Hey hey everyone, welcome back to Blogging BTS.
Please welcome today’s guest blogger, my good friend Cortney from @makeupwithcortney.
Cortney was excited to come on board, but also apprehensive about how her answers would appear. I totally understand that- sharing this “bts” is scary because, in the Blogging world, it has an air of secrecy surrounding it.
I’m so happy Cortney has shared her answers, I certainly learnt a lot myself!
You can read Cortney’s blog here.
And follow her IG here.
You can read the rest of the Blogging BTS series here.
How long have you been blogging/had your IG?
I’ve been blogging for two years now, and just celebrated my blogs birthday back in June. It’s super crazy to think that I’ve been on these platforms for two years, I have no idea where that time has gone.
What was the first item you were ever ‘hashtag gifted’?
It was actually a parcel from NYX Cosmetics! They reached out to me on Instagram when I had around 500 followers and I couldn’t believe it. I received a foundation, contour palette and some lipsticks, and I seriously couldn’t understand why they would send the products to me. It was a big moment for me, and I actually still have the pink parcel that it came in, haha.
Do you reach out to brands to collaborate? Or do you wait for them to approach you?
I do a mixture. Sometimes I will have brands reach out to me to collaborate and sometimes I reach out to them. It just depends on the brand and whether they notice little ole me, or whether I need to showcase myself to them. Majority of the time I just wait to hear from them though.
If so, have you ever been rejected by a brand for a collaboration?
Yes, quite a few times actually. It’s weird but I actually see it as a benefit to be rejected. It makes me want to work that much harder and make my content that much better.
Have you ever reached out to a brand and received no response?
All the time! This is something I had to come to terms with when I first started reaching out to brands. It happened in the beginning and it still happens now. The thing is is that brands and PR companies get so many emails from bloggers and ‘influencers’ that they can’t possibly reply to all of them. Although, it might be gutting at first, I’ve come to realise that obviously we just aren’t meant to collaborate at this time.
Have you had a ‘pinch me’ blogging moment?
Definitely being invited to the media preview event of Meccaland. I can’t even begin to describe the level of excitement that I experienced when I saw the invitation in my inbox. I remember bursting into tears and just pinching myself. Like how did I even get so lucky?! Seriously a massive moment that I’ll remember for a long time.
Can you think of a time when your following (as in, the number of followers you have) has ever disadvantaged or benefitted you?
Hmmm this one has stumped me.. I don’t think that I’ve ever really had something like this happen that was to my knowledge. But I guess my following would either benefit or disadvantage me with attending events or being gifted products.
Who is your dream brand to collaborate with?
Disney! I actually think that I would burst into tears if that happened.
Is it your goal to make blogging a full time job?
I’m actually kind of awkward around answering this question. It’s something that I believe is seen as a controversial thing to say in the beauty community, so I’m nervous to admit how I actually feel. I would love to and at the same time wouldn’t love to make blogging a full time job. I’m studying journalism at University and as I’ve gone through my degree I’ve discovered that I no longer want to be a ‘traditional’ reporter. Instead, I want to do something where I can constantly create and talk about what I love. That’s why I’d kind of love to do blogging as a career. It would be incredible to be able to wake up and do something that I love each day. But at the same time the chances of this happening are like 1 in a million, so I’m not holding my breathe. At the moment my current career aspirations are to work in PR, so I guess i’ll be blogging in some respects.
What’s one PR package you wish you received?
I don’t actually feel like there’s been a PR parcel that I wish I got. I’m incredibly grateful for everything that I do receive, so I try not to focus on what everyone else is getting.
If someone said ‘what do you do?’ would you say ‘I’m a blogger?’ Why/why not?
Haha definitely not! My best friend doesn’t even know that I run a blog. Because of the prejudice that surrounds being a blogger or ‘influencer’ as some might say, I wouldn’t mention it at all. A lot of people just seem to look and think that we are just in it for the free products when it’s not the case at all. I’d prefer to just tell people I’m a journalist or photographer… still being able to tell people the gist of it, but without revealing it I guess.
Do you have an issue with the algorithm?
For the sanity of myself I’ll keep this answer simple. I know there’s been a lot of outrage in regards to the algorithm, but for me I believe that you receive what you put in. Engaging with your audience and other people is so important with all of the changes going on, and something we always need to remember. Without our audience, we’d just be talking to ourselves.
What’s one condition you would never agree to with a gifted or sponsored post?
A brand telling me how I need to talk about the product. I make it a big deal to be 100% honest and transparent with my audience, so if a brand told me I needed to talk about the product in a positive light, or post a pre-made caption I would decline very quickly. I want my blog to be completely authentic to myself, and I pride myself on being honest, so nothing could change this.
