I got an email the other day informing me that someone had unsubscribed from my blog. At first I was pretty excited. I mean, someone had actually subscribed to my blog! Then it hit me. Aw, they don’t like me.
Or maybe they don’t like all the blog tours, sponsored posts and reviews I’ve been doing lately. I get that, I really do. In fact, for a long time I refused to write anything for compensation on principle. I would sell ad space and I would do the occasional product review, but my editorial content would remain completely unsullied by corporate monies. The only problem is that it’s very hard to make much money selling ad space on a blog unless you’re Dooce or somebody. I was lucky to cover to my hosting fees.
Sponsored posts also seem to have become more common all of a sudden. (Or maybe the FTC rules about disclosure just made me realize how common they already were.) Hey, I know that just because everybody’s doing something, doesn’t make it all right. But it does make it seem less gaudy, you know? And as long as there is full disclosure about compensation, advertorial copy is no worse than ads running in the side bar from an ethical stand point. Back when people used to write undisclosed sponsored posts? That was unethical.
And then I had another baby. As a self-employed freelancer, I don’t get a paid maternity leave. Instead, I get to cut back on the amount of work I take on and try to make ends meet with that much less money. A recent hike in our insurance premiums and property tax rates, coupled with the cost of another human in the family means that a drop in the family income is kind of a big deal. In short, I need the money. And as far as making money goes, blogging is my most favourite way.
So here’s the deal, dear readers. I will keep doing sponsored posts, blog tours, campaigns and product reviews, but I promise you two things:
- You will always know when I’m being paid to write on a topic. I will, from now on, disclose that at the very top of a post. (I have always disclosed compensation, but it used to be at the bottom of the post.)
- I won’t cheat my blog, my readers or my sponsors by phoning in these posts. I will put just as much story-telling effort into a sponsored post as I do my regular ones. These are advertorial spots that are paid for, but my stories are as sincere as ever.
Also note that accepting any sort of advertising or advertorial content is not an endorsement of everything a company sells or does or has done in the past. (No more than buying a product in the supermarket is.) I’ll use my best judgement when deciding if something is a good fit for the blog, but I’m not running corporate background checks either. Product reviews are not paid, but I tend not to post bad reviews unless something is horrifyingly, dangerously bad. If I don’t think a product is worth recommending, I just won’t write about it.
Basically, the more (and better) sponsored opportunities I get, the more time I’ll be able to put back into writing about how I forgot to look in the mirror all day and only just now realized I have a sparkly butterfly sticker on my hair. And that’s really what’s best for all of us, isn’t it?