4 Reasons you shouldn’t moan about influencers #gifted holidays.

Lets have a little chat about why people really shouldn’t be moaning about influencers being gifted trips and holidays shall we? Someone messaged me last week on Instagram to tell me how cross they were that my family was on YET ANOTHER gifted holiday, I mean did we pay for anything ourselves or just swan around turning our kids into spoilt brats (curve ball – the answer is yes we do pay for things ourselves.)

Firstly, I write this as a so called influencer and I’d like to point out that we didn’t choose that title, influencers remain dubbed by the media and general public. I speak to a lot of “colleagues” and their attitude is often that they would rather be known as instagrammers, youtubers, bloggers or if they combine “content creator”, because that is what we do… which brings me to the first point in this post.

Reasons why YOU can’t moan about #gifted holidays (well, you can but it makes you a bit of a twat):

1.) Content creation – we does it, you google it. For free.

So if you’ve ever googled anything to do with “baby on a plane”, “best holiday locations for small kids”, “breastfeeding abroad” or ANYTHING at all relating to holidays then chances are that you will land on a blog and it will answer your question. I know, that doesn’t mean the person needs a FREE holiday right? Jesus wept, we should all be spending hours editing photos, compiling tips, drafting and linking to promote the holiday location we just paid for like REAL journalists who write for the mags we used to buy to tell us top holiday locations prior to the tinterweb… wait, what’s that you say? They were given free holidays back then in exchange for content just not in a digital format?! The holiday locations PAY journos? Fuck me sideways I had no clue… also, haven’t you been abroad Barbara? Why didn’t you review it and leave your top tips, best restaurant tips and answer every Tom, Dick and Harry’s question about it… or better yet, answer the question you were googling and using free digital content to answer…

2.) It upsets me because I want to go on holiday and I can’t afford it so I should automatically be more worthy despite offering nothing in return in terms of that aforementioned free content…

I mean it upsets me when I see Kim Kardashian’s yacht but I have as of yet to have a hissy fit over it. It’s jealously plain and simple. Internalise that shizzle and fuck off. No really. This culture of “I can’t afford it so I should automatically be given it over him/her” is bollocks.
Here’s the clincher: most ‘influencers’ can’t afford to create free content for you to google/consume via their channels and pay for a holiday every time – and the only people benfitting from that scenario are the ones that own the massive companies. Despite popular belief, we’re not all married to wealthy businessmen or celebs and just doing this because we’re bored. It’s simply so unrealistic to expect something to be created for people to consume FOR FREE but then be angry about the way it was created. Can you IMAGINE the outrage if @Whoever wrote a fab review about how to cope at Disneyland with a baby and hadn’t even been. Queue fake comments en masse in 3, 2, 1… you can’t have it both ways poppet. Should holidays be “gifted” to talented writers regardless of their social media count? 100% – and they are. Journalists who bring a non-digital offering to the table, I have been on countless panels with travel journos and they are wayyyy better travelled than my family, for “free”. Smaller niche social media accounts are also frequently gifted stays/reviews, though not as much as they could be but this industry is a baby and has a lot to learn! If you are sour because you can’t afford something and you want to be cross about the fact that someone is gifted something when they could afford it, aim your annoyance at the MANY celebs who have everything gifted with no request to promote anything, no intention to create content and deliberately hide it from you. Now that is shite.

3. It’s automatically biased because it was a gift. Trip advisor reviews are done by paying customers and genuine.

Unless you’ve seen the documentary proving that tripadvisor can be (and oh so frequently is) manipulated by marketeers in order to rank a place higher… yeah, shits on that theory a bit.
I think I can meet people half way on this one though – you will get people that simply won’t say anything negative or offer a critical review because it was gifted but I think they are few and far between – most people are honest because no one really wants to read that someone took their advice and is having a terrible time. I would feel terrible if someone came at me on the aggressive because something I had recommended was naff, and I would lose all credibility because if there is one thing that people love to do, it’s moan about perceived wrongs.

