How home decor bloggers have become powerful influencers

Collage of images from Fall 2016 One Room Challenge
Sources: Maker of Home, The Learner Observer, 702 Park Project, Refashionably Late

Blogging is a job. And by job, I mean a source of income, a profession with standards and an influential industry.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the One Room Challenge, which I mentioned in my round-up post at the end of November.

If you’re not familiar with the One Room Challenge, it originated back in 2011 with a woman named Linda Weinstein who runs a blog named Calling it Home. She noticed that many people needed some help “to stay on track and finish a room.” So, she created the One Room Challenge to help people do that.

Twice a year, bloggers come together to make over a room in just six weeks.

Over the years, the ORC has grown incredibly. 20 high-profile shelter (lifestyle, home decor and design) bloggers are invited to participate as the headliners. They get the opportunity to work with major brands–Farrow & Ball to name one–that join the ORC as sponsors. This year 200+ other bloggers joined in as guests. House Beautiful is the official media sponsor, and numerous other magazines also end up covering the ORC. The ORC has become a biannual event viewed by millions.

Black and white laundry room
My first ORC, our black and white laundry room

I’ve participated twice in the ORC, and it’s brought new traffic to my blog, increased my followers and connected me with like-minded bloggers whom I’ve gone on to collaborate with–along with giving me two beautiful completely finished rooms. The online community it creates is amazing.

The most amazing thing about the One Room Challenge is it demonstrates how professional blogging has become.

For the companies that participate as sponsors it’s a huge marketing opportunity. They are putting their products in front of millions of potential consumers–not just potential, but likely. The audience for the ORC is people passionate about home decor and design, people who are renovating, decorating and looking for products to incorporate into their homes.

It’s not like buying a TV commercial and knowing that only a small portion of the audience is going to be interested in maybe someday using their products.

For home decor magazines like House Beautiful, the ORC is an incredible source of content. They uncover new designers to watch and new homes to feature. It also flips the traditional role of magazines. People used to look to magazines for inspiration and trends to incorporate into their homes. That still happens to a certain extent.

However, home decor bloggers are now the ones setting the trends. They are inspiring the editors of traditional magazines with new spaces, new designs and new ideas.

Navy blue master bedroom
My second ORC, our master bedroom

The ORC is also a huge boon for the bloggers themselves. Some of the people who participate make their living as bloggers. For them, the visitors, views, sponsors, advertisers, collaborations and other business opportunities they get from the ORC have a direct impact on their day-to-day income.

Other participants are designers–some established or some up-and-coming. A well-designed room can connect these designers with new clients, establish their reputation and increase their businesses.

The beauty of the ORC, though, is that it’s open to everyone, and it creates many benefits for participants, no matter what type of blogger they are.

Linda has also taken a professional approach to the One Room Challenge, and it’s flourished because of that. In the early years of the ORC, she found out about an “e-commerce company that wanted to host their own The One Room Challenge“–including the exact same name. Because she had trademarked her original idea back at the beginning, she was able to stop the company’s infringement on her event. Linda viewed herself as a professional, and she treated her work professionally.

For anyone working in marketing or media, the One Room Challenge is a window into where these industries are going. And for people who want blogger to be their job title–and income source–the ORC is full of lessons on how to make that happen.

Do you want to become an influencer? Need help developing content for your blog? Contact me to find out how 129 Communications can help you succeed in your work.


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