Last week I wrote a post about sweet FA really, but it referenced two products slash services and I included a link to external web sites about such.
And I almost wrote a paragraph about how those links were not affiliate links and how I wasn’t being paid to mention said products and how I hadn’t received them as freebies in return for a mention in a post/instagram/tweet/FB post.
And then I felt like a cranky old lady because, back in my day, I only mentioned a product on my blog if I wanted to. Not because I felt obligated to. Or because I was bragging about an event/product/service that I was PR’d about.
Advertising is really at saturation point for me. I got jack of it on FM radio, so now I mainly listen to AM (yes, I really am an old lady). TV is just as bad and I only watch the odd bit of tele. And lately I’ve been getting advertised at on Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram — all at a level that feels on par with “mainstream” media.
Not that I begrudge anyone’s blogging right to either make a little bit of $ on the side (as I’ll happily admit to trying to do here) or as a business startup (*ahem* ditto). I’m just not comfortable with how it makes me feel.
The way I see it is that I’m a personal blogger here, sharing nothing share than anecdotes and pictures of cats, cupcakes and Barack Obama. I don’t provide a service, product or parental guidance. This blog does not provide anything of value to the intelligent, good looking and funny people who take the time to read my drivel. Therefore, I no longer think it’s appropriate to sell my space to you. I started blogging however many years ago as a personal slash creative outlet, nothing more. I forgot about that somewhere along the way. Amongst the conferences and the SEO and the monetisation discussions.
And by selling my space I mean sponsored posts, reviewing freebies, talking about events I’ve attended. Because I can’t be completely honest with you about them. I couldn’t tell you in explicit detail what I think is wrong with product x because I would feel obligated to the agency who tee’d me up. Not that I would cover up per se, but I would certainly gloss over the negative bits and expect you to know how to read between the lines.
But if I have a negative experience with a service I paid for with my own money, I’ll share all the gory details with you. I feel comfortable sharing it with you because I’m a consumer with no affiliation with the brand. They haven’t lined by pocket at any point in the past, so I don’t feel any loyalty to them.
If I was Choice magazine, I could be completely honest because Choice purchase every.single.product. themselves for the purposes of testing and evaluation. There’s no “relationship” between Choice and the brands they feature.
I’m learning to trust my instincts. And selling my personal space feels wrong to me. So I’m walking away from it. “Traditional” advertising spots are still open game, but it’s not something I’m going to advertise (haha).
I’m torn about how to marry up this opinion of mine with how I manage opportunities on Smarter Admins. Because I want Smarter Admins to make money for me. And to make money I feel like I need to get in bed with PR, with brands. I’m working on developing alternative income streams beyond the blog itself, but that’s a hard slog that is a long way off from paying me back on my investment, let alone be profitable. At this stage I’m telling myself that it’s okay to sell my business audience to brands in the form of sponsored posts, gifted products, events and whatnot. Why? Because I am (hopefully) providing a good service that is made available to my readers for free.
I really admire bloggers who can manage the best of both worlds and establish financial arrangements and be completely honest. It’s just not something I have the “cajones” to pull off.
So, um, ahahahaha, this has turned into a longwinded rant and navel-gazing session when it was really just meant to be a post lamenting how I felt like I had to tell you guys that last week’s post wasn’t sponsored by any brands.
And while I’m on the topic of blogging, I really wish there was a middle ground between full-on blogger’s conferences and social events. I go to conferences and don’t get to socialise as much as I’d like. I go to social events and don’t get to talk shop as much as I’d like. Can we please have something in the middle? Which magical fairies do I talk to to make this happen?
This post has been brought to you by my navel and the metric tonne of homemade cookies and chocolate crackles I’ve been scoffing like nobody’s business.