What a year! It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote an update on everything that’s been going on behind the scenes at Blogosphere HQ and also what our plans are for the future. Normally this is done in a newsletter, but I thought this year I’d put it into a blog post. So here goes…
2018 has been a big year of expansion and has seen the Blogosphere business evolve into four main areas – magazine, events, podcast and – most recently – the network. We’re a small team, but it seems one that loves adding things to our workload!
Where it all began back in 2013 – Blogosphere magazine. This year kicked off with the March issue, which starred Lydia Millen. June saw dodie on our cover. September was graced by our ‘influencer of the year’ winner from the Blogosphere Awards – Melanie Murphy. And December, which we’ve just announced, stars Alfie Deyes.
In December 2017, we changed our tagline from ‘for bloggers, by bloggers’ to ‘the influencer industry’ for the reasons outlined in the tweets below:
The magazine is a labour of absolute love, and we’ve now featured… wait for it… more than 1,700 content creators in it! We’ve got more subscribers than ever before, which include many of the UK’s top businesses who use it as a resource to find influencers to work with, as well as our core subscriber community of creators – of all different niches.
Production values have always been at the heart of Blogosphere magazine – the thick paper, the binding, that silk cover. We made the decision from the start that we were not going to have an advertising-driven model and that we’d be subscription-based. That said, we did make the decision to sell the magazine in shops from issue 5 (Joe Sugg, December 2014).
Shops and magazines is an interesting one… and some of it has not been a smooth ride. Financially, unless you are an ad driven model, it is a pretty big undertaking. Shops take between 50-60% of a magazine’s cover price. Yep, you heard that right! There’s also a listing fee to even be in the shop, which sits in the £1,000s.
Delays – there always seem to be problems with getting the magazines onto the shelves on time. We get so many tweets from people asking us about the magazine not being in their local shop when it’s supposed to be, and then being told by members of staff at the shop that they don’t stock it, only to find it there a month later. It’s incredibly frustrating as we feel it reflects badly on us, and it is completely out of our control.
I actually went into a shop myself once (which I knew was on the distribution list) and asked for a copy of Blogosphere. The lady said ‘Oh, we don’t stock it’. I replied that this shop definitely was supposed to. She disappeared and came back 10 minutes later with a copy of the magazine and said ‘here you go’. I asked politely where she’d got it from. ‘Oh, I found it in the stock room at the back,’ she replied. The box had been sitting in the back for more than three weeks. Remember as well, there’s a high listing fee to even be in the shop!
I fear this has turned into a little bit of a rant! Ha. And you’ll think me even more crazy when I tell you that we’ve actually made the decision to expand into new stores. We have however made the decision to cut some, too. And, due to increased fees, the price of the magazine in shops is going to have to rise. The magazine will cost £12 in shops now. However, the prices of subscriptions direct through our site will remain the same. If you do want to buy the magazine in shops please do consult our updated stockist list, and remember that they are usually out two or more weeks after subscribers get their copies.
After much consideration, we have also decided to introduce the sales of single issues direct through the site too. These will become available (stock depending) two weeks after subscribers get their copies. We will put up a waitlist on the site, so that you can be made aware when they do go on sale.
Finally, a big thank you to all of the lovely readers who have written posts/shared Instagrams about Blogosphere magazine this year. We see them all and it makes all of our hard work worth it!
Wowee. Blogosphere events really came into their own this year. We decided for 2018 to scale back on the number, but increase the size of each – the Blogosphere Awards and Blogosphere Festival.
In June, we hosted our second annual Blogosphere Awards ceremony. We knew it was going to be bigger… but when nominations opened in March and more than 15,000 influencers were nominated, we realised it was going to be a lot bigger!
The night was incredible and we are so grateful to everyone who made it possible. It wasn’t how far and wide the event went on social (#BlogosphereAwards had more than 8 MILLION impressions), but the atmosphere of the event that made it so special. Influencers of all different niches and sizes came together to champion one another. It was electric and a real testament to the power of positivity in the community.
Next year, we want to expand the event again and in addition to celebrating the work of individuals, we want to celebrate the best businesses working in this industry who are creating incredible campaigns with influencers. We’ll be moving from 16 categories to around 30, we think. We cannot wait!
The Blogosphere Festival, which is tomorrow (Dec 1st), is another scaled event. We’re hosting 250 influencers at the Landmark hotel for a day of informative panels and brand exhibitions. The first set of tickets sold out in under an hour! Next year we intend to make this a two-day event and perhaps make one of them an industry day…
New events for next year… we are thinking of scaling back up the number of events we are doing. Including introducing Serious Influence Live… a panel/podcast event. But I realise that podcast is my next category to talk about, so I’ll move on there first and it might make more sense!
This year saw the introduction of Blogosphere: Serious Influence our podcast all about the business side of the influencer industry. I’ve written a piece in the December issue all about the decision to start the podcast; the angle we wanted to take etc. If you haven’t listened to an episode yet, they’re available on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher (and maybe some others).
We have been overwhelmed with the support for the series, and so am delighted to announce that we’ll 100% be back with a second series.
And we are also toying with the idea of – as mentioned above – taking the podcast live for some bonus episodes. We want to put you in the room with some of the UK’s top influencers and brands, enabling you to question them on what they do, why they do it and how they’ve harnessed the power of social media. These would be events for 60-100 people, with a panel discussion that gets professionally recorded and put out as a podcast episode. I’m really excited by this prospect, so will keep you posted on how it develops.
Finally the network. Yes, as if the above wasn’t enough, this year we also decided to build out a technology platform. We have interviewed a lot of people from both sides of the industry this year, and noticed lots of pain points. As a team, we sat down and compiled a list of potential solutions… we drew these together and created a detailed plan for a platform that would help both sides of the industry. Then we started to build!
As some of you might have seen, we recently launched a kickstarter campaign to help build out the network and some more technical additions. The campaign, which is still active, looks as though it is going to fail. Failure. What everyone is told to fear so much.
Except, we have some exciting news. Although the actual campaign looks as though it’s going to fail, the ability to get funding looks (at the moment) like it’s going to actually succeed! The Kickstarter page and video was shared so much (with so many positive comments) that it caught the eye of others. So, as they say, every cloud!
We believe that this platform is going to both solve a litany of problems, and also help to protect the industry – which we’ve heard from various sides is looking, as of late, pretty precarious.
So bring on 2019! Another year. More challenges. More excitement.
And finally, a massive thank you to all of you. You who support us. You know who you are. We see you. THANK YOU.