Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to attend Croatia’s First Conference for Bloggers and brands called, Diablog or Dialogue For Bloggers in Zagreb. It was a very insightful and informative afternoon where the region’s most recognised names on social media and power brands left their egos at the door for one open and honest conversation about the industry right here in Croatia and how moving forward, we can all work together.
Here are two key points that were made and my personal thoughts on them…
Croatian Brands Don’t Consider Croatian Bloggers For Campaigns
I’ve been living in Zagreb for almost two months and have met with several bloggers and influencers during this time. The general consensus among most bloggers and influencers was that brands in Croatia failed to recognise and reward them monetarily however, were less reluctant to say no to bloggers and influencers from outside the country. This was a topic that was raised on the day where a few marketing managers from leading global companies noted that Croatian Bloggers were not “large” enough for them to pursue for campaigns.
It’s an interesting argument because it raises the question of, how good do you have to be to be good enough? In particular when you consider the fact that most bloggers in Croatia have the same standard across their branding and social media to rival other more “reputable” bloggers. Brands in Croatia are failing to recognise that their own home grown talent is always one piece of content away from their lucky break. I believe a great campaign has every opportunity to gain media attention, a high number of impressions and most importantly, sales without the high profile influencer, if the vision is executed correctly. I personally am more likely to make a purchase from In The Frow than I am Chiara Ferragni. If we are going to go local, I’d use Mashin’ the Beauty or even Ella Dvornik as examples.
How can a blogger in Croatia get good enough without the help of local and large companies?
This whole idea that brands have of the “grass been greener outside the border” needs to stop in Croatia because it does nothing but discourage the next generation of influencers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. If bloggers are finding it difficult to be taken seriously and paid for their work now, what hope does this give the youth of the country who have every potential to also get into the industry and build a personal brand?
If you nurture your own talent from the inside, it would increase their value (and yours) from the outside, this is a system that works both ways. It’s ridiculously unfair to disadvantage your local talent courtesy of their demographic even though under the right spotlight, they have every potential to deliver the same results.
Blogging Should Be A Hobby First
Another comment from a marketing manager arose where she mentioned that blogging should begin as a hobby first and that there were too many people claiming to be bloggers but had only started blogging 5 minutes ago. The world of blogging is an over-saturated market and every Natalie, Amy and Sally with an ability to take great pictures and then write about it considers themselves a blogger. Let’s forget that point for a moment but keep it in mind.
However, let’s not discredit the time, effort and money involved to start a blogging business in the first place. The cost of time in your spare time where you could be watching Netflix but instead are editing a video, copying affiliate links into Bitly and then onto your blog or making sure what you wrote actually makes sense for the 127th time. Then connecting your latest post to your YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook etc. and respecting the dialogue on each platform by curating specific text for each of the different audiences there. The effort and motivation required to even show up to your life online each and every day and make it all seem effortless because no one wants to know about how difficult and lonely it actually really is. Or the money involved from web hosting, domain names, templates, plugins, tech equipment and the amount of coffees you need to buy to use a cafe’s super speedy WiFi for 8 hours. This all adds up and becomes a 24/7 lifestyle, not job. It becomes your normal everyday life.
I don’t “come home” and switch off. I don’t “go out” and switch off and I know for a fact that no other blogger who takes their work seriously does either. We always have our eyes wide open for any new content opportunity that we believe our readers and/or viewers may be interested in. I also believe that if someone is going to go to the effort to purchase their own .com or .hr and regularly update their blog with content, then yes, they should be taken seriously no matter what their area code.
Blogging should start as a hobby, this is true but also a very 2007 mindset. It should also begin from a crucial foundation of pure love and passion. But what about those bloggers with the external industry experience and who understand SEO, keywords, PR, branding & the importance visual story telling? Are they too, supposed to get in line and “wait their turn” to be taken seriously, even though they are already technically ahead of the game? Today’s resources have given any aspiring and business savvy entrepreneur an opportunity to start a blog and keep it profitable from the start.
There are so many technicalities and logistics involved in blogging once you begin to step up your game and meet the global standard. I know for sure that many bloggers in Croatia do, they just need to be given a chance by their own people to shine on a national level and most importantly, be reimbursed financially because a beautiful silk dress doesn’t pay the rent or pay for a new camera.
It makes me sad to hear the struggles of my fellow bloggers and influencers to gain the respect and attention from local companies in Croatia that they deserve. No body likes to work for free, this is borderline exploitation in this modern day and age, especially considering the amount of work involved in creating content. Recently I have had many brands in Croatia approach to wear their clothes but have started to say ‘no’ if there is no budget behind the promotion. I always politely say no anyway if the brand is not in line with my aesthetic. I refuse to work for free or pull any favours anymore because unfortunately likes on Instagram don’t convert to Euros in my bank account.
In my opinion, there is a long way to go but the mission isn’t impossible. There needs to be a mutual respect and understanding and bloggers must understand their value in a market that isn’t so saturated here in Croatia. People are curious and a most people don’t understand the concept of “bloggers and influencers” which is why we now as a minority are in a powerful position to be the first to educate the country and inspire future generations. I think the next 24 months will be game-changers in Croatia and the way brands look at bloggers because it’s a small community and collectively we will grow stronger together.
What are your thoughts on Croatian brands not taking on Croatian Bloggers & Influencers? Did you attend Diablog & hear the dialogue? What do you feel we need to do in our position to be financially reimbursed for our time and effort?
I always enjoy hearing from you, leave your comments below.