Hey friends! Today's post is one I have been on the fence about writing for the past couple months. From seeing subtweets of people complaining about bloggers getting sponsored content to personally receiving rude responses on my reader survey, I figured now was a good time to write this post up. Sponsored content has a stigma to it and this should NOT be the case.
Sponsored content has a stigma to it and this should NOT be the case. Click To Tweet
To those who get annoyed when bloggers have sponsored content, I have a couple questions for you, as well as many thoughts and points of view for you to consider. Please, understand that the purpose of this post is to help properly educate everyone on this subject. This is not an attack in any way, but an open and honest way to address and hopefully, smooth over the truth of sponsored content for bloggers. It's about time this stigma is broken.
When I first started blogging I was a hobby blogger, meaning that I blogged for pure enjoyment and as a way to express myself. It wasn't something that I kept up with regularly or even thought of as pursuing as a career. Obviously that changed, but it didn't happen overnight for me and it certainly doesn't for most bloggers. Blogging for me is such a joy! I get to share my heart and even better, I get to connect with others who share similar stories and passions. Blogging for me has always been about the community that can flourish from it.
After a year of starting Coffee With Summer, I started to slowly receive free product from brands to do reviews for and I thought it was simply awesome. I felt honored to be able to get free product in exchange for my honest review. This was the first time I realized how much influence I really did have through blogging and extended out through social media.
By the end of college, I knew that I wanted to pursue blogging as more than just a hobby, and instead, a career. When you make the transition from hobby blogger to blogging for income, it is very slow going and to be honest, it's always fluctuating throughout the year. I can't tell you how many sponsored posts I applied for through ad networks that just got rejected over and over again. I doubted myself many times when I first started to make an income off blogging.
After awhile of pitching and applying, I finally got a hang of it and started to learn how to not only be creative in my pitches, but to be as descriptive as possible. Once I learned that among a few other important aspects, sponsored posts started rolling in one right after the other. I was honestly relieved! I had put SO much time and energy into making an income off my blog, and it was finally starting to pay off.
One thing that was always important to me and always WILL be important to me with creating sponsored content is to stay true to myself and remain 100% authentic. This was never something that I had to struggle with; authenticity has always been hugely important to me and my entire brand. It's what I stand for. I would never and will never compromise my authenticity.
The reason I'm sharing a background of my story with blogging is because it's important in understanding the process that all bloggers go through to get to the point where they can make an income (any amount) off their blog. It's NOT an easy thing to do. It is WORK.
To Those Who Get Annoyed When Bloggers Have Sponsored Content Click To Tweet
HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF WHY YOU'RE BOTHERED WHEN BLOGGERS HAVE SPONSORED CONTENT?
Be honest with yourself. Whether you're a blogger or just a reader...why does it get under your skin when bloggers make money off their blog (aka: their passion, dream, and labored work)? I'd really be curious to hear some answers, but I can guarantee that every single one of you would jump to the conclusion that sponsored content is just inauthentic. Why do I know this? Because I (and many of my close blogging friends) have been on the receiving end of this point of view for far too long.
If you sit there and roll your eyes when you see a disclaimer that a blog post or social media post is sponsored, then I hope you're reading. If you're someone who won't click on a post to read just because you know it's sponsored, then I hope you're reading.If you roll your eyes when a blogger has sponsored content, then you need to read this. Click To Tweet
As I was reviewing my reader survey results, which are always incredibly helpful in furthering Coffee With Summer, I stumbled across this comment that really stuck an nerve and honestly, broke my heart a bit:
"I normally never ever read anything sponsored just because a lot of sponsored posts seem not as authentic as other posts."
Assuming something is inauthentic when you actually didn't read the post or didn't read the post in full (let's be real), then I'm sorry to break it to you, but you're not being all that genuine. How can you be a proper judge of character when you sit there and assume? How can you claim to support someone if you just point the finger and say that someone is being dishonest when you haven't taken the time to hear their heart?
Assumptions are almost always a very bad, bad thing.
"Never assume, because when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me." Have you ever heard that quote before? It holds so much truth! Assuming things of others often leads to straight up foolishness and embarrassment at some point or another for both parties.
If you're genuinely concerned if someone is being authentic or not, just ask them. Don't wait for a time to be anonymous to express your concern. Let's be about accountability and talk things out! Please, never assume.
YES, SOME BLOGGERS SADLY BECOME SELL-OUTS...BUT THAT'S NOT THE CASE FOR ALL BLOGGERS.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's address a very real issue with some bloggers. Some bloggers (notice I said some) sadly become sell-outs and end up creating sponsored content that isn't completely honest, all because it pays. I have seen it and obviously, you've seen it. This may be why you have a bitterness towards bloggers making a living off of their blog. But you NEED to know that not ALL bloggers do this. Just because one blogger might be dishonest, does not mean that the rest of us are with that one person. I don't really think that it's necessary for me to dive into this, because we should all already know that one bad apple does NOT spoil the whole bunch.
