Women’s Wear Daily recently talked about the love-hate relationship retailers have with fashion bloggers. Designers need the writer’s voices to push their fashions but the costs they’re paying to get it can be exorbitant sometimes from their perspective. According to WWD, for between $5,000 and $20,000, a brand can work with an influential blogger that gets upward of a few million page views a month to host an event—on top of airfare, hotel, and entertainment. For $20,000 to $25,000 or more, a company can book a blogger for various week-long projects during Fashion Week, and some bloggers even take in nearly $50,000 for even longer-term partnerships. This is how Tyra Banks’ newest “Top Model” host, Bryan Grey Yambao of Bryanboy, was able to rake in the $100,000+ annually from his site that he bragged about. Though there have been questions about how much the lines get blurred between independent blogging and promoting a certain brand, particularly when it comes to fat paychecks like this, Karen Robinovitz, co-founder and chief creative officer of Digital Brand Architects, says it’s not all that different from any other advertising route.
“When you want to work with a blogger in a way that you would with any influencer — whether it’s a photographer, a stylist, a designer for your windows, a public endorser of your brand, advertising or a design collaboration — that’s where you have to compensate because you would compensate anyone for those things.”
Understandably, a lot of retailers can’t afford the fees top-notch bloggers are requesting and others aren’t as interested because they have very clear guidelines for what they’ll pay for and what they won’t. For instance, Neiman Marcus’s vice president of corporate public relations, Gabrielle de Papp, says they don’t pay for celebrities to host events or wear their clothes and they don’t pay for bloggers to do that either. She said her team pitches bloggers the same way they do journalists. If the pitch doesn’t work with their blog that’s fine, but if they want to be compensated to write about a product or concept, it’s not happening. “We would never do that. We don’t pay journalists,” de Papp said. “I have the utmost respect for the blogger community, but I don’t have a budget to pay for product placement and the line between what’s advertising and what’s editorial just needs to be clear.”
Most bloggers are also clear about whether they’ve been paid to talk about a particular product or sent something to review but you can’t knock the entrepreneurial hustle of someone who started with a simple wordpress account, built a following, and is now being scouted by top retailers to promote their brand to the unique audiences they’ve coveted for a six-figure salary.