We all read blogs from all over the world and we all have readers who check in from far-flung places. But do we ever stop and wonder how blogging might differ from place to place? I would imagine that blogging in Dubai is not hugely different to blogging in the UK, but maybe I’m wrong? Read on for my two cents on blogging in Dubai.
What’s a blog?
Blogging is still a relatively new thing in Dubai, and the Middle East in general, so there is still a real lack of knowledge about how blogs work and what they’re about. Plenty of bloggers and PR’s still have no idea what Google Analytics is and some think Bloglovin is a fan club 🙂
I once asked a PR friend of mine why her brand were engaging with bloggers who she knew had little to no traffic and she shrugged her shoulders and said “coverage is coverage” Any coverage is generally good coverage here, even if it means the coverage is coming from someone with no traffic who usually blogs about food and you have sent them a lipstick.
Don’t get me wrong, some brands here are really clued in when it comes to doing what they do, but I think it’s hard for them to stand out in a sea of pretty poor PR.
All the beauty booty
The second biggest Sephora in the world is in Dubai Mall and the only Bloomingdales in the world outside of the US is in Dubai. Unsurprisingly, this makes for some pretty amazing beauty hauling along with more hauling in our local pharmacies (Boots, Bin Sina, etc) – which are choc-ful of hard-to-find French skincare brands.
You can’t sit with us
No links to products, no price or stockist information and little to no interaction with followers on social media or in the comments section of blogs is pretty normal here, along with a general ‘you can’t sit with us’ approach. The more you blow yourself up here and the more aloof you come across to both PR’s and readers, the ‘bigger’ you are perceived to be – regardless of whether anyone actually reads your blog. Funny, eh?
Events a go-go
If you like events, Dubai is the place to be. There is a launch, re-launch or tried and tested event on every five minutes, with two or three often clashing on the same day. Some of the events are really fun and well thought out; makeovers, chic breakfasts and evening soirees with brand experts but of course, they are not all fun (some of them are downright terrible). I think the best event I have ever attended here was the Nars launch a couple of weeks back. You can see some of it in this vlog.
Buy all the (social media) things
Twitter and Instagram followers increase dramatically overnight here but interaction levels stay the same. It’s quite normal for someone to suddenly have 10k Instagram followers today when yesterday they only had 1k, but of course no one will admit to buying them.
And there’s a real impatience about blogging in Dubai. Everyone wants to be big right now this second. Very few seem to want to put in the actual effort of growing and maintaining a blog so they just buy followers and think that makes up for it.
New launches before anywhere else in the world
From time to time, new collections will launch in Dubai before anywhere else in the world. Bourjois in particular are great for this; Rouge Edition Velvet Liquid Lipsticks, Flower Perfection Foundation and the Happy Light Collection all made an appearance here before anywhere else. We also get only-for-this region launches; Estee Lauder, Roberto Cavalli, Lancome and many others brought out new Oud-inspired fragrances just for the Middle East market.
Gimme the freebies
We all know plenty of blogs are born out of a want for freebies and Dubai is no different. The awkward thing about it here however, is that there seems to be absolutely no embarrassment attached to requesting freebies as soon as a new blog goes live. Once, a PR cc’ed everyone in her mailing list in an email and one blogger accidentally replied all with “send me the products now thanks”. Eeeek.
The good blogs are really good
I’m sure most of you know Laura and her blog, and there are lots of other bloggers in Dubai who are really lovely and really good at what they do. Zein’s blog, The Beauty Residence, is one of my favourites, along with Aseya’s blog; Pretty in the Desert, Louise’s blog; Mum of Boys, Laura’s blog; Laura Etc and Stacey’s; Expat Makeup Addict.
And we love each other
If someone is back in the UK/US/wherever they will happily pick up products for the rest of us that we can’t get here. There’s much product enabling, particularly on Instagram between the beauty bloggers and a lot of love and support when it comes to sharing and linking to each others posts and so on.
Blogging here definitely annoys me to the point of distraction in some ways as it’s light years behind the US/UK, but in other ways it gives me all the feels 🙂
So, what is blogging like where you are? I know some of my readers check in from places pretty far afield so I would love to know what your local blogging scene is like 🙂