Blog Talk: Sponsored Content vs Selling Out

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March 2, 2019

sponsored blog posts, sponsored post, blogging 101

I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about the line between getting paid for content and selling out in blogging. Of course, as bloggers, we want to share things that we genuinely love, but for those of us who need to make money from blogging, sponsorships aren’t so black and white. I admit, it can be a fine line, but I have some things I’d like to point out after having a blog for two years now and posting sponsored content pretty much since the beginning. There are a few questions I ask myself that I find very helpful when deciding whether or not to say yes to a sponsored post offer.

1. Would I post about this for free?
Obviously, it is not ok for PR companies or brands to reach out and ask you to post for something for free. In fact, it completely turns me off to the brand forever and I find it extremely insulting, but that’s something for a different post. What I’m saying is, if I came across this on my own, would I want to share it with my readers anyway? If so, it’s an automatic yes. If not, well, keep reading.

2. Does it fit with my usual blog content?
There are lots of times where I get contacted by a brand that does fit with my content, but isn’t necessarily my style. When I first started blogging, I would instantly say no to these brands, but as I got more experienced, I realized that maybe my readers would like this brand or product, so not sharing it just because it’s not my style might not be the best decision. Once I had this realization, I found that I could make things fit with my style if I just put in a little effort and a little creativity. Sometimes, at first glance, a particular store isn’t my favorite, but once I look a little deeper, I see tons of items that I actually would wear. I personally decide to give brands more of a chance instead of judging a book by its cover and being too hasty in my decision. In the end, it actually turns into a fun challenge to see if I can make this brand work for me and my blog.

3. Would I be proud to share this brand/product with family, friends and on social media?
There are times when I get stuck after question #2. I could definitely mold this opportunity to fit in line with my style and personal preferences/make it appeal to my readers, but would I really be proud to endorse this brand or product? Sometimes this is where I realize the sponsorship opportunity is not for me and decide to decline. For example, I had a lingerie company contact me recently. Yes, I need new bras (and the money offered didn’t hurt), but there’s no way in hell I’d post photos of me in lingerie on my blog. That is not something I’d be willing to put out there, so I politely declined. Yes, as a full time blogger, I have bills to pay, but at the end of the day, being authentic to my readers and fulfilling the advertiser’s needs are more important. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it wholeheartedly and I could not put myself into that particular brand.

So those are the steps I usually go through when a brand reaches out to me. I usually say yes about 75% of the time. After all, most brands that reach out to me are interested in me and my blog for a reason. I also want to mention that disclosing sponsorship within the post is an absolute must for any blogger. Not only is it the law, but it’s simply the right thing to do.

What helps you decide when to accept or decline a sponsored post?

Want to know how to get sponsors? Check out this post I wrote last year.

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