

How to get the Instagram lifestyle

My advice for people who want to start an instagram, or take their own more seriously, is to relax and take it easy. Don’t look at it as a full-time job (unless it is your job), and take it step-by-step. You’ll enjoy the whole experience a lot more if you don’t associate it with numbers and anxiety. That doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious though. It’s about finding a happy medium where you can put some time aside to do your research, and work on it. In a world overflowing with social media content, genuine TLC is more noticeable than ever.

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Follow me on Instagram. Instagram Lifestyle

Stop Stealing Photos: A Polite Request to Brands

Stop Stealing PhotosStop Stealing Photos: A Polite Request to Brands

It seems that I can’t go a month without someone using my photos without my consent. “Wait, what? No that can’t be the case, surely everyone has the moral integrity not to steal content” I hear you say. Well you would be wrong. Both brands and bloggers have used my photos for promotional posts, to populate their social channels, and even on posts that feature sponsored content. Yes you heard me correctly, people have outright taken my images, without my knowledge, for content they are being paid for. Crazy, right?

Stop stealing photos

This week I was reminded of my disdain when a blogger I highly respect, noticed a brand she previously worked with had taken it upon themselves to use every single photo (that featured their product) she had taken since. This in turn reminded me of a friend who was sent a product and kindly featured the product in a few photos on her Instagram page. The brand then used these photos, and then a whole bunch of random photos from her page to populate theirs. I’ve been thinking about both of these cases for a few days now, and it’s kinda bugging me.

Is it really too much to ask brands to stop stealing photos? There’s a fine line here, and it’s smack bang in the middle of a very grey area. So how do we combat it, as bloggers, and as people who occasionally need to feature others content?

What can we do about it?

  • Just ask!
    • Most bloggers would be happy for their work to be featured on your Instagram etc. if you just ask first. Contacting the blogger leaves space for a healthy conversation about crediting and payment.
  • What do you say to the brand?
    • I have a template – yes that’s how bad it’s become – that I copy-paste into a comment/email whenever I spot someone using my photos. I politely ask them to either remove the photo or give the appropriate credit. 9 times out of 10 brands will remove the photo or give me the credit I ask for once I hit them with it.
  • Ask to be paid 
    • This is a tough one as most brands/people will either ignore you, or get annoyed when you bring money into the mix. Of course you will need to tread lightly, but why shouldn’t you request payment? Especially if you’re a freelancer and your content is being used in marketing campaigns.
  • It takes time and hard work to take photos
    • Think before you take a photo. Not only are there copyright laws to consider, but morally it’s just not cool.
  • Where can you go for decent, royalty free photos?
    • Try unsplash – the talented photographers who contribute to this site are happy for their photos to be used on blogs, social etc. Remember to share the love and credit the photographer where possible.

I know this is happening to photographers and content creators of all kinds alike. And I’m certainly not the be all and end all of knowledge on this. This is just my personal take on something that has affected me. I hope we can all work together to promote each others work, and stop this from happening.

Read more of my articles on blogging and social media.
Image source: Mia Domenico

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

I’ve been working with brands for over 6 years on my blog and social networks. I’m not a ‘big blogger’ but I’ve been gifted products, experiences and even holidays; all because of my content. Lately I’ve seen certain brands calling bloggers out for contacting them about potential collaborations. Not only is it unprofessional and just downright petty, it’s stupid. Blogger-brand partnerships can be rewarding for both the company and the content creator.

I don’t want to get started on the politics of small or big bloggers being paid, marketing strategies etc. Those are rants for another post. But I do want to give some advice for bloggers who want to work with brands, but maybe feel they can’t reach out to them.

 How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

  • Contact PRs
    • Ask to be put on their mailing lists. This is a great way to get an insight into the brand/industry and how they work. It helps to build a relationship with the PR, and can lead to potential gifting or partnerships.
  • Follow brands on social and interact with them
    • @ them when you include them in your organic content.
    • Be genuine, let them know why you love their brand.
  • Blog/Instagram quality content regularly
    • Brands want to work with creators who are consistent in both timing and quality.
    • Uploading quality content on a regular basis will help grow engagement and following, which is exactly what brands want to see.
  • Show brands what you got!
    • Pitch them your ideas for content (e.g. ‘Valentines gifts for foodies’).
    • Show them stats and link to previous work you’ve done.
    • Tell them why you’d be a good fit for each other.
  • Don’t expect something for nothing
    • Be realistic. If you are brand new to the game it’s unlikely you’re going to be gifted the latest iPhone or be paid big bucks.
    • You need to tell the brand what they will get in return. Let them know how you can both help each other out, and what you will bring to their marketing campaign.

Reaching out isn’t a bad thing!

Pitching has been a part of marketing for a long time. This is no different. Don’t be afraid to contact brands. After all, you don’t lose anything by contacting them and the worst thing that can happen is they say no. I’ve been turned down before, and it just inspired me to work harder and do better (“that’ll show ’em!”). That said, most of the time I get a positive response, and so can you!

I hope this has helped any budding bloggers, or the more seasoned ones who are maybe still unsure about how to reach out to brands. If you enjoyed my ‘How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide’, let me know if you like to see more posts, such as email templates etc.