4. Companies should focus on REAL people or charities.

And they do. Easy way to break it down: Influencers take up company marketing budget, charity takes up company goodwill/charity budget. This is business at the end of the day and whether people like it or not, it’s the way it has always been and the way it will always be, despite some grumpy people on the internet writing about how cross it makes them. FYI influencers ARE real people and that is what ultimately pisses everyone off about a “free” holiday as they see it – because they could do it themselves if they could be arsed.

If you’re enraged by this, ask WHY? Literally how many times have you contacted the local newspaper to lose your mind over the fact that their journo went to Spain to write about the new parks there and didn’t even give you the courtesy of letting you know that the trip was a paid for review? How many times have you told Celeb A she’s dodgy af for not telling you that hotel room isn’t paid for by her team?

This is nothing new, influencers are just the new recipients of it all.

19 Comments

  1. Tasha
    July 8, 2019 / 12:24 pm

    I am a follower of yours from Instagram and think it’s sad that anyone has to justify being given freebies etc.
    However the hypocrisy of you asking people not to get jealous and quite recently talking about those people name calling etc on those god awful forums on your insta and then having the front yourself to be rude about an individual doesn’t sit right. I’m by no means a Boris fan however this post could have been written without that nasty comment. It’s made me see you in a completely different light which is a shame as I’ve always liked your content. However calling people out on judging you when you are going to post a vile and degrading comment about another is just too much for this basic mum.
    Unnecessary meanness from you just like the comments from those forum women.

    • Harriet July 9, 2019 / 3:08 pm

      Do you know what Tasha, you’re absolutely right on that one – I hate what Boris Johnson has done to the country in terms of dividing us all, in terms of spreading lies and xenophobia. He is, to me, this country’s Donald Trump, but I’ve probably totally lowered my point there by being snide and bitchy myself. A fair point well made and I apologise for that error in judgement.

      • Tasha
        July 9, 2019 / 8:29 pm

        I really appreciate your honesty and that you were brave enough to admit an error in judgement.

  2. Anonymous
    July 7, 2019 / 8:03 am

    I feel really uncomfortable with this blog. It feel likes your telling people you are giving them a free service. I don’t think you’ve done your self any favours posting this. Really disappointing. Maybe look and your own privilege and understand why others may feel jealous.

    • Harriet July 9, 2019 / 3:05 pm

      On the contrary it appears to have done fairly well. I’m aware of my privilege and acknowledge it frequently, but I’m done with trying to be made to feel bad for it or apologise for it. If someone is jealous, I get it, but it’s then up to them to choose to be spiteful and leave hateful comments or just get on with their lives. This is my life, my work and I’m not remotely apologetic for it, lots of people have a LOT more than me, I don’t troll them or hate them – what a waste of time.

  3. Jo
    July 5, 2019 / 3:36 pm

    As someone who is a cancer mom I completely agree that companies should target people that ‘need’ a break. People, the public viewers, like justice and if a blogger has already been on six holidays that year and a company thinks cool I’ll get them to promote me too! It’s like an injustice when they see kids like mine who a) can’t go anywhere if there isn’t a cancer centre within a 10 mile radius b) mom has had to quit job to care for kid so can’t afford anything even if cancer centres were everywhere c) whose brother also can’t go away because of cancer cos we can’t leave one at home!

    People like a heart warmer and if a company gifted my little boy a trip people would genuinely like and engage with the post. Sadly when it’s an influencer a lot of people like to try and align with the alpha and boost their own numbers and don’t actually give two shits about the kids.

    Comments such as “oohhh looks fab hun will have to check it out” will you bollocks! And that’s what makes people cringe. Companies don’t really care about cancer kids either it all comes from charities. And it’s SO HARD for charities to get anything. Literally scraping by to help one kid see Disneyland and that’s where people see bullshit.

    You had a thermometer thing a few months ago when my Ted had just been diagnosed. I would have literally used that every single day and would still use it now and that’s not your problem that you’re paid to promote stuff it is a marketing lesson for companies like they should be searching for kids that would really benefit and then the normal general public would have more trust. If I’d written about what temperature tells us about our kids health there would be so much trust in the post because of my story that no one would question #ad or whatever it would be really clever marketing. A lot of the criticism is really aimed at the companies but you just get trolled for it. I used to hate trolls but I’ve realised they’re just people who can’t quite articulate an opinion or aren’t smart enough to understand what really pissed them off! I was trolled when I first started blogging and I completely get it now, the person was still a twat but I understand why.

