But blogging has now become big business, especially in the market sector in which I have a commercial interest, beauty blogging. Brands recognise that beauty bloggers are often pulling in bigger audiences than many of the traditional glossy women's mags and are certainly more trusted by their readership than the old school print media.
The YouTube vloggers like Zoella have received lots of publicity over the last few months but there is another phenomenon going on and a good example of that is the site in which I have an interest, ReallyRee.com. With over half a million unique users (and growing fast) it's the biggest dedicated beauty blog in the UK and has become the website of choice for young women reading their beauty news, beauty features and beauty tips on their phone on the way to work. I love watching realtime Google Analytics where you can see second by second the total number of people on the site, which articles they are reading and what kind of device they are reading it on. A huge surge of mobile phone readers comes on to the site as rush hour peaks but employers might be a little disturbed to know that this audience immediately switches on to their desktop when 9am comes around!
Anne Marie Lodge is the Ree in ReallyRee - she started the blog four years ago because she was a frustrated wannabe journalist with an obsession for cosmetics. Originally happy to be writing for 5 readers she now writes for over 500,000 every month along with her team of fellow writers - a team which also includes web developers, designers and marketers.
The site doesn't take banner advertising as they believe it detracts from the reader experience, instead brands become ReallyRee Featured Partners and the team create engaging content for them such as, 'Our Top 5 Best Kept Beauty Secrets' with BaByliss Curl Secret and suck in their Facebook and Twitter feeds to sit alongside the feature. This kind of content gets read and most importantly shared a lot. Is it editorial, or is it advertising, or is it like old fashioned print advertorial? It doesn't matter because the readership understands exactly what it is and they won't read it, share it, like it or comment on it if it's not entertaining or useful, or both!