Why That Sarah Ashcroft Cosmo Interview went so badly

While cosmo readers might have loved fashion blogger Sarah Ashcroft’s interview in Cosmo, That Pommie Girl blogger has faced huge backlash from the blogging community as fellow bloggers and fans have been left a little stunned by some of the things she has said.

Hilariously Cosmo didn’t even seem to understand why people where upset as they later published this, which demonstrates exactly how little mainstream media understands about blogging. First they publish an article that really makes Sarah sound arrogant, then they get confused why people think she arrogant and don’t like it.

What I did enjoy was a lovely response piece by Abigail at Chasing My Desire who unfollowed Sarah, and wrote the article at the request of her own followers. It’s a great read and I’ve been following Chasing My Desire on twitter and instagram for a while and really enjoy her style and thoughts online.

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The issues with the Cosmo interview are sections are worded in a terrible way that sound much worse than I expect Sarah had intended. While what she is getting at has elements of truth, she comes across as very vain.

I’ve known of That Pommie Girl since 2014, I worked for the blogger network she mentions in the article, and worked with the team tasked with find the next big fashion blogger. Now I should point out that this was my job, so we had to find bloggers who were going to make our clients lots of money.

Brand pay money to bloggers and bloggers generate sales for them through posting photos to their followers. It’s cheaper and more targeted than adverts.Β From a business point of view that is as simple as it gets. More followers = more money, no followers = no money. For many bloggers who blog for fun this seems very cold and mean because their blog is their heart and soul and creative work, – but for a brand it is business.

The Cosmo article says “My followers are so engaged with me that whatever I wear, they will go and buy it – which makes it such a big money earner.”

On paper in black and white and quoted from Sarah – this sounds awful and self important. I’ve read a lot of tweets that have picked up on this quote and thought I’d shed some light on what she actually means.

At my job we gave bloggers including Sarah, a tracking link when they blog about a brands, then through high-techy techy programmes (ok not that high-tech but quite dull) we can see how many visitors go to the brands site came from the fashion blogs and see how many ended in a sale. (Google analytics peeps will know how this works).

We could also see which blogger resulted in the highestΒ sales and Sarah was among the top. So while the phrasing of that quote sounded very pretentious there are actually hard numbers behind it to back up – understandable data doesn’t sound that glam in Cosmo.

Sarah is then given a percentage of the final sale, which is a schemed offered to many bloggers by many brands but depending on the bloggers following is not often not very lucrative.

I left that company a few years ago so I don’t know if Sarah is still working with them, (if they are, they will be a charging her a pretty sexy management fee each month).

They next quote that again sounded awful was that she thought that blogging was over saturated and people were just in it to make money.

“If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think there’s any space for more bloggers in the industry – everyone is one these days. It’s ridiculous.

This was the quote that was later changed by Cosmo, this original phrasing, again sounds very harsh and a lot of users thought that it was crushing future bloggers dreams of entering the bloggersphere.

While this is a very critical thing to say, the question of ‘are there too many bloggers?’ depend on why you are blogging. If you are blogging for you because you love it then no, there is never too little space – but if your goal is to a full time 40k jet setter then that’s different.

When I worked at the company I managed the network and we had 15,000 bloggers on it emailed daily wanting to work with brands and get free samples. We gave away around 1000 samples a month but that’s still 14,000 bloggers who got nothing. While some enjoyed blogging for a hobby, some really wanted this to be their job, but they weren’t ready for it. It is a business. And that’s not to say they wouldn’t be ready in a few years once they had increased there followers and learnt more about photography. For every good blogger with a strong following who got what blogging was about, there were always 100 who thought opening a blogspot and taking a few selfies made them a blogger. They would get terribly angry and upset when they weren’t chosen to work with brands because they had low quality photos and low followers.

I had to tell thousands of hopeful lovely girls every day they just weren’t ready, and it was horrible. Our very basic rule of thumb was under 800 followers was a no go,Β and girls took it so personally (understandably) that it was because we didn’t like them or the work they created. No it’s business and the product isn’t ready yet.

For girls who blog purely as a creative hobby it’s fine, these bloggers generally aren’t too fussed when you tell them that the brand isn’t interested this time, but generally because they are doing it for fun their content is better.

When the likes of the Zoella started out she did it for fun, and you can see that, which makes followers and brands like her. But having worked in the industry and with thousands of bloggers, there is a whole generation who are blogging to be Zoella not for fun. And they tend to get upset when it’s a no, and they don’t want to work unless they are getting paid which I think is what Sarah was talking about in the article.

Blogging for yourself, because you enjoy it, because it helps your mental health, because you find it fun will always make you happier and there is always plenty of room for bloggers like that. I think Sarah was referring to girls who want to become an overnight millionaire through blogging, like being a model or actress that group has always been a small percentage and always been over-saturated.

In fairness to Sarah, I think the Cosmo have portrayed her in a way that has come off as negative which I can only assume was never intended. I can only guess they were going for empowered, self made business woman, girl boss, sassy queen but has instead come across more self important and belittling of the community that supported her for years before the fashion lines and Cosmo interviews.

lots of love

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UPDATE: This was Sarah’s statement after the article. Don’t know what anyone else things but she stands by what she said and meant it exactly as it sounded. Ok then.

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