    PS – I don’t blog for money or even do freebie reviews anymore partially because of how crap the approach to blog marketing is but sadly bloggers get the abuse for it!

    • Harriet July 9, 2019 / 3:02 pm

      Hey Jo, I have to say I disagree with you on a few points but also hate to say I’m with you on others. Yeah, companies often suck at advertising without aligning to the “alpha” (I’m far from that btw) and it’s then the person’s job to say “erm, no, I’m not ya gal!” but few do because, let’s be honest, bills. I’ve been asked to talk about issues that simply aren’t for me to discuss in my ads (hair products specifically aimed at kids with curly hair for an example) – that I would always turn down and offer a recommendation to go elsewhere.
      The truth is though it isn’t my responsibility to turn things down that *do* fit my family because other’s can’t afford it or haven’t been offered the same opportunity, though I’m really disappointed to hear that companies aren’t giving as much to charity as the public is left to believe – I’ve had great faith in things like Make A Wish so I’m disappointed to hear you feel enough isn’t done.
      Regarding trolls – sorry, I flat out refuse to believe that we can pass off a lot of the comments that are chucked out there are just because someone is unintelligent or not articulate. It’s often just spiteful and unnecessary.

      • Jo
        July 10, 2019 / 12:38 am

        Trolls are spiteful but generally speaking spite comes from a lack of intelligence!
        Make a Wish do good things but it’s not as simple as it looks there is a lot of work behind it and very tight budgets that big companies could come to the rescue and do good things but they don’t. It’s always people with very little giving their last £1. I’ve learnt a lot about being poor these past few months haha. The less you have the more you give. I’ll give whatever I’ve got away. Don’t want or need most things in life.

        I get the whole bills thing but there’s still an injustice to it because people just feel robbed it’s like a shit late night infomercial where nobody has ever actually enjoyed the ab king pro but everyone is like woah it’s changed my life. Haha. I was a pub manager most of my life and my first boss always told me, don’t run a pub that you wouldn’t drink in. And I guess that’s my mentality here, most bloggers wouldn’t drink in the metaphorical pubs they’re encouraging others to drink in. There’s plenty of pubs out there…

  4. Han
    July 4, 2019 / 12:17 pm

    I absolutely don’t expect people to produce content for free and you deserve to be compensated if you are creating something. I also would never condone contacting someone directly to moan about their gifted trips. However – surely you could see why people might feel they as they do. It must be difficult to have your feeds full of people on gifted trips you could never afford – despite working just as hard in jobs where you are not compensated similarly. I also think people get cross about seeing the same type of families constantly being chosen – the proportion of BAME or LGBTQ families I see promoting trips in this way is tiny – something groups like Make Motherhood Diverse are rightly calling out. It’s a bit blinkered to say ‘everyone could do it if they worked hard enough’.

    • Harriet July 4, 2019 / 7:14 pm

      I agree with you 100% that there needs to be MUCH more diversity in our industry, it’s something that I’ve supported and called out repeatedly. I’ve spoken to clients that I work with and explained why and how they should diversify by directing them Make Motherhood Diverse and other sites, I have turned away jobs that I don’t think I’m suitable for and directed them to BAME or LBGT parents – but beyond that, I don’t hold much sway. I agree but there is a solid difference between being jealous (which I get all the time) and being spiteful or malicious which is what a lot of people do. I’m not suggesting everyone could do it if they just worked harder but if you have the energy to be aggressive, bitter and spiteful – you have the energy to google “how to start a blog” and get on with it.

  5. July 2, 2019 / 4:04 pm

    Great post, enjoyed the read and like that you hold nothing back lol. Funny, I was just coming on here to get your deets to discuss another travel opportunity (more free holidays, mwa haha). We’re still in such a weird, nebulous state with this whole influencer lark, and what counts as an ‘ad’ or a ‘freebie’ or what qualifies as work. Right now, I’m more annoyed with the ASA and their icky labels than with Jo Public who still can’t figure out what a content creator really truly actually does!