What is one of your conditions that a brand must agree to in order to collaborate with you?
They need to be able to respect that I’m going to post my honest thoughts, whether it’s positive or negative.
Have you ever had a negative experience with a brand?
No, I don’t think that I have. I actually had a brand contact me last year and thank me for being honest with my product review. It was a mix of both positive and negative thoughts and it was nice to see a brand recognise the feedback I had given.
For the sake of this question, we are calling you (and me!) an ‘influencer’ (or micro-influencer’): Can you give us just a general overview of your opinion on the whole ‘influencer’ space? Do you trust ‘influencers’ opinions?
I feel like in the influencer space there’s a mixture of positives and negatives. These days it’s just so hard to navigate the authenticity of some bigger bloggers and trust their opinions. There’s some that I know and I trust, but there are also some that I wouldn’t trust. It just comes down to who they are, audience and how authentic they come across.
But overall I do somewhat like the ‘influencer’ space. For me I always just refer to myself and my friends as bloggers, as I kind of don’t like the term ‘influencer’. It just seems so foreign and wrong to me. Yes, we might influence people to buy products, but its no different to me recommending one to a friend. It’s just something that I don’t like to label myself as. I’m just a normal 20 year old girl, sharing what she loves.
Share the story of how you gained a gifted item? From the initial contact, to the post of the item etc. Was it smooth sailing?
I actually had to go through my Instagram feed to jog my memory and find an interesting story to tell you. Actually lets talk about the Lumi Minx that I received. I had the owner of the brand reach out to me on Instagram and express her interest in collaborating with me. I had a look at the product and saw that it was something that I would use so I agreed to the collaboration. The product was being sent to me for consideration and I obviously knew that I wouldn’t be able to judge the product until I got it in front of me. But I did have one of my friends receive the product before me and she loved it. So I knew that it was going to be likely I would love it. The shipping was quick and the entire process of testing the product and forming my opinion was easy. I instantly loved it and the entire concept, so was more than happy to post about it on my Instagram feed and stories. This was a super smooth sailing collaboration. Oh, also when I say collaboration I just mean receiving a gifted product… there was no money exchanged for this one.
Name three bloggers who admire and why:
Oh snap, this one is going to be hard. I have so many bloggers that I admire for different reasons… oh man okay..
@Rolly.Mag – I love how honest and authentic you are to yourself. I love that you’re unapologetically you and that you are so transparent. Not to mention that I love your constant Instagram stories. You are someone I admire because you don’t give up, you keep going and I love that you’re putting your own stamp on the beauty community.
@Carriejaboor – Carrie is one of the kindest, most down to earth humans I have met. We have had so many conversations about life and Disney and I value every single one of them. Not to mention that I love her positivity on her feed. She’s always going out of her way to make others feel better about themselves, and I love that.
@Katrinaamybeauty – No matter what this girl is faced with, she constantly tries to remain positive. I admire her for her eyeshadow skills, because holy moly she’s talented. She actually inspires me to try and up my own eyeshadow game.
I hope these are okay… I didn’t realise how difficult this would be… haha. I’m worried some of my answers didn’t come off how I wanted them to.
Take us behind the camera, do you use natural or artificial light? Phone or DSLR? How do you edit pictures?
I use completely natural light. I’m lucky enough to have a massive window in my bedroom, which means its always flooded with endless light. Whether I use my phone or DSLR camera depends on what I’m taking photos of. If it’s a detailed shot or it’s for the blog I’ll use my DSLR. But generally my Instagram photos I just use my phone.
Oh man my editing process…. So first I run it through Photoshop Express and brighten, lighten and put my tag onto it. Then I put it through FaceTune just to add a little extra white to the background. Sometimes I’ll run it through Snapseed or Lightroom, but it just depends on the photo.
Are you fussy with your feed or do you just wing it? If you are particular and intentional, tell us about the planning process.
I used to be super fussy, but now I’m kind of in the middle. Somedays I’ll find myself wanting to plan it out completely, and other days I’ll just go with it.
If I do have a planning process, I try to pair similar photos together, while also trying to add different angled photos to mix it up. So you may find I’ll upload two flatlays, a desk shot, maybe a more lifestyle bigger flatlay and then repeat. But I don’t really have a set pattern for it.
Explain the purpose of a “test post”.
Basically it’s where I’ll upload the photo I’m going to upload that night and see whether the colour tone and brightness matches my feed. It basically just allows me to check that I edited it consistently with my other photos.
From Cortney 🙂
Thank you so much Cortney!
And thank YOU for reading and supporting ROLLY Mag.
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