The truth is, the majority of bloggers apply for and accept sponsored content when they already love and believe in a brand. It's always exciting for me when I get to work with a brand or share about a product when I have been loving them for years. It's one of the best feelings as a blogger; getting to work with brands you believe in and trust. As bloggers, we know that our opinion is valued by our readers and followers. We have gained the truth of those who read and appreciate our work. Those of us who are true to ourselves and our audience will only ever present sponsored content that is completely authentic.
We strive to keep our authenticity always present and growing. This is the only way that we can genuinely be growing our blogs/brands, but more importantly, growing on a personal level.As bloggers, we know our opinion is valued. Therefore, authenticity has to always come first. Click To Tweet
Related reading: Keeping Your Authenticity As An Online Influencer
DO YOU HAVE A JOB?...MORE IMPORTANTLY, DO YOU LIKE BEING PAID FOR THAT JOB?
Yes? I thought so. When you're working hard on a job, you expect to be paid for all of your time, effort, and talent, right? No one goes to work every week saying "I can't wait to NOT get paid for all of this work I'm doing!" Right? Right!
As people, we work to make a living. That's just how it is. If you want something, you have to work for it; it's not just handed to you. When you work, you're putting your talents and efforts into your job, no matter what it is. Whatever your job is, you're a professional in that area. It's only right for you to be paid for your work. I don't think this is something you're going to argue with me.
So, why complain when bloggers get paid for their work? Why roll your eyes and judge us for getting paid for OUR WORK? Please, enlighten us bloggers who pour everything we have into our work - whether something is sponsored or not. Blogging is our profession. We deserve to be compensated for our work, just as you're compensated for yours.Why judge and complain about bloggers for getting paid for our work; our profession? You get paid for your work. Click To Tweet
Do you know how hurtful it is when others sit their and criticize us for doing our job? It really hurts. It's also quite frustrating, because it simply makes no sense for people to be mad at us for doing our jobs. You don't see the all of the work that goes into our content. Blogging is not an easy job.
Please, try to place yourself in our shoes for just a moment and see this from our perspective. How would YOU feel if someone thought your work wasn't worth payment?
Related reading: Dear Brands, Bloggers Don't Work For Free
BLOGGERS & SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS ARE WHY THERE'S A THING CALLED "INFLUENCER MARKETING."
"When bloggers get paid by a brand to promote something, it's called "influencer marketing," and it's currently the hottest, most effective form of marketing out there. Brands are capitalizing on the fact that if someone you personally know and trust recommends something to you, you might be more likely to buy it than if a celebrity did the same.
With blogging, chances are that even if you don't know your favorite blogger in real life, you feel like you do! You trust them. So long as a blogger is only partnering with brands they genuinely, wholeheartedly believe in and use themselves, it's a win-win...companies get access to a new audience already primed to trust the messaging, and the blogger gets paid to do work that they would be doing anyways.
Sure, there might be shady bloggers just in it for the moolah. But if your fave blogger isn't like that, trust that she's actually bringing you the best of the best - and she's just being a #boss and being fairly compensated by brands for doing their marketing for them!"
I cannot express how much I appreciate Erica of Coming Up Roses and her wisdom when it comes to bloggers and brands working together. Brands both large and small depend on online influencers to help keep their brands growing and growing. I honestly have nothing else to say about this, because Erica is such a boss and covered all of the bases here!
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Simply put. We need your support.
For whatever reason your view of bloggers who blog for a living is skewed, we hope that you can open up and try to view things from our point of view. We've done the same from your point of view, now it's your turn to reciprocate.
On the behalf of all of us bloggers who blog authentically, we ask you to simply be there for us in our passion of pursing blogging as a professional career. We ask you to trust us that what we're sharing with you is only ever real and genuine. We know there will be some bloggers who break that trust, but please don't wrap us all up into that category.Bloggers need your support, not your judgement or assumptions. Click To Tweet
Can we please stop shaming bloggers who blog for a living? Can we please stop the stigma that's associated with sponsored content? Can we please stop shaming one another for sharing different passions?
Related reading: How To Support Your Favorite Bloggers (Even If You're Just A Reader)
I know this post was long, so if you stayed with me through every point and all 2,000 words...THANK YOU! Whether this post was addressed specifically to you or not, I hope that it helped when it comes to seeing things from our point of view. The reason why bloggers blog is to connect with others in an authentic way, and I hope that everyone can come to learn and know that at some point. Let's stop with the assumptions and lack of information on this topic. Let's ask questions and keep accountability. Let's band together and cheer one another on.
Please, share this so we can stop the stigma of sponsored content and bloggers who blog for a living. This stigma needs to end now.