    My man still refers to experiences I earn as ‘freebies’ even though he’s seen how much work I’ve put into building my digital brand over 9+ years. I let it slide 😉 At the end of the day, even my kids earn their keep — writing reviews, featuring in campaigns, or just posing for photos. Blogging is a full-time job often done on part-time/volunteer wages, so more power to those of us who stick it out and hooray for the amazing opportunities that come our way (PS check your inbox) x

  6. Tracy
    July 2, 2019 / 7:17 am

    Great piece and so true. Ive watched my daughter do this JOB for 10 years both when she was living at home and now that she is married with children & people have no idea. She works long hours, has to miss out family time so work gets done, cant be off sick cause a deadlune is a deadline right? Constantly worries about being a good wife, mummy, daughter,grandaughter,auntie, cousin,friend whilst creating content that her followers will enjoy, find helpful & engaging. I could go on but wont. Safe to say I couldnt/ wouldnt do your job its too bloody hard.
    Thanks again really enjoyed reading this
    Tracy

  7. July 1, 2019 / 4:59 pm

    We went to Disneyland and paid for the trip ourselves…. my daughter and husband went out in the evenings whilst I stayed in the hotel room and worked! Yep I enjoyed time with the family in the day but the evenings I worked and worked hard to earn money to cover expenses and share our experience. If we are fortunate to get a “influencer” holiday in future as a result of the “content creation” I made on our last holiday or as a result of the next holiday we plan to take … then the hard work and hours I put in will be worth it- despite the public not having a clue about what we did to get to that point! Yes we may enjoy opportunities but content creators often work way more hours than a regular employee..and we also have many expenses and costs to run our blogs/sites/social media and pay staff to support us… so yes… we do deserve trips as we work hard for them!

  8. July 1, 2019 / 3:20 pm

    I can see why people get pissed off with influencers being given free holidays. And I say this as someone who has been on a LOT of review trips. If you ask the average person, “Would you like a free family holiday worth thousands with all sorts of VIP extras, in exchange for writing a couple of thousand words, making a video diary and sharing some photos on Instagram?” they’re going to bite your arm off.

    Of course you are working as part of that experience but it’s not hard work in the way that most of us understand “hard work” – someone working in an office, being a social worker, teacher or on a factory line is going to look at what we do as a bit of a lark, aren’t they? Not to say that the critics are right, but I can totally understand WHY they feel that way.

    Truth be told, a good influencer makes their job look effortless. People don’t see the hard work that goes into SEO, building a website, slowly growing and engaging an audience across multiple channels, putting up with trolls and their nonsense, constantly trying to balance your job with your children’s wellbeing. Not to mention the pant-wetting stress of being self-employed and endlessly worrying about what happens if nobody pays you this month.

    I’d be inclined to take it as a compliment that people don’t see all the frantic pedalling that goes on behind the scenes. And also to remember that even with all the hard work and all the downsides, we are ridiculously fortunate to have these experiences because lots of jobs don’t have these perks.

    Also PS – journalists aren’t paid to create reviews and there’s a difference between marketing, advertorial and editorial. But we can have that debate another day 😉

    • Harriet July 2, 2019 / 2:18 pm

      That is a way of looking at it I never considered but that’s interesting!
      I have a couple of Journo friends who are paid for travel so I’ll disagree with you there – I know there are differences between those things. 🙂

  9. July 1, 2019 / 2:13 pm

    This is all so true. If it’s as easy as everyone seems to think it is, then why aren’t they all doing it?

    I remember once someone asking me about a “free” watch I received and how they could get one. Rather than try to explain that it’s not free, it’s compensation for promoting the brand, instead I explained she would need to start a blog and post useful stuff regularly while also building a following on social media, growing an email list and learning how to rank on Google. I didn’t even cover a quarter of the work that would entail, and she said “oh that sounds like a lot of work to get a watch”. I rest my case haha.

    Debbie

    • Harriet July 2, 2019 / 2:17 pm

      Exactly this Debbie – people don’t get it so, as with a lot of things, it’s belittled and bemoaned.

  10. July 1, 2019 / 1:44 pm

    This is a great blog. It makes so much sense that people are gifted these things to create the content we all want to know about. Thank you 😊

Leave a Reply to Jo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.