Automeisje: Men tested me to see whether I knew what I was talking about.

02.08.2018

‘Heels and Turbos’ is how Yvette Hougraaf describes her blog. Spending her days driving around in sports cars throughout Europe, she is one of few female car bloggers in the industry and is rapidly making a name for herself.

 

 

Automeisje: Men tested me to see whether I knew what I was talking about.

How did you become a full-time car blogger? Is it the main way you make a living?

 

Yes. For the last few years, it’s been my bread and butter. I used to work in various jobs, racing from facility management to working at a car dealership, but I was never really happy and never really enjoyed what I was doing. So after four years, I decided to take the first steps and start a Facebook page to see if there was any interest, and that is where it all took off. A few years later, I quit my day job and started doing this full-time.

 

 

Have you always been fanatical about cars?

 

Yes, ever since I was a little girl I have been mad about cars. It is probably because my father had an old Porsche 356, and while he was restoring it, I was always watching him work. When it was finished, he actually drove me to school in it. In the early school years, my fellow classmates never really thought much of it. They probably didn’t even know it was a Porsche. But I did, and was incredibly proud of it.

 

 

 

Automeisje: Men tested me to see whether I knew what I was talking about.

Can you describe a day in the life of a car blogger?

 

Well, there is no day that is the same. It’s a mix of everything: traveling, testing cars, answering millions of e-mails, and making estimates for jobs of collaborations. It’s a complicated mix of running a business and producing content. I also work a lot of late nights and weekends, so my mornings are precious and I like to start my day a bit later.

 

Pretty direct question, but it’s on a lot of people’s mind: How do you make a living as a car blogger? There is no editor or magazine paying you.

 

The business model behind it is pretty simple. A lot of companies want you to promote a certain service or product and they pay you to do so. So it’s closer to being an influencer than a classic journalist. It can really be diverse, whether it’s Continental wanting me to talk about the benefits of winter tires, or an insurance company asking me to talk about insuring a sports car.

 

 

 

Automeisje: Men tested me to see whether I knew what I was talking about.

You have an audience that expects authentic videos and not only product placement. How do you balance authenticity and sustaining your business?

 

Great question. I don’t think I’m big enough to really have experienced people criticising me for being a sell-out or anything. I also think clients and agencies just want to be me. For instance, when I’m testing a car, I’d rather collaborate with a car dealership that pays me than ask for a press car from the national press pool. That way I get paid and the dealer gets promoted, and the content has the same authenticity as a regular review by a magazine. But I do notice that if I do a few promotional stories in a row, I get less engagement and the audience loses a bit of interest.

 

What’s it like being a woman in the car industry?

 

At first it was really difficult. In my first few publications and videos people—mostly men—were testing me on whether I knew where the gearbox was and silly stuff like that. I also got a lot of weird looks when I first started doing press events. A lot of other journalists, especially the older generation, gave me some tough looks. But now I think I’ve shown what I’m worth and can ‘man up’ in this business.

 

 

 

Automeisje: Men tested me to see whether I knew what I was talking about.

Pictures : @Frederik Herregods

 

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