You Don't Need a Blog Anymore to Be a Successful 'Influencer'

In what should come as a shock to no one, a substantial Instagram presence will do.
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Maura Brannigan
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In what should come as a shock to no one, a substantial Instagram presence will do.
Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

In recent years, much has been said about the ever-increasing role social media plays in a blogger or "influencer's" career. In June 2014, Alyssa posed the question: "Is Instagram killing personal style blogs?" Her reporting revealed that, yes, in many ways, it is — and that was nearly two years ago. Since then, Instagram has become even more of a beast, with many notable tastemakers hitting the million-follower mark and others plainly shifting focus away from their sites altogether. Some have even landed magazine covers and big-budget retail partnerships in the process. 

As it turns out, there's less of a need for bloggers to even have a blog than ever before — from a marketer's perspective, at least. In the Fashion and Beauty Monitor's latest guide, titled "How to Work With Fashion and Beauty Influencers," the New York- and London-based media company dispels the notion that, for a marketer looking to partner with an influencer, a smart, well-executed Instagram presence all but rules out the need for a blog. "Would you say a good Instagrammer that doesn't have a blog is better than an Instagrammer with less followers but with a blog," the report asks?

If the Instagrammer's #brand is good and gets high engagement, then a blog may be obsolete. "Where influencer marketing is concerned, context is king," the Monitor explains. "Influencers may have a high following/readership, but if their audience is not relevant to your brand, none of it matters. If the influencer is only on Instagram, but has a highly engaged, highly responsive audience that resonates perfectly with your brand, then that's the person for you, whether or not they have a blog." 

This, in theory, should serve as no surprise, especially considering that some influencers — as in, We Wore What's Danielle Bernstein — can get paid $15,000 or more for a single sponsored Instagram post. But, admittedly, it's a bit startling to see blogs discredited in such a succinct manner. That's less about blogging as a profession, though, as it is about the branding: If an influencer's social media accounts are a better indicator of his or her own brand — and thus, a better match for the company with which he or she is partnering — a website is unnecessary. These days, doesn't Instagram serve a similar (if not, identical) purpose as the personal style blog did even five years ago, anyway?

But a "social media following [is] not all there is to understanding the influencer's strengths," the guide says — authenticity and likability also matter — though from a business perspective, one's number of followers is an instant indication of an influencer's reach and selling power, and is much easier to gauge than a personal website or blog. 

"Marketers need to understand where their target audience is and what they hope to achieve from each collaboration," the guide says. "If the influencer has a high reach and talks directly to your target audience, that's a win-win."

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