It seems that, in the blogging world, especially where beauty and fashion are concerned, everyone is chiming in with their thoughts on bloggers, blogger integrity and honesty, and of course, working with brands and companies. I’ve heard so much on this topic and a lot is fascinating and eye opening, some is annoying, and some is spot-on so I thought I’d chime in my thoughts on this tender topic as well.
Honesty & Passion
First off, I just want to say, and I think I’m not alone here, I started blogging because I love it and for no other reason. It’s true that I wanted to promote my skincare line that I sell on Etsy, but honestly, I realized about 3 minutes in that I love blogging about beauty more than I love creating it. It’s certainly harder to do than it looks. Also, I love to write and I love to share stories, products, experiences, and tips with people around the world. I love connecting with people who are different from me in order to share what we know and make the world a better place. I truly believe in that. I love doing product reviews, tips, DIY, and all that pertains to it because I find it fun. I love the world of health, beauty and fitness because these are things I’m passionate about and that I can share with others.
I want to make it known that I have no sponsorships, partnerships or paid anything on this blog as of this moment and that’s fine by me. As I said, I didn’t start this blog for payment. That being said, if the right person approached me, I’m not entirely opposed to it. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to do what they love? I think we can all agree that everyone wants that, but I personally want it on my own terms and those include not having to give up my honesty, integrity, and dignity in the process.
Lastly, before I go into tirades upon tirades about what I dislike, I just want to say I’ve worked with some amazing brands and companies alike. For every bad experience I’ve had working with a brand or company, I’ve had 5-10 great ones working with others. Some of my favorites include, but are not limited to - Naruko, Beauty Habit, Suti Skincare, Alpha-H, Living Nature, Karen Murrell, and Rainwater Botanicals.
Partnerships & Sponsorships
I think, for some bloggers, sponsorships and partnerships are an exciting prospect and, with the right company, perhaps they can really become something great, but for me personally, it would certainly have to be a company/brand that I really believe and trust in. Because, if it isn’t, I really want to avoid this one at all costs. I just feel that, as a blogger, I’d be giving up too much. I’d be giving up a whole lot of my own opinions and control over my own blog if I accepted this sort of agreement. A lot of times, this agreement includes a lot of benefits for the brands, little benefit for the bloggers and a lot less for ultimate readers, but that’s just my opinion.
Paid Blog Posts
One bad experience ruined this one for me. Recently, I was approached by a company (shall remain unnamed, but if you saw it, then you know) who wanted me to do a paid post. I took around a month deciding and then ultimately decided, yes, because I thought their site was in line with products I like and natural health which is something I enjoy promoting. I posted on their site and clearly stated it was sponsored. It was all downhill from there. They requested I take all notes of sponsorship off my post, claiming it would interfere with their SEO. While what I know about SEO is pretty minimal, I will say that even I know this is not true. Needless to say, I was obviously unwilling to remove wherein I stated the post was sponsored because I’m not willing to lie to readers about it and it’s a bad sign, in my opinion, if a brand wants you to or asks you to. If a brand or company is a reputable one, then I don’t think it should matter if it’s sponsored or not or if it’s stated as such. I think readers can denote for themselves whether a blogger or their post is authentic or not and whether the brand / company itself is as well. That being said, I really highly doubt there will be any paid posts on here in the future.
I love guest posts from bloggers that I know and follow. Truly. I’ve gotten to know some really incredible bloggers by trading posts and sharing ideas. I really love it. What I don’t love is being emailed by companies asking to guest post on my site for free. Not that I demand compensation, but at the same time, why should they be able to moonlight on my blog for no reason at all? Personally, I wouldn’t allow it even if they offered payment because 1.) a lot of these sites have nothing to do with my blog topics anyway, 2.) I feel like guest posts from high traffic sites are their way of short changing bloggers and taking advantage of their readerships and 3.) there is just something not right about it.
There is just something totally false about letting a company guest post on your blog so that they can link back to their website and it just annoys the hell out of me because they always act like it’s some kind of “win-win” situation when they are the only party that gets something out of it. Sadly, they will try to convince you that you’re “freeing up your time and schedule” or something. In my honest opinion, this is a company or brand’s way of saying they don’t want to pay you so they pay their in-house staff to approach blogs in a ‘friendly’ manner and ask if they accept guest posts, as though they are just a peer blogger. I really despise the whole idea of this; it short changes bloggers everywhere and it gives good companies a bad name because of the ones that try to take advantage.
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I do frequent product reviews. I get sent a lot of products for review, but I also buy my own products. Either way, my opinion is always honest. I know some people may not agree with that because they think free product will somehow guilt a blogger into always churning out a positive review, but I disagree with this. I don’t think bloggers are so easily coerced into writing crap reviews simply for some free goods. Don’t get me wrong, I love free product (seriously, who doesn’t?). It is one of the perks of being a beauty blogger that I get sent cool stuff to try and feature on my blog, but it doesn’t alter my opinion. I’ve done many reviews and they’re not all positive, however I received them. I always make sure to note how I received a product (whether I purchased it or if it was sent to me) and I test said product(s) as needed, but I do try to allot at least a month to do a thorough and creative testing. I hope this shows through in my review posts because it’s something I’ve tried very hard to maintain on this blog.
So, those are my thoughts on blogging and all the madness and I hope you won’t hate me for it. Instead, I hope you enlighten me with what I don’t know, encourage me to do better, learn from me a little, and I’ll gladly do the same.
Please also check out Hua Jing Li’s post on this topic – here or you can read more about fashion v. beauty bloggers according to Sara Zucker (which originally spurned my interest in posting on this topic) here.
Both further inspired me to post my thoughts on this topic and have made great points on the subject as well.
What are your thoughts on blogging, companies / brands, sponsorship and the like?