Blogging and sponsored posts and content. Ugh. Does just reading that make your eyes roll or your stomach churn? It’s a tough topic for bloggers, their readers and the companies that want to promote their products. When blogging was first getting started people felt like they were selling out for simply having ads on their site but these days ads are almost a given and sponsored/custom content is where it’s at.
While I’m a blogger, I’m also an avid blog-reader and have a love-hate relationship with sponsored content. When done well (that is, when it seems genuine and is presented in a visually-appealing way) it’s non-offensive and sometimes even encourages me to buy or seek out a product. When done poorly I’m left feeling like the blogger is a “sell-out” and it’s even caused me to stop reading blogs that promote too many products.
But here’s the thing bloggers don’t always want to say: Blogging takes time, money and energy. It’s a hobby and passion, yes, but it can be an incredibly time-consuming hobby. Many times the content that is created on the blogs we all love to read costs a pretty penny to produce. Groceries and kitchen equipment for food posts, clothing and accessories for fashion and lifestyle features, materials for craft projects – you get the picture.
I’ll be the first to admit that there have been times in the past (especially when I was first starting to get offers from companies) when I was quick to promote products that weren’t a good or natural fit for this blog, my lifestyle and my reader’s interests. There have also been times when I’ve been offered a good deal of money to review and promote products that I’ve had to pass on because I just didn’t believe in the product or would never purchase it myself.
Lately I feel there is more sponsored content than ever in the blogosphere, and I’ve been taking a good, hard look at what I will and won’t promote on E&C. As a new mom working outside the home my time is precious. Now seems like a great time to take a hard look at the sponsored content posts I’m willing to accept and those that are simply not worth my time or yours.
I’m not sure I have a really great way to tie this all together or a clear point to what I’m writing other than to be entirely transparent about sponsored content and my motivation behind mentioning a brand or product. I know for certain that I’ll be continuing with my partnership with Lavazza to talk all things coffee this year. I love coffee and I truly love Lavazza’s coffee and the partnership is something I can feel good about. Sometimes friends, like Emily Ley, send me their amazing handiwork (like this baby book) and I can’t help but shout from the rooftops how much I love it. And that amazing hand-made banner on Ainsley’s crib? It’s from a friend of a friend’s Etsy store called Momma Coco Designs and it’s just darling.
Other times I’m incredibly disappointed in products, and I promise I won’t ever share a dishonest review. Case in point? When I was packing for the hospital, Belly Bandit sent me one of their postpartum belly wraps to review. The Belly Bandit is pretty pricey and I was thankful for the opportunity to review it without cost; however, when the time came for me to write a review, I just couldn’t do it. I hated the Belly Bandit; it made a lot of noise when it was worn and had a very obvious and awkward seam and I just didn’t think it was necessary for postpartum recovery. (That is, for a normal vaginal delivery; I’ve heard some c-section mommas say it was great, for what it’s worth.)
So, here’s to transparency, honesty and authenticity in the products we all promote and support on social media. I’ll do my best to curate and evaluate what I talk about, and you’re welcome to keep me honest along the way!