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Source: 1, 2

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

 

New Year, New You…?

new-year,-new-you

I’ve always found the concept of “new year, new you” interesting. In some ways it’s quite a grand, romantic gesture. The idea that you will become a better person and achieve all of your goals; like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. On the other hand it’s really rather silly to think that you can change as a person at the wave of a hand. I’m forever stuck on the fence, fighting my inner optimist and pessimist.

So for me it’s a mixture of both. I don’t intend to create a “new me” or anything like that. But I do like the idea of resolutions, as you may have noticed. So instead I like to make realistic resolutions. This year, much like last, the new year had me thinking about my blog. It’s such a big part of my life. I’ve had some amazing experiences, and made some truly wonderful friends thanks to it. Therefore it seems only natural that I should want to concentrate on this part of my life.

So what are my plans for Bloomzy in 2016?

Well I had a good long think (you may have seen me tweeting my thoughts), and I have come to a conclusion. This year I plan to only post quality photography and written content on the blog – no “posting for the sake of it”. Generally I am pretty good at this. However sometimes I do feel pressured to get posts out quicker etc, and it bugs me. This may all sound silly, and honestly I’m my own worst enemy. I’m quite a perfectionist when it comes to photography/my blog. So this kind of resolution will help inspire me to better myself and my skills. At the same time it will remind me that I write this blog for fun, and I shouldn’t worry so much about it.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all of my readers, the brands I work with, and the friends and family who continue to support me. You all drive me to do my best, and without you, I don’t think this blog would be what it is today.

Giveaway: Win a GlossPod Manicure!

Women and men alike no longer need to worry about being caught out with chipped or untidy nails. Why? Because GlossPod are a starting a nail revolution. Their high profile, hand-picked nail technicians will come right to your home or office (even your hotel!), and they offer a variety of services to boot, such as: manicures, pedicures, shellac manicure/pedicure, and gel removal. I recently booked myself in for one of their classic manicures* at my office. They arrived right on time and got straight down to business. It took around 25mins for my manicure, which included shape, cuticle tidy, buff, hand massage, paint and top coat. It was so relaxing and my nails looked amazing afterwards. My little break had left me feeling very relaxed, and the best part was I could just go straight back to work! I didn’t need to worry about rushing back on the tube from a salon and inevitably smudging my new manicure in the process. I just hopped into the elevator and headed back up to my office. It was the perfect Friday morning indulgence.

You can book an appointment via GlossPod or by downloading the app on iTunes and Android.

What can you win?

You too can win a visit from GlossPod (to your home, office or hotel) with my giveaway! To celebrate my blog’s 5 year anniversary, I am giving away 5 GlossPod classic manicures* to 5 of my London-based readers (sorry they’re not available outside of London yet).
How to enter:
+ Be a follower of ‘Bloomzy’ via Bloglovin
+ Earn extra entries via social media.
+ This prize is provided by Glosspod and is only open to London based participants.
– Accounts created purely for giveaways will be disqualified.

5 Lifestyle Instagrams You Should Be Following

Yes, the ‘Instagram 5 Series‘ series is back, and better than ever! I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite Instagram accounts where you can find some lovely lifestyle inspiration.

Who? @parkncube
Why? I thought I’d start off with a well known little lady by the name of Shini Park – author of the blog Park & Cube. Luckily for us she also posts daily photos on Instagram, and if you’re like me, then her photos are probably why you fell in love with her blog in the first place. She documents her travels, and general day-to-day life in the form of some beautifully composed photos that could easily have come out of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar.

Why? I only recently started following Hannah on Instagram, but it was love at first sight when I saw her photos. They’re clean, crisp and beyond classy, which is probably down to her design/textile background. I don’t think there is one photo of hers that has popped up on my timeline that I haven’t liked. It also helps that she’s a very sweet lady.

Why? Michiko Yamawaki is a Japanese stylist who I recently came upon as she styled a shoot for a Japanese model I also follow. I loved her photos as she made normal everyday things (like putting your shoes on, yes you did hear me correctly) look good. Her images are colourful and enticing yet still simplistic. 


Why? I love Yishyene, she’s such a bubbly and fun little lady. Her instagram is basically everything inside her colourful head (no hair colour pun intended) spewed out in the form of a photo. Sometimes simple and monochrome can be nice, but I also love an injection of colour, and that’s exactly what her photos bring.

Why? Van Anh is a fellow blogger with a love for food…need I say more? Ok you got me, it’s not the only reason I love her Instagram. This lovely lady knows how to use a camera and it comes across in her photos because each one looks as though she has put so much thought into the composition of it. I may enjoy her food photos but I love seeing anything she posts.
I often post lifestyle photos of my own, and you can follow me @bloomzy
Source: Please see individual Instagram accounts listed above.

Submit Your Questions About Japan!

After discussing adventures and experiences this week, I’ve decided to do a post about my time in Japan. I get a lot of people on here (and Twitter) asking me about my time in Japan, so I thought I’d open up to you all. I plan to do a post answering any questions you might have about living/studying in Japan, or just about Japan in general. 
You can leave your questions: 
By commenting on this post. 
By tweeting me: @bloomzy_
Or on Instagram: @bloomzy 
 I plan to round up all the questions early next week, so you have until then to get your questions in. 
 Remember, there are no wrong questions. 
 I can’t wait to see what you have